Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, Russian, Eurasian and East European Concentration
English loanwords are presently entering the Russian language, often replacing their native counterparts. This thesis addresses the question of why Russian speakers adopt English loanwords instead of using the existing native counterparts. By utilizing content analysis of word frequency data from the Russian national corpus, this thesis demonstrates that loanwords and their counterparts often have some semantic differences. These differences are revealed by examining the meaning and frequency of adjectives collocated with loanwords and their counterparts. Some adjectives are more likely to collocate with a loanword but not its counterpart, often resulting in narrowing of originally broad loanword meaning into a niche meaning. When an English loanword and its Russian counterpart have different meanings, the loanword has an advantage in lexical competition, and is therefore more likely to be adopted and used by Russian speakers. This thesis presents an objective and quantifiable method of determining such an advantage.