Salience effects on equative and similative markers in translation from English into Czech



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Sandra Halverson (2003) brought forward the idea that the patterns of over- and underrepresentation of linguistic items found in translated texts may be explained by asymmetries in cognitive salience within semantic networks in the bilingual brain. According to this account, high salience of a linguistic item leads to a higher likeliness of translators opting for it. In trying to find support for Halverson’s revised model (2017), I examine salience effects in the highly polysemous equative and similative markers in English (i.e., as, like) and Czech (i.e., jako, jak). These markers seem to have been getting more attention recently, especially from a typological perspective (cf. Treis & Vanhove, 2017). They express equality and similarity and are used for making comparisons, which is one of the basic human cognitive abilities. However, the markers have a wide array of additional functions, such as stating a role (e.g., she works as a doctor), listing things (e.g., marine animals such as jellyfish and walruses), making concessions (e.g., as hard as it may be to accept, …), and many others. These functions are mapped differently onto the markers in the two languages, and they vary with regards to their relative salience. The goal is to find out if the asymmetries in salience lead to specific translational patterns. This first stage of a larger project consists in three steps: (1) to determine the markers’ senses using reference works and general corpora (the BNC and CNC), (2) to establish the senses’ relative salience on the basis of their frequencies in the general corpora and on the basis of results from elicitation experiments, (3) to form hypotheses concerning the effects of the differences in relative salience according to the model and to test them using parallel corpora (the InterCorp). The results of this study should help refine the gravitational pull model and shed more light on the workings of the translating brain.
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