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n Lexikos - Between and afterburners : a lexicographic-semantic study of equivalence

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Abstract

The lexicons of natural languages are not isomorphic. Reasons for the anisomorphism can be sought on three interrelated planes: language structure, extralinguistic reality, and conceptualisation. Simply put, the relevant differences may reside in the language, the world, the mind, or any combination of these. As a result, what goes under the name of is a rather heterogeneous category. Growing awareness of this fact has resulted over the years in the creation of several tentative typologies of equivalence, one of which is presented below, together with a brief discussion of some strategies for dealing with imperfect equivalence.


The remaining part of the article comprises a detailed analysis of a single problem encountered while preparing a new edition of a bilingual dictionary for Polish learners of English. The task at hand involved choosing a viable counterpart for a (Polish) semantic neologism from among a few (English) equivalence candidates. In the discussion, reference is made both to the metalexicographic categories introduced earlier and to such concepts developed by lexical (especially cognitive) semantics which may prove helpful in capturing the meaning differences between the source-language item and its competing target-language renditions.
This micro-scale dissection of a single specimen demonstrates that we are still some way from being able to classify, let alone deal with, all the instances of imperfect interlingual correspondence that come our way. Persisting in the efforts to advance our understanding of the complex issues covered by the blanket term thus seems crucial for improving the treatment of meaning in bilingual dictionaries.


Die leksikons van natuurlike tale is nie isomorf nie. Redes vir die gebrek aan isomorfie kom op drie onderling verwante vlakke voor: taalstruktuur, die buitetalige realiteit, en konseptualisasie. Anders gestel kan die tersaaklike verskille in die taal, die wêreld, die verstand, of enige kombinasie hiervan aangetref word. Gevolglik is dit wat as bekend staan 'n nogal heterogene kategorie. 'n Groeiende bewuswording van hierdie feit het oor die jare daartoe gelei dat verskeie tentatiewe tipologieë van ekwivalensie geskep is, waarvan een hieronder aangebied word, saam met 'n kort bespreking van sommige strategieë om onvolledige ekwivalensie te hanteer.
Die oorblywende deel van die artikel bevat 'n uitvoerige ontleding van 'n enkele probleem wat teëgekom is toe 'n nuwe uitgawe van 'n tweetalige woordeboek vir Poolse aanleerders van Engels saamgestel is. Die betrokke taak het behels dat 'n lewensvatbare teenhanger vir 'n (Poolse) semantiese neologisme uit 'n paar ekwivalente (Engelse) alternatiewe gekies word. In die bespreking word verwys na sowel die metaleksikografiese kategorieë wat vroeër geopper is, as na konsepte in die leksikale (veral die kognitiewe) semantiek wat sou kon help om die betekenisverskil tussen die brontaalitem en sy kompeterende doeltaalvertalings vas te vang.
Hierdie ontleding van 'n enkele voorbeeld op mikroskaal demonstreer dat ons nog ver daarvan is om al die gevalle van onvolledige intertalige ooreenstemming wat ons teëkom te kan klassifiseer, wat nog te sê van te hanteer. Om vol te hou met ons pogings om die komplekse vraagstukke te verstaan wat deur die oorkoepelende term gedek word, is dit dus uiters belangrik om die hantering van betekenis in tweetalige woordeboeke te verbeter.

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/content/lexikos/21/1/EJC60763
2011-01-01
2016-12-03
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