Slovo.ru: the Baltic accent

2017 Vol. 8 № 4

The Text and Discourse in the Light of Communicative Meaning Formation

Abstract

This article analyses differences between the static and dynamic interpretations of the text and discourse. The concept of a communicative action (a semiotic act) is considered as the main distinguishing factor that is crucial for the communicative model of text but is ignored within the language model. The communicative (dynamic) model postulates the following: 1) the text is a sequence of verbal elements of communicative actions; 2) the verbal manifestation of an utterance differs fundamentally from a communicative action; 3) the cognitive condition of the author of an action imposes a limit on meaning formation within the action and within the corresponding sentence of a text; 4) communicative meaning formation implies that the author sees sense in the procedure of communication per se rather than in reflecting reality or conveying thoughts; 5) when perceiving a written text, the reader’s consciousness constantly interprets a single communicative action and this makes a not-procedural understanding of a text ineffective. In dynamic terms, discourse represents a recognized situation of a given communicative action or a flexible system of parameters that is constantly recreated and updated to ensure the correct interpretation of a semiotic act.

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Mapping Poetic Bilingualism in Europe: Language Contacts and Cultural Transfers

Abstract

This article presents preliminary results of a project studying multilingualism in world poetry. Multilingual interactions are particularly persistent in the contexts where either writers (poets) exist in multilingual sociocultural environments or they are moving from one country to another throughout their literary career. Existing in two or more cultural and/or linguistic spaces at the same time and thus making transfers across the boundaries of different languages easier, more efficient, and more conscious, multilingual poets serve as exemplary agents of cultural transfer. This study analyses different cases of poetic multilingualism where poets who can speak and write freely in two or more languages and intentionally create either variants of the same text in two languages or different poems in two separate languages. The author outlines a geographical map, locating areas where multilingual poetic production is or was most active. The scope of the mapping is limited to European countries and areas with bilingual or multilingual population. The article also discusses theoretical and practical challenges in mapping poetic multilingualism in Europe.

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Philosophical Discourse and the Conceptualisation of Word Formation

Abstract

The article studies hyphenated complexes in Russian, French, and German philosophical discourses. The author identifies key word-formation models that use the hyphen. In philosophical discourse, the hyphen serves as a linguistic tool to convey dialectic thinking that expresses the conceptualization of the limited/the unlimited, under-certainty or emerging certainty, and motion and stillness. In philosophical texts, hyphenated complexes facilitate the tendency towards a perfect dialectic form in language — a form that embraces discreteness and continuity, division and wholeness. The hyphen is a means that contributes to the formation of concepts as undivided phonosemantic complexes reflecting the prototypes of things. In this sense, the hyphen serves as a tool for language and discourse transfer. In philosophical texts, the key function of the hyphen in newly created formations is conceptualisation. This holds true regardless of the number of components and of the position of the hyphen. The author concludes that the hyphen is a universal cognitive mechanism, characteristic of philosophical discourse; it is a means to form an integrated conceptual complex around the central component of the conceptualisation.

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‘The Radical Black Colour’. On the Semantics of the Black Colour in Anarchist Discourse

Abstract

The subject of this paper is the semantics of the colour black in anarchism. The author analyses the sociocultural and ontological aspects of the colour black as a symbol of anarchist criticism of power and the state. The anarchist black colour is counterposed to the white colour — a symbol of power in many cultures. The author shows that the idea of destruction, which the black colour of anarchy manifests, is correlated with the anthropological universals of visual experience. This idea is connected with the prototypical root of the colour black — the night, which is associated with chaos across many cultures. The protest semantics of the colour black is increasingly used in contemporary art activism. The author considers examples demonstrating that the colour black is used to criticise political representation and the anonymity of power. The primary focus is on the artistic practices of blackout (painting over/blocking out in black ink), which are interpreted in the context of the criticism of the political idea of transparency. In conclusion, the opacity of the black and white colours is compared. It is shown that the colour black can serve as a tool to create a radical semantic gap.

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Traditional Structures in Contemporary Chinese Poetry

Abstract

This paper analyses structures typical of the classical Chinese poetry and the way they are used in contemporary Chinese verse. The analysis aims to demonstrate the work of traditional textual mechanisms in contemporary Chinese poetry and to describe their functional features. Poems by Dai Weina, Han Bo, Tashi Tentso, and Zhang Zao employ linguistic means that simultaneously engage several levels of utterances. These linguistic means include non-trivial semantic links created by means of phonographics. A linguistic analysis of relevant contexts shows that all the linguistic means contribute to the semantic cohesion of the text and make a bridge to the space of classical images and the tradition of the 20th century Chinese ‘New Poetry’. Such experiments expand the capabilities of the Chinese language and construct a type of text that relies on an unconventional usage of its elements.

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Revisiting Schleiermacher’s On the Different Methods of Translating: On the Foundations of Translation Relativity Theory

Abstract

Translation is a multidimensional phenomenon. All the theories stress the diversity of its types and strategies. Phenomena described as an unexplainable deviation within one theory can form the foundation for another. This may lead to the idea of replacing a theory of translation with its empiric version. However, a different approach is also possible. The outlines of the theory of translational and traductological relativity can be derived from the ideas first voiced by Schleiermacher in his lecture On the different methods of translation (1813), from Quineʼs theory of indeterminacy of translation, and from Benjaminʼs concept of untranslatability. From a multi-disciplinary perspective, this heterogeneity is viewed as a benefit. Instead of a universal typology, which inevitably breaks down into a plethora of loosely connected theories of literary, technical, simultaneous, and other types of translation, one can employ an approach where theories differ in axiomatics rather than descriptions. This will produce a family of linguistic, semiotic, and hermeneutic theories. These theories will a) be based on family resemblance, b) aim to describe adequately a certain type of translation, and c) complement each other. Instead of searching for principles universal to all types of translation, this approach strives to correlate different theories, to estimate the range of applications of these theories, and to analyse the mutual translatability/untranslatability of translation theories.

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On the Dual Role of the Translator of Poetry and the Division of Roles

Abstract

This article deals with the roles and functions of a translator of poetry. The study identifies certain components of the process, within which a translator acts simultaneously as a transmitter of the original culture, a mediator between the reader and the author of the source text, a co-author, a linguistic innovator, a poet, and a linguist. The two latter roles are crucial for translating poetry. Translators of poetry create ‘their own’ texts. It is obvious that they cannot distance themselves completely from their poetic selves and their language personalities. At the same time, translators of poetry must convey the linguistic features of the original. This requires a comparison of the source and target languages and the solving of concrete linguistic problems. In some cases, these functions are divided between a poet and the author of a literal translation, who becomes another intermediary between the author of the source text and the reader. Literal translation determines what linguistic, rhythmic, and formal features of the original the translator will identify. In this situation, the quality of the final translation depends on the quality of the literal translation. This can make the translation either to liberal (if the literal translation was done poorly) or too literal (if the literal translation managed to convey all the details).

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Linguocultural Transfer: Memplexes in the Anglo-Saxon Tradition

Abstract

This article considers information transfer in time and space. Following the scientific ideas of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the author draws a parallel between ideas and the evolution of genes. Such a parallel is represented by a cultural replicator — the meme, which affects the preservation of an individual’s ideas. The process of copying and transferring non-genetic information in time and space is never perfect. Mutations occur in replicator populations. The imperfect linguocultural transfer has contributed to the emergence of a wide range of religious movements, schools of thoughts, etc. This article shows that the theory of linguistic cultural transfer can be considered and described from the perspectives of cultural matrices and of memes (meme complexes). The meme theory of religion and the disappearance of religious components in the modern designation of animals from the Old English bestiary are quoted as cases of reinterpreting the values of one culture in the tradition of another.

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