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Types of Cross-linguistic lexical correspondences.

There are several types of cross-linguistic correspondences

1) Systemic (referential,lexical ) ( common corresponds. Validated by a dictionary.) Lexical correspondence  is defined as a relation of denotational ( conceptual, extralinguistic) equivalence between two lexical units in the context of two segments that are translation equivalents. Systemic, referential corresponmdences are likely to be  found in genres and text types are dominated by the function of message.

A search for cross-linguistic correspondences in linked to many factors are the stylistic and pragmatic levels, such as text typology , the author’s purport, background information, cultural adaptation and above all , dynamic equivalence – not only the meaning of the source text but also the manner in which the intended receptors of a text are likely to understand in the receptor language.


А) Invariant correspondences – manifestation of parallels between the textual environment of a word in one language and a word that is used to translate in in another. (overlapping polysemy) Some words are less of a problem in lexical confrontation as their meaning appear to overlap in two languages.This is however rarely observed In a contrastive analysis of language vocabularies. A most likely scenario is a coincidence in the realization of parallel items whose meaning tend to be rather broad. For example, the pair brilliant – блестящий manifest a fair degree of equivalence in their various realizations >>>> a brilliant idea \success\ victory -  бестящая идея\победа\успех.


B) Variant correspondences (diverging polysemy, translationallyambiguous words). Most often however parallel polysemous words in two language differ in some of their meaning and their lexical-semantic variants are found to diverge. Even if we choose a pair of cognates( etymologically related words) we are likely to observe that they do not coincide as lexemes. i.e. not all of their meanings ( lexical-semantic variants) turn to be identical or the ranges of their semantic content quite similar

  • – жалостливый.  Depression -  не только депрессия, но и годы великой  экономической депрессии в США, следовательно,слово depression намного шире по значению , чем его эквивалентв в русском( это пример Гвишиани)


C) No correspondence. Yes, it’s possible. The absence of a single prototopycal equivalent leading to instances of of “no correspondence in a contrastive analysis”. Thus, some British phenomena have no counterparts in Russia and should be rendered by means of transliteration or in a descriptive way, e.g . elevenses – поздний завтрак.Hobby, computer, supermarket, summit etc/


2) Contextual (Occasional) translationally vague words.( meaning depends on the context, plenty of meanings). Vaugueness, ambiguity and broad– meaningness  are the satellites of these type of correspondence. You may face them in more involved or probably “exalted” genres where they become extremely pervasive. Raphael Salkie about vague words :  “ it is the context rather than the word shapes a meaning of the expression. It’s a well-known fact that most words in a natural human language have more than one meaning. Exceptions include lexical items of concrete semantics, such as type-writer – пишущая машинка ( и все в этом духе)  The distinction between polysemy and broad-meaningness ( or vagueness) cannot always be neatly made. Example of contextual correspondence: -“Papers are eager to show that there is a difference between the more neutral television coverage and their own stronger coverage” -“ Газеты акцентируют различие между нейтральным овсвещением событий по телевидению и их собственным более выразительным освещением событий. It is also should be mentioned that we have to distinguish between two types of vague words -  pragmatic and stylistic.


3) Usage-related correspondences ( functional)

This type present the most common and regular patterns of rendering a particular meaning in the two languages. Such correspondences, as based on established speech practices , reflect current tendencies of “choice” made by speakers in representing certain meanings and contexts in a particular way. For instance, the word serious can be rendered into Russian by several different ways, depending on the context and area of usage.

Damage will not be too serious( in newspaper context)- ущерб невелик

The political repercussions are far more serious – куда существеннее его политические последствия

Serious money, payed for the prisoner – внушительная сумма.


We can come to a conclusion that the best guidance rule we can formulate in this connection is that to spot the appropriate idiomatic choices we need to turn to the actual data derived from translation and comparable corpora.

05.03.2016; 18:00
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