Vol. 34:4 (2010) ► pp.802–831
Meaning and translation in linguistic fieldwork
This paper is set within the context of semantic typology, focusing on the collection of semantic data during fieldwork on under-described languages. The study explores central issues of meaning and translation through the example of the investigation of the lexical meaning and part of speech of property-denoting expressions in West Chadic languages, which demonstrated that these expressions are inchoative verbs. It focuses on identifying the various points where the meaning of translation equivalents intruded into the semantic analysis, thus obscuring the meaning of the expressions under investigation. The paper addresses the ambivalent nature of translations, the role of contextual information, and the (dis)advantages of different methods. It shows how the interaction of various sources of information enables us to move beyond translation equivalents towards a semantic analysis, and eventually to semantic comparisons.
Cited by 4 other publications
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