Translation: universals or cognition?
A usage-based perspective
This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the existence of translation universals by investigating the use of aspect in modal contexts in translated and non-translated legal Polish and by analysing the observed differences with reference to insights from cognitive linguistics. Corpus analysis highlights significant distributional differences in the use of the two aspectual forms of Polish verbs (imperfective and perfective) in modal contexts. I argue that cognitive mechanisms called ‘chunking’ (Langacker 1988; Bybee 2006) and ‘entrenchment’ (Bybee 2010) underlie these differences. I show that what may at first glance seem as behaviour unique to the translation process, is in fact caused by general cognitive processes. The study has implications for both translation studies and cognitive linguistics: it offers support for the basic assumptions about the usage-based nature of linguistic knowledge and highlights the importance of taking these assumptions into consideration when investigating the translation process and translation universals.
Keywords: translation universals, usage-based, cognitive linguistics, corpus-based, modality, aspect, Polish
- 1.Translation universals
- 2.Usage-based approach to language
- 3.Differences between non-translated and translated texts
- 3.1Aspect in Polish
- 3.2Corpus analysis of aspectual choice in modal contexts
- 3.2.1Modality in legal texts
- General differences
- Individual differences between modal words
- 3.3.1Explanation 1
- 3.3.2Explanation 2
- 3.3.3Explanation 3
- 4.Usage-based explanation of differences between non-translated and translated texts
- 4.1Aspectual preferences
- 4.1.1Corpus analysis
- 4.2Aspectual differences vs aspectual preferences
- 4.1Aspectual preferences
Published online: 21 February 2018
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