Publication details [#8370]

Ruthrof, Horst. 2003. Translation from the perspective of corporeal semantics. In Petrilli, Susan, ed. Translation translation (Approaches to Translation Studies 21). Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 69–86.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language


The paper argues that good translation practice requires a theory of language and meaning able to address the perceptual, interpretive structures that make language expressions meaningful. Two powerful traditions are in the way of such an approach, the definitionally oriented, analytical heritage of Frege in the philosophy of language and the syntactically oriented heritage of Saussure in structuralism and its successors. The paper offers an alternative approach in which language is viewed as an empty matrix in need of ‘filling’ by our non verbal readings of the world. Accordingly, olfactory, gustatory, aural, kinetic, haptic and tactile, proximic and visual sign practices are argued to constitute the ‘deep structure’ of language. Far from these being possible additions to linguistic meanings in Jakobson’s ‘intersemiotic’ sense, they are the sine qua non of meaning. Poems from a number of European languages illustrate the role this ‘corporeal semantics’, or perhaps better, ‘corporeal pragmatics’ could play in translation theory.
Source : Based on abstract in book