Reproduction of the Culturally Specific Sense of Simile in Translation (a Case Study of the Fauna Name Ox, Bull and Tur in Ukrainian and English)

 © The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 32, 2016, pp.  58-61

Reproduction of the Culturally Specific Sense of Simile in Translation (a Case Study of the Fauna Name Ox, Bull and Tur in Ukrainian and English)

Molchko Oksana

Article first published online: December 26, 2016 


Additional information

 Author Information: 

Oksana Molchko, Candidate of Phylology, lecturer at Hruhoriy Kochur Department of Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Correspondence: oksana.molchko@gmail.com

Citation: 
Molchko, O. Reproduction of the Culturally Specific Sense of Simile in Translation (a Case Study of the Fauna Name Ox, Bull and Tur in Ukrainian and English) [Text] // Linhvistychni Studiyi / Linguistic Studies : collection of scientific papers / 
Vasyl' Stus Donetsk  National  University; Ed. by Anatoliy Zahnitko. – Vinnytsia :Vasyl' Stus DonNU, 2016. – Vol. 32. – Pp. 58-61. – ISBN 966-7277-88-7

Publication History:
Volume first published online: 
December 26, 2016

Article received: August 19, 2016, accepted: September 22, 2016 and first published online: December 26, 2016

Annotation.

Nationally marked linguistic units turn to have been a living problem in current linguistic researches, Translation Studies in particular. As a unit of translation, simile is represented in speech by means of a certain culturally specific senses whose reproduction is paramount in the process of interlingual communication.  The latter is characterized by its communication parties making use of interlingual communication means with culturally specific senses, as well as communicative strategies and tactics which are different from the ones they use within their culture. The reproduction of culturally loaded similes in the process of translation presupposes recognizing the semantics and pragmatics of its components on all the lingual levels, allows picking out the ways of their adequate verbalization with the target language means.

Keywords: simile, fauna name, culturally specific sense, translation.



Abstract.

REPRODUCTION OF THE CULTURALLY SPECIFIC SENSE OF SIMILE IN TRANSLATION (A CASE STUDY OF THE FAUNA NAMES OX, BULL, TUR IN UKRAINIAN AND ENGLISH)

Oksana Molchko

Hryhoriy Kochur Department of Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine

Abstract

Background: Nationally marked linguistic units turn to have been a living problem in current linguistic researches, Translation Studies in particular. As a unit of translation, simile is represented in speech by means of a certain culturally specific senses whose reproduction is paramount in the process of interlingual communication.  The latter is characterized by its communication parties making use of interlingual communication means with culturally specific senses, as well as communicative strategies and tactics which are different from the ones they use within their culture. The reproduction of culturally loaded similes in the process of translation presupposes recognizing the semantics and pragmatics of its components on all the lingual levels, allows picking out the ways of their adequate verbalization with the target language means.

Purpose: The purpose of the analysis is to establish find out the most successful ways of rendering culturally loaded similes into the target language. The purpose aims at completing the following tasks: 1) to find out the universal and nationally specific attributes of the fauna name bull in the Ukrainian and English languages; 2) to highlight the attributes which provide a high level of ethnocultural and ethnolingual information; 3) to single out the culturally specific senses actualized in the discourse and 4) to provide their Translation Studies analysis.

Results: The novelty of the analysis is driven by the growing interest in the culturally oriented studies. The research is conducted by applying a complex approach with elements of structural, conceptual, contrastive, contextual and translation studies analyses.

The research proves similes with a fauna component in Ukrainian and English to be based on both isomorphic and allomorphic associations. These associations exist between the denotative meaning of the lexemes and their connotative ties and are actualized in idiomatic and occasional similes. The reason of full or partial overlapping in the conceptualization of the outer world, its linguistic representation and, hence, suggesting full / partial equivalents in translation lies in the similar perception and segmentation of the world. It is reflected in common concepts and images. The differences are stipulated by the specific perception of the world within certain lingual societies.  

Discussion: The article discusses the notion of culturally specific sense as an element of the actual sense of simile, enucleates the peculiarities of the actualization of  universal and nationally-oriented attributes of the fauna names OX, BULL and TUR specific for the Ukrainian and English linguistic consciousness, carries out the translation studies analysis aimed at finding out the ways of reproducing the culturally specific sense of similes with the fauna name, characterizes the most successful ways to render the culturally specific sense in the target text.

Keywords: simile, fauna name, culturally specific sense, translation. 

 

Vitae

Oksana Molchko, Candidate of Phylology, lecturer at Hruhoriy Kochur Department of Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. The areas of research interests include translation studies, cognitive linguistics, contrastive linguistics, stylistics, linguocultural studies, pragmalinguistics.

Correspondence: oksana.molchko@gmail.com


Article.

Oksana Molchko

УДК 811.111’25’262

REPRODUCTION OF THE CULTURALLY SPECIFIC SENSE

OF SIMILE IN TRANSLATION (A CASE STUDY OF THE FAUNA NAME OX, BULL AND TUR IN UKRAINIAN AND ENGLISH)

 

Відтворення культурно-специфічного смислу художнього порівняння у перекладі (на матеріалі фауноназв ВІЛ, БИК, ТУР в українській та англійській мовах)

Розглянуто поняття культурно-специфічного смислу як елемента актуального смислу художнього порівняння, з’ясовано особливості актуалізації універсальних та національно-специфічних атрибутів, що пов’язані з концептуалізацією уявлень про відповідний об’єкт фауни (віл, бик, тур) у свідомості носіїв української та англійської мов, здійснено перекладознавчий аналіз, спрямований на з’ясування способів відтворення культурно-специфічного смислу порівнянь з об’єктом-фауноназвою, схарактеризовано способи перекладу порівнянь, що дозволяють адекватно відтворити культурно-специфічний смисл засобами цільової мови.

Ключові слова: художнє порівняння, фауноназва, культурно-специфічний смисл, переклад.

 

Speech as a form of the spiritual conception of the outer world aims at a subjective or objective reflection of the reality in specific linguistic signs which represent a certain notion or an associative concept of the world. Linguistic concept of the reality only makes up a part of our knowledge of the general complex picture of the world which is reflected in man’s consciousness. Hence, imagery and symbolism is both a certain linguocultural generalization and a form to express an individual understanding of the world.

Considering simile a unit of translation (J.-P. Vinay and J. Darbelnet, A. Neubert, L. Barkhudarov, V. Komissarov, V. Koptilov etc.) which should ultimately have its correspondence in the target language, it is necessary to clarify the notion of the culturally specific sense (CSS), which is of utmost importance in researching simile as an object in the translation studies analysis. CSS is perceived as a “constituent of the communicative (actual) sense of a linguistic unit (expression), non-lingual and paralingual means, whose development is owned to the influence of a certain culture; it reflects the perception of ‘cultural objects’ by members of a certain national lingual community; it is a set of cultural semes of linguistic units (expressions) in communication” (Batsevych). F. Batsevych believes this unit “to reflect the dynamic interpersonal nature of the interaction of different cultures bearers; to a certain extent, it is relevant to the units and categories of idioethnic languages and, hence, is subject to linguistic research” (Batsevych), a translation studies one in particular.

As a unit of translation, simile is represented in speech by means of a certain CSS whose reproduction is paramount in the process of interlingual communication.  The latter is characterized by its communication parties making use of interlingual communication means with CSSs, as well as communicative strategies and tactics which are different from the ones they use within their culture” (Batsevych).

Ukrainian folklore image studies claim the Ukrainian household to have always been diversified, to have had its traditions, while the worshipping of animals started in the dim past. Strong animals became man’s protectors. Besides, domesticating wild animals, man created a system of traditions of their keeping (Vasylko 78-79).   

Zoomorphism is thought one of the main principles to verbalize senses in the consciousness of the whole nation as well as in the individual world perception. The zoo-centric principle is consistently reflected in the idiomatic system:  man is described by means of the figurative meaning of animals’ names. Becoming the centre of the universe, animal is a model to compare man to (Levchenko 313). Names of animals function as means of focusing attention around the natural objects with certain associative features ascribed to them and compared with man. This process is viewed as something understandable, as man himself is a part of nature and has been in close contact with the environment since the beginning of time (Vasylko 74).

Similes whose elements are fauna images make up a group of highly frequent lexical components.  These lexemes are not necessarily nationally marked; however, as a unity they feature national specificity of the idiomatic system of each and every language (Azhniuk 49). Researchers believe comparative idioms to give exact signs of considerable variability to interpret verbal images (Azhniuk 54). Both idiomatic and occasional similes enable drawing conclusions on isomorphism / allomorphism of associations, their axiological value, as well as tendencies to the conceptualization of simile constructions with fauna elements in the Ukrainian-English opposition.

The reproduction of simile in the process of translation presupposes recognizing the semantics and pragmatics of its components on all the lingual levels, finding out the CSS and its adequate verbalization with the target language means. Therefore, the translation studies analysis is aimed at ascertaining the ways of reproducing the peculiarities of linguoculturally marked similes with the names bull, ox, tur in their structure. In this case, translation problems are stipulated by the differences in conceptual lingual cultures and corresponding nations’ material and spiritual lives – geography, history, forms of government, ways of life, habits and traditions.  This is why researches firmly hold it that while translating, it is important to consider extralingual, background and encyclopedic knowledge of the corresponding lingual cultures so as to discover the conceptual discrepancies in the source and target languages and pick out the appropriate means to make up for these discrepancies (B.M. Azhniuk, R.P. Zorivchak, O.I. Cherednychenko, I.Ya. Sternin, V.G. Gak, L.K. Latyshev, E. Nida etc.). To ensure the equivalence in translating the CSS, simile in this case, it is necessary to preserve the balance in supplying the target text with the corresponding unit of translation (Garbovskiy 256). Tilting the balance may lead to extremes, them resulting in either too literal or free translation (Vinay, Darbelnet).

The Holy Bible holds a great number of symbolic images. Idiomatic Biblical similes with a fauna name are generally perceived a basis of the European tradition whose characteristic feature is a distinct axiological dichotomy. Animals and birds are frequent names in the Holy Bible. The Old Testament makes use of 180 and the New Testament of 50 names of animals to denote 70 species of animals (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery 132-133).  

In the compared languages there exist differences both in the set of the lexemes to serve this purpose and in the fixed associative attributes of a lexeme within a language: сліпий як кріт – blind as a bat; весела як пташка – lively as a cricket;  працьовита як бджола – as busy as a beе / beaver; здоровий як бик – as strong as a horse / bear etc.

The collected corpus enables carrying out the analysis of universal and nationally specific attributes of the zoonims bull, ox and tur in the consciousness of the Ukrainians and the English.

In the Biblical tradition, bull and ox are marked with axiological binarity. According to the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, these animals imply power and might (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery 2089). In poetic and prophetic books of the Old Testament comparison to an ox creates the image of man’ glory decline or losing the way of God, e.g.: ,,він раптом за нею пішов, немов віл до зарізу проваджений(Bibiya: Pryp.: 7:22). However, a submissive ox stands in opposition to the rebellious Israel (Bibliya:  Is. 11:7, 65:25).

Contrary to ox, bull is a symbol of creation, hence, the embodiment of a man, a symbol of strength, bravery, courage: здоровий, сильний як бик; along with that, it symbolizes stubbornness. The source of these associations are seen in the Old Testament. For instance, in the Song of Moses the power of the houses of Israel is compared to the first-born bull (Bibliya:  Povt. Zakonu 33:17); in Psalm 68:30 strong Egypt is called a herd of oxen among the calves of other peoples (Bibliya:  Ps. 68:30).

The concept of ox in the Ukrainian ethnic culture is associated with work:  без вола хата гола (Halytsko-ruski narodni prypovidky: 1, 328), hard work, submission, patience (Zhaivoronok 95), e.g.: працювати як (чорний) віл (у ярмі) (Fraseolohichnyi slovnyk 1: 129), or sluggishness (Zhaivoronok 95): як волами їхатидуже повільно (Fraseolohichnyi slovnyk 1: 143). Besides, there is a reason for a passive, invertebral ox to stand in opposition to an active, aggressive and creative bull, an ox being a gelded animal, a bullock.

In prototypical perceptions of the English, similar attributes are assigned to zoonims horse, beaver, dog: to work like a horse / beaver (Kunin 19) dog / slave / Trojan (Longman 26, Chambers 90). This prototypical discrepancy in the linguistic picture of the world of the Ukrainians and the English may cause misunderstanding in the process of reproducing the semantics and conceptual peculiarities of the above-mentioned images. Judging by the corpus, the translations apply calquing of the image.  As far as preserving the ethnic peculiarity of the CSS, this technique may be considered successful, while from the viewpoint of adequacy and adaptation to the norms of the different linguistic culture, it may cause misunderstanding, comp.:  “Легко йому за всяку всячину братись, – робить він, як віл, без утоми…” (Мирний 2: 90) – “Such a man would take up anything and work as tirelessly as an ox” (Mirny 62), “… жиємо, як ті воли в ярмі(Франко 16: 177) – “… we live like oxen in the yoke” (Franko 144), “… піщани, як ті воли, робили на неї по чотири дні в тиждень…” (Мирний 2: 119) – “… the latter worked for like oxen four days a week …” (Mirny 90).

In the English ethnic culture bull is associated with ferocity and aggression: like a red rag to a bull (Longman 42; Chambers 276), roar like a bull (Kunin 895); awkwardness: like a bull in a China shop (Longman 42; Chambers 41). The prototypical nature of this image in the Ukrainian-English opposition бик :: bull is somewhat dissimilar: the negative evaluation of the image is stronger in the English ethnic culture. For example, in “… день як бик, і вже он курить щось шляхом…“  (Коцюбинський 2: 98) the nuclear attributes of the image, великий, actualized by means of simile, is reproduced by descriptive paraphrase, with the conceptual load of the image preserved: “The day is well on, and something’s already raising dust on the road” (Kotsiybynsky 201). The actualization of the seme strength, fierceness is noticeable in the English context “Then they fell upon each other, like young bulls, in all the glory of youth …” (London 149) and is adequately reproduced in translation, comp.: І, стиснувши кулаки, вони кинулись один на одного, наче молоді бички, з усім запалом юності (Лондон 124). The diminutive suffix -ичк- underlines the author’s positive evaluation of the protagonists; this is why the image of bull is marked with the author’s modification: young bulls / бички are inconsiderate and imprudent, their fury is situational and temporal. Although the denotative meaning of the lexeme bull is preserved in translation, still visual images may turn different: the English, having in mind the Spanish bullfight (the Spaniards being their close neighbors), and the Ukrainians, whose perception is that of young playful animals.

Equivalence in translation is applied in humorous samples and is played upon the qualitative attribute of the image, the sound of men’s voices similar to the bellowing of a bull, or rather a stallion (often used to denote an uncontrolled, vicious man): “… оце прокинеться, зареве, як бугай, на всю хату, та й знов притихне, куняє…” (Мирний 2: 236) – “He would wake up, down a drink, bellow like a bull and grow quiet again, going back to sleep” (Mirny 201), or just the lungpower, comp.: “… having four heads (Eros – O. M.), sometimes roared like a bull or lion, sometimes hissed like a serpent, or bleated like a ram…” (Updike 78) – “… маючи чотири голови, іноді ревів, як бугай чи лев, іноді сичав, як змія, або ж бекав, наче баран…” (Апдайк 111). In the English translation the specific connotation of the Ukrainian lexeme бугай is left unnoticed.

One of the attributes of the name bull, which is based on the prototypical association, is actualized in the English idiom like a bull in a China shop and verbalizes the concept ‘clumsiness’: this is how man sometimes behaves destroying everything around: “You have strength”, he could hear her saying, “but it is untutored strength”. “Like a bull in a China shop”, he suggested and won a smile” (London 140).  In translation the concept is reproduced with the same connotation; however, it is verbalized by means of a different image, that of an elephant:  “– У вас є сила, – почув він її голос, – але ця сила якась некерована. – Одним словом, схожий на слона у посудній крамниці, – пожартував він і був нагороджений усмішкою (Лондон 117).  However, simile with this component, though known among the Ukrainians, is not an element of the Ukrainian ethnocultural symbolism: clumsiness is a characteristic feature of a bear, a Ukrainian prototype.

A wild ox, tur, the progenitor of a domesticated bull, the symbol of strength and courage, was a widely-spread animal throughout Europe, Ukraine in particular, until the 19th century and is considered a symbol of independence (Zhaivoronok 609). In the sample Миронвхопив за перо і поволік по папері, мов тура за роги (Франко 15: 89) simile is based on metaphor and personification. The image of a strong and stubborn tur verbalizes the psychological concept ‘tough problem’: writing was a real challenge for the little boy. Tur, the object of comparison, turns to be no surprise in the simile: a good-natured domesticated ox would look like a toy at the side of this strong wild animal. In translation it is substituted by the correlate buffalo (an African animal similar to bull (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 192)), the name for an animal spread both in Europe and America. This name appears to be a contextual correspondence of the Ukrainian tur. The connotative change caused by the lexical substitution preserves the conceptual prototypical attribute. Leaving the CSS of the image behind, the translation facilitates the text for the target reader.  The image in translation preserves the same humorous tone as in the original: “Myron … seized his pen … and dragged it along the paper as though he were dragging a buffalo by the horns” (Franko 195).

The research is conducted by applying a complex approach with elements of structural, conceptual, contrastive, contextual and translation studies analyses. It proves similes with a fauna component in Ukrainian and English to be based on both isomorphic and allomorphic associations. These associations exist between the denotative meaning of the lexemes and their connotative ties and are actualized in idiomatic and occasional similes. The reason of full or partial overlapping in the conceptualization of the outer world, its linguistic representation and, hence, suggesting full / partial equivalents in translation lies in the similar perception and segmentation of the world. It is reflected in common concepts and images and reflected in the Bible and precedent texts. The differences are stipulated by the specific perception of the world within certain lingual societies. A wide range of prototypical attributes of fauna names diversifies the verbalization of a number of concepts.  But is not uncommon that peripheral semes of simile components, fauna names in this case, play a defining role in this process: they become contextually nuclear and are often nationally marked. This is the reason to believe that loan and descriptive translation adequately reproduce the ethnocultural load of the image with the CSS preserved for the target reader.

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