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Verbs of sensory perception: An English-Spanish comparison

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Slobin (1996, 1997) has pointed out the differences between Spanish and English verbs of motion with regard to the expression of elements such as “Path of motion” or “Manner of motion”. Generally speaking, English verbs incorporate manner to their core meaning while Spanish verbs tend to incorporate Path, expressing Manner by means of an additional complement. Comparing English motion events and their translation into Spanish in several novels, Slobin found out that only 51% of English manner verbs were translated into Spanish manner verbs (Slobin 1996), the rest being neutralized or omitted. In this work, we apply Slobin’s analysis to sensory verbs of perception in English and Spanish. Our paper analyzes the conflation patterns of sensory verbs of perception in English and Spanish in order to investigate possible changes in the informational load during the translation process. For this purpose, we have extracted 200 sensory verbs of perception from two English and two Spanish novels and their respective translations. The paper examines instances of gain or loss of information during the translation process, as well as whether the translation shifts provide evidence for a difference in the way the perception event is structured in both languages

Keywords: English/Spanish; conflation patterns; perception verbs

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Universidad de Murcia

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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