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Lexical relations in a cross-linguistic context

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Abstract
It can be proved that words passing across linguistic barriers are often nothing more than acoustic images whose original meaning cannot necessarily be fully grasped and adopted; that is, mere strings of sounds whose meaning is subject not only to some semantic restriction or specialization, but also to more unpredictable semantic shifts. Cross-linguistic communication, in the absence of perfect bilingualism, is prone to errors, misunderstandings, or, perhaps, creative assignments of meaning triggered by context. Such ‘errors’ become apparent and amuse only when a cross-linguistic semantic comparison is undertaken. This paper attempts to reveal some interesting lexical relations occurring cross-linguistically, for which some psycholinguistic and/ or cultural explanations will be explored.
Résumé
Il est possible de démontrer que les mots traversant les barrières linguistiques ne sont souvent rien d’autre que des images acoustiques dont la signification originale ne peut pas être nécessairement totalement comprise et adoptée. Ce sont de simples séquences de sons dont la signification est sujette, non seulement à une restriction ou à une spécialisation sémantique, mais aussi à des changements sémantiques plus imprévisibles. Une communication translinguistique, en l’absence d’un parfait bilinguisme, est prédisposée à des erreurs, à des malentendus ou, peutêtre, à des attributions créatives de signification, engendrées par le contexte. De telles « erreurs » ne deviennent apparentes et n’amusent que lorsqu’une comparaison sémantique translinguistique est entreprise.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Revue internationale de la traduction / International Journal of Translation
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