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汉英方位词翻译的对比分析


  肖瑶瑶 肖庚生
  Abstract:Location words describe corresponding spatial domains,and symbolize one of the most basic cognitive domains in human languages.Chinese and English people have different ways in describing spatial domains.Based on the theories of Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis,this paper tries to discover the reasons from historical background local cultural and characteristics.
  Key words:culture;east,west,south,and north
  摘 要:方位词反应一定的空间域,是人类语言中最基本的认知域之一。英汉在空间域的表达习惯上有一定程度的差异。本文基于萨丕尔-沃尔夫假说,从不同的历史背景、地域文化出发,探究其差异的综合原因。
  关键词:文化;东西南北
  1 Introduction
  The nouns of locality such as east,west,south and north,not only express the concept of space,but also bear profound cultural connotations.When it comes to space,as one of the most basic cognitive categories,"east,west,south,and north" play an essential role in peoples life and the way of cognizing the world.What greatly impressed me is the chapter of White Vengeance,where the locality of words are introduced.For instance,one sentence "项王、项伯东向坐,亚父南向坐,沛公北向坐,张良西向坐" indicates the superiority and inferiority of the social status at that time.Specifically speaking,he who sits on the southern part stands for the respected while the northern part signifies the inferiority.In a sense,the geographical position definitely makes a difference influenced by the custom and tradition.
  This paper,based on the hypothesis of the Linguistics Sapir,aims at making clear in what way and why location words used differently in Chinese and English,exploring the culture differences entailed by the location words in those two languages.
  2 Differences between Chinese and English in Translation of "East, West,South,and North"
  2.1 In the Figure of Speech
  From the perspective of the structural,semantic and phonological aspect,the author has analyzed the proverbs and catch phrases of location words,finding the typical contrast about nationality images and the consciousness of diversity.Then,the author probes catch phrases that reflect the rapid development of contemporary China to seek all the facets of the characteristics of harmonious society,and present the same corpus by applying different translation skills to different contexts.Last but not least,it needs further discussion and investigation by combining the latest corpus.
  2.1.1 Of the Semantics
  Some parts of Chinese proverbs employ some rhetoric device,such as simile,metaphor and metonymy and so on,which makes the cultural images more lively,semantic and vivid with a strong sense of existence and persuasion,while with respect to English translation,we are supposed to exert our attention to it.There are several representative examples as follows:"萬事俱备,只欠东风" in some degree,can put the literal translation into use——"All is ready,except for the east wind",which has a stand for the advantageous condition,namely,the fundamentally decisive thing.
  2.1.2 Of the Phonology
  As a matter of fact,Chinese proverbs not only attach importance to the equivalent structure,but also abundant semantics.Furthermore,orderly rhythm has been taken into account,that is to say,the frequency of phonetic beat makes people experience with a sense of symmetry and appreciation in language form.Therefore,in most cases,there remains four or seven words each line.Following are two specific examples embodied with the location words "东,西,南,北".
  2.1.2.1 rhythm in single sentence
  e.g:A.The type of "2+2":"南腔/北调,南来/北往,喝/西北风"。
  B.The type of "1+2+1": "找/不着/北"。
  However,six-word proverb,in general sense,has four beats.
  e.g:拆/東墙/补西墙.And the seven-word proverb is identical with the six-word.
  e.g:东边/不亮/西边/亮;东边/日出/西边/雨。
  2.1.2.2 rhythm in couplet
  The four-word couplet:东/一榔头,西/一棒槌;三十年/河东,三十年/河西;不是/东风/压倒/西风,就是/西风/压倒/东风。
  Many-word proverb of compound sentence:东当铺/西当铺,东西当铺/当东西;南通河/北通河,南北通河/通南北。
  Its hard to reach the highly symmetrical English proverb because of its limitation of language features.But by the way of the foot of the poem with the method of the equivalence of foot,which makes all the proverbs form the structure equivalence in quantity a rhythm with a strong sense of melody.The so-called foot,in a sense,refers to the regular rhythm of each word in each line involving the undulatory stress or the opposite one,mainly including two syllables in iambic and trochaic,three syllables in dactylic,spondaic and pyrrhic and otherwise.Take the well-renown English proverb for instance: East or west,home is best and its analysis of foot-formed structure is displayed as follows.(The mark " " equals "falling",representing light tone,which " " means "rising",standing for stress.e.g East or west,home is best.From the example what the author has sketched out above,the proverb involves a kind of catchy or readable rhyme.Syntactically speaking,its difficult for English proverb to form the symmetrical patterns in such a way.
  2.2 In Cultural Analysis
  The traditional Chinese mold of thinking concerned with the implication social status,appreciation or preference with the exception of the concept of space.That is to say,"East/south" comes to mean "superior" while "west/north" refers to "inferior"; "East" lies in the location of sun rising,having its contrary meaning to "west"— the position of sun setting.Namely,"east" suggests "superior" while "west" indicates " inferior" because of which people in China who have a tendency of preference towards the idea "the sun brings everything alive".In terms of the connotational meaning of these proverbs,Chinese is superior to English.
  2.3 In Cognitive Analysis
  Different language has its unique way of expression,and English and Chinese is no exception.Outwardly,whether English or Chinese,4 location words of "东西南北",but there is a great deal of difference between the two,which are presented in the following two aspects.
  The former is based on "south" and "north" as its main axis,while the later based on "east" and "west".
  The former is directed by natural orientation in a brief and objective way,however,the later is guided by humane orientation in a complicate and subjective method.The reason why the phenomenon shown above is that the connotative differences of culture and cognition.
  In cognitive linguistics,metaphor is not just a linguistic phenomenon,but a method of cognition,and Lakoff points out that the essence of metaphor is that some characteristics of the source field to be translated into the target field materially based on the perception of the world around us and our social experiences.
  3.Conclusion
  In this paper,by comparing the differences of using location words in Chinese and English,we find that language reflects our mold of thinking,which is influenced by culture and society.Therefore,each word necessarily has its own cultural connotation.By discussing the differences in employing location words,we find that the occurrence of the differences has great connection with the historical background,culture characteristics and geography conditions of the two languages.Hence,a good awareness of those differences is of great help in achieving successful cross-cultural communication,effective language teaching and better in translation.
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  作者简介
  肖瑶瑶(1993.09.06—),女,湖南邵阳人,研究方向:语言文学。
  肖庚生,男,汉族,衡阳人,博士,副教授,硕士生导师,主要研究方向为第二语言习得、外语自主学习、应用语言学研究方法。
 
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