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Academic Paper


Title: Translating English Verbs of Cognitive Attitude into Italian: The difficulties of mapping two apparently equivalent complex systems
Author: Gloria Cappelli
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.gloriacappelli.it/
Institution: Università di Pisa
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Semantics; Translation
Subject Language: English
Italian
Abstract: Translating is always a very complex task, even when two languages seem to display a very similar organization of the linguistic resources for the expression of certain conceptual domains. In this paper, a view of the lexicon as a complex dynamic system is adopted, which makes the reasons behind these difficulties immediately evident. When we decide to translate, we are essentially faced with the task of mapping one complex system onto the another, an operation which is not always easy, even when the systems are apparently “similar”.

This claim is exmplified through the analysis of some of the problems arising in the translation of some verbs which lexicalise universal conceptual domains, fundamental both in communication and cognition: epistemicity and evidentiality. The theory of Lexical Complexity (which is being developed byt the Research Group of the University of Pisa within a wider inter-university financed project) is applied to the class of English verbs of cognitive attitude, and the problem of translating these verbs into Italian is addressed. Theoretical problems arising in translation as a concequence of non-equivalence at the pragmatic and semantic levels are considered and exemplified through the analysis of the translation of the verbs "think" and "assume" into Italian in order to evidence how a theory of Lexical Complexity can help explain and overcome or, at least reduce, problems in translation, helping preserve the original intended interpretation.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Venue: Conference
Publication Info: Bertuccelli Papi, M., Cappelli, G. and Masi, S. (eds), Lexical complexity: theoretical assessment and translational perspectives. Pisa: Edizioni Plus Pisa University Press.


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