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Micro-Scale Perspectives on Cognition, Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication

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Edited By Wojciech Wachowski, Zoltan Kövecses and Michał Borodo

This book explores the influence of culture and cognition on translation and communication and brings together revised versions of papers delivered at the First International TransLingua Conference, organized in 2015 by the Institute of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics and the Department of English at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The volume investigates various languages and cultures (including Japanese, Hungarian, English, Czech, Polish, German and Swahili) and examines a range of linguistic and translation issues from a micro-scale perspective. Alongside these case studies, it also includes reflections by two internationally renowned scholars, Elżbieta Tabakowska and Zoltán Kövecses, on the interplay between language, culture and cognition and the influence of collective and individual memory on translation.

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12 Between globalness and localness: The case of proper names in the philosophy of language (Tomohiro Sakai)

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TOMOHIRO SAKAI

12 Between globalness and localness: The case of proper names in the philosophy of language

Introduction

Proper names are often considered to form a special category in natural language. In English, singular common nouns require an article to occur in a sentence (e.g. a cat, the cat), whereas proper names are used without articles (*a John, *the John). Even in languages which lack articles, we can find differences between common nouns and proper names. In Japanese, children tend to judge nouns they encounter for the first time to be common nouns rather than proper names, even though there is no syntactic clue as to the distinction between the two categories in this language (Imai and Haryu 2001). We know also that, in everyday life, adults forget proper names more easily than common nouns. Although “special” does not entail “marginal”, these facts have led some researchers to claim that proper names constitute a marginal category of the language.

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