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Speech Acts, Directness and Politeness in Dubbing

American Television Series in Hungary

Series:

Károly Polcz

The culture specificity of speech acts may pose daunting challenges in translating audiovisual products. This volume offers intriguing insights into the ways dubbing translators seek to establish pragmatic equivalence in speech acts such as requests, instructions, advice, invitations and offers. What is the nature of pragmatic equivalence in speech acts? What types of pragmatic shifts do translators employ in the pursuit of pragmatic equivalence? Do shifts in directness have a bearing on target language politeness? While focused on a relatively large amount of linguistic data retrieved from more than 700 episodes of twenty different television series, the study introduces a multidimensional model that can be used as a heuristic tool in the analysis of speech acts in translation studies. This venture into the realm of pragmatics and translation research is aimed at capturing dominant patterns in translating speech acts in audiovisual translation, which, as the author claims, could be tied to translation universals.
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Chapter 3 Speech acts, directness and sociopragmatic variables

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Chapter 3

Speech acts, directness and sociopragmatic variables

3.1 Introduction

The objective of this chapter is to set up a theoretical framework which will assist in investigating the translation of conventionally indirect speech acts. First, I shall propose a taxonomy which allows for the reliable classification of the surface forms under scrutiny into directive and commissive speech act types, such as instruction, request, invitation, advice and offer. This will be followed by the presentation of the adapted and complemented version of the indirectness scale of the Cross-­Cultural Study of Speech Act Realization Patterns (CCSARP) project; a cross-­cultural pragmatic study of requests and apologies involving five languages (Blum-­Kulka et al. [eds] 1989). The scale will serve to measure the shifts in directness in translating conventionally indirect speech acts. Finally, I shall attempt to define the components of sociopragmatic variables, namely, power, social distance and imposition to ascertain how these variables impact translators’ behaviour in terms of changing or retaining the directness of conventionally indirect speech acts.

3.2 Speech acts in discourse

In one of the scenes of the series Gilmore Girls (Amy Sherman-­Palladino, 2000–2007), a schoolteacher is looking to have an informal relationship with one of his students; therefore, he addresses her in the following way: Why don’t you call me Max? (GG S01e11: 14.01). Due to the lack of objective guidelines, it appears to be difficult to decide how the teacher’s utterance←49 | 50→ can...

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