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On the Verge Between Language and Translation

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Edited By Marcin Walczynski, Piotr Czajka and Michał Szawerna

This book explores a range of topics situated in the overlapping areas of theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics and translation studies. The first part of the book comprises five original contributions on topics ranging from general linguistics to applied linguistics while the second part comprises eleven original contributions exploring selected aspects of theoretical, descriptive and applied translation studies.

This book also initiates the publishing activity of the Department of Translation Studies, established at the Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocław, Poland.

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Expletive Infixation: How Its Stylistic Effect Is Decoded and Transposed by L2 Speakers

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Abstract: Ever since James B. McMillan’s seminal paper (1980), expletive infixation, where an emotive word is inserted in the middle of a word base (e.g., abso-bloody-lutely, guaran-damn-tee), has formed a legitimate field of inquiry in linguistics. Despite the fact that its chief characteristic is its purely stylistic effect (e.g. fun-fucking-tastic vs. fucking fantastic), most contributions have focused on specifying the exact morphological and phonetic features of this intriguing and somewhat obscure phenomenon. No attention whatsoever has been paid to the way L2 speakers of English may perceive and acquire this productive process, or the possibilities of carrying its effect over to a different language that does not exhibit such a pattern. To examine these issues, this paper is based on an assignment given to students at the Department of Translation, University of Ljubljana, where they were asked to provide a possible Slovene translation for an English sentence involving the use of expletive infixation, and to comment on the task. Feedback from 65 second-year students is analysed with regard to the students’ awareness of the stylistic markedness of the structure, and the means they employed to recreate the same effect in Slovene. In this way, what is essentially a morphological and stylistic phenomenon is examined from the point of view of contrastive linguistics and translation studies.

Keywords: English, expletive infix, morphology, Slovene, translation

1 Introduction

Expletive infixation, a phenomenon where an emotive word is inserted in the middle of a word base (e.g...

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