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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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Culture-Based Expressions in Bilingual Dictionaries: The Case of National Ethnonyms

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Abstract: Figurative phrases with national ethnonyms encourage comparisons between languages and can be a fascinating journey into culture and images of foreigners fixed in language, though their heavy cultural load along with their rather marginal role in today’s communication may pose difficulties for editors of bilingual dictionaries. This chapter considers the treatment of selected idioms with nationality words in major English-Polish dictionaries and looks at their current use as evidenced by their presence in English language corpora.

Keywords: ethnonyms, national stereotypes, idioms, figurative language, bilingual dictionaries, English language corpora

1 Introduction

Figurative expressions with ethnonyms—names of national, ethnic, regional and tribal groups—can be easily found across languages. Parallel phraseological units in different languages can have similar meanings, yet different images (Szerszunowicz 2010: 213), and this assumption also refers to the use of different ethnonyms as lexical constituents of phraseological units. The differences in images in idioms with nationality words can be ascribed to different experiences with particular ethnic groups and, more often than not, political or cultural conflicts with them. Learning foreign languages and encounters with other cultures have always stimulated our imagination and curiosity about their speakers and their different, unusual and often difficult to understand customs (Leerssen 2007: 17), even if, as noted by Dagut (19781 in Smit 1992: 361), our interest in other cultures is only “superficial and rather incredulous.” The main difficulty involved in the comprehension and translation of idiomatic expressions with nationality names lies in...

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