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Meaning in Subtitling

Toward a Contrastive Cognitive Semantic Model


Mikolaj Deckert

The book’s principal argument is that the concepts of Cognitive Linguistics offer considerable explanatory potential which can be systematically used in accounts of translation, and especially of subtitling as its more specifically constrained audiovisual mode. Authentic English-to-Polish subtitling data are explored to uncover patterns of construal reconfiguration which can be categorised with the use of cognitive semantic constructs. The author also examines other hypotheses: spatio-temporal constraints, for example, do not always directly account for the reductionist alterations of the source text in subtitling. Also, target construals need not display lower granularity levels than original construals and granularity can de facto be boosted via subtitling. And last, but not least, the conventionalisation of language structures used in subtitles can be higher than that of the original expressions.


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First of all, I want to thank Professor Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk for accommodating this contribution in the Łódź Studies in Language series, and more generally, for sharing with me her insights as well as supporting my endeavours. I am also thankful to Professor Łukasz Bogucki for inspiration and guidance throughout the project. I wish to thank Professor Krzysztof Hejwowski for his valuable commentary on an earlier version of this work. Thanks are also due to Dr. Jorge Díaz-Cintas for an amicably instructive exchange at Imperial College London, to Ms. Renata Mliczak, Dr. Andrzej Antoszek and Ms. Agata Deka for their AVT expertise, and to Dr. Antoszek for his help in obtaining data for the study. Keen feedback from Professor Elżbieta Tabakowska as well as Dr. Agnieszka Szarkowska on parts of the work presented in this book, doubtless, benefited it. I also appreciate the advice from colleagues at the University of Łódź. Finally, I am grateful to my family and friends – above all my wife – for encouraging my efforts. I acknowledge the financial support from Fundacja Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego in the form of a scientific prize I was awarded in 2012 as a PhD student in the field of humanities.

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