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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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Chapter 1: The framework of Cognitive Linguistics


14 Introduction offered in the previous chapter. Importantly, a broad formulation of constraints is advocated, whereby they include parameters like text type or audience profile, which entails that they need not be viewed solely as encumbrances. Instead, constraints could be treated as considerations that guide the translator’s decision-making process by narrowing the scope of acceptable renditions. The chapter is concluded with an overview of two approaches to translation procedures that make use of the concepts from Cognitive Linguistics. That will serve as a harbinger of the discussion of subtitling techniques as analysed through the lens of that model. The central objective of the final chapter is presenting a study of English-to- Polish subtitling to argue that the constructs of Cognitive Linguistics are well- suited for cross-linguistic investigations in the context of Audiovisual Translation Studies. The data analysis will serve to postulate that with the use of an inductive, primarily product-oriented1 and construal-based approach patterns emerge which can be located in three categories of translation shifts. In terms of the chapter’s structure, first introductory remarks on the data are given, followed by a discussion of the unit of translation as a concept directly relevant for the argument. The discussion of how meaning is constructed and reconstructed is divided into three major sections corresponding to categories of reconfiguration, preceded by a brief explanation of how the discussion is organised. 1 Nonetheless, the discussion might also be process-oriented when the translator’s decision-making is theorised on. Chapter 1 The framework of Cognitive Linguistics 1.1....

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