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Multilingualism and Translation

Studies on Slavonic and Non-Slavonic Languages in Contact


Edited By Vladislava Warditz and Beatrix Kreß

This collection of essays tackles the issues that arise when multilingualism meets translation and discusses the findings with a particular focus on Slavonic migrant languages. Despite its high relevance from both the theoretical and the applied perspective, the intersection of multilingualism and translation has been rather neglected in international research on multilingualism. This volume intends to create a new angle within this wide field of research and to systematize the most relevant approaches and ideas on this topic in international Slavonic studies.
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Polish Tenses Through “Czech Ears”: An Example of Cross-Slavic Misperception on the Morphosyntactic Level


Christof Heinz

Polish Tenses Through “Czech Ears”: An Example of Cross-Slavic Misperception on the Morphosyntactic Level


This paper describes a specific aspect of spontaneous receptive multilingualism between two closely related languages – the two West Slavic languages Polish and Czech – and focusses on potential misperceptions of the grammatical category of tense. Although both the investigated languages belong to the same subgroup of the Slavic family (West Slavic) and share a great deal of lexical and grammatical similarities, cross-linguistic differences in the forming of grammatical tenses in Polish provide an area of difficulties for hearers with knowledge of Czech. These difficulties can be explained by differences in morphological structure as well as by the influence of the phonological level on the higher levels of grammatical structuring. Data provided by a Cross-Slavic comprehension test show the consequences of the structural differences in bottom-up strategies on the one hand and the influence of the (L1 or L2) status of the source language, the typological distance between source and target language and top-down factors such as linguistic and pragmatic context, on the other. A comparison with the results of hearers with Russian as source language shows the significance of different source languages for the results.

1.   Introduction: Language comprehension as a continuum

The question whether a spoken utterance is understood by the listener cannot be answered in an “all or nothing” way. Instead, one has to expect a whole range of degrees of comprehensibility,...

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