26 - 2014

Fictive orality and semantic vagueness from the translational perspective: A case study of the word ‘stuff’ and its translations into Spanish

Gemma Andújar Moreno


According to Goetsch (2003) and Koch and Oesterreicher (1990), fictive orality must be understood as the illusion of orality created in a written text by exploiting a particular set of linguistic resources typical of oral language. Applying some theoretical tools taken from Descriptive Translation Studies and Contrastive Linguistics, this paper examines a typical feature of the language of oral immediacy: semantic vagueness. In order to approach the translation techniques applied by translators to address semantic vagueness in narrative texts, we have chosen to focus on the translations of the word ‘stuff’ in a parallel corpus of literary texts as a case study. The paper does not intend to be a comprehensive corpus-based study but rather aims to illustrate some of the possible responses of translators when interpreting the vague semantic load of a lexical unit. The analysis will also highlight the usefulness of some theoretical concepts such as point of view (Rabatel, 2003 and 2005; Raccah, 2002 and 2005a), semantic intensity (Renkema, 2001) and euphoric/dysphoric orientation (Raccah, 2002, 2005a and 2005b) to describe translation techniques from a textual perspective.


Fictive orality, semantic vagueness, ‘stuff’, English-Spanish translation

December 9, 2014
  26 - 2014