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Litera
Reference:

The transformation of meanings of the semantic space of a literary text under translation to a foreign language

Smirnova Dar'ya Leonidovna

ORCID: 0009-0009-6971-8479

Postgraduate Student, Department of General and Russian Linguistics, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia named after Patrice Lumumba; Senior Lecturer, Department of Theory and Practice of Translation, Russian New University

129090, Russia, Moscow, Olympic Avenue, 10 building 3, sq. 266

dar1jasmirnova@yandex.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.10.44179

EDN:

ZTUZZG

Received:

29-09-2023


Published:

06-10-2023


Abstract: The transformation of the semantic structure of a literary text under translation into a foreign language is inextricably linked with the transformation of conceptually significant meanings of this text. In order to establish the direction of changing the meanings that make up the paradigm of the key statements for this text, it is necessary to comprehensively study the paradigm of meanings arising in the translation text using a definitional analysis of key lexemes in the source language and the translation language and contextual analysis of the meaning-forming contexts of this text. In this connection, the subject of the study is the semantic structure of a key utterance in a polyphonic text. Particular attention is paid to the change in the volume of meanings formed during translation and the change in the actualization of meanings arising as the text is semantically unfolded. The scientific novelty lies in the material chosen for the study: the paper presents contexts from the translation of the novel by F.M. Dostoevsky "The Idiot", made by Eva M. Martin, published by Everyman's Library in 1914 and republished in 1916. Previously, this translation text was not used as a valuable source for obtaining new knowledge about the semantic structure of a literary text and its transformation during translation, in particular, the aspect concerning the functioning of text dominants at the aesthetic and linguistic level. The contexts given in the study give reason to believe that the paradigm of the meanings of the key sign is significantly narrowed in the translation text, which leads to flattening of conceptually significant meanings and violation of the basic properties of the polyphonic word.


Keywords:

semantics, literary text, content structure, semantic structure, the key statement, text dominant, a conceptually meaningful statement, polyphonic word, peradigm of meanings, Dostoevsky

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

In order to understand how the semantic structure of a text is transformed when it is translated into a foreign language, it is necessary to establish the features of the semantic structure of the original, and then consider how it changes during translation.

Thus, F.M. Dostoevsky's novel "The Idiot" is a polyphonic text, the semantic structure of which "is an extremely concentrated projection of the structure of conceptually significant meaning" [1, p. 14]. The structure of a polyphonic text is determined by its properties. In this novel, such properties of the polyphonic word are worked out as: equivalent actualization of opposite meanings, the formation of the volume of meaning, the redistribution of the functions of compositional forms of speech, the specifics of the reception of repetition, the formation of compositionally enhanced meanings that suppress the plot reality, the change in the function of the category of style, etc. [1, p. 252]. The above-mentioned properties of the polyphonic text that define the structure of the text as polyphonic in a concentrated form are reflected in the semantic structure of the conceptually significant utterance idiot.

When the semantic structure of the polyphonic text and the utterance reflecting the semantic structure of the text in a concentrated form was established, the idiot researcher traced the emergence of contextual meanings and their correlation with dictionary meanings. We will also start by considering the question of what dictionary meanings the idiot sign detects in explanatory English dictionaries and compare them with those meanings that are recorded in explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language and with which O.I. Valentinova worked.

Let's correlate the meaning of the idiot sign in modern dictionaries to the creation of the original text and modern dictionaries. (the values are given in translation, here and further my translation is D.L.)

Webster's New International Dictionary of English, edited byAllen Sturgis (Dictionary of modern text creation) [9]

The sixth edition of the Longman Dictionary "Longman dictionary of contemporary English"[11]

The fourth edition of the Cambridge Dictionary for Advanced Students "Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary" [10]

Explanatory Dictionary of English for Language learners Collins COBUILD (International database of languages of the University of Birmingham) [7]

Dictionary of Modern English "Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners (New Edition)" [12]

Deprecated value

an uneducated, ignorant, ignorant person

feeble-minded man

a person with a serious learning disability

mentally ill or feeble-minded person

a man acting in his own interests

jester

Colloquial meaning

someone who is acting extremely stupid

The first dictionary value

a person suffering from idiocy

stupid man

a stupid person or someone who behaves stupidly

stupid or insensitive person

Second dictionary meaning

fool, simpleton' (used to express reproach)

Let's compare the presented dictionary values with the values recorded in Ozhegov's explanatory dictionary [5]. Russian Russian primary dictionary (commonly used) meaning of the utterance idiot is a person who suffers from congenital dementia, while the meaning of stupid person, stupid, fool', which is primary (commonly used) in modern English, is marked as colloquial and expletive in Russian.

The semantic structure of the keyword idiot contains the encoded semantic structure of the entire text and reflects the content structure of the image of the main character.

Changing the paradigm of key sign values

1. Shifting accents when transmitting a meaning close to the dictionary

Let's consider how the translation by Eva M. Martin published by Everyman's Library in 1914 and republished in 1916 [8] translates those contexts in which meanings close to the dictionary meaning of the word idiot arise. Just as the commonly used meaning of the keyword idiot - feeble-minded person is repeatedly updated in the original text of the novel [4, c.25, 75, 150, 219, 453, 459, 476, 488, 508] the word idiot is included in the translation text with the equivalent meaning of a person affected with idiocy [8, c.25, 527, 563, 603], however, the translation interpretation shifts the emphasis towards illness, not mental weakness. So the meaning of the disease will be linked to the sign of the idiot in the following contexts:

<> that thought I once was so ill that I really was little better than an idiot <> [8, c.84]

<> he had just undergone a successful course of treatment for idiocy (sic!) <> [8, c.250]

<>on the plea of his being ill (and it was more than likely that the general was right in his believe that the prince was actually ill) <> [8, c.534]

<> You can see for yourself the man is an invalid <> [8, c.542]

2. Clarification of polemical meanings in translation

Updating the commonly used meaning in the original text does not prevent the emergence of other meanings. The thesis turns into an antithesis and "the statement idiot covers not only the meaning of 'an imbecile person', but also the opposite meaning of 'an intelligent person'" [8, p. 15].

The polemical meaning of smart person, which is in contradiction incompatible with the first dictionary meaning of feeble-minded person, is repeatedly fixed in the original text [4, c. 115, 280, 259, 422, 481]. Note here that the Russian adjective "smart" indicates the presence of mind in a person, but does not specify in what form, area and situation the mind manifests itself. Unlike Russian, English equivalents often indicate the scope of the mind, the form of its realization or the degree of its presence." [6; p. 418] This is how the prince's "mind" is subjected to translation interpretation. In the text of the translation, Radomsky will express about him "intelligent" [8, p. 569] (this sign has the meanings 'smart, intelligent, reasonable, capable, well-thinking, understanding (having mental abilities, good understanding and the ability to think through what is happening)'), Gania will call him "a most extraordinary man" [8, p. 131] in the meaning of "the most intelligent, capable, quick-witted, intelligent (usually young and successful in studies, affairs)", Lizaveta Prokofievna will say "Did you assume he was stupider than yourself, and was in capable of forming his own opinions, or what?" [8, p. 323]. The meaning of "smart person" is not fixed, which arises in a crystallized form outside of polemics, in the replicas of Aglaya and Lebedev. so what Aglaia said in the translation of "wiser" [8, p. 327] has the meaning of "smarter, more far-sighted, wiser, more prudent (having more wisdom and experience), and in the remark of Lebedev's nephew, the meaning of the cleverest man' is crystallized [8, p. 183] - the most intelligent (capable of learning and quickly grasping new information) person'. In the text of the translation, the meaning is crystallized outside of the polemic, not an intelligent person, but an able, far-sighted person'.

Aglai's remark, which translates in the original text the meanings of "feeble-minded person" and "smart person", which are antonymous from the position of the commonly used Russian language, into a semantic space that reveals semantic oppositions different from those worked out in the commonly used language, as a result of which the named meanings are in the relations of absolute unity [1, p. 16], is again subjected to translation interpretation. The affirmative statement "even though you really are mentally ill" [4, p. 356] will be translated by a conditional sentence with the adverb little "even if your surface mind be little affected" [8, p. 418] 'even if your surface mind is a little weak', "the main mind" (moral) [4, p. 356] will become "real mind" [8, p. 418] "real mind", when translating the statement "better than they all have" [4, p. 356] again, without increasing the number of characters, the clarification "better than all theirs put together" "better than they all put together' and the maximum of translation interpretation will manifest itself when the mind is divided, there will be no speech repetition in translation, instead the number of characters will increase from two to ten "the kind that matters, and the kind that doesn't matter" [8, p. 418] 'the one that matters and the one that doesn't matter.'

The division in the translation of Aglai's speech of the mind into meaningful and irrelevant does not convey the division into philosophical and practical mind, but repeats the semantic opposition of real mind and superficial mind'. The saying "sometimes sick with the mind" [4, p. 356] is translated with an accentuation not of periodicity, but of the depth of dementia, the superficial mind is 'a little affected'.

3. Weakening of the semantic paradigm being formed

Hypertrophied manifestations of the practical mind become a formal justification for the appearance in the original text of the meaning of a cunning calculating person seeking personal gain [1, pp. 16-17]. The excited meaning is steadily fixed in the text [4, p. 48, 66, 75, 142, 431, 235] and is omitted during translation, in particular such contexts as:

"<...> of course, this man is on his mind <...>" [8, p. 115]

"At least sincerely; and cunningly, and sincerely!" [8, p. 119]

"<...> That's frank, at any rate!" [8, p. 135]

Due to the applied concretization in the translation text in the context given above, the meaning of 'sincerity, honest' appears instead of 'cunning', fixed by the context "you are candid, however" [8, p. 2], and thanks to the context "<...> you certainly know how to make the most of your - let us call it infirmity, for the sake of politeness: you have set about offering your money and friendship on such a way that no self-respecting man could possibly accept them. This is an excess of ingenuity or of malice you ought to know better which word best fits the case" [8, p. 270] the meaning of 'innocent, sincere' in the translation text will be contrasted with the meaning of 'evil, having malicious intent'.

Provoked by the commonly used meaning of the utterance idiot, the meaning is naive, innocent, simple-minded, which initially appear as taboo substitutes for the weakness of the mind [4, p. 7, 144, 257, 258, 471], transmitted in the translation text with the repetition of the simple sign:

he was such a simple-minded man, and because he, in the simplicity of his soul, believed that he could be happy with a woman of your character. <>You could not love so simple a soul as his<>I never in my life met a man anything like him for noble simplicity of mind and for boundless trustfulness." [8, pp. 556-557]

This replica of Aglaia [4, p. 471], saturated with repetitions, amplifying constructions ("so simple-minded" - "such a simple-minded" (in this pair of meanings, the meaning "naive" comes to replace "simple-minded" when translated), "so simple" - "so simple a soul" (in simplicity is clarified in this pair of meanings in the translation language, acquiring the meaning of 'simple-minded') "no one like him" - "anything like him" (the meaning remains unchanged), most concen- trately represents a new semantic paradigm, which in addition is constantly being strengthened (actualized) in the following remarks of Keller [4, pp. 257, 258], Radomsky [4, p. 481]. In the translation text, this meaning will be partially updated with the accentuation of the simple sign in Keller's remarks "Oh prince! With what simplicity, with what almost pastoral simplicity, you look upon life!" [8, p. 296], Radomsky "... the basis of all that has happened, has been the first of all your innate inexperience (remark the expression 'innate', prince). Then follows your unheard-of simplicity of heart" [8, p. 569] and be absent due to the structural adjustment of the sentence when translating Hippolytus' remark "He had thought at first that the prince was "humbugging" him; but on looking at his face he saw that he was absolutely serious, and had no thought of any deception" [8, p. 509].

When translating the semantic paradigm into a single whole , the following qualities are tightened: "naive - inexperienced - innocent - simple-hearted - sincere -noble simplicity of mind - good - honest", of the positive qualities in translation, "trusting-kind" disappear, in addition, when translating, the actualization of the voices of other characters of the new semantic paradigm does not occur in full in all actualizing replicas, which leads to almost complete loss of the common the estimated positive shade of the paradigm being formed.

In the original text, all members of the formed paradigm are united by the meaning of the highest degree of such qualities as 'innocent naive - simple-minded - trusting - sincere - noble - kind - honest - good'. The new meaning interacts with the conceptually significant meaning of child, child, receiving polysituational and polysubjective support by the replicas of Schneider [4, p. 63], Nastasia Filippovna [4, p. 142], Rogozhin [4, p. 302], Ippolit [4, p. 433], General Epanchin [4, p. 44-45] and finally by the voice of the prince himself [4, p. 457]. Note that when translating the statement child, child- child itself does receive support from the replicas of the named characters, however, the degree of completeness of this conceptually significant meaning varies. Only in Schneider's remark the meaning of 'perfect child' will remain unchanged [8, p. 70], the prince himself will describe himself in the translation text "I am nearly twenty-seven years old, and yet I know I am little better than a child" [8, p. 539], Rogozhin: "You are just like a child <...>" they will describe the prince 'almost like a child', 'a little better than a child', and Ippolit and General Epanchin in the translation text will call the prince 'an ordinary child': "he's quite a child" [8, p. 48], "he's a regular child" [8, p. 48].

4. Breaking paradigmatic connections of values

In the text of the translation, not only do the meanings of a strange man and a man who has no sense of proportion not interlock, but the meaning of only strangeness, strangeness of the prince is fixed:

"I think what they say about you must be true, that you are so original" [8, p. 134];

"I do not agree, in fact I am angry, when I hear you called an idiot; you are far too intelligent to deserve such an epithet; but you are far strange (highlighted by the translator) as to be unlike others..." [8, p. 569];

What an extraordinary man you are! I wonder at you!" [8, p. 351];

"old Princess Belokonski, who had given her most comforting news about "that queer young prince"" [8, p. 173]

The meaning of 'funny, pathetic man' is fixed as part of the nuclear meanings of the utterance idiot as the semantic unfolding of the original text, in the translation text is supported only by Aglaya's voice: "had laughed at the prince" [8, p. 459], "For whole hours at a time she reticulated and chaffed the wretched man, and made him almost a laughing stock" [8, p. 506];

The old woman Belokonskaya in translation will call the prince 'stupid': "What are you making such a fuss about? <> You are good fellow, but very silly. One gives you a halfpenny, and you are as grateful as thought one had saved your life. You think this is praiseworthy on your part, but it is not - it is not, indeed" " [8, p. 537], and Hippolytus is 'wonderful' "<...>he is a good-hearted fellow, if a little queer" [8, p. 466].

In the translation text, the meaning of 'superfluous, alien' covered by the statement idiot is conveyed with a touch of outcast. The prince will describe himself three times as ""outcast."" [8, p. 412], "a stranger to all this, that he was outside this glorious festival" [8, p. 413], "a stranger and an outcast" [8, p. 413].

The meaning of 'a man without pride' worked out by Aglaya's voice will remain unchanged in translation "Why have you no pride?" [8, p. 327].

Conclusion

When translated, the main meanings of the key statement idiot become: sick, suffering person, stupid person, 'successful person, wise, prudent (person, capable, far-sighted person, smart, innocent, naive, simple-minded, sincere, inexperienced, child, child', funny, stupid, strange, wonderful person', outcast', man without pride'.

In the original, none of the emerging meanings of the utterance idiot is lost in the process of unfolding the text. In the translation text, the formed paradigm of the key sign will be significantly narrowed under the influence of translation interpretation. The meanings of the key statement are actualized to a much lesser extent, which leads not only to a weakening of the paradigm, but also to the disappearance from the translation text of such meanings as "trusting - kind" and "a person who has a lack of a sense of proportion." The place of the disappeared values is occupied by the values of 'a person acting with their malicious intent' and 'outcast'. The main actualized sign in the translation text becomes the simple sign. The reason for this may be, in our opinion, the difference in the commonly used meanings of key signs. The transformation of the paradigm of the key sign towards the commonly used meaning inevitably affects the content structure of the image of the main character and should be taken into account when interpreting it.

References
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First Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the research of the reviewed article concerns the translation of a literary text into a foreign language. It should be noted that this vector of research in the scientific environment has been developed quite voluminously, however, controversial and difficult points still require further specification. The author notes at the beginning of the work that "in order to understand how the semantic structure of a text is transformed when it is translated into a foreign language, it is necessary to establish the features of the semantic structure of the original, and then consider how it changes during translation." Undoubtedly, one can and should agree with this. The novel by F.M. Dostoevsky "The Idiot" was chosen as a point text, which does not easily lend itself to an objective procedure of translation into a foreign language, because "F.M. Dostoevsky's novel "The Idiot" is a polyphonic text, the semantic structure of which "represents an extremely concentrated projection of the structure of conceptually significant meaning." The task of the problem is concretized, it boils down to the idea that "when the semantic structure of a polyphonic text and an utterance reflecting the semantic structure of the text in a concentrated form was established, the idiot researcher traced the emergence of contextual meanings and their correlation with dictionary meanings", "we will also begin by considering what dictionary meanings the idiot sign reveals in explanatory Let's compare them with those meanings that are fixed in the explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language and with which Valentinova O.I. worked." The research methodology is relatively aligned, the semantic prerogative remains the leading one throughout the entire work. The principle of the comparative type is quite successfully introduced into the work, the author first "correlates the meaning of the idiot sign in modern dictionaries to the creation of the original text and modern dictionaries." The tabular view is the most productive and indicative. The style of the work is focused on the scientific type of presentation of thoughts: for example, this is manifested in the following fragments: "the semantic structure of the keyword idiot, contains the encoded semantic structure of the entire text and reflects the meaningful structure of the image of the main character", or "the actualization of the commonly used meaning in the original text does not prevent the emergence of other meanings. The thesis turns into an antithesis and "the statement idiot covers not only the meaning of 'an imbecile person', but also the opposite meaning of 'an intelligent person'", etc. It attracts in this work a rather voluminous practical series of examples, which manifests the importance of considering the problem. The most important points in the course of the article are marked; italics, discharge, and the use of bold font accentuate semantic overtones that are important in the mode of translating F.M. Dostoevsky's novel into a foreign language. The references /quotations are formally correct: "the division in the translation of Aglai's speech of the mind into 'meaningful' and 'irrelevant' does not convey the division into philosophical and practical mind, but repeats the semantic opposition of 'real mind' and 'superficial mind'. The saying "sometimes they are sick with the mind" [4, p. 356] is translated with an accentuation not of periodicity, but of the depth of dementia. The superficial mind is 'struck a little'." The material has a proper scientific novelty, it can be productively used in the course of studying courses of a linguistic order. The structure of the work tends to scientific research, in my opinion, the text could be differentiated into semantic blocks, paragraphs, parts, this is also effectively perceived by a potentially interested reader. The fragments in which the private analysis is carried out are informative: "provoked by the commonly used meaning of the utterance idiot, the meaning of 'naive, innocent, simple-minded', which initially appear as taboo substitutes for mental weakness, is transmitted in the translation text with the repetition of the simple sign: "... he was such a simple-minded man, and because he, in the simplicity of his soul, believed that he could be happy with a woman of your character. <>You could not love so simple a soul as his<...>I never in my life met a man anything like him for noble simplicity of mind and for boundless trustfulness", or "in the original text, all members of the formed paradigm are united by the meaning of the highest degree of such qualities as 'innocent naive-simple-minded-trusting-sincere-noble-kind-honest-good'. The new meaning interacts with the conceptually significant meaning of 'child, child', receiving polysitational and polysubjective support from Schneider's remarks..." etc. I think that the work could have an expanded conclusion, the conclusions on the text are somewhat formalized: "in the original, none of the emerging meanings of the utterance idiot is lost in the process of unfolding the text. In the translation text, the paradigm of the key sign being formed will be significantly narrowed under the influence of translation interpretation." The bibliography for this work includes studies of various types, but the design needs to be finalized (publication requirements). In general, after a minor revision of the text, the reviewed article "Changing the paradigm of the meanings of a key sign in the semantic space of a literary text when it is translated into a foreign language" can be recommended for open publication in the scientific journal "Litera" ID "Nota Bene".

Second Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The article presented for consideration "Changing the paradigm of the meanings of a key sign in the semantic space of a literary text when it is translated into a foreign language", proposed for publication in the journal "Litera", is undoubtedly relevant, due to the increasing interest in studying the features of the implementation of translation transformations. In the article, the author examines the implementation of lexical meaning in different contexts based on the material of the Russian and English languages. The study is a comparative one, which examines the features of the two languages. It should be noted that there is a relatively small number of studies on this topic in Russian linguistics. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian linguistics devoted to the study of such issues. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. The scope of the actual language corpus of the study is not entirely clear. Theoretical fabrications are not sufficiently illustrated by language examples, and convincing data from dictionaries are presented. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches. However, we believe that the stated topic in the title of the article is broader than the content presented. Note that the introduction does not contain a statement of the problem problem and the historiography of the issue. The conclusion based on the results of the study requires strengthening, it does not fully reflect the tasks set by the author and does not contain prospects for further research in line with the stated issues. The bibliography of the article includes 12 sources, among which works are presented in both Russian and foreign languages. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to the fundamental works of Russian researchers, such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. Technically, when making a bibliographic list, the generally accepted requirements of GOST are violated, namely, non-compliance with the alphabetical principle of registration of sources. The comments made are not significant and do not detract from the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the teaching of university courses on text theory, as well as courses on interdisciplinary research on the relationship between language and society. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "Changing the paradigm of the meanings of a key sign in the semantic space of a literary text when it is translated into a foreign language" can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.
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