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Jezik i kultura

There certainly exists a relationship between folklore, culture and language. This relationship is based on the fact that folklore is expressed by means of language and that both language and folklore are set in the culture of the people who speak the former and produce the latter. In addition, both reflect the culture they are set in. Translation and culture are also so interrelated that translating without taking into account both the source culture and the target culture is impossible. In particular, translating folklore, which is believed to reflect the deepest aspects of the culture that produces it, requires a special consideration of culture. This chapter explores the relationship between these four notions and the importance of paying a particular attention to culture when one is translating folklore in general and folktales in particular since this study is particularly concerned with the translation of Rwandan folktales. Prior to discussing the relationship between these notions, let me first provide a short discussion of folklore and culture. 1.2. Culture 1.2.1. Definition As Katan (1999: 16) puts it, all people instinctively know what culture is and the culture they belong to, but it does not follow that they can define it with ease. However, it seems that, according to the same author (1999: 16), defining culture is imperative, particularly for anthropologists, because it delimits how it is perceived and taught. Still, although many anthropologists have attempted to define culture, they have not reached any agreement regarding its nature. Following this lack of agreement as to the nature of culture, different anthropologists have come up with different definitions. Edward Burnett Tylor (in Katan, 1999: 16) defines culture in the following terms: Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. For the American anthropologists Alfred Louis Kroeber and Clyde Kluckholm (in Katan, 1999: 16), culture can be defined as follows: culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiment in artefacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values. Culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning elements of future action. In her definition of the term culture, Gail Robinson (in Katan, 1999: 17) argues that culture can be defined as a system consisting of two levels. The first is the external level which consists of behaviours (language, gestures, customs and habits) and products (literature, folklore, art, music, artefacts). The second is the internal level which is related to ideas (beliefs, values and institutions). Other definitions of culture can be drawn from the models of culture known as Trompenaars layers, Hofstedes onion, the Iceberg theory and Halls Triad of culture.
Folklore, Culture, Language and Translation

13 Even if these models consider culture from different points of view, they have much in common and constitute a fund of information for the understanding and the definition of culture. Trompenaars layers Fons Trompenaars (cited in Katan: 26) developed a model of culture, known as Trompenaars layers, in which he argues that culture consists of three layers: the outer layer, the middle layer and the core. According to him, the outer layer is made up of artefacts and products. This includes, for instance, the organisation of institutions such as the legal system and the bureaucracy. The middle layer comprises norms and values. Norms refer to social rules of conduct while values relate to aspirations. The third layer,

the core, is considered as the heart of culture and contains a given societys basic assumptions about life. Diagrammatically, this model is presented as follows:
Artefacts and Products Norms and values Basic Assumptions Implicit Explicit

Trompenaars layers (Source: Katan, 1999: 26) Hofstedes Onion Hofstedes model of culture, advocated by Geert Hofstede, is similar to Trompenaars, except that it consists of two layers that he terms values and practices. According to him, the practice layer comprises symbols, heroes and rituals and value layer is the core of culture. This view of culture is schematically presented as follows:
Folklore, Culture, Language and Translation

14 values rituals heroes symbols Hofstedes onion (Source: Katan, 1999: 27) The Iceberg Theory As to the Iceberg theory, popularised through Halls works in the 1950s, it is based on the idea that culture consists of two parts. One part which is the most important of culture is completely hidden and the other, the least important, is visible. The first part, according to the proponents of the iceberg theory is concerned with cultural value orientations to action, communication, environment, time, space, power, individualism, competitiveness, structure and thinking. The second part, which constitutes the tip of the iceberg, consists of music, food and drink, greetings, dress manners, rituals and outward behaviour. Brake et al. cited in Katan (1999: 29) add to the list laws, customs, gestures and methods of saying goodbye. Diagrammatically, this theory looks roughly as follows:
Music, art food and drink greetings, dress manners rituals, outward behaviour Orientations to: Action Communication Environment Time Space Power Individualism Competitiveness Structure Thinking

The Iceberg (Source: Katan, 1999: 30)

Folklore, Culture, Language and Translation

15 Halls Triad of Culture Halls Triad of culture views culture as consisting of three levels that are termed technical culture, formal culture and informal culture. This was developed as an extension of the Iceberg Theory (Katan, 1999: 30). Technical culture is, according to Katan (1999: 30), concerned with communication at the level of science, that which can be measured accurately, and has no meaning outside itself. Formal culture is, according to the same author (1999: 31), the culture of traditions, rules, customs, procedures and so on. It is the culture that is part of accepted way of doing things. The informal culture is the kind of culture that is not taught or learned, but acquired informally and without being aware that one is acquiring it (Katan, 1999: 32). As can be seen from this discussion above, culture is a very broad field that even defining it becomes very difficult. However, Nida (2001: 13) provides us with a very simple, short

and practical definition of culture as the totality of the beliefs and practices of a society. 1.2.2. Approaches to the study of culture The complexity of culture has driven different anthropologists to use different approaches to the study of culture. These are, according to Katan (1999: 18-20), the behaviourist approach, the functionalist approach, the cognitive approach and the dynamic approach. These are not, however, mutually exclusive and none of them can claim to cover all aspects of culture. _ The behaviourist approach The behaviourist approach to the study of culture is the approach which consists in finding out facts about what given folk or people do and do not do. People of different cultures conceive of the world they live in differently, which makes them observe different dos and donts. It is forbidden for the British, for instance, to kill sparrows. But for Rwandans, it is forbidden to kill wagtails. The behaviourist approach is the approach to the study of culture based on such facts about what is allowed and what is forbidden in a given culture or society. This approach tends towards ethnocentrism, which is, according to Bennett (in Katan 1999: 18), the belief that the worldview of ones culture is central to all reality. Ethnocentrism
Folklore, Culture, Language and Translation

16 has, however, one shortcoming: it makes people believe that their own culture is superior to other cultures. As an approach to the teaching of culture, ethnocentrism does not help students to reason because it makes them believe that only their own culture is natural and right. It prevents them then from understanding other cultures and considering their different aspects. _ Functionalist approach The functionalist approach is the approach which goes beyond the behaviourist approach and attempts to find the reason why people observes such dos and donts. According to Katan (1999: 19), the functionalist approach is an approach that looks behind the behaviour for reason. _ The cognitive approach The cognitive approach to the study of culture consists in attempting to explain internal and mental reasons for the links between a particular cause and a particular effect. This approach tends to use the concepts of modelling, and talks of mapping, underlying patterns and the culture-bound categorizing of experience (Katan, 1999: 19). In connection with this, Nostrand (in Katan, 1999: 19) talks of a cultures central code which involves the cultures ground of meaning; its systems of major values, habitual patterns of thought, and certain prevalent assumptions about human nature an society which the foreigner should be prepared to encounter. _ The dynamic approach The dynamic approach to the study of culture views culture as a dynamic process, constantly being negotiated by those involved. It is influenced, but not determined, by past meanings and it establishes precedent for future meanings (Katan, 1999: 21). Secondly, language and culture are also related in two respects: language is, like folklore, a mirror of culture and it is an integral part of culture as well. Language is a mirror of culture in the sense that, as Snell-Hornby (1988: 40) puts it, language is an expression of both culture and the individuality of the speaker, who perceives the world through language. Actually, language reflects the culture of the folk that speak it and through language, one can learn much about the culture in which a language is set or used. In addition, language is not, as pointed out by Snell-Hornby (1988:39), an isolated phenomenon suspended in a vacuum but an integral part of culture. As such, language is better understood with reference to culture. According to Malinowski (1923/1938: 306), the study of language, spoken by a people must be carried out in conjunction with their culture and their environment. Culture should, thus, be understood as the framework within which all communication takes place (Katan, 1999: 241). The meaning transferred through language is, then, dependent upon culture because the words of a language are culture-bound and the form of language, according to Boas (in Katan, 1999: 73) is

moulded by the state of culture. Sapir, also convinced of the close relationship between language and culture, says that language has a setting language does not exist apart from culture (Katan, 1999: 73). In other words, language ties up with cultural and social realities. Language finds its meaning in its own context.
Folklore, Culture, Language and Translation

18 For Nida (2001: 13), language also constitutes the most distinctive feature of a culture. People can be identified as belonging to such and such a culture on the basis of the language that they speak. Language, according to Nida (2001: 27), represents the culture because the words refer to the culture, as the beliefs and practices of a culture. The other relationship between language and culture can be discussed in terms of how culture makes use of language. Language is used to provide information about processes and the values of a culture, to direct the activity of a culture, to establish and maintain a positive emotional state for the participants within a culture, to perform rituals in a culture, to establish and maintain interpersonal relations, to carry out the cognitive activity (that is thinking), to perform cultural recreative activities and to express the aesthetics of a culture (Nida, 2001: 25). Language is therefore, as Nida (2001: 13) says, indispensable for the functioning and perpetuation of the culture. Thirdly, culture and translation are linked because, as previously mentioned, translating involves the consideration of the source and target language cultures. Translation is now viewed as a cultural rather than linguistic transfer and not as a process of transcoding but as an act of communication (Snell-Hornby, 43-44). Vermeer, one of the leading proponents of this trend, sees translation as a crosscultural transfer and holds the view that the translator should be not only bilingual or multilingual but also bicultural, if not multicultural (Bassnett and Lefevere, 1990: 82). Translation is now defined as a means of intercultural communication, a means to make up for cultural differences. According to Snell-Hornby (1988: 42), the concept of culture as a totality of knowledge, proficiency and perceptions is fundamental in Translation Studies. Using language which is, as mentioned previously, an integral part of culture, the translator needs not only proficiency in the languages he is working with, but also in the cultures that host those languages. She also says that the extent to which the translator understands the cultures determines his or her ability not only to understand the source text but also to produce the target text that fits in the target language culture. The concept of culture is then of paramount importance in Translation Studies. This is because translation involves at least two languages and hence two cultures. However, as Jakobson (in Snell-Hornby et al, 1995: 327) says, cultures not only express ideas differently, they also shape concepts and texts differently.
Folklore, Culture, Language and Translation

19 Considered as an intercultural act of communication, translation should thus take into account cultures it is concerned with since it can, as de Beaugrande et al. (1992: 37) say, be properly understood only within a socio-cultural frame of reference which may well differ among languages, text-types or cultures. In addition, translators should be aware of cultural differences because, according to SnellHornby (1988: 41), the extent to which a text is translatable varies with the degree to which it is embedded in its own specific culture, also with the distance that separates the cultural background of source text and target audience in terms of place and time. The concept of culture, therefore, deserves to be considered in translation studies owing to the influence that culture exerts on the text that is embedded in it. Moreover, any translation produced should fit into the target culture of the target language. -_____________________________

II. Translation and Cultures


In a traditional quest of translation activities, translators try to understand the text and make others understand. However, several variables, especially intrinsic cultural inclinations are involved in the course of this seemingly linear practice. Recently, efforts have been continuously rendered to comprehend the inherent cultural perspectives in translation processes. Scholars including Bassnett (1992) defined tradition as an inter-cultural communication act. In this view, every text was considered to be embedded within a specific cultural setting, signifying that texts are established by using a set of culturally dependent and specific symbols. According to this perspective, the extent a text is translatable varies in accordance with how much the text is situated in its own specific cultures. Moreover, communications between remotely different cultures always pose practical difficulties for the translator due to differences in value systems, conceptual presuppositions, and historical antecedents (Nida 1993).

Based on this culture-oriented nature of translation as an interlingual and intercultural communicative process, pragmatic translation theory has been evolved subsequently. This theory situates the act of translating within a communicative frame, emphasizing more cultural influence in translation processes. In this theoretical framework, the concept of language in use and the language as a form of social action (Halliday 1985) reside at the core. Translators try not only to communicate specific textual meanings, but also to interpret what is fused in a specific culture at a specific time and place.

With a similar theoretical tenet, it has been argued that translation is a process which attempts to establish equivalents between two texts expressed in two different languages. These equivalents are, by definition, always dependent on the nature of the two texts, on their objectives, on the relationship between the two cultures involved (Cary 1985). This theoretical posture evidently illustrates the importance of understanding cultures in translation ventures.

2.1 Linguistic and Cultural Equivalents


The idea of translation equivalents, especially in the interpretive translation model, implies that finding an adequate equivalent is a goal a translator should pursue (Hatim and Mason 1990). If translators fail to recognize any specific meanings reflected in particular cultural milieux, they will probably fail to complete the tasks. Theoretically, there are almost no exact semantic synonyms between any two languages, but it is possible to build interlingual equivalences or correspondences between specific items in specific contexts (Nida and Reyburn 1981).

According to the interpretive theory of translation, a translator should transfer the intrinsic intentions of the authors of the original texts to the readers (Lederer 2003). This transferring presupposes understanding of the various variables in the text and reconstructing them in the target language. Cultural presuppositions and diverse conditions have been proved to immensely influence the nature of these inwardly fused but noteworthy factors. In this context, translation is the combination

of a conscious effort to comprehend meanings and intuitive implications expressed in the text, which is impossible without a through understanding of cultural ramifications diffused in the text and the comprehension of the relationship between languages and cultures.

2.2 The Relationship between Languages and Cultures


Language mirrors various aspects of cultures, supports them, and spreads them. While language is clearly a product of cultures, this special feature of language distinguishes it from all other aspects of cultures and makes it crucially important for the transfer of cultural values. One of the most important cultural products is a language and Kramsch (1998: 3-4) succinctly describes the interrelatedness between language and culture in three points: Language expresses cultural reality, language embodies cultural reality and language symbolizes cultural reality.

In conjunction with this essential and intimate relationship between language and culture, if people from two radically different cultures do not understand each other, it is not because their languages cannot be mutually translated. It is because they do not agree on the meaning and the value of the concepts covering the words. Conversely, they do not understand the reality of categorized experience in the same manner. This indicates that understanding across languages does not so much rely on structural equivalences but on common conceptual systems, formulated by the larger context of the cultural experience (Kramsch 1998).

With this social nature of language and cultures, Bruner (1986: 131) said, Language serves the double function of being both a mode of communication and a medium for representing the world about which it is communicating. Within this realm, it is impossible to ignore the impact of value and conceptual systems taught and handed down by cultures. According to Vygotsky (1986), who had delved into the intricate relationship between language and thought, language was an agent for altering the powers of thought by giving a thought new means for explicating the world.

Furthermore, it has been constantly demonstrated that aesthetic differences as important aspects of cultural reality, affect the process of translation. A translator, as an individual belonging to a specific culture, is bound to be influenced by the aesthetic traditions in the particular culture. According to Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1963: 357), culture systems are conditioning elements of further action. Consequently, every cognitive action and decision presupposes cultural understanding and considerations beforehand. As Brooks (1975: 30) states, culture links the thoughts and acts of an individual to the common patterns acceptable to the group. These views on the influence of culture are further elaborated in Flecks theory of the thought collective. According to Fleck (1979: 39), a thought collective is a community of persons mutually exchanging ideas or maintaining intellectual interaction, the members of which share in, contribute to, and draw upon the collective for their experiences and ideas.

Emphasizing the influence of culture on thought mechanisms, Sapir-Whorf formulated a hypothesis stating that different linguistic communities have different ways of experiencing, categorizing, and organizing reality (Gorle 1994). Sapir (1956) claims that no two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as symbolizing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same worlds with different labels. The strong version of Whorfs hypothesis, that language determines the way we think, is no longer considered valid. However, a weak version, that there are cultural differences in the meanings evoked by common concepts, is generally accepted these days (Bassnett 1993).

2.3 Cultural Schemata


Another influential and important concept related to the cultural effect on human cognitive activity is cultural schemata (Pritchard 1990). In the schemata theory, a persons perceptions and judgments are believed to be affected and determined by the assumptions shared by the groups to which the person belongs. This process of selecting and deciding sensory input subsequently results in the creation and instantiation of schemata, which are available for use with new information encountered. For example, it was observed that the political culture (Hulpke 1991) of a specific society always exercises certain constraints on the process of translating. Therefore, in a politically sensitive society, the translator generally makes a conscious effort to avoid any interference with the established political norms.

According to a study on the impact of schemata on reading processing, it was found that cultural schemata influence readers processing strategies and the level of comprehension they attain (Pritchard 1990). Translators always use their background knowledge, the situational contexts and the cues provided by an author of the ST to construct an interpretation of the meaning of a text. Therefore, a passage dealing with a culturally familiar topic will be easier to comprehend, assuming all other factors are the same, than a culturally unfamiliar one. This is possible because the schemata embodying translators background knowledge about the content of culturally familiar materials facilitate the integration of understandings and enable translators to achieve a unified meaning of the text. The translators can and must be able to activate and utilize the relevant schemata connected with any particular text in order to expedite comprehension of the culturally familiar text. To support this claim, many studies have demonstrated that comprehension of a culturally unfamiliar text is more difficult than comprehension of a culturally familiar text (Johnson 1981; Lipson 1983). Frequently in translation, what really counts is not language, but culture, because the meaning intended by the author can only be determined with reference to the cultural contexts.

As a further indication of how cultural values influence the thought systems of people living in the cultures, one cross-cultural study (Pae 1998) demonstrates a distinct difference in value systems between Korea and USA as shown below.

Table 1

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The difference in value system between Koreans and Americans


Even though there is a risk of overgeneralization in this dichotomous differentiation between Korean and American value systems, this information can be a reference upon which cross-cultural study on different styles of translation can be formulated. In fact, cultures invariably and incessantly invite comparison and juxtaposition; they are not only the places where meanings are made, but the space in which they are being exchanged, transmitted and seek to be translated from one language into another. As an extreme example, even abandoning native speech does not cancel the culture to which it belongs, but merely defines its meanings on a new scale offered by the foreign language (Toporov 1992). It is subject to further analysis whether cultural ramifications remain intact while their applications and metamorphosis in another language through the translation process.

2.4 Mediation in Translation


Translators often resort to different levels of strategies of which definition can be termed as a potentially conscious procedure for the solution of a problem, in which an individual is faced with when translating difficult texts (Hatim 2001). Additionally, in an effort to minimize any possible misunderstanding caused by the difference in cultures between ST and TT, competent translators make relevant mediations in adjusting their translations with the target culture standards. As clearly illustrated in Cheong (2004), translators use mediation devices including explication/implication and expansion/contraction of the translated texts to maintain relevance throughout the text and convey intended meanings from ST to TT.

In this study, the Vygotskian theoretical framework of the mediation was employed as a vehicle to understand the strategic collaboration between two translators whose cultural backgrounds are vastly different. Vygotsky (1978) has elaborately demonstrated that higher mental functioning of human beings is mediated by tools and signs. One of the most important components of these tools is a language. The fundamental claim in Vygotskys notion of mediation is that any type of human activities can be mediated through these mental activities. These kinds of cognitive ventures, which are evidently within the realm of the sociocultural activities, are not so much simply facilitating activities but fundamentally shaping and defining works. This idea dictates that during the concept development processes between two people, there can be an essential shift in cultural perspectives. This shift was enabled by the path of mediation, from intrapsychological level to interpsychological plane (Wertsch 1990). Cultural concepts or solution strategies exclusively inherent in one participant can be transferred to another participant and duly internalized by the

recipient creatively during the process. This is a particularly effective and powerful tool for finding solutions through conscious awareness raising and reciprocal efforts between participants (Moll 1990).

III. Methods
3.1 Research Designs

This case study was designed to examine how the difference in cultural schemata interacts and influences comprehension of the translated material and what strategies the translators employ to cope with ambiguities encountered during collaborative translation processes. Two translators from Korea and USA participated in collaborative translation of the text from Korean to English. The title of the translated material is The Japanese perception of Tokdo (the name of an island) during the opening of ports. This is an article about a very controversial and sensitive issue as Tokdo has become a center of territorial conflict between Korea and Japan. Tokdo is the easternmost territory of Korea and Japan has claimed its territorial right on this island for several decades. Originally this article was translated as a part of a project prepared for a special edition on the issue of Tokdo for a Korean government-sponsored English academic journal. In an effort to ensure its translation quality and objectivity for readers whose comprehension language is English, the translation was designed to be conducted in a collaborative mode. The translation proceeds in the following pattern. First, the Korean translator put the Korean article into English and then a well-educated native speaker of English (American, a doctoral student in language education) worked on the article to point out any parts that needed to be corrected or improved to make the article appropriate for educated readers in the USA. Initially it was anticipated that this collaborative working mode would be beneficial through a synergetic mode of cooperation and as the recordings of interactions piled up, several interesting situations were observed.

In order to accurately record every interaction between the translators during this transaction, exchanges of ideas and comments took place through e-mail. The Korean translator first sent his version of translation to the American translator. The American translator corrected and sent the text back to the Korean translator with questions and comments in order to clarify the ambiguity and improve the understanding for readers. Gathered data demonstrated a series of mediation endeavors between two translators before they reached agreement on satisfied final translation idea.

Van Dijik and Kintsch (1983: 64-65) defined strategy in cognitive activities as the idea of an agent about the best way to act in order to reach a goal. Moreover, Brown (1980: 456) describes a strategy as any deliberate, planful control of activities. In this study strategy is defined as purposeful and collaborative actions taken voluntarily to achieve smooth and effective translation over culturally-embedded and ambiguous texts.

3.2 Data Collection and Analysis


Previous studies on strategic collaboration (Tharp and Gallimore: 1991) and mediation processes (Vygotsky 1987) provided a theoretical framework for the following analytical taxonomy as a basis for full-fledged and dialectical analysis of every interaction. Additionally, Pritchard (1990) proposed the sequence of cognitive activities in reading processes to explain how the cultural schemata influence the overall reading comprehension processes and the principles of establishing this taxonomy were applied to this study. 1) Taxonomy of processing strategies in collaborative translation

A. 1. 2. B. 1. 2. C. 1. 2.

Developing cultural awareness and facilitating textual comprehension Understanding the text by activating cultural knowledge Analyzing texts and finding equivalents Negotiating on ambiguities and dealing with differences Conflicts on difference in lexicon and structures Coping with ambiguities and differences Perspective shifting through mediation Mediation processes Approach to mediated products

2) Data Analysis

Data for analysis consist of e-mail transactions accumulated for a period of one month. Every exchange of ideas and opinions on translation materials was collected and analyzed in accordance with taxonomy of processing strategies as formulated above and data that did not fall into categories under the above taxonomy were discarded from analysis. The joint endeavors in each component did not necessarily occur sequentially with the lapse of time, but rather in a parallel mode during translation collaborations. If questions arise regarding ambiguities in meaning or cultural implications that need clarification, both translators exchange opinions on any issues and discuss optimal solutions for smooth and successful processing of the translation. Sentences with bold print indicate either correction of the translation or exchanges of opinions on the translation.

3.3 Discussion

As was revealed earlier (Pae 1998), it is a general belief that American way of thinking is logical and linear whereas it is not the case of Korean way of thinking and making decisions. Moreover, cultural differences exercise a significant influence on the way of thinking (Kramsch 1988). However, the above observation in the analysis of reciprocal transactions between the translators from two radically different cultures aptly demonstrated that two participants have actively engaged in pursuing strategic problem-solving mediation to achieve a goal over the difference in their cultures.


Vygotsky claimed that human development is relational. It consists of internal consciousness as well as external behaviors, cognitive processes as well as social ones. According to Vygotsky (1979:1),
The mechanism of social behavior and the mechanism of consciousness are the same we are aware of ourselves, for we are aware of others, and in the same way we know others; and this is as it is because in relation to ourselves we are in the same [position] as others to us.

The tools used in this collaborative process are interpersonal dialogue or active exchanges of opinions. As Kozulin (1993) pointed out, Vygotskys approach required that the typology of the semiotic means of mediation should be complemented by the topology of the overt and inner dialogue in which culture acquires its psychologically individual form (p. 36-37). These interactions include highly logical and abstract dialogue as well as spontaneous dialogue. In strategic collaboration between two people with a task at hand, constant dialogues are required to explore the nature of the problems (task) they are faced with. Gradually, they come to a common ground of mutual understanding and further actions to be taken. This relationship is similar to the one performed during the scaffolding process as termed by Wood, Bruner and Ross (1976). These dialectical processes during collaboration efforts in this paper can be summarized as in the following figure.


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IV. Conclusion

The traditional view on translation dictates that differences in cultural understanding and strategies together with attitudes toward cultural difference may cause differences in translation products. With this tenet, it is very difficult to elucidate overall intrinsic processes during translation endeavors. Even if a translating process can be dissected into several controllable steps, it would be extremely difficult to find linear or automatized translation procedures directly related to finding final solutions. As Lrscher (1996) refers to translation as a chain of spirals or loops, this paper showed that the translation consists of constant applications of mediation and solution-searching techniques. This article is an attempt to explain the notion of mediation processes gleaned from collaborated efforts of translating culturally ambiguous texts. Data analysis in a case study reveals that dialectical and reciprocal translation processes were created between Korean and American translators. Analytical criteria to determine various collaboration types were established based on the previous studies and review of exchanges during collaborations. The analysis of actual opinions and comments rendered


between two translators suggests an alternative translation method for culturally ambiguous texts by applying strategically mediated procedures. Further studies with more cases with other combinations of languages are expected to reveal more details on transitional procedures and products obtained through this type of translation endeavor.

Dae-jin Kim
Prof. Kim received his MA from GSIT at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Ph. D. in language education from the University of Georgia. He currently serves as associate professor in the English Department at Seoul National University of Technology, Seoul, Korea. He has published numerous articles mainly focusing on various issues concerning language teaching and interpretation training. His works include The role of an interactive book reading program in the development of L2 pragmatic competence, The Modern Language Journal (2002) and A pedagogical approach to conference interpretation (2002), Hankuk Publishing Co.


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THARP, R. G. and R. GALLIMORE (1991): Rousing Minds to Life, NY, Cambridge University Press. TOPOROV, V. N. (1992): Translation: Sub specie of Culture, Meta 37-1, p. 29-49. VAN DIJIK, T. A. and W. Kintsch (1983): Strategies of Discourse Comprehension, New York, Academic Press. VYGOTSKY, L. S. (1978): Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, MA, Harvard University Press. VYGOTSKY, L. S. (1979): Consciousness as a Problem of Psychology of Behavior, Soviet

Psychology, p. 1729-1730.
VYGOTSKY, L. S. (1986): Thought and Language, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press. VYGOTSKY, L. S. (1987): Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky: Vol. 1: Problems of General Psychology (translated by N. MINICK; Series editors R. W. RIEBER and A. S. CARTON), New York, Plenum Press. WERTSCH, J. V. (1990): The Voice of Rationality in a Sociocultural Approach to Mind, In L. MOLL (Ed.), Vygotsky and Education, Cambridge, MA, Cambridge University Press. WILSS, W. (1982): The Science of Translation. Problems and Methods, Tbingen, Gunter Narr Verlag. WOOD, D. J., BRUNER, J. S. and G. ROSS (1976): The Role of Tutoring in Problem Solving, Journal

of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 17-2, p. 89-100.

Auteur : Titre : Revue : URI : Dae-jin Kim Strategic Collaboration as a Means of Mediation in Translating Culturally Ambiguous Text: A Case Study Meta/Meta, Volume 51, numro 2, juin 2006, p. 304-316

Tous droits rservs Les Presses de l'Universit de Montral, 2006


Culture can be defined as the way of life and its manifestations that are peculiar to a community that uses a particular language as its means of expression. Many translation scholars distinguish cultural language from universal and personal language. For them, words like father, die, live, star, swim and almost virtually every artifact like table are universals which generate no translation problem. But even with regard to such words there is a cultural aspect. Take, for instance, the example of father. The notion of fatherhood takes new characteristics in each different cultural community. A French father is different from an English father who is in turn different from an Arabic father a father normally called Si Sayyed. Another radical cultural difference can be further noticed. Some Amazonian tribes who lead animal-like lives have no father notion in their culture and consequently in their language. So, how to translate the word father to these people? For these scholars, only words like Monsoon, sauna, tsunami and paella are cultural words. When a speech community focuses its attention on a particular topic (this is usually called cultural focus), it generates a set of words to designate its special language or terminology. For instance, English generated many words on sports, notably cricket words, French on wines, breads, and cheeses, the Germans on sausages, Spaniards on bull-fighting, Arabs on camels and dates, Eskimos, notoriously on snow. Frequently where there is cultural focus, there is a translation problem due to the cultural gap or distance between the source and the target languages. Language does contain all kinds of cultural deposits, in the grammar (genders of inanimate nouns, take the example of couleur which is a feminine noun in French but masculine in Arabic Lawn), forms of address (like Sie, usted, Lie) as well as the lexis (the sun sets) which are not taken account of in universals either in consciousness or translation. What is worrying is that the translation of most of the general words (particularly morals and feelings) such as love, temper, right and wrong is usually harder than specific words. Most cultural terms are easy to detect, since they are associated with a particular language and cannot be literally translated. Peter Newmark (1988) states five categories of cultural words, they are ecology, Material culture (artifacts), social culture, organisations, customs and so on and gestures and habits.
1. 2. Ecology: Flora, fauna, plains, hills, Savanna, etc. Material culture (artifacts): a. Food: Zabaglione, cuscus , paella b. Cloths: anorak, kanga (Africa), c. Houses and towns: bourg, chalet, tower d. Transport: bike, cabriolet, calche Social culture: for instance, leisure: tarab, reggae, Organizations, customs, activities, procedures, concepts: a. Political and administrative: Knesset, b. Religious: dharma, karma, halal, Chariaa c. Artistic: Gestures and habits: spitting

3. 4.


1.2 The Relationship between Language and Culture

Language and culture cannot be separated from each other. According to Nida, since culture is defined succinctly as the totality of beliefs and practices of society, nothing is of greater strategic importance than the language through which its beliefs are expressed and transmitted and by which most interaction of its members takes place (Nida 1993: 105). Later Nida provided more about the relationship between language and culture. Culture makes constant use of language to perform its crucial functions of (1) 15

providing information about the processes and the values of a culture( education is mastering the information regarded as essential for being a part of a society), (2) directing the activity of a culture( traditionally described as the imperative function), (3) establishing and maintaining a positive emotional state for the participants within a culture ( the emotive function), (4) ritual alteration in the status of participants in a culture, for example, marriage vows, sentencing of criminals, religious ritual, interment of the dead ( the performative function), (5) interpersonal relations ( who speaks to whom about what and in what manner), (6) cognitive activity ( the most common use of language is in thinking, although some thoughts are not necessarily expressed in words), (7) recreative ( the use of language in games, for example, scrabble, crossword puzzles, word-guessing games on television,
verbal challenges involving poetry and song), and (8) aesthetics, the use of
Book Review. Issue 1 Title. Language and Culture Author. Claire Kramsch Subtitle. Oxford Introductions to Language Study. Series Ed: H.G. Widdowston Publisher. Oxford University Press first printed in 1998. Revised in 2006 ISBN13: 978 0 19 437214 5. US$ 24.95 ix+134pgs. Reviewed by Philippa Mungra University of Rome La Sapienza The complex relationship between language and culture is the topic of this slim volume. Like the other volumes of this series, Kramsch divides the text into a 4fold structure, common to the series: Survey, Readings, References and Glossary. The largest section is the Survey, divided into 7 chapters and this structure results in a readable, uncluttered map of the topic, unencumbered by citations and references aimed at stimulating thought and invite critical participation in the exploration of ideas(pg viii). The other sections of Readings, References and Glossary are distributed between page 85 to 132 and help focus the topics discussed and support the authors thesis by amplifying the readings with examples and are thus particularly useful for students or beginner linguists. In the first chapter, Kramsch delineates the term culture and explores the relationship between language and culture by indicating three verbs. These verbs are expresses, embodies and symbolises : that is, languages expresses, embodies and symbolises cultural realities. She sustains her argument by drawing reference to one poem by Emily Dickinson(1) which she considered a metaphoric stylised reference to the relationship between language, nature and culture: underlining a socialisation/acculturation role of language by its Community of Practitioners (CoP). She then draws the readers attention to the fact that the standards and norms of this CoP help create its culture both in the perception and in the reception of language, used in context. The author spends considerable space (4 pages) on this definition of culture, and describes the roles of practitioners within this community and thus delineates the hegemony and power relationships between them. The historic contributions of Heider, Von Humboldt, Boas, Sapir and Whorf are briefly described and the reader is directed to the Readings and References sections. Chapter 2 defines meaning as code by describing the pragmatic uses of code as in linguistic semeiotics. In this chapter, she draws a picture of how language embodies culture and in a particularly felicitious definition of culture, she holds that in any one language, linguistic signs may denote, connote or represent (iconicity) a semantic representation and this is embodied in code. Thus the semantic relation between code and its meaning is created and is not arbitrarysince it is guided by factors such as desire for recognition, influence and power as well as social and cultural survival. A native speaker views the relationship between code and its meaning or object as natural and is thus part of the culture. Such a defining role of sociocultural


conventions is particularly important in translation studies, given that translation deals with questions such as equivalence and context. The question of contextualisationin the Malinowskian senseis taken up in Chapter 3 and Kramsch draws our attention to the necessity of communicating
Journal of English as an International Language Vol. 1

meaning, taking care to define the pragmatic context: as in the example she gives: freedomfighters vs. guerrilla forces vs. rebels. The context of situation as frames or schemata and context of culture, the role of participants in communication actsboth in oral and written language are then examined briefly and the major schools of thought are briefly mentionedGrice Cooperative Principle and Pragmatic Coherence. Chapter 4 is devoted to oral communication and culture. After a brief excusus defining the features of orate language, she emphasises that there is a continuum between the orate and written medium and suggests that it is cultural and historical contingency that has given predominance to literacy over orality. She suggests that this is because technological development is tied to literacy and thus to power in literate societies. Nevertheless, power relationships are present in oral communication as in social deixis, positioning and codeswitching as well as frames in discourse, face and interactional behaviour. The literature culture is the title of Chapter 5 and here the author gives a historical perspective on the written word and its role in the development of culturefrom biblical exegesis to modernday texts such as legal documents or education testing standards. She claims that literacy is a social construct and is related to power within the CoP, which is the dominant culture of research and scholarship. Current practise is to view a written text as a stable finished product for the consumption of a hypothetical reader while at the same time, a written text may be considered as a highly inferential process of communication between the writer and reader. This communication view of a written teas as discourse results the creation of standards or norms for commonly used genres which become accepted by the CoP. Thus the CoP acts both as the creator as well as the guardians of culture and literacy presumes the ability to function within this CoP. Sociolinguistics is the topic of Chapter 6 and the authors thesis lies in her affirmation that language is the most sensitive relationship between the individual and his social groupit permeates his thinking, and is the battleground between the individual and his allegiances and loyalties. In a delightful passage, the author suggests that the same use of a given language can index both indenture and investment, both servitude and emancipation, both powerlessness and empowerment and that the linguistic semeiotic capital of humankind remain as rich as possible (pg 77). This plea for rich linguistic diversity is left hanging but an interesting issue of belonging is all too briefly raised in the last chapter on the Politics of Recognition. In this concluding chapter, Kramsch raises the issue of belonging linguistically speakingby addressing the twin issues of what is a native speaker, how far nativeness should go, the concept of cultural authenticity in a crosscultural, multicultural and intercultural milieu such as are now common in a modern urban societies. She indicates that linguistic debate in such urban societies must necessarily address cultural issues of the individual and his culture but she limits her issues to questions of cultural hegemony. There are many issues that she could have raised especially in terms of social recognition of I and you, about schooling issues such as teacher training, or the language of instruction, about codeswitching in class, about local and regional accents, about language use in international academic conferences and many other issues also related to varieties of


language or to world languages.

Journal of English as an International Language Vol. 1

Intercultural communication Objective: To make the students sensitive to cultural differences and the role of cultural factors in translation and more generally in international communication, and to equip them with conceptual tools for interpreting cultures. Indicative content: The relationship between language and culture: culture-specificity and its manifestations in texts; the translator's role as a "cultural mediator', translation problems caused by cultural differences, contrastive approaches (e.g., contrastive rhetorics), translations as a source of cultural influence.

3. Cultural Psychology in Language

Language is the most important symbolic system in culture and it expresses, embodies and symbolizes cultural reality. It contains all kinds of cultural deposits in the grammar, forms of address as well as texts. Language culture is strongly influenced by psychological culture, because the formation of language is closely related to peoples mentalities and thought patterns, and the use of language has a great deal to do with language-users brain and mind. Just as Humboldt wrote, the language of any group is directly connected to the worldview of the group; the difference in language is a difference in worldviews. (Dahl, 1998) Some German scholars like Johann Herder and Wilhelm von Humboldt put forward the idea that different people speak differently because they think differently and that they think differently because their language offers them different ways of expressing the world around them (hence the notion of linguistic relativity). Humboldt sees the function of a language and the words, which constitute it as a linguistic reflection of extralinguistic reality in a way characteristic of the speech community involved. Von Humboldt expressed his thoughts, which he voices many times in the observation that the difference between languages is not one of sounds and signs but rather a difference in the view of the world itself . (Wilss, 2001: 34-35) The spiritual traits and the structure of language of a people are so intimately blended that given either of two, one should be able to derive the other from it to the fullest extent. Language is the outward manifestation of the spirit of people: their language is their spirit and their spirit is their language, it is difficult to imagine any two things more identical. (Salzmann, 1993: 151) These statements show that von Humboldt consistently upheld the view that thought is dependent on language; he attributes a special worldview to every language. This notion was picked up again in the United States by the linguist Franz Boas, whose essential view was that linguistic categories reflect but do not dictate thought, that is, the conceptual ideas and thinking patterns characteristic of a culture, and hence linguistic data can be used to study these ideas and thinking patterns, and subsequently by Edward Sapir and his pupil Benjamin Lee Whorf in their studies of American Indian language. Whorfs views on the interdependence of language and thought have become known under the name of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which makes the claim that the structure of the language a people habitually use influences the manner in which the people think and behave because language filters their perception and the way they categorize experience. The hypothesis has been subject to fierce controversy since it was first formulated by Whorf in 1940. The strong version of Whorfs hypothesis that posits that language determines the way we think cannot be taken seriously or people would be prisoners of their native language, but the weak version, suggesting that language has a tendency to influence thought, and supported by the findings that there are cultural differences in the semantic associations evoked by seemingly common concepts, is generally accepted nowadays. The theoretical source of Shen Xiaolongs Cultural Linguistics can be traced back to the Western Anthropological Linguistics, Ethnolinguistics and Cultural Anthropology, which are mainly concerned with the relations between language and culture. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is one of the famous findings of this research. Shen has asserted that language, with the nature of the worldview and ontology, is both the meaning system and the value system of a nation and that language is the manifestation of the worldview of a nation. ( 1999: 83) Language like a colorful mirror reflects the characteristics, of a nations economy, politics, cultural psychology, etc., and is filtered with spirit of a nations culture. (1990: 36) The cultural psychology of a nation is deeply rooted in the nations language(1990: 19). All in all, language is an integral part of a nation and it permeates a nations thinking patterns and way of viewing the world.


Comparatively, Western cultural anthropologists emphasize that language determines culture while Shen emphasizes that culture determines language. However, both of them have disclosed the identity of a nations language and the deep structure of its culture. To illustrate the identity of language and cultural psychology conveniently, we adopt Su() and Zhuangs() views on language culture: The influence of culture on language is on lexical meaning and discourse structure. And therefore, the cultural factors in language are embodied in either lexis or discourse. (1999: 148) Lexis refers to both a single word and the word group, and the latter covers idioms, set phrases, etc. The close relationship between language and culture is most readily seen in words. Discourse means the conventional realization of speech act in a contextual situation. The choice of the topics such as weather, and such private matters as health, age, and income, the choice of language code such as dialects, discourse styles and the organization of discourse such as turns, cohesion, coherence, narrative method and order, all these are largely determined by the world view, pattern of thinking, and value system of a people. When the English and Chinese discourses are compared, differences in respect of terms of address, conversation taboo and adjacency pairs such as greeting, thanks and response, offer and response can be found. Meaning is the most captivating aspect of language. (Stillings et al., 1989: 389) Meaning is what language is all about. Everybody knows that words represent meaning; the problem is that they present several types of meaning simultaneously. Geoffery Leech, a world famous British linguist, categorizes seven types of meaning: conceptual meaning, connotative meaning, social meaning, affective meaning, reflected meaning, collocative meaning and thematic meaning. (Leech, 1985: 23) Reflected meaning and collective meaning, affective meaning and social meaning can all be brought together under the heading of Associative Meaning to explain communication on these levels. Association is the process of forming mental connections or bonds between sensations, ideas, or memories. () When an association has been formed, one member of the pair tends to remind an individual of its partner. Psychological research suggests that association between items is dependent, on the one hand, on the relation of the items to each other, on the other hand, on an individuals state of mind such as preference, interest, and feelings. (1980: 232) The cultural tradition especially cultural psychology of a nation, i.e. worldviews, values, thinking patterns, aesthetic standards and so on, plays a latent but important role in activation and direction of association. The differences of cultural psychology may result in different associations to the same items. In English, the horse is used often to refer to a person, such as a willing horse. Loud harsh laugh is called horse laugh; rough and noisy play is called horse play; and plain good sense is referred to as horse sense. In the Chinese language, there is no such allusion, but is often used to refer to a person: a hardworking person is called . Lu Xuns saying of is known to almost everybody in China. This is because the Chinese have been using in farming for thousands of years while the horse has been used to do most farming work in Britain. Privacy-regulation is concerned with identity expressiveness dimension and the information accessibility dimension. Personal privacy might not be as major a concern for people in collectivistic cultures as it is for people in individualistic cultures. So its necessary to know the different privacy regulations, otherwise, misunderstanding will arise in intercultural communication. Take the choice of the topics in greetings for example. It is quite natural for people to greet each other when they meet. English and Chinese speakers may greet others in different ways. There are some fixed expressions that are used almost exclusively to greet others in English, for example, How do you do?, How are you?, hello, Hi, Nice day, isnt it?, Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good evening. For Chinese people it is important to note that many greetings in Chinese cannot be carried over into English and used as greetings when they meet English speakers, such as (Have you eaten your meal), (where are you going), (Are you going to work), etc. If they are put into English and used as greetings to English speakers, misunderstanding may occur. English speakers tend to interpret them literally and may form the false concept that the Chinese people like to intrude into other peoples affairs. It is often said that English is a hypotactic language and Chinese a paratactic one. Nida has pointed out, for Chinese and English, perhaps one of the most important linguistic distinctions is the contrast between the hypotaxis and parataxis. (Nida, 1982: 16.) In English and in most Indo-European languages, a great many of thought connectors are often used to make meaning clearer. However, in Chinese, the paratactic tradition is deeply rooted. This linguistic contrast between English and Chinese has been related to legal traditions in Western countries and China. As is widely known, a long history of law making and abiding can be found in Western countries, and laws and regulations are deeply rooted in Western peoples mind. In China, law in feudal society had seldom, if ever, dominated social affairs. , , , etc. had frequently interfered with legal affairs. In such a situation simplicity had been important to the Chinese people. The contrast of the legal traditions of English speaking countries and China provides an explanation of the parataxis in Chinese and the hypotaxis in English. Another explanation is that the English speaking people are good at analytic thinking and thus understanding


the relationship between linguistic units better, while Chinese people who are inclined to think holistically may not like to indicate explicitly the logical relationship between word and word, phrase and phrase, clause and clause, and sentence and sentence.

The role of language within a culture and the influence of the cultural psychology on the meanings of words and the structures of discourses are so pervasive that scarcely any text can be adequately understood or effectively presented in a translating process without careful consideration of the factors of cultural psychology in it. -_______________________

1.4 The relation of language to culture

Language is extremely important to human interaction because it is how we reach out to make contact with our surroundings. If we were to survey a normal day, we would soon see that we use words for a wide variety of purposes. We may use langue when we first awake: Good morning! We use words as a way to unite with the outside world. Or we may use words to share an unpleasant experience and to get support from others: Let me tell you about the horrible dream I had last night. This example also demonstrates how we employ words to relate to the past, that is, to talk about something that has already happened. Claire Kramsch (2000) said: Language is the principal means whereby we conduct our lives. When it is used in contexts of communication, it is bound up with culture in multiple and complex ways. Supposing that culture is an active creation in the whole human beings history, we should have the right to say that language is the most important creation since the advent of human beings. Language not only distinguishes man from the other creatures but also makes him the wisest of all creatures. As a part of cultural whole, language itself is a tool or carrier that carries and transmits other cultural forms, influencing them and at the same time influenced by the cultural whole. Like human society, human languages seem to be partly natural, partly conventional. As there are certain political principles, such as natural justice common to all human societies despite the diversity of their customs and institutions, all conventional languages have certain common characteristics of structure which indicate their natural basis in the physical and mental constitution of man. As we all know, language is a cultural mirror that reflects the culture. Language, culture and society are not separated. In each stage of cultural development, language, completely and coordinately reflects the given culture which is a reflection of politics and economics of a certain 20

society, and which is fixed and handed down, becoming a carrier that belongs to its own national culture and knowledge. Modern anthropologists claim that culture is the basis of living and development of human beings. As a matter of fact, society is a complicated cultural system of numerous elements and language is only one element of all. Professor Xing Fuyi protests in the preface of his book Cultural Linguistics (2000):

Language is the symbol of culture, but culture is the channel and orbit of language; just like a mirror or a picture album, different national languages reflect and record the special cultural styles and features of different nations; just like a channel and an orbit, the special cultures of different nations, to some extent, exercises their restraints upon the development of language in different nations. (preface, the first page)

From this, we can see that study on culture would not be complete without the mention of the relationship between language and culture. As a principal means for people to conduct their social lives, language is an important part of culture. It records the history of human civilization and social progress. Without language this would not be possible. Nida ever put forward such an opinion:

Language is a part of culture, and in fact, it is the most complex set of habits that any culture exhibits. Language reflects the culture, provides access to the culture, and in many respects constitutes a model of the culture. (quoted, in Schaeffer & Kelly-Holmes, 1995:1)

This special issue of Ethnologies explores the interrelated themes of language and culture, and particularly how language and culture contribute to self-definition in local, regional, national and global contexts. The contributors approach these themes from the perspectives of ethnomusicology, Canadian studies, cultural anthropology, and linguistics. Their topical foci range from Celtic, Mtis and Iroquoian music, to minority language issues affecting French and Ukrainian Canadians in Alberta and Muslims in Northern Ireland, the feminization of job titles in Qubec and France, and language ideologies among Muinane of the Colombian Amazon. The authors use ethnographic, ethnohistorical and archival methods to obtain their data, and exegetical analysis of key texts and cultural performances to derive insights into patterns of language use and identity formation. They contextualize these patterns within particular communities, make comparisons with other communities and use theoretical frameworks which are broadly sociolinguistic and postmodern. A recent review article by Duranti (2003) identifies three paradigms in scholarship pertaining to the relationship of language and culture. The first associated primarily with Boas (1911, 1942), Sapir (1924, 1949) and Whorf (1956) has roots stretching back at least to German Idealism and Romanticism (Chomsky 1966) and focuses on the relationship between grammar and worldview. The second grows from


the work of Gumperz and Hymes (1964) on the ethnography of communication and emphasizes pragmatic aspects of language use. The third and most eclectic paradigm explores the role of language in identity formation. Butlers (1990) work on performativity, Woolard and Schieffelins (1994) study of language ideology, and Trechter and Bucholtzs (2001) analysis of hegemony and race are all examples of the third paradigm. The contributors to this volume nearly all fall within the eclectic third paradigm. However, as Duranti remarks, paradigms do not die and researchers have had no difficulty moving back and forth from one paradigm to another (2003: 333-334). Indeed, by its very nature, the third paradigm transcends the boundaries between grammar and pragmatics that are implicit in the other two paradigms. Thus, it is no surprise that the following articles are ultimately a mix of all three paradigms, seeking what Spitulnik characterizes as a breakthrough into a different kind of relationship (2003: 339). This relationship between language and culture is integrative, local and counter-hegemonic, yet embedded in an increasingly global discourse. Two of the contributors to this issue have explored the issue of francophone minorities
Language and Culture There are many ways in which the phenomena of language and culture are intimately related. Both phenomena are unique to humans and have therefore been the subject of a great deal of anthropological, sociological, and even memetic study. Language, of course, is determined by culture, though the extent to which this is true is now under debate. The converse is also true to some degree: culture is determined by language - or rather, by the replicators that created both, memes. Early anthropologists, following the theory that words determine thought, believed that language and its structure were entirely dependent on the cultural context in which they existed. This was a logical extension of what is termed the Standard Social Science Model, which views the human mind as an indefinitely malleable structure capable of absorbing any sort of culture without constraints from genetic or neurological factors. In this vein, anthropologist Verne Ray conducted a study in the 1950's, giving color samples to different American Indian tribes and asking them to give the names of the colors. He concluded that the spectrum we see as "green", "yellow", etc. was an entirely arbitrary division, and each culture divided the spectrum separately. According to this hypothesis, the divisions seen between colors are a consequence of the language we learn, and do not correspond to divisions in the natural world. A similar hypothesis is upheld in the extremely popular meme of Eskimo words for snow - common stories vary from fifty to upwards of two hundred. Extreme cultural relativism of this type has now been clearly refuted. Eskimos use at most twelve different words for snow, which is not many more than English speakers and should be expected since they exist in a cold climate. The color-relativity hypothesis has now been completely debunked by more careful, thorough, and systematic studies which show a remarkable similarity between the ways in which different cultures divide the spectrum. Of course, there are ways in which culture really does determine language, or at least certain facets thereof. Obviously, the ancient Romans did not have words for radios, televisions, or computers because these items were simply not part of their cultural context. In the same vein, uncivilized tribes living in


Europe in the time of the Romans did not have words for tribunes, praetors, or any other trapping of Roman government because Roman law was not part of their culture. Our culture does, sometimes, restrict what we can think about efficiently in our own language. For example, some languages have only three color terms equivalent to black, white, and red; a native speaker of this language would have a difficult time expressing the concept of "purple" efficiently. Some languages are also more expressive about certain topics. For example, it is commonly acknowledged that Yiddish is a linguistic champion, with an amazing number of words referring to the simpleminded. (The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, p.260.) Culture and Language - United by Memes According to the memetic theorist Susan Blackmore, language developed as a result of memetic evolution and is an example of memes providing a selection pressure on genes themselves. (For more on Blackmore's theory visit The Evolution of Language.) The definition of a culture in memetic theory is an aggregate of many different meme sets or memeplexes shared by the majority of a population. Using memetic reasoning, it can be seen that language - itself created by memes and for memes - is the principal medium used for spreading memes from one person to another. As Blackmore states in The Meme Machine, memes were born when humans began to imitate each other. According to her theory, this event preceded - indeed, had to precede - the development of language. When imitation became widespread, producing selection pressure on genes for successful imitation, memes began to exploit verbalizations for better and more frequent transmission. The end result of this complex process was language, and the anatomical alterations needed for its successful use. Language, created by memes as a mechanism for ensuring better memetic propagation, has certainly been a success. Today, the vast majority of memes are transmitted via language, through direct speech, written communication, radio or television, and the internet. Relatively few memes are transmitted in a non-linguistic way, and those that are have very specific, localized purposes, such as artwork and photography. Even these media, though nonlinguistic in themselves, assume language and very rarely appear without some sort of linguistic commentary. This might take the form of a critical analysis of an artwork, a caption for a photograph, a voice-over for a video, etc. Language as Part of Culture For many people, language is not just the medium of culture but also is a part of culture. It is quite common for immigrants to a new country to retain their old customs and to speak their first language amid fellow immigrants, even if all present are comfortable in their new language. This occurs because the immigrants are eager to preserve their own heritage, which includes not only customs and traditions but also language. This is also seen in many Jewish communities, especially in older members: Yiddish is commonly spoken because it is seen as a part of Jewish culture.

Linguistic differences are also often seen as the mark of another culture, and they very commonly create divisiveness among neighboring peoples or even among different groups of the same nation. A good example of this is in Canada, where French-speaking natives of Quebec clash with the


English-speaking majority. This sort of conflict is also common in areas with a great deal of tribal warfare. It is even becoming an issue in America as speakers of standard American English - mainly whites and educated minorities - observe the growing number of speakers of black English vernacular. Debates are common over whether it is proper to use "Ebonics" in schools, while its speakers continue to assert that the dialect is a fundamental part of the "black culture".

The Influence of a Language and its Culture: A Theoretical Perspective Dr. Mohammed S. Al-Odadi Faculty of Languages And Translation: King Khalid University

INTRODUCTION Every people see their language and culture as unique, even, on some occasions, superior to others. On that basis, children are always taught and constantly reminded of their cultural uniqueness. Edward Said (1993) states that "you read Dante and Shakespeare in order to keep up with the best that was thought and known, and also to see your people, society, and tradition in their best lights. In time, culture comes to be associated, often aggressively, with the nation or the state; this differentiates 'us' from 'them,' almost always with some degree of xenophobia. Culture in this sense is a source of identity, and a rather combative one at that, as we see in recent 'returns' to culture and tradition. These 'returns' accompany rigorous codes of intellectual and moral behavior that are opposed to the permissiveness associated with such relatively liberal philosophies as multiculturalism and hybridity. In the formerly colonized world, these 'returns' have produced varieties of religious and nationalistic fundamentalism (p. xiii). Edward Said sees culture to be as a "sort of theater where various political and ideological causes engage one another, making it apparent that, for instance, American, French or Indian students who are taught to read their national classics before they read others are expected to appreciate and belong loyally, often uncritically, to their Nations and traditions while denigrating or fighting against others." These remarks by Said imply the inter-connectedness of language and culture. But the question remains on the nature of that relationship, i.e. language and culture, which comes first?

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE The interest in the relationship between language and culture has intrigued, among others, linguists, anthropologists, literary and social critics, throughout the ages. Benjamin Whorf's hypothesis (1956) that language determines thought, has been one of the most provocative and controversial. One reason for its controversy is the belief among some scholars who see it the other way around; i.e. language is just a garment of thought. This argument is based on the assumption that 24

since communication is the main function of language, then thought has already been determined by the time an idea is expressed (Schlesinger, 1991:8). Schlesinger attributes such thinking to Aristotle for whom, quoting McKeon (1968:40), "spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbol of spoken words the mental experiences, which these directly symbolize, are the same for all" Schlesinger adds, by paraphrasing R.L. Brown (1967:54), "[t]his conception of language was regarded to be the creation of reason; its only function was held to be expression of thought and its communication." Schlesinger, however, uses Descartes as an example of the Enlightenment period thinkers who are frequently associated with the idea of a "Universal Language" (cf. Chomsky's Universal Grammar), and who are at the opposite of the spectrum with Plato, who saw language and thought as one and the same; "Are not thought and speech the same, with this exception that is called thought is the unuttered conversation of the soul? (p.9). But in another study, Putz (1992) thinks of Plato as a proponent of the first thesis; that is, language is the garment of thought. Putz (1992:xi) states that Chomsky, in his universalist assumption that all languages of the world share a common deep syntactic structure, "follows the rationalist tradition of Plato and Descartes in viewing language as a vehicle for the expression of thought." Geddes and Grosset (2002:12-13) straightforwardly states that:

"Language cannot create thought, but must be created by thought. Thus the first expression of articulate thought must have been through symbols rather than words, for obviously before attempting speech, man must have perceived objects, and their meaning, use and similarity must have established themselves in his consciousness. Spoken words evolved as expressions of symbols. In this capacity they have remained somewhat incomplete, for they merely express ideas and do not originate them."

This unsettling issue takes us further to groups of scholars who add another reason for the controversy over Whorf's theory. These scholars and philosophers include Plato, who see language and thought as the same, as mentioned earlier. This argument has many renowned advocates. Also in Schlesinger (1991:9), he mentions such luminaries as Wilhelm von Humboldt who sees language as the "thought forming organ", and John Locke "who conceived of language as the determining factor" in affecting culture (p.12). Herder and his teacher, Johann Georg Hamann, are also quoted to have said that "we think in language" and words are "moulds in which we see our thoughts" (p.13). Ferdinand de Saussure (1959:111-12; first published posthumously in 1915) also believes in language "as organized thought coupled with sounds." He states:

[p]sychologically our thoughtapart from its expression in wordsis only a shapeless and indistinct mass. Philosophers and linguists have always agreed in recognizing that without the help of signs we would be unable to make a clear-cut, consistent distinction 25

between two ideas. Without language, thought is a vague, uncharted nebula. There are preexisting ideas, and nothing is distinct before their appearance.

In a broader sense, language and culture can also be seen from a different angle. Also according to Schlesinger (1991:13):

There is a parallel between the thoughts of a nation and its language. Culture is transmitted from father to son through language. With the words of his language the infant picks up also the emotional flavor given to them by his parents. Thus language becomes the "collective treasure" of a nation.

These two "dualistic" views of the relationship between language and thought (and therefore language and culture), that thinking precedes the production of language, according to the Enlightenment view and other rationalities, or that thinking is in language, as claimed by the "nominalist" and "identity" theses, have other brands of philosophical views that might even have nothing to do with language; that is, neglecting any affinity between language and thinking (Shlesinger 1991:10).

CULTURE AND LITERACY Each of these theories, needless to say, has its arguments based on many notions relating to both language and mind/culture. However, the notion of literacy seems particularly important to this paper since we are all here in a learning institution, but more importantly because of the central role literacy plays in shaping and expanding culture. In recent studies of linguistics, anthropology, and cognitive psychology, there have been attempts to distinguish between the intellectual abilities of people in traditional society, where literacy is low, and the literate society where the level of literacy is much higher (Fawley, 1987). Based on Levi-Strauss (1962), Fawley (1987:34) states that by:

"[c]omparing oral (savage) cultures with literate (sophisticated) cultures, Levi-Strauss set up a taxonomy of differences to characterize the cognitive and social organizations of the two. Levi-Strauss argued that a literate culture is hot, while an oral culture is cold. That is, literate peoples are active and open to the acquisition of new information while oral people tend to maintain the status quo and live in a stable society. Literates, further, tend to develop abstraction, scientific thought, and scientific knowledge (whatever they are!), in contrast to oral peoples, who tend cognize according to the concrete and who provide explanations in terms of mythical knowledge instead of science." As a result, "[c]cultured peoples tend to fragment organizationally to the extent that information and abilities are 26

relegated to the activities of specialists trained in those activities.... In contrast, savage peoples tend to maintain one source of high-level information in the culture, situated in the jack-of-all-trades... who functions as sort of an epistemological handyman, answering all questions and entrusted with the knowledge resources of the culture. Furthermore, cultured peoples tend to have a sense of history, or removal of the past from the present, established by the culture, thus rendering the past as objective and removed from the moment of speaking. Savage peoples, however, have no sense of the past as something removed from them-- they are atemporal-- since their tradition of oral knowledge does not allow for the past as phenomenal and distanced; thus, savage see their ancestors as co-existing with the living, as unremoved: the present is infused with the past.

Also in the same source, based on a work by Horton and Finnegan (1973):

"... literate peoples tend to: develop open systems of social organization, characterized by an ability to deal with, and create, alternatives; not to be deluded by the magical power of words; to be reflective and have ideas about ideas; to form depersonalized knowledge; to be willing to revamp and reorganize cultural categories; and to allow (indeed, encourage) the passage of time. In contrast, savage-- hence, oral-- peoples tend: to develop closed systems of social organization, marked by an absence of alternatives; to focus on the magical power of words; to have cognition which is not only unreflective but also bound to occasions (rather than ideas); and to maintain cultural categories to the extent of annulling the passage of time" (pp. 34-35).

The higher the level of literacy, moreover, in a culture the more sophisticated it becomes. The spread of literacy contributes to the diminishing of orality and the limited outlook to life and the world, bringing abundant new realities to the culture and its language.

FURTHER COMPARATIVE COMMENTS Needless to say, English, precisely American English, has been the lingua franca of the world for the last few decades and seems to remain so for the foreseeable future. This influence of American English has been unprecedented in its scope; it has virtually affected all major languages of the world, with thousands of terminology and everyday words injected in those languages. Even British English has been heavily influenced by American English. Many of the new loan words from English into other languages was a direct result of new ideas and materialistic itemscultural elements--that were borrowed from the United States along with their linguistic connotations, from new terms in banking, manufacturing, the world of academe, computation, to hamburger, jeans, coca cola, etc., etc. 27

This is not new in itself, dominant countries (cultures) always affect other less dominant ones, but it is the level of this influence that has made oligarchs in most countries spin in disbelief. The dynamic nature of the American culture is one major reason for its success, first at home, and that, in turn, has made many aspects of its culture automatically spread throughout the world despite objections by elitists in the receptive cultures who see that as a threat to their power, but the appeal of those cultural elements to the masses makes it impossible to stop. This is only natural and has been the case for all dominant cultures throughout history including the Arab/Islamic culture centuries ago. Ibn Khaldun in his muqaddimah, asserts that any given culture and language's "triumph" is the direct result of "its people's triumph" and whatever position that language and culture take among other cultures and languages is "the reflection of that culture's nation among all nations" (Almissadi, 2004). Language cannot rise by itself nor can culture. They both rise and wane hand in hand. In the case of Arabic and its culture, it reached monumental levels in its influence and has spread across three continents in less than one hundred years. One reason for that is the fact those Arab leaders never looked backdwelling on the pastwhen they marched to conquer a massive land stretching from India in the east to Spain in the west, and consequently, Arabic flourished to become a vibrant language that was able to absorb what other languages had to offer, and in due course, became one of the most influential languages ever. By the same token, the weakened status of Arabic and its culture at the present time is a reflection of its inability to make serious progress and to be confident enough to open up and change from within instead of staying idly romanticizing about the glories of the past. The Palestinian-American belletrist, Fawaz Turki (1996:73-74) states:

language is more than a mere currency of everyday exchange; there is organic, vital reciprocity between those who speak a language and felt reality. In fact, among

linguists, it is axiomatic that culture and language are one and the same. A society that is characterized by a deadness of spirit and relentless repression, such as Arab society is today, cannot speak a dynamic, zestful language, a language awash in energy and glitter. A repressive society will cripple its own language, it will cheapen and demean ideas, and encase the noblest of meaning in a morass of romantic verbiage. How, one may ask, could words like state, democracy, elections, mother, battles, regain a sane meaning after their debasement in the hands of cheap politicians and political commentators? Since the Arab countries gained "independence"another telling wordArabic has done nothing but progressively dissociate itself from the exactions of clarity of meaning and sane thought. I say that Formal Arabic, like the culture in which it is semantically embodied, is severed from well-defined roots of ethical lifeossified, trivialized, and corruptedreflecting the decline in the body politic, the dissolution of moral values, and the retreat from exuberant free thought. When a culture sharply 28

diminishes the compass within which discourse is expressed, it diminishes language itself, reducing it to illiterate gibberish and pretentious trivia. Somewhere along the line, the relationship between reality and thought, world and word, becomes unhinged. In this unhinged world, when we seek our reflection in language, the mirror is cracked, the image is blurred.

CONCLUSION Notwithstanding the everlasting questions of which comes first, language or culture, and which one has more influence on the other, all indications point to a very strong bond between the two regardless of how that is shaped. The simplistic approach to linguistic analysis in which language is treated based on its tangible phonological, syntactic, and semantic elements has been in recent years replaced by a deeper inquiry beyond the surface structure and into its functions, which entails many non-linguistic elements that have cultural ethos to them. The destiny of a given language and its culture to greatness or otherwise is derived mainly from the interactions between the numerous elements that make up that culture and its language. The more dynamic a culture/language are the more they will be able to interact confidentally with other cultures and languages of the world and, as an outcome, the more it can leave an impact on the global scene. RESOURCES

Almissaddi, Abdessalam. ( The Arabs and their language). Riyadh: Al-Riyadh newspaper, 25.11.2004, p.24. Fawley, W. 1987. Text and epistemology. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Geddes & Grosset. 2002. Dictionary of dreams. ML: David Dale House. Putz, M. (ed.). 1992. Thirty years of linguistic evolution: Studies in honor of Rene Dirven on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Said, Edward. 1993. Culture and imperialism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Saussure, F. 1959. Course in general linguistics. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Schlesinger, I. M. 1991. The wax and wane of Whorfian views. In Cooper, R. L., and Spolsky, B. (eds.). The influence of language on culture and thought. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Turki, Fawaz. 1994. Exile's return: The making of a Palestinian American. New York: Free Press. Whorf, B. L. 1956. Language, thought and reality, ed. By L. Carroll. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


1. Translation, Globalisation and Localisation Chapter 8 When a Turning Occurs: Counterevidence to Polysystem Hypothesis WANG DONGFENG Theorists of translation studies believe that translation is in practice a cultural activity, or to be exact, an intercultural transaction. In this light, translation can be viewed as putting what is represented in one language/ cultural system into another language/cultural system. Unlike the structuralist notion that only emphasises the role of language, this point of view foregrounds the function of both language and culture, and spotlights the cultural infl uence upon translation. The underlying assumption is that translation is an activity controlled in one way or another by culture, which can be felt not only in the selection of texts to be translated, but also in the selection of translation strategies. The latter directly acts on the confi guration of stylistic pattern in translation. Even-Zohars polysystem hypothesis suggests that the position of the target culture that is weaker or stronger than the source culture may infl uence the translators choice of translation strategies, which is usually dichotomised as target-oriented and source-oriented, or in Venutis terms, domesticating and foreignisating. Even-Zohar believes that when a translator from a strong culture translates a text from a weak culture, his or her strategy tends to be domestication-oriented; if otherwise, foreignisation-oriented. Although this notion fi nds convincing evidence in Israel and, according to Lawrence Venuti, in the 20th century in the United States, it meets counter-evidence during a certain period in China, when the two strategies co-existed, if not co-tolerated. 2. LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION A CROSS-CULTURAL ENCYCLOPEDIA Michael Shaw Findlay ABC-CLIO Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado During the first half of the twentieth century a significant number of cultural anthropologists ventured out to study a wide variety of the world's indigenous societies. As these anthropologists began to describe the lifeways of these primarily non-Western (nonEuropean) indigenous peoples, they soon realized that comprehending the cultural logic (the knowledge and rules governing cultural behavior) of a given group of people involved learning the indigenous language. Moreover, these anthropologists recognized that language seemed to be the primary vehicle by which culture is learned. As cultural anthropology as a discipline has developed through the years, most anthropologists 30

who do fieldwork (ethnographers) have asked important questions regarding the nature of the relationship between language and culture. The relationship between language and culture is complex and, as the numerous and vociferous debates on the subject attest, not well understood. Perhaps the strongest statement favoring the view of a close relationship between language and culture is the SapirWhorf hypothesis. The name of this hypothesis is taken from the names of two famous linguists: Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf. In its most basic form the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the assumption that the language a person learns actually structures and organizes how that person views or perceives the world. Thus, culture (what a person has learned) is encoded (symbolically organized) into language; as a person acquires knowledge of a language, he or she also develops a particular view of reality. Testing this hypothesis has proved difficult. In their attempts to uncover the relationships among language, culture, and perception, some linguistic anthropologists have focused on differences in the ways phonology (the sound systems of languages), word choice, and grammar are organized in different language systems. It was assumed that differences in language structure would influence differences in how people tend to see the world (comparing languages and worldview). For example, linguists have noted that bilingual speakers sometimes shift back and forth from one language to another (code switching) to select language elements that most closely express their thoughts. Other studies have focused on grammar and word choice. In 1958 the linguists John Carroll and Joseph Casagrande attempted to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis by comparing two populations of Navajo speakers. Their test was concentrated on dominant Navajo speakers who also spoke English as a second language, and English-speaking Navajos whose second language was Navajo. Speakers from each of the populations were asked to construct sentences selecting verbs that attach to the objects 31

blue rope and yellow rope. Other objects, such as blue sticks, were included in the sample to control for both shape and color. Carroll and Casagrande concluded that primary Navajo speakers selected verbs for handling (Navajo terms for picking up, grasping, holding, and so forth) on the basis of the shape (the physical form) of the noun/objects. In other words, certain verbs were selected by the speakers on the basis of languagespecific grammatical rules founded on verb association with classifications of 109 LANG! AGK AM) Cn/lVR nouns according to shape. The Englishdominant Navajo children tended to select verbs for the handling of the same objects according to color criteria. Carroll and Casagrande argued that the differences in grammatical rules and word choice between the two forms of Navajo (that is, the selection of a verb based on either the shape or the color of the object to be handled) predisposed speakers of these two populations to view aspects of the objects differently. The dominant Navajo speakers focused on shape as the most important feature of the objects. The dominant English speakers, although they were using Navajo for the test, focused on color as the most salient feature of the objects. Critics of this test have suggested that differences in perception resulting from differences in language structure have not been proved to exist. Instead, the experiment demonstrates how, when constructing sentences, speakers use slightly different versions of the same language to select for somewhat different grammatical rules; members of both populations still see the objects in the same fundamental way. Therefore, if the critics are correct, language does not predispose speakers to see the objects differently; they all see the objects in much the same way. Not being able to prove scientifically with absolute certainty the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has not, however, dissuaded linguistic anthropologists from describing the important relationship between language and culture. The linguistic anthropologist 32

Nancy Hickerson has suggested that, contrary to the central assumption contained in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (that language determines perceptual views of reality), language merely reflects or mirrors a society's cultural patterns. Hickerson calls this idea cultural emphasis. Cultural emphasis refers to identifiable recurring patterns in language that reflect ongoing important cultural themes. For example, using cultural data collected years earlier by E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Hickerson notes how the Nuer pastoralists (cattle herders) of the Sudan, Africa, use cattle terms across a wide spectrum of social circumstances. Cattle terms (attributes of cattle) are given to young males who have passed through their rites to adulthood. Cattle terms are also used for particular forms of address. Moreover, cattle terms are often used as metaphors for describing a person's character, status, and wealth (measured in the number of cattle he owns). In the Englishspeaking world we might hear the metaphoric phrase "Time is money." Nuer speakers might say, "Don't waste time on another man's cattle," referring to a futile action. Thus, from Hickerson's perspective language reflects the overall cultural pattern for a group of people; language does not necessarily predispose people to see the world in a particular way. Researchers interested in language and culture have also focused much of their research on describing patterns of language socialization. Language socialization refers to the process by which a person learns the cultural rules for using language as a form of social interaction. The anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath has described the language socializataion for several different working-class communities of the Carolinas, on the southeast coast of the United States. One of the communities, composed of African Americans, had subtle ways of socializing the young to the usage of competitive verbal duels. These verbal duels represent a cultural form of verbal play in which speakers try to outdo one another through constructing clever insults. Generating quick and effective 33

metaphors and analogies are all part of the word game. Speakers who could "turn" a clever insult gained in their overall status position within the group. The development of language culture studies (conducted primarily in linguistic anthropology) has spawned new disciplines, one of which is intercultural communication. The central focus in intercultural communication studies is on describing, analyzing, and applying an understanding of how culture influences communication when people from fundamentally different cultures attempt to communicate. Intercultural communication specialists have observed that all people bring their culture to communicative events. For instance, when Japanese business personnel communicate with one another, strict formalities of address are adhered to (such as formal greetings, showing respect for age or seniority, and so forth). Americans engaged in business favor informality in their dealings with one another. Often, when American businesses attempt to conduct negotiations with Japanese business firms, communication (even when one language is being used) can be difficult. Americans tend to work quickly ("getting to the bottom line") and informally (for example, attempting to speak with their Japanese counterparts on a first-name basis). Japanese executives try to maintain a posture of formality and seriousness. These executives also tend to work slowly and methodically and do not make decisions in haste. Intercultural communication specialists often find ways to facilitate better communications in situations like this. Therefore intercultural communication is a field that lends itself to consulting (advising various parties of potential cultural barriers to communication). See also INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION. Carroll, John B., and Joseph B. Casagrande. (1958) "The Function of Language Classifications in Behavior." In Readings in Social Psychology, edited by Eleanor E. Maccoby, Theodore M. Newcomb, and Eugene L. Hartley, 18-31. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1968) The Nuer. 34

Heath, Shirley Brice. (1993) Ways with Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms. Hickerson, Nancy Parrott. (1980) Linguistic Anthropology. Samovar, Larry A., and Richard E. Porter, eds. (1991) Intercultural Communication: A Reader, 6th ed. Sapir, Edward. (1931) Conceptual Categories in Primitive Languages. Van Zandt, Howard F (1970) "How to Negotiate in Japan." Harvard Business Review 48(6): 45-56. Whorf, Benjamin L. (1952) Collected Papers 3. Bassnett Translation studies LANGUAGE AND CULTURE The first step towards an examination of the processes of translation must be to accept that although translation has a central core of linguistic activity, it belongs most properly to semiotics, the science that studies sign systems or structures, sign processes and sign functions (Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics, London 1977). Beyond the notion stressed by the narrowly linguistic approach, that translation involves the transfer of meaning contained in one set of language signs into another set of language signs through competent use of the dictionary and grammar, the process involves a whole set of extra-linguistic criteria also. Edward Sapir claims that language is a guide to social reality and that human beings are at the mercy of the language that has become the medium of expression for their society. Experience, he asserts, is largely determined by the language habits of the community, and each separate structure represents a separate reality: No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.1 Sapirs thesis, endorsed later by Benjamin Lee Whorf, is related to the more recent view advanced by the Soviet semiotician, Jur Lotman, that language is a modelling system. Lotman describes literature and art in general as secondary modelling systems, as an indication of the fact that they are derived from the primary modelling system of language, and declares as firmly as Sapir or Whorf that No language can exist unless it is steeped in the context of culture; and no culture can exist which does not have at its center, the structure of natural language.2 Language, then, is the heart within the body of culture, and it is the interaction between the two that results in the continuation of life-energy. In the same way that the surgeon, operating on the heart, cannot neglect the body that surrounds it, so the translator treats the text in isolation from the culture at his peril._______________________________________ 4. Ways of Cultural Understanding and Translation The notion of culture, that is national traditions, behavior, thinking and 35

varying world views among different peoples of the world, are a major focus of linguists in the US, Europe and Russia, who study cultural specifics of languages and communication. Translation studies of today are also culturally oriented, and many translators and scholars consider culture-bound issues to be much more problematic than lexical or syntactic difficulties. As a system of congruent and interrelated beliefs, values, strategies and cognitive environments which guide the shared basis of behavior, culture happens to be the greatest barrier to translation success, because even if people speak one language their lack of common cultural background causes the communication to fail. This is why values, for both translators and interpreters, will change. No longer will the focus be, exclusively on language and text (whether source or target), but rather on increasing cultural awareness, which leads to effective dialogue and mutual understanding, ultimately resulting in trust. Questions regarding whether or not translations can account for culture, or to what extent culture is relevant, are very much at the center of the debate. The two extreme prevailing views are that either everything can be translated without loss and that nothing can be translated without loss. These viewpoints are, in fact, both correct, and can be sensibly discussed by viewing the issue of linguisticcultural barrier. The famous quote from Edward T. Hall and Mildred Reed Hall runs as follows: the single greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture. As both national language and national culture are a manifestation of a specific national mentality, getting over the language barrier is not the only thing to focus on. Overcoming the cultural barrier is equally or even more significant. Halls quote as applied to translation studies, in this case may be expressed like this greatest barrier to translation success is the one erected by both language and culture. Sapir (1929:214), like Malinovsky, was convinced that language could only be interpreted within a culture, suggesting that no two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels. David Katan (1999:74) accepts this idea stating that the organization of experience is not reality, but is a simplification and distortion which changes from culture to culture. Each culture acts as a frame within which external signs of reality are interpreted. Culture is not only a set of norms, beliefs, and values of the target language but also a context in which the target language operates. The language is inevitably tied to peoples culture, i.e. to the perceptual world that people live in and the practices that they engage in. Language evokes activities and it is only in those activities that language-use possesses its sense. The speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life. The main constituents of the linguistic-cultural barrier are differences in the systems of languages (grammar structures and lexis - cultural realia, cultural connotations, idioms), and differences in language usage. These two points are the manifestation of differences at a visible level. What does not manifest are the more important yet invisible elements of what actually make up a culture. As Kramsch (1993:227) says, it is a fallacy to believe that because Russians now drink Pepsi-cola, Pepsi means the same for them as for Americans. This is the level of underlying core values, habitual patterns of thought, and certain prevalent assumptions about human nature and society, which the cultural mediator should be prepared to encounter. Let us view, first of all, differences on the level of the systems of languages including grammar and lexis. Grammar creates the potential within which we act and enact our cultural 36

being. This potential is at once both enabling and constraining: that is, grammar makes meaning possible and also sets limits on what can be meant (Halliday 1992:65). The situation with presenting oneself in the English and the Russian languages is one of the examples of the limitations and possibilities of grammar. It is clearly seen in the use of pronouns which is generally a clear index pointing to a referent. In the English language culturally determined striving for privacy and singleness is presented with the pronoun I. In the Russian language there is a striving for the collective way of description (we, all, both). - Where should I meet you tonight? In Russian might be Where should we meet tonight) , Everybody is busy might be All are busy. Instead of the singular being emphasized in Russian the collective would be emphasized. Instead of saying Peter and I went to the cinema Russians would say We with Peter went to the cinema, instead of saying everyone/everybody has left, Russians would say All (people) have left. In Russian scientific articles an author will never refer to himself as I, he will refer to himself as we. It can be explained by the Russain value of being very modest and never arrogant. In English We, the royal we, refers to Queen Victoria as in the famous phrase We are not amused. Americans and Russians also vary in their perception of the environment. Americans feel that they can control the environment, and are in charge of their own destiny. Alternatively, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Russians with their spirit of fatalism feel that the environment (including supernatural forces, destiny, luck) has a measure of control over them. Americans in their language tend to bear responsibility for everything that happens in and around them. Such American phrases as the buck stops here, Dont just stand there, do something! and Where there is a will, there is a way are a prime example of a control orientation. It results in grammar structures with a wide usage of direct active constructions that use pronoun I and modal verbs expressing direct wish and attitude (Im thirsty, Im sleepy, Ive broken the cup, I can, I want). Russians, on the contrary, tend to use impersonal structures with no subject; they use it as if everything that happens around them, happens without their direct participation, as if everything is predestined ( , , ). Anna Wierzbicka (1992:31-116) notes the fundamental importance of 3 Russian values: dusha/soul, sudba/destiny, and toska/yearning/a painful feeling/nostalgia. These three concepts permeate Russian conversation, language and literature. The range of meaning is wider and the effect of these words deeper than in English because they are core values. As with all values, the translator has to be extremely aware that the values are directly and inexorably connected to identity. Russians tend to use a great number of negative and imperative constructions, which have always been numerous in the language but dramatically increased in the Soviet times. At that period there appeared much bureaucratic slang used to maintain the totalitarian system of behavioral patterns which restricted people to stimulation and punishment. Lynn Visson (2005:53) in her book Where Russians Go Wrong in Spoken English points out that in the 1960s and 70s Europeans and Americans viewed a Russian as a caricature saying no and impossible to everything. Even the Foreign minister of the USSR Andrey Gromiko was called Mr. NO behind his back, because he made his international speeches using a great number of no, impossible, you mustnt, you shouldnt phrases. Although the Soviet era is gone many Americans because of their linguistic positive thinking and wide usage of thank you, please, excuse me might interpret many Russian language habits as rude and inappropriate. Even polite questions in Russian are asked in a negative way. In English the same questions would be phrased in a positive manner. Excuse me, do you have a pen?/Might I borrow a pen? in Russian would sound 37

like Do you not have a pen? English and Russian have different means of word-formation. In the Russian language there is a great variety of prefixes, suffixes and diminutives. Some scientists say that through using diminutives having strong connotations Russian emotionality is expressed. Most of them are translated into English with neutral words. In American English its common to coin new words from the old words. The first settlers in America literally invented new compound words from the old, partly to categorize aspects of their new environment unseen or rare in England, f.e., jointworm, glowworm, eggplant, canvasback, copperhead, rattlesnake, bluegrass, bobcat, catfish, bullfrog, sapsucker etc. As Bryson (1994:26) points out, These new terms had the virtue of directness and instant comprehensibility useful qualities in a land whose populace included increasingly large numbers of non-native speakers which their British counterparts often lacked. Striving for directness also made Americans specialize in acronyms. When president Clinton was elected, the term FOB (Friend of Bill) became a commonly used term to show disapproval (TGIF Thank God its Friday, NIMBY Not in my backyard). The combining of words is also culturally bound: to feel blue in Russian will be to feel sad; open house in Russian will be the day of the open doors; severe disease in Russian will be heavy disease, American as drunk as a skunk in Russian will be as drunk as a shoemaker, to give a tip in Rusian will be to leave some money for tea. Apart from different ways of categorizing what is seen, languages can lack the concept itself. In every language there are culture-bound words and phrases, which represent specific (not general) features peculiar to this culture. Russians dont understand what Amish country, or marshmallows, or garage sale, or NASCAR dads, or GEICO Cavemen, or Black Friday, or cubicle mean because they dont have these concepts in their environmental experience. To translate these words one should understand what they mean and why they have this meaning. There are lots of mistakes in translation connected with translating cultural references. The name of a famous black comedy Sex and Death 101 was translated into Russian as Sex and 101 Deaths though 101 in American English is any introductory course. In Russian there are also many culture-bound words: perestroika, borsh, samovar, matryoshka. In translating culture-bound words, as David Katan (1999:81) puts it, there are a number of alternatives. The language can either borrow the language label, do without a concept, or invent its own label. Now Russian as well as languages throughout the world are borrowing English to a great extent. There is a number of academies who keep a check on language borrowing and periodically recommend own national labels. However, it is clear that for the year 2000 and beyond different cultures come together under the global communication umbrella, and the English language happens to be an inseparable part of it. Very often these borrowings have different meaning in Russian, for example, the Russian language borrowed the word killer , but in Russian it means a hit man. Sometimes loan words are not only practical but add variety and humor to the language, as, for example, the Russian word babushka (grandmother) which in English also means shawl or kerchief. As for connotations they are also culturally determined, It is at the level of connotative meaning that we judge and react to words. These are, as Margherita Ulrych (1992:254) points out, the culturally or socially determined value judgments that are implicit in the semantics of a word. According to culture and belief one and the same word may convey opposite meanings, i.e. have opposite connotations. The IRA terrorist/freedom fighter, Fundamentalist savior/fanatic, Capitalism freedom to manage property for profit/exploitation of a man by man. 38

A few decades ago the word Communism was one of the main values for Russians, now it mostly has strong negative connotations. Russians and Americans have different associations connected with one and the same word, conveying metaphorical meanings. For Russians, for example, birch tree is a national symbol, associated with a beautiful girl or Motherland. For Americans an apple pie is very dear and symbolic. So, it is absolutely clear that how languages convey meaning is related to culture. Though languages can convey concepts from other cultures, people (including translators and interpreters) tend not to realize that their perception (through language) is, in fact, bound by their own culture. Beside culture manifested in language culture is also manifested in speech. The way we speak says just as much about ourselves and our culture as the clothes we wear. Culture encompasses all of the shared rules for appropriate speech behavior. Stereotypical patterns of behavior are acquired by individuals as a consequence of being members of the same group, or community, as well as the values and beliefs that underlie overt behaviors. Their cultural meaning is invisible and lies in the way these meanings are interpreted by the insiders. For example, in America with the idea of democracy permeating all communication there is a tendency to use first names soon after getting acquainted. Its common to see that a professor and a student, a boss and a clerk are on first name terms. In Russia the hierarchy of social relationships is much more confused and strict. In the Russian language there are two U-forms ty and vy (as in German du/Sie and in French tu/vous). Each particular situation prescribes the usage of ty or vy. Moreover, in formal conversations Russians always use first names together with patronymic. People can know each other for ages but still call each other in such a formal way. Russian and US have their own culturally appropriate greeting rituals. In US there is a standard reply to the question Hi, how are you? Fine, and you?. As for Russians they like to reply this question in detail. As Vladimir Zhelvis (2002: 34) writes in his book These Strange Russians if you meet a Russian and ask him how he is today he will take a deep breath to tell you all the details of his life. So, never ask a Russian how he is today if you dont want to know whether he had a good sleep and what he had for breakfast. There are a lot of other examples of asymmetrical speech behavior within cultures (methods of saying good-bye, thank you, invitation, mode of address in written communication etc). All of them show that literal translation is rarely appropriate. Even dictionaries are now beginning to include sections on speech behavior. Observable behavior is part of a larger pattern, that is the level of interpretation. The most powerful elements of culture are those that lie beneath the surface of everyday interaction. The focus here is not on what is read, seen, heard or felt, but how a message is transmitted and how it is perceived. A translator as cultural mediator needs to account for information which is implicit in the context of culture, for example: New Yorker: In the upcoming presidential debates, is John Kerry willing to debate the question, Who is your favourite Stooge Larry, Moe, or Curly? Known to the absolute majority of Americans, the name of this comic trio becomes a puzzle as it crosses a cultural divide. There is a number of translation techniques to unobtrusively manipulate a text: footnotes, omission, deletion, addition, or explication. Lets view the following example. When talking about the great American guitarist Jimmy Hendrix, the journalist cites a Mr. Cross who describes the atmosphere of Hendrixs childhood, It sort of gives an indication of the fractured family Mr. Hendrix grew up inThis was not Leave-it-to-Beaver-ville. Leave-it-to-Beaver is a popular TV series of the 50s, when Russians didnt 39

have any access to the American popular culture. The substitution of the films title by the one of the Russian popular film portraying a family idyll would be rather strange in the context, so the possible solution here may be rephrasing the back translation from Russian would sound like His childhood was far from idyllic. Sometimes a translator may decide to omit or replace whole stretches of text which violate the readers expectations of how a taboo subject should be handled. David Katan (1999:137) cites a great example which highlights the cultural problems involved in attempting to retain the form of the message. Its an example of a literal translation from Italian promotional label which comes with a pair of shoes. You chose Blackpool shoes made with high quality materials. The leather has been carefully selected form specialized slaughter-houses; which, after a variety of treatment, has become softer and more supple. The point to be stressed here, is the Anglo-American sensitivity to the treatment of animals. The British and the Americans dont wish to be reminded that their shoes began their life in a slaughter house. A more culturally appropriate translation would be as follows: Your Blackwell shoes have been carefully made from the finest quality materials. Sometimes cultural context can be so unique and culturally bound that translation fails. It refers to folklore and fairy tales in particular. For example Americans dont understand why the main character of many of the Russian fairy tales is Ivan-the-Fool who is lazy, doing nothing but in the end getting both the princess and the kingdom. Ivan-the-Fool, however, possesses some qualities valued in the Russian culture kindness, modesty and inventiveness. Russians even have a proverb Fools are lucky. CONCLUSION Culture is a context within which all communication takes place. The success of translators/cultural mediators activity to overcome a linguisticcultural barrier depends on the ability to understand how culture in generally operates, that is to understand the cultural and experimental logic of a foreign culture which lies behind the original act of speaking or writing; to understand the potential of the two semiotic systems in terms of their image making; to understand the invisible cultural meaning formed by values; to be able to match all of these with appropriate linguistic and cultural responses. The heart of his task is to be a mediator not between two texts but between two cultures. Natalia Timko WORKS CITED 1. Bryson, Bill (1994) Made in America, London: Martin Secker and Wrburg. 2. Katan, David (1999) Translating Cultures. An Introduction for Translators, Interpreters and Mediators, Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. 3. Kramsh, Claire (1993) Context and Culture in Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 4. Sapir, Edward (1929) the Status of Linguistics as a Science, Language 5:207-214. 5. Timko, Natalia (2003) Culture Factor in Translation, Kursk: ROSI. 6. Ulrych, Margherita (1992) Translating Texts from Theory to Practice, Rapallo: Cideb editore. 7. Visson Lynn (2005) Where Russians Go Wrong in Spoken English, Moscow: R. Valent. 8. Zhelvis, Vladimir (2002) Those Strange Russins, Moscow: Egmont. 5. Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words 40

English, Russian, Polish,German, and Japanese ANNA WIERZBICKA New York Oxford OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 1997 Language [is] a symbolic guide to culture. Vocabulary is a very sensitive index of the culture of a people. [Linguistics is of strategic importance for the methodology of social science. Edward Sapir 2. Words and cultures There is a very close link between the life of a society and the lexicon of the language spoken by it. This applies in equal measure to the outer and inner aspects of life. An obvious example from the material, visible domain is that of food. It is clearly not an accident that, for example, Polish has special words for cabbage stew (bigos), beetroot 1 2 Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words soup (barszcz), and plum jam (powidta), which English does not; or that English has, for example, a special word for orange (or orange-like) jam (marmalade), and Japanese a word for a strong alcoholic drink made from rice (sake). Obviously, such words can tell us something about the eating or drinking habits of the peoples in question. The existence of language-specific names for special kinds of "things" (visible and tangible, such as food) is something that even ordinary, monolingual people are usually aware of. The existence of different customs and social institutions which have specific names in one language but not in others is also widely known. Consider, for example, the German noun Bruderschaft, literally 'brotherhood', which Harrap's German and English dictionary glosses laboriously as "(to drink) the pledge of 'brotherhood' with someone (subsequently addressing each other as 'du')." Clearly, the absence of a word for "Bruderschaft" in English has something to do with the fact that English no longer makes a distinction between an intimate/familiar "thou" and a more distant "you," and that English-speaking societies do not have a common ritual of pledging friendship through drinking. Similarly, it is no accident that English doesn't have a word corresponding to the Russian verb xristosovat'sja (literally "to Christ one another"), glossed by the Oxford Russian-English dictionary as "to exchange a triple kiss (as Easter salutation)," or that it doesn't have a word corresponding to the Japanese word miai, referring to a formal occasion when the prospective bride and her family meet the prospective bridegroom and his family for the first time. Most important, what applies to material culture and to social rituals and institutions applies also to people's values, ideals, and attitudes and to their ways of thinking about the world and our life in it. A good example is provided by the untranslatable Russian wordposlyj (adjective) and its derivatives (nouns) poslosf, posljak, and posljacka, to which the emigre Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov (1961) devoted many pages of detailed discussion. To quote some of Nabokov's comments: The Russian language is able to express by means of one pitiless word the idea of a certain widespread defect for which the other three European languages I happen to know possess no special term. (64) English words expressing several, although by no means all, aspects otposhlust [sic] are for instance: "cheap, sham, common, smutty, pink-and-blue, high falutin', in bad taste." (64) According to Nabokov, however, these English words are inadequate, for first, they do not aim at unmasking, exposing, or denouncing "cheapness" of all kinds the way poslosf and its cognates do; and, second, they do not have the same "absolute" 41

implications thatposlost' does: All these however suggest merely certain false values for the detection of which no particular shrewdness is required. In fact, they tend, these words, to supply an obvious classification of values at a given period of human history; but what Russians call And in this century, Edward Sapir (1949) makes a similar point. Languages differ widely in the nature of their vocabularies. Distinctions which seem inevitable to us may be utterly ignored in languages which reflect an entirely different type of culture, while these in turn insist on distinctions which are all but unintelligible to us. Such differences of vocabulary go far beyond the names of cultural objects such as arrow point, coat of armor, or gunboat. They apply just as well to the mental world. (27). ____________________________ 6. Manfredi monografia Neverthless, we would argue that taking account of culture does not necessarily mean having to dismiss any kind of linguistic approach to translation. As we have seen, even from a linguistic point of view, language and culture are inextricably connected (see James 1996; Kramsch 1998, among others). Moreover, as J. House clearly states (2002: 92-93), if we opt for contextually-oriented linguistic approaches which see language as a social phenomenon embedded in culture and view the properly understood meaning of any linguistic item as requiring reference to the cultural context we can tackle translation from both a linguistic and cultural perspective. We totally share Houses view that it is possible, [] while considering translation to be a particular type of culturally determined practice, [to] also hold that it is, at its core, a predominantly linguistic procedure (ibid.: 93). Thus, as suggested by Garzone (2005: 66-67), in order to enhance the role of culture when translating, it is not at all necessary to reject the fact that translation is primarily a linguistic activity. On the contrary, if we 35 aim at a cultural goal, we will best do so through linguistic procedures. And we feel that an SFL approach makes a worthwhile contribution towards just this purpose.