1887
Volume 64, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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Abstract

Abstract

Anyone who learns a second language realizes that beyond phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon, there are variations of style between different tongues. One notable manifestation is word choice, particularly in writing. Writers may repeat vocabulary for efficiency and clarity, or they may choose synonyms to promote variety and creativity. When the latter practice is carried to extremes, it is known as and is largely stigmatized in English, whereas such flexibility is widely valued among writers of Romance languages such as Spanish. While this phenomenon has been noted anecdotally, the present study explores it empirically. The main focus is journalistic prose in two U.S. and two Mexican newspapers, followed by a briefer examination of English and Spanish literature. Although elegant variation occurs in various word classes, this study centers on specific nouns and verbs. While the results demonstrating the vast difference between English and Spanish are interesting in their own right, there follows a discussion of their practical impact on translation, including the preservation of idiomaticity. This is especially relevant in light of the vastly improved capabilities of Google Translate, a development that calls for a reevaluation of the role of both humans and machines in the translation process.

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2018-11-26
2019-10-14
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