Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2214-3157
  • E-ISSN: 2214-3165
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Nowhere is the interface between language, culture and cognition more clearly visible than in word meanings and in cases of translational non-equivalence between words of different languages. One such case is that of the meanings of stage-of-life words in different languages. This paper presents a contrastive analysis between the English and the Italian made adopting the principles and methods of cross-linguistic semantics. The analysis demonstrates that the semantic non-equivalence between these two stage-of-life words results from the different age and time spans covered by each word and different cultural assumptions about the transition to manhood, showing how these differences are reflected in discourse in the respective languages. First, a discourse analysis is made for each word; after that, two separate semantic explications are produced with the Natural Semantic Metalanguage methodology and then contrasted to highlight the differences in meaning and the role of culture in the formation of different conceptualisations of the human life cycle.


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