Lecture 3 Lexical transformations
Antonymic Translation
Metonymic Translation
Категория: Английский языкАнглийский язык

Lexical transformations

1. Lecture 3 Lexical transformations


Lexical transformations can be reduced to five
distinct types
antonymic translation,
metonymic translation,

3. Concretization

Abstract words in English distinctly fall into several groups:
1. Numerous nouns formed by specific suffixes of abstract
meaning. Many such nouns have no counterparts in the
Ukrainian language, e.g. ministership, presidency, electorate, statehood,
2. Abstract words which have no equivalents in Ukrainian, the socalled lacuna, such as exposure, occupant (unless as a military term).
3. Generalizing words having equivalents in Ukrainian but differing
in usage, e.g. man, woman, creature, person.
4. Words of wide meaning which require concretization in
translation, some words of this group are on the way to
becoming desemantized, e.g. place, piece, stuff, affair, etc.


Numerous nouns formed by specific suffixes of abstract meaning.
C.P.Snow resigned from his ministership because he did not like the way the
Labour Government was developing. –
An ageing Speaker cannot take the burdens of the presidency (in case of the
president’s and vice-president’s assassination). –
Every form of pressure and violence is used by regimes to compel a reluctant
electorate to go to the polls.Puerto Rico may launch a drive for US statehood. –
He was heavily built. -.


Abstract words which have no equivalents in
Ukrainian, the so-called lacuna
Two of the shipwrecked seamen died of exposure. It was a good solid house built to withstand time and
exposure. -
Willa, the canary, had flown away. But now there was a
vigorously alive little occupant. -


Generalizing words having equivalents in
Ukrainian but differing in usage
“Anything”, Benjamin said, falling into a highbacked chair
across from the man’s kingly desk. “Burn it, man, and who will be the wiser, eh?” -


Words of wide meaning which require concretization in
translation, some words of this group are on the way to
becoming desemantized, e.g. place, piece, stuff, affair, etc.
The place was full, and they wandered about looking for a table,
catching odds and ends of conversation as they did so.–
We had a quick breakfast and then our oxygen sets on to our backs.
“This oxygen is certainly the stuff ”, was my thought.–
The point of exchanging the E.E.C. is to make it stronger. –
She (grandmother) was a peppery old party with a will of solid
granite and a hot flaring temper.. -


Such words as piece, thing, body fulfill a double function –
lexical and grammatical; they can be used as lexical
units possessing reference or as a grammatical sign. The
noun piece in its lexical function means “a bit of
something” (a piece of bread); in its grammatical function
it concretizes an uncountable noun, turning it into a
countable one (a piece of furniture, a piece of advice, two
pieces of furniture, two pieces of advice).
She took things terribly seriously. –
He came in sight of the lodge, a long, low frowning thing of red
brick. -


Special attention should be paid to the translation of verbs of wide meaning,
such as: to come, to go, to turn, to say, to tell, to get, to die and others. They are
rendered either by concrete words suitable to the context or by verb
equivalents used in corresponding collocations.
So far 65 people have died in floods in Dacca province. .
At the by-election victory went to the labour candidate. –
The rain came in torrents. –
The canary got out of the cage. –
Concretization is often resorted to in the translation of verbs of saying.
“Father!” she cried, “the diamond is gone!”
“Are you out of your mind?” I asked her.
“Gone!” says Penelope. “Gone, nobody knows how!” -


Another verb which has become partially
desemantized is the verb “to involve”. Its
concrete lexical meaning, its lexical-semantic
variant is largely dependent on the context.
“I’ll tell you what… you are not involved. You are remote”.
Concretization is often resorted to in translating
the verb “to be” in different functions. The
principle of semantic agreement is to be
observed in such cases.
…first he was terrified, then he was sick, then he was in
Paris. -

11. Generalization

Generalization is the opposite of concretization. In this
case a SL word of concrete meaning is rendered by a
TL word of general meaning.
In the Arctic of today the frozen face of the deep is changing and
man seeks a scientific explanation for its growth and shrinkage.

Much more than an effective gun control is going to be needed to cure
America of the plague of violence that afflicts it. -


There is a tendency in the English language to use nouns
denoting measures of weight, distance, length, etc. in
describing people and things which do not require such
precision in their description. This method of
description is foreign to the Ukrainian practice and
recourse is usually taken to generalization.
He was a young man of 6 feet two inches. It led him time and again into positions of fantastic danger and yet
enabled him to win every ounce of advantage, especially against
an irresolute enemy. (Desmond Young). -

13. Antonymic Translation

Antonymic translation usually implies a comprehensive
lexical and grammatical transformation: an affirmative
construction is translated by a negative one or a
negative construction - by an affirmative one. But such
grammatical transformation is usually accompanied by
lexical transformation - the key word of the SL
utterance is translated by its antonym in the TL
e.g. . the undead past -


A sentence containing two negatives is negative only on the face of it, actually it
is affirmative as the two negatives neutralize each other.
British imperialists never failed to recognize the value of tea and fought many a bloody battle to
grab the plantations of India. The double negation is expressed grammatically by the negative adverb “never”
and lexically by the semantics of the verb “to fail” is desemantized to such an
extent that in some cases it is equivalent to a simple negative and is translated
accordingly, e.g. he failed to appear – he did not appear.
The combination of a grammatical negative with the comparative or superlative
degrees of the adverb “little” is always emphatic and is rendered
Dickens is hampered by his age, which demands sentiment and reticence, but in the space that is
allowed to him he scampers as if he knew no restraint…Never was he less embarrassed by
restrictions than in the exuberance of “Pickwick Papers”. -


The double negative construction "not . until" may be
regarded as a cliché which is practically always rendered
antonymously as лише тоді, тільки (тоді), коли
possessing the same degree of emphasis.
It was not until I reached the farmyard that I made the discovery.
(Susan Howatch) –
It was not until 1770 when James Cook chartered the East Coast
that any major exploration of Australia was undertaken. He spoke in no uncertain terms. (Susan Howatch) -

16. Metonymic Translation

Metonymic translation is based on contiguity of notions and is less
unusual than is generally believed and takes its place among
other linguistic transformations.
Bare and lurid light of street lamps. –
The street lamps had no shades and therefore their light was fierce (cause and
effect). -
That worthy gentleman turned mirth into a cough at just the right time. The odious Mrs. Ruscombe had had the effrontery to come up to her to
commiserate, with her false honeyed smile. -


Another linguistic feature is to be mentioned here.
Metonymy as a means of forming derivative
referential meanings is widely used in English
but cannot always be preserved in translation.
From Winnipeg the railroad sweeps westward in a wide
curve… than the steel bends of northward. The English language uses a metonymic
denotation – the material “steel” stands for “rails,
railway line”.
Coalfields go into action. -

18. Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing implies rendering the content of the utterance by
different semantic and grammatical units. This type of
transformation is especially common in translating orders,
commands, clichés and phraseological fusions but it is used in
other cases, as well.
No parking (here) –
No reason in the world to get upset. –
…the Germans proposed to surround all strongholds with deep minefields and
fill up the country between them with mines whereas it was “tankable”. -


The absence of a corresponding suffix in the
Ukrainian language sometimes necessitates
They (the demonstrators) had run into a solid wall of riotequipped Washington policemen. –
A compound adjective formed by the suffix –ed
requires paraphrasing.
…”the Party”, said Mr. Mc Lennan, “is illegally kept off
the air”.
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