1 the aim of this paper is to raising

1 Introduction

Corpus linguistics and the use of
corpora for linguistic and translation studies has grown during the past
decades, shifting /what/ and creating new theories and casting light on patters
and structure in language and translation. One of the main/most famous/ theory
in linguistics is the existence of units of meaning, developed by Sinclair
(1996), and the aim of this paper is to raising awareness of the existence of
units of meaning and their transferability between English and Italian. This
paper will be divided into chapters in order to demonstrate this hypothesis, in
the section Literary review major studies about units of meaning and their transferability
will be analysed. In the section “Case study”, a case study will be presented
in details, and the results will be presented in the conclusion section.

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2 Literary Review

This
section provides a definition of what Sinclair (1996) theorised as “units of
meaning” and an overview of various studies about it.

Firth
(1951:190-215) in Manca (2012:1) states, “words do not occur in isolation and,
for this reason, they should be studied in their linguistic context and their
patterns of occurrence should be systematically taken into account”. Following
Firth’s approach to language, Sinclair has made many contributions to applied
linguistics and as Stubbs (2009:1) points out, “his method of linguistic
analysis was to search for patterning in long authentic texts”. Among the
numerous contributions that Sinclair has made, one of the most interesting and
discussed is the notion of “units of meaning” (Sinclair, 1996). Sinclair, in
his article “The Search for Units of Meaning” (1996) points out:

 

The starting point of the description of meaning
in language is the word. This is one of two primitives in language form, the
other being the sentence. The sentence is the unit that aligns grammar and
discourse, and the word is the unit that aligns grammar and vocabulary. … The
word, however, does not reign unchallenged as the basic unit of language.

 

A
number of scholars in the past decades have identified the basic unit of language
in morphemes, or in the Item and Arrangement model or in the Item and Process
model. However,
Sinclair (1996) argues that none of these models takes lexis seriously into
account, and establishes a starting point for the search of units of meaning in
the observation of words entering into relations with other words around them. AL1 

Sinclair,
using data from a large amount of corpora and identifying recurring patterns in
language, has thus developed the theory of units of meaning, which is
/perfectly/ described by Stubbs (2009:124-125):

 

These units (Sinclair 1996, 1998, 2005) have an
obligatory core and an obligatory semantic prosody. Their internal structure
has four parameters, which take different values and go from concrete to abstract:
from observed word-forms (1) to hypothesized communicative functions (4).

(1)
COLLOCATION is the relation of co-occurrence between an obligatory core word or
phrase (the node) and individual COLLOCATES: wordtokens which are directly
observable and countable in texts.

(2)
COLLIGATION is the relation of co-occurrence between the node and abstract
grammatical categories (e.g. past participles or quantifiers).

(3)
SEMANTIC PREFERENCE is the relation of co-occurrence between the phrasal unit
and words from characteristic lexical fields. Recurrent collocates provide
observable evidence of the characteristic topic of the surrounding text (e.g.
typical subjects or objects of a verb).

(4)
SEMANTIC PROSODY is the function of the whole extended unit. It is a
generalization about the communicative purpose of the unit: the reason for
choosing it. (Stubbs 2009:124-125)

 

2.1  Units of meaning between languages

 

Starting
from Sinclair’s theory, a number of scholars has carried out research in
numerous fields, from translation studies to sociolinguistic, supporting his
theory with evidence and analysing in detail the internal structure of the
units of meaning. Following Sinclair’s case studies, many case studies have
been developed, in particular regarding the units of meaning and their
transferability between languages. Some of the most famous scholars who carried
out this type of studies are Tognini-Bonelli, Partington and Zethsen, but for
the aim of this paper, the studies described/presented will focus on
collocations and semantic prosody of synonyms between English and another
language, particularly on the works of Xiao, Ebeling, and Berber-SardinhaAL2 .

Xiao
and McEnery (2006) explored the collocational behaviour and semantic prosody of
near synonyms from a cross-linguistic perspective between English and Chinese,
considering also the implication of the study in language learning. They
analysed the so-called “consequence group”, a group of word containing e.g.
result, outcome, consequence, and aftermath; and a group of near synonyms of
the “cause” group, e.g. cause, arouse, lead, results in/from, give rise to and
bring. They pointed out that dictionaries simply ignore the different semantic
prosodies of these near synonyms with no further distinction (Xiao 2006:109). They
have also analysed the “price/cost” group, with near synonyms including for
example: at (the) price(s)/cost(s)/expense (of ), at (a) price/cost, pay a
price/cost, and pay the price/cost of. Xiao and McEnery (2006:124-125) finally
concluded that:

 

As the semantic prosodies of near synonyms and the
semantic preferences of their collocates are different, near synonyms are
normally not interchangeable in either language. While English and Chinese are
distinctly unrelated, the collocational behaviour and semantic prosodies of
near synonyms are quite similar in the two languages.

 

Their
study has also implications in language teaching and learning, as it could be
useful in teaching vocabulary taking into account the semantic prosody of near
synonyms, as it could be useful for L2 learners to know and understand the
differences in collocation on near synonyms in a foreign language.

Ebeling
(2012) determined the semantic prosody and the lexical patters of the verb and
the noun “cause” and their correspondences in Norwegian using a bidirectional
translation corpus to /see/ if these words shared the same semantic prosody
between these two languages. She found out that the Norwegian correspondences” Even
if the Norwegian correspondences do not have the same degree of negative
prosody as cause, in fact it is generally negative, however, it can be used
in neutral or even positive” /way/ (Ebeling 2012:10).

Berber-Sardinha
(2000) examined the semantic prosody and the collocations of the verbs cause,
happen, commit, set in and enter a dialogue between English and their
translations in Portuguese. “The results indicate that semantic prosodies may
vary across Portuguese and English and his study identified discrepancies
between seemingly equivalent items in different languages” (Berber-Sardinha
2000:16). All the studies mentioned above agree on the fact that its important
for translators and for learners to have access to information about the
semantic prosody of the words, mainly because dictionaries don’t take this kind
of information into account in their entries. Furthermore, semantic prosody
seems to vary for the translations of a word, and in the case study proposed in
the following section, a further analyses will be carried out in order to give
another example.(modifica).

 

 

 

 

3       
Case
study

As
shown in the previous section, a number of scholars investigated the semantic
prosody and the collocations of a units of meaning between languages, and, for
the aim of this paper, a study has been carried out in an attempt to give
further information about units of meaning and their transferability between
English and Italian.

 

3.1  Method

The aim of this study is to examine the
semantic prosody of the verbThe chosen verb for this study is shout and its correspondence in Italian,
gridare, with a particular focus on
the idiom shout from the rooftops in
order to identify an equivalent functionally complete units of meaning in Italian.
The corpus utilised for this study is UkWac Complete, a 2 billion word corpus
constructed from the Web limiting the crawl to the .uk domain and using
medium-frequency words from the BNC as seeds for English. For Italian the
corpus utilised is ItWac Complete, a 2 billion word corpus constructed from the
Web limiting the crawl to the .it domain and using medium-frequency words from
the Repubblica corpus and basic Italian vocabulary lists as seeds. For all the
four verbs mentioned above, I performed a queryAL3  in CQL in order to find all the
occurrences of the words chosen in the corpus and I generated a list of
collocates with a span of + 4; 4, the result were ordered by LogDice and the
first 20 collocates were examined in detail.

 

3.2  Collocates of shout and gridare

The verb examined was “to shout” and discarding irrelevant
results as Sora (a proper name) and leaving aside synonyms and repetitions
(scream, shout and yell). Four results have a neutral semantic prosody (loud,
aloud, loudly and louder), five a negative semantic prosody (insult, cry,
obscenity, abuse, swear) and five have a positive semantic prosody (rooftop, cheer,
clap, encouragement and joy). A number of idioms can be found, but the
expression “shout from the rooftop(s) is particularly interesting and will be
examined in detail /dopo/. Looking at the collocates, it can be argued that
shout has a neutral or slightly negative semantic prosody.

Using
a bilingual English-Italian dictionary (Zanichelli 2012), I selected the first
Italian equivalent for the verb “to shout” which is “gridare”. I examined the
first 20 collocates of the node word in order to /understand/ if they have a
similar semantic prosody and thus they can be used as equivalent. The word
sussurro (as part of the title of a movie) and punctuation were discarding, and
synonyms and repetitions of the node word (gridare and urlare) were not
considered in this study. Four results have a neutral semantic prosody (slogan,
squarciagola, folla and voce), nine a negative semantic prosody (scandalo,
vendetta, piangere, lupo, urlo, dolore, rabbia, complotto, deserto) and three
have a positive semantic prosody (viva, miracolo and gioia). Looking at the
collocates, it can be argued that gridare has a negative semantic prosody. Although
my attempt to examine the semantic prosody of these two words is limited and /a
complete analysis is left for future research/, it can be /claimed/ that shout
and gridare share some collocations and can be used as equivalences, /so/ in
this case the information given by the bilingual dictionary were , in a certain
degree, useful and appropriate. /but/ will it be useful when trying to identify
an functionally complete equivalent for an idiom.

 

3.3  Shout from the rooftop

 An interesting
collocation of the verb to shout is rooftop, part of the idiom “shout something
from the rooftops”. Looking up this idiom in a monolingual dictionary
(Cambridge dictionaryAL4 ) it is /described as/: to say something publicly or
even to tell everyone about something that you are very happy about or are
proud of (Macmillian DictionaryAL5 ). Looking up the same idiom in a bilingual English-
Italian dictionary, the equivalent proposed is gridare qc. ai quattro venti (RagazziniAL6  2017/6). In order to /see/ if the equivalent proposed
is a proper one, I examined /some/ concordances of the English idiom to
identify its semantic prosody and compare it with the Italian idiom.

In
figure 1 some of the concordance lines of “shout from the rooftops” founded in
the UkWac Complete corpus are listed. The semantic prosody is generally
positive, as /we can see/ in examples 2, 5 and 9.

 

1

floaty and delirious , that make you want to

shout from the rooftops

about the sheer fabulousness of Belle &

2

for the Twelfth celebrations . We need to

shout from the rooftops

our commitment to celebration , not provocation

3

, I ‘d probably agree that it should be

shouted from the
rooftops

! ‘ Cleve and I agree with Janet , she

4

a lot , but you have reason to actually

shout from the rooftops

about how good you are . I need to do that

5

Sub-Saharan Africa . Geldof and Bono have been

shouting from the rooftops

about this achievement , but if we dig

6

reading this book , I felt that I wanted to

shout from the rooftops

– or at least a soapbox – many of its claims

7

promises from Secretaries of State to ‘

shout from the rooftops

‘ we would like to hear and see them demonstrate

8

Listen , I am not ‘ anti-word ‘ , I want to

shout from the rooftops

about the Father ‘s love , of course I

9

excellent news , and something we should be

shouting from the
rooftops

! ” ” Official figures show that approximately

10

collate your materials , so you are ready to

shout from the rooftops

about your new business as soon as it ‘s

 

 

In
figure 2 some of the concordance lines of “gridare ai quattro venti” founded in
the ItWac Complete corpus are listed. The semantic prosody is negative, as
examples 1, 2 and 6 show.

 

1

omosessuali normali . Che
non hanno bisogno di

gridarlo ai quattro
venti

, di ostentarlo in modo
palese . Ma che

2

saprà mai ! Ma quella
maledetta strega lo

griderà ai quattro venti

! Già sento i commenti : Il
nobile Amals

3

pubblicita’ , ma anche
soprattutto senza

gridarlo ai quattro
venti

. … E credo sia per
questo che tu non

4

delle otto ore di lavoro ,
gli avversari

gridarono ai quattro
venti

che si voleva paralizzare
l’ industria

5

Peraltro la mia opinione
non vado mica a

gridarla ai quattro
venti

. Ma se le isole ci
verranno restituite

6

CAPITANO celebrato IN GRAN
SEGRETO senza

gridarlo ai quattro
venti

, senza diretta televisiva
e , senza quelle

7

: si parte da una sic
mezzza veritá , la si

grida ai quattro venti

e la si trasforma in una
veritá assoluta

8

accadrà quel giorno , però
non può andare a

gridarlo ai quattro
venti

. Cosa diranno le mie
amiche ? Allora Noè

9

mentre un cliente insoddisfatto
letteralmente

grida ai quattro venti

di quanto sia scontento di
questo o quello

10

pubblicita’ , ma anche
soprattutto senza

gridarlo ai quattro
venti

. Non sei d’ accordo con me
? Indi , cara

 

 

 

4 Conclusion

The
results obtained from the study have demonstrated that 

 

 

 

 AL1Vedi

 AL2Manca,
Tognini-Bonelli, Zethsen (?)

 AL3Metti
CQL nelle note

 AL4https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/shout-proclaim-sth-from-the-rooftops

 AL5https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/shout-something-from-the-rooftops

 AL6https://u-ubidictionary-com.ezproxy.unibo.it/viewer/#/dictionary/zanichelli.ilragazzini16

x

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