Semantic Prosody: Its Knowledge and Appropriate Selection of Equivalents

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of English, Quchan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Quchan, Iran


In translation, choosing appropriate equivalent is essential to convey the right message from source-text to target-text, and one of the issues that may have a determinative role in appropriate equivalent choice is the semantic prosody (SP) behavior of words and the relation existing between the SP of a word and semantic senses (i.e. negativity, positivity or neutrality) of its collocations in the context. This research explored the impact of Iranian translator trainees' semantic prosody knowledge on the appropriate selection of equivalents in translation. The probable influence of proficiency level or fields of study on the appropriate selection of equivalents with respect to SP was concentrated as well. To fulfill the aims of the study, a translation test including a number of near-synonym pairs with different SPs was administered among participants with different fields of study as well as different proficiency levels. Findings were analyzed based on Sinclair's (1996) hypothesis of SP as well as Stubbs' (1995) model of SP classification. The study showed where there is more than one equivalent of a word in another language, having the knowledge and being aware of the conditions of semantic prosody is necessary to select the appropriate, accurate equivalents and thus to convey the exact message from a source text to the target one. The results also revealed that proficiency level and field of study among language learners can have an influence on choosing appropriate equivalents with respect to SP. The findings of the present study can be beneficial for the instructors and learners in both fields of translation and Teaching English as a Foreign Language to improve equivalent choice appropriateness. Also, this study by highlighting the essential role of semantic prosody in selecting appropriate equivalents can be beneficial to dictionary compilers to include semantic prosody behaviors in the definition and information of words.


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