National Character of Stylistic Systems


The stylistic system of a language like its phonetic, grammatical and lexical systems bear a distinct national character.

Stylistic devices in different languages are, in the main similar but their functioning in each language, their specific weight and the frequency of their use are widely different. This fact accounts for the necessity of stylistic transformations substitution and compensation. By means of lexical and grammatical transformations the translator achieves an equivalent rendering of the lexical and grammatical meaning of a word or a form. The same principle is valid when rendering the stylistic meaning of the message, that is, reproducing a similar effect in the TL text, arousing a similar response on the part of the TL reader as well was called forth by the SL text. The translator, however, is often compelled to achieve the intended effect by a different device.

a blockbuster of a novel. Each chapter leaves the reader banging and eager for more.

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The reversed epithet is translated by a Ukrainian epithet which is equally colloquial and expressive. Although the semantic aspect is not preserved, the two epithets may be regarded as equivalents because they possess a common seme, namely to knock down. Sometimes the English and the Ukrainian epithet which appear to be correlated because of their semantic likeness and because of possessing the same degree of triteness are far from being equivalents as they provoke different connotations, for example, toothy .the former describes a physical feature, while the latter reveals a moral quality.


To the puzzlement of the man speaking to her, she broke into a wide, toothy, unprovoked grin. (C.P.Snow).

, , , .


The epithet is compensated by the expressiveness of the verb.

It should also be borne in mind that stylistic devices which seem to be identical may have different functional values in the S and T languages. In order to achieve a comparable effect another device should be employed. Repetition may illustrate this point. For example, the five-fold repetition of the word stop (Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!) in Thomas Hardys story Absent-mindedness in a Parish Choir is compensated lexically by the introduction of conditional words possessing the same degree of expressiveness (! ! !)

The emphatic effect of repetition in the following example is made up by the use of a synonymous pair and by the addition of an intensifier.


A policy of see no stagnation, hear no stagnation, speak no stagnation has had too long a run for our money.



Another instance of stylistic substitution in translation is well illustrated by K.Chukovskys translation of the alliterative title of Oskar Wilds essay Pen, Pencil and Poison by a rhythmical arrangement of correlated words: , . The same principle appears in another variant of translation: , .


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Non-equivalents | Original Metaphors and Their Translation

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