LINGUIST List 9.20

Fri Jan 9 1998

Qs: Arabic, Jakobson, Discourse in CMC, Neologisms

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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  1. Martha McGinnis, Arabic question
  2. Hartmut Haberland, Jakobson quote
  3. Robert Germain Watts, In-Turn Discourse Features in Computer-Mediated Communication
  4. Helge Niska, Neologisms in interpreting

Message 1: Arabic question

Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 23:23:12 -0400
From: Martha McGinnis <marthajoMIT.EDU>
Subject: Arabic question

I'm wondering if any speakers or scholars of Standard Arabic can help
me out. I gather that the constructions in (a) and (b) are possible.
What I'm wondering is whether there's a long-distance anaphor in
Arabic that can be bound by a matrix argument, as in the translation
of (c) or (d). If so, can that anaphor appear in (e) or (f)?

a.	dhanan-tu l-taalib-a ?anna Zaynab-a ta-'rifu-hu.
	'I believed that Zaynab knew the student.'
b.	dhunn-a al-taalib-u ?anna Zaynab-a ta-'rifu-hu.
	'The student was believed that Zaynab knew him.'

c.	______________________________________________
	'I told the student that himself (subj) knew Zaynab (obj).'
d.	______________________________________________
	'The student was told that himself (subj) knew Zaynab (obj).'

e.	dhanan-tu l-taalib-a ?anna _______ ta-'rifu-hu.
	'I believed that himself knew the student.'
f.	dhunn-a al-taalib-u ?anna ________ ta-'rifu-hu.
	'The student was believed that himself knew him.'

If you know the answer, please contact me as soon as possible. Many

Martha McGinnis

Martha McGinnis MIT Linguistics/RTG
E39-240 MIT 4E Tutor, East Campus
55 Hayward St. (617) 225-6480
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Message 2: Jakobson quote

Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 23:39:31 +0100
From: Hartmut Haberland <>
Subject: Jakobson quote

Roman Jakobson is supposed to have said something like "Languages
differ not so much in what they can say but in what they must say" (in
the sense that some languages force you to make some choices - number
in nouns, aspect in verbs - which others are indifferent to). I have
quoted it myself, but cannot find the reference at the moment. Any
help out there?

Hartmut Haberland
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Message 3: In-Turn Discourse Features in Computer-Mediated Communication

Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998 09:51:14 +0100
From: Robert Germain Watts <>
Subject: In-Turn Discourse Features in Computer-Mediated Communication

I'm currently preparing my thesis on 'In-turn discourse features in
computer-mediated communication' at Zurich University and am looking
for references in this field. I would also be grateful to hear from
anybody currently conducting research or with previous experience in
order to share thoughts on the issue. So far, I intend to focus on
some of the following linguistic aspects of computer-mediated
communication: -features of on-line discourse as a product of 'written
orality' -characteristics of the 'impromptu transcriptions' of on-line
interlocutors in a +- real-time conversational environment

I would be grateful for any feedback and comments that may prove
useful to this project.

Best wishes

Robert Watts
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Message 4: Neologisms in interpreting

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 00:21:16 -0600 (CST)
From: Helge Niska <>
Subject: Neologisms in interpreting

I would like to ask for your comments about the following.

I have defined the following "strategies" which interpreters may
resort to when they encounter a term for which they cannot
(immediately) find an equivalent in the target language:

1. Omission (the term is not translated. It may be translated at a
later stage.)

2. Use of "approximate" or "provisional" equivalent 

3. Explanation of concept (hypothesis: more usual in consecutive than
simultaneous interpreting)

4. Neologism: a) loan translation ("literal" translation of source
language term) b) direct loans / transfer (source language term is
used as is or with some modification to make it fit into the target
language phonology/morphology c) coining of new word (hypothesis:
unusual in interpreting; more usual in written translation).

Primarily, I'm looking for examples or references to research on
strategy no. 4, neologisms, especially 4 b. I have a feeling minority
groups use direct loans extensively (using majority language terms for
certain concepts while speaking their own language), while
interpreters rather want to use "correct" or "pure" native language
terms. Am I right?

Thanks in advance for your comments,

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