Reality and extralinguistic reality

Realia is closely connected with extralinguistic reality, as at least the etymology of the term itself indicates. Being the name of individual objects, concepts, phenomena of everyday life, culture, history of a given people or a given country, realia as a separate word cannot reflect this segment of reality as a whole. Much of what needs to be “read between the lines” and which, nevertheless, is expressed or suggested in one way or another by linguistic means, does not fit into the narrow framework of individual words-realities. Such are characteristic allegories, allusions, allusions, everything “said” by sign language and, more broadly, the whole extralinguistic background, the details of which could be called “situational realities” and which must certainly be reflected in the translation text. Let’s take one example. Lermontov’s hero Grushnitsky, judging by the translations into Bulgarian of Pechorin’s diary, was a village boy, or at least descended from peasants. True, this does not particularly fit in with his aristocratic acquaintances on the waters, but this is precisely the conclusion that

any Bulgarian would come after reading about the junker’s departure “from his father’s village” (“from Baschinomu village” 1 ). The fact is that the Bulgarian, despite five centuries of Turkish slavery in his own country, is not accustomed to the idea of serfdom, that a village with all its inhabitants can belong to a certain person; that is why this segment of reality – the village-estate of Grushnitsky the father – is perceived by the Bulgarian reader not as the real estate of the landowner, but as the birthplace of the hero: since he was born in the village, then he is not a nobleman, but a peasant. This cannot be expressed in one word-reality: explanations are needed, a regional study commentary, or at least a reservation in the text itself; it would be even better, apparently, to replace the “village” with the “estate”.

The question of the reflection of extralinguistic reality by realities (and other means) is one of the most difficult in the theory of translation and, at the same time, extremely important for any translator of fiction. It intertwines a number of heterogeneous elements, such as the translation aspect of country studies, the culture of the translator, taking into account the background knowledge (acquaintance with the corresponding environment, culture, era) of the reader of the translation in comparison with the usual perceptions and psychology of the reader of the original, and, finally, a lot of literary and linguistic moments (for details, see Part II, Chapter 10).

Chapter 2′


As linguistic means of artistic representation, realities are linguistic units that are equally used by writers, authors of original works of art, and translators of fiction. Starting to analyze the realities as linguistic units, we must already here divide them into “ours” and “theirs” (see Chapter 5). “Own realities” are for the most part primordial or have long been mastered

: Lermontov M. Yu. Sobr. op. in 4 volumes. T. 4. M.-L.: Ed. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1962, p. 360. In two translations (by H. Levenson and Khr. Radevsky), “baschino village” appears in the same way – an “exact” correspondence to the original. An example was suggested by K. Andreichina.

1 The article “False principle and unacceptable results” was published in the journal “Foreign Languages at School” (1952, No. 2), but, according to the commentary in the book by Iv. Kashkina “For a contemporary reader” (M: Sov. writer, 1977, p. 554), in which the author “develops the thoughts expressed earlier in the article “Mr. Pickwick and Others” (“Literary Critic”, 1936, No. 5). See in the same book (from 444 ff.) the article “Problems of Translation”. Chapter II. “Features of time and place”, which was published on Sat. “In fraternal unity” (M.: Sov. writer, 1954).

words in a language that do not differ in form from any others; These words don’t need much explanation. Therefore, the subject of this chapter is primarily “foreign realities.”

Being alien, they can often present a difficulty for the translator due to their form, lexical, phonetic and morphological features, word-formation possibilities and compatibility, as well as the mechanism of borrowing and their behavior as borrowed words. We are not going to make extensive excursions into lexicology and grammar, but there are a number of issues, the correct solution of which sometimes determines the success of a translator’s work. And the success is not strictly translation-work. The translator, like the writer, participates in the enrichment (or impoverishment) of the language into which he translates. Even, perhaps, more than a writer, because many foreign words go through translations before becoming established in the language and getting into the dictionary. So it is not at all superfluous to note some aspects of the translator’s work with realities – this process of potential enrichment or, on the contrary, contamination of the native language.

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