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At University

University Translatology was designed as a website for students learning English as a foreign language with a strong emphasis on such questions as:

• ambivalence of the utterance;

• equivalence of the units of translation;

• the network of translation problems;

• ‘untranslatable’ words;

• the language of the news;

• Business English;

• language wars;

• organization of research in linguistics and translatology;

• must-read books etc.







July 7, 2020 All languages fall into copula bound and copula free ones. In the process of translation the copula may be retained, added or omitted. 

The precise definition and scope of the concept of a copula is not necessarily precise in any language. For example, in English though the concept of the copula is most strongly associated with the verb be, there are many other verbs that can be used in a copular sense as well. For example:

  • The boy became a man.
  • The girl got excited by her new toy.
  • The dog grew tired from the activity.

And even more tenuously:

  • The milk turned sour.
  • The food smells good.
  • You seem upset.

July 3, 2020 Just because Svetlana Aleksievich poses herself as a dissident, they give her space on the BBC homepage: https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p08j0ftz/why-i-decided-to-live-with-my-ex-husband However, neither the BBC home-page nor the Nobel prize are capable of taking off a feeling of disgust when you come across a jelly-fish like her: a lot of poison, but no brains worth mentioning! 

July 1, 2020 Phrasal verbs are very hard to deal with for learners of English. Just take a look at the 25 meannings marked by a dictionary: take off 1) снимать, сбрасывать to take off one's clothes — раздеваться to take off one's coat — снимать пальто 2) сбрасывать вес He took off weight every day. — Он сбавлял в весе каждый день. 3) уменьшиться; прекратиться The wind is taking off. — Ветер стихает. 4) уменьшить (что-л.) to take three points off the total score — снять три очка с общего счёта 5) ослаблять; отпускать to take off the brake — отпускать тормоз 6) сбавлять, снижать (цену) to take 3 shillings off the price of smth. — снизить цену на что-л. на три шиллинга 7) уничтожать; убивать The plague took off her parents. — Её родители погибли от чумы. A strong cup of tea takes off the weariness. — Чашка крепкого чая снимает усталость. 8) подражать; имитировать, копировать; передразнивать; пародировать Syn: imitate , parody , mimic , mock , monkey 9) взлететь to take off from the deck — взлететь с палубы (авианосца) 10) срываться (с места) 11) пускаться наутёк 12) вычитать 13) удалять to take off a leg — ампутировать ногу 14) уводить, увозить He took me off to the garden. — Он увёл меня в сад. 15) уходить Take yourself off! — Уходи! 16) начинать He took off from here. — Он начал с этого места. 17) отскакивать The ball took off from the post. — Мяч отскочил от штанги. 18) брать начало, ответвляться The river takes off from this lake. — Река вытекает из этого озера. 19) пить залпом, глотать 20) грабить 21) отвлекать to take smb. off his work — отвлекать кого-л. от работы 22) избавлять He took the responsibility off me. — Он снял с меня ответственность. 23) отстранять to take off the job — отстранить от работы 24) вычёркивать to take smb. off the list — вычеркнуть кого-л. из списка 25) сбивать The waves took me off my feet. — Волны сбили меня с ног

June 27 2020 The’ tops the league tables of most frequently used words in English, accounting for 5% of every 100 words used. “‘The’ really is miles above everything else,” says Jonathan Culpeper, professor of linguistics at Lancaster University. But why is this? The answer is two-fold, according to the BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth. George Zipf, a 20th-Century US linguist and philologist, expounded the principle of least effort. He predicted that short and simple words would be the most frequent – and he was right. The second reason is that ‘the’ lies at the heart of English grammar, having a function rather than a meaning. Words are split into two categories: expressions with a semantic meaning and functional words like ‘the’, ‘to’, ‘for’, with a job to do. ‘The’ can function in multiple ways. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200109-is-this-the-most-powerful-word-in-the-english-language

June 23, 2020 The state of Finland is not a very old construction; for centuries, what is now Finland was under the Swedish kingdom. While Swedish was the language of the upper class, Finnish came to be associated with the lower classes, the peasantry and the clergy. It was only in 1809 that Finland got autonomous status from Alexander I of Russia in the Finnish War and became the Grand Duchy of Finland, the modern predecessor to what is now Finland. This was when a strong Finnish identity began to be built, and Finnish language began to flourish.

Honesty aside, the nation’s alleged happiness certainly wasn’t obvious. To my eyes, Finns were helpful but not interfering, warm yet stoic, and clear but not extremely expressive. What was apparent, though, was their direct communication style, something Strellman attributes to their core values of honesty and straightforwardness.

“We are bad in small talk – always better to be silent than talk about something with no point,” she said. “There is a strong idea that you have to speak things as they are, not making empty promises, and not trying to polish up things. Finns appreciate bluntness over eloquence.”


June 21, 2020 Eskimo Pie - a brand of ice-creams - is the latest victim of political correctness:

People in many parts of the Arctic consider Eskimo a derogatory term because it was widely used by racist, non-native colonizers. Many people also thought it meant eater of raw meat, which connoted barbarism and violence. Although the word's exact etymology is unclear, mid-century anthropologists suggested that the word came from the Latin word excommunicati, meaning the excommunicated ones, because the native people of the Canadian Arctic were not Christian.

But now there's a new theory. According to the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, linguists believe the word Eskimo actually came from the French word esquimaux, meaning one who nets snowshoes. Netting snowshoes is the highly-precise way that Arctic peoples built winter footwear by tightly weaving, or netting, sinew from caribou or other animals across a wooden frame.

But the correction to the etymological record came too late to rehabilitate the word Eskimo. The word's racist history means most people in Canada and Greenland still prefer other terms. The most widespread is Inuit, which means simply, "people." The singular, which means "person," is Inuk.


June 17, 2020 TASS, June 12. Queen Elizabeth II on Friday congratulated Russian people on the occasion of the national holiday - Russia Day.

"It gives me pleasure to send my warmest greetings on the occasion of your National Day, together with my best wishes for the people of Russia at this difficult time," the British Embassy in Russia quoted the Queen on Friday on their Telegram page. The innocent words of the Queen were given an absurd interpretation by conspiracy-mongers. Nothing strange: the day is absurd, its celebration is absurd, the interpretation of the Queen's congrats is absurd in the extreme!


June 13, 2020 There are six official languages of the UN. These are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. All of them are vehicular languages ,and imperial languages. A lingua franca (/ˌlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/  lit. 'Frankish tongue';  also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.

June 11, 2020 “Choon paan” loosely translates to “music bread” in Sinhala. During my childhood, the fresh-off-the-oven kimbula (“crocodile”) bun we bought from the choon paan man for evening tea gave me bliss. This beautifully fluffy, buttery, home-baked bun was sprinkled with sugar and twisted into a slender, crocodile-like shape. Half of it was for me, the other for my father.

For us growing up on the tropical island, Beethoven meant bread

For years, these small trucks all played the same, tinny recorded music. When I heard the faint hum of the breadman from a distance, I would run to the dusty path and call my father. Years later, during music classes in school, I realised that this familiar tune that we Sri Lankans just called “choon paan music” was actually Beethoven's 1810 classic Für Elise.

So, how did this classical composition written in Austria come to symbolise fresh-baked confections in Sri Lanka?


June 7, 2020 In Germany, as the famous expression goes, “Ordnung muss sein” (“there must be order”). In fact, this proverbial saying is so well-ingrained in the German psyche that it’s become a cultural cliché for Germans around the world, and a way of life for them at home.


June 3, 2020 I wonder whether you know the idiom "way to go". way to go - молодец (восклицание в знак одобрения) Way to go, Mary! You've done a great job! — Молодец, Мэри! У тебя отлично получилось! way to go informal used to express pleasure, approval, or excitement way to go That's the stuff! Way to go! — Отлично! Так и надо!

June 1, 2020 The difference between "to pull oneself up" and "to do one's chin-ups" is the fundamental difference between neutral and informal way of arranging one's ideas in English. The informal is believed to be a native-like NATURALNESS pursued by all the learners of English as a foreign language.

May 31, 2020 “To be able to read is to be able to decode writing. The reader has to have an interpretation of the text or parts of it. For traditionalists, interpretation is a matter of what goes on in the mind. If readers know the language, can decode writing, and have the requisite background ‘facts’ to draw the inevitable inferences any writing requires, they can construct the ‘right’ interpretation in their heads. And this ‘right’ interpretation is the same for all competent readers. There are ‘fancy’ interpretations of texts like poems, riddles, novels and sacred texts. But to read is to have in one’s head a ‘basic’ interpretation” [Gee, 2012: 38 - 39].

May 27, 2020 Children develop a sense of their own identities at the same time as they develop language. Language is thus tied to identity from the first words uttered. This mutual development learning how to speak and learning how to be – is called language socialization.  [Andresen, 2016: 78] Language socialization may get in dire straits when a child learns that his mother-tongue is not welcome in the society and he is expected to switch to the “official language”.

May 23, 2020 Some most famous discoveries in philology and translation belongs to people who are professionally divorced from these disciplines. Such is the case with William Jones whose fluent Persian took him to the position of a Supreme Court judge in India in 1778. His curiosity made him learn Sanskrit and establish a strong affinity of that ancient language to Greek and Latin: divergent forms of some single prehistoric language. Deplorably, William Jones died in Kolkata at the age of 48.

Still, he made an epoch.

May 21, 2020  Michel Fucault: in "The Discourse on Language" (1970):

“Speech is no mere verbalization of conflicts and systems of domination, it is the very object of man’s conflicts”

May 17, 2020 Karl Vossler in "Language Communities" (1925):

"Once a people has had its sense of nationality awakened and stands guard over its nattional language, all trade routes, needs and necessities, and all compulsory measures of police, state, or church must fail. That was seen in Poland. When their civic freedom and unity had been taken from the Poles and shattered, they sang Polish songs. Ty clung to their language as the llast sign, security, and symbol of their national -character and unity. The more rigidly they were prohibited from using their language in public, the prouder, deeper, more war-like, and religious became their love for it... Since every ord ccould now lea to pprison or banishment, every Polish sound became part of the national fame; to the brother a greeting from the soul, a gesture of defiance to the enemy".

May 11, 2020 In modern linguistics you will hardly make a move without bumping into a term which has many meanings – DISCOURSE. One of numerous definitions of “discourse” says:

“Discourses are characteristic ways of talking about and understanding certain ideas, attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs, all of which affect behaviours” [Andresen and Carter, 2016: 32].

May 7, 2020 There are many linguists who will dismiss this definition of language:

“Language is an orienting behavior that orients the orientee within his or her cognitive social domain andthat arises in phylogeny (history of the species) and ontogeny (individual development) through recurrent interactions with conspecifics [Andresen and Carter, 2016: 5].

Still, it is worthwhile consideration, because it reveals loopholes in the classical definition:

“Language is a means by which humans communicate their thoughts and feelings” [Andresen and Carter, 2016: 4]

May 1, 2020  If you recall the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s or are taking preparations against COVID-19 right now, then you’ve definitely heard the words epidemic and pandemic. With every biological outbreak, we encounter these words being used more and more frequently—and often, inaccurately.

Why is it so easy for people to confuse these words? Well, both words contain –demic and are used for disease outbreaks, but they’re not exactly the same. These similarities lead many people to use the two words interchangeably or incorrectly altogether. The key difference, however, is about scale.