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Context. The context of an idea or event is the general situation that relates to it, and which helps it to be understood (Collins Co-build Dictionary, 1995). bottom up /Top down processing.

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  1. Context The context of an idea or event is the general situation that relates to it, and which helps it to be understood (Collins Co-build Dictionary, 1995)

  2. bottom up /Top down processing • Bottom up processing refers to the ability to construct meaning from sequences of morphemes, phrases and clauses. • Top down processing refers to the ability to process text by an analysis of the situation. • A crucial aspect of top down processing is the way context creates expectations for understanding the content of a discourse.

  3. scenarios • Scenarios are mental representations of a situation based on the stereotypical components inherent to it. Communicative acts rarely confront participants with totally new phenomena. This is because communicative acts largely conform to patterns of language uttered, written, read and heard in similar circumstances, either by participants, or other participant who have been read, seen or heard at some other time.

  4. Context and linguistic content • This means that context and linguistic concept are circumscribed. When unexpected utterances occur in contexts the result is either shock and outrage at one extreme, or comedy at the other. • Translation entails re-enacting scenarios at a later time, but the linguistic choice originally made in line with the demands of the situation must be respected. • Translators are constantly called upon to enter into the original writer’s scheme of things ‘ in order to fully understand the scenario. ( Taylor p75-6)

  5. Versions of the scenario concept • Minsky: ‘frames’. These might be described as mental ‘windows’ or pop up menus containing our knowledge of a situation. • Schrank and Abelson: ‘scripts’, i.e. ‘ a representation of a process rather than a statistic set of data (which) accommodates the notion of expectancy. • This expectancy leads us to predict how a discourse will progress, based on situational context, but also on the dynamics of the text. (Taylor 75/6). • Johnson Laird ‘mental model’ • ‘Sanford and Garrod ‘scenario’ • Kintsch ‘’schemata’ and ‘situation model’, i.e. ‘the cognitive representation of events, actions, and persons…which integrates the comprehender’s existing world knowledge with information derived form the text.’

  6. Context: ‘someone speaking to someone somewhere’ • Firth’s outline of context contains the following elements: • The participants, including role and status (relation); • Verbal, non-verbal action of participants • Relevant objects and events • Effects of the verbal action

  7. Hymes’ componential breakdown of elements comprising context • Participants (speaker and audience) • Message form (different ways of speaking for different situations) • Message content (topic of text or communication) • Setting (where the communication takes place) • Medium of communication (spoken or written) • Intent of communication • Effect of communication • The key (the tone: formal/informal) • The genre (type of text) • The norms of interaction (conventions governing certain speech acts – turn taking, politeness forms, standard expressions, fossilised usages, etc.)

  8. Halliday’s context of situation • According to Halliday, every communicative act (i. e. text of some kind) takes place in a ‘situational and cultural context.’ • It is the the context of situation that determines what sort of language will be used.

  9. The three components of Halliday’s context of situation • Field: subject matter and the nature of the activity, i.e., what is happening, to who, when and where. What the participants know, why they are doing what they are doing. • Tenor: social (power and status) relationships existing between participants. How they regard each other, and how familiar they are with each other. • Mode: how the language is being used, organised, whether it is written or spoken, written to be spoken, spoken to be written. Also refers to how the text is produced: spontaneous, prepared, performative or reflective.

  10. Relevance of context of situation to the translator • Translators should attempt to maintain the situational and cultural context by matching as far as possible the three elements in the TT version. • Field entails matching terminology and lexis, relevant grammar for the kind of activity the text embodies, and the degree to which knowledge can be taken as shared between ST writer and TT reader; • Tenor will indicate what register should be adopted in the translation (formal/ informal, technical/ non-technical, archaic/modern etc.,) also what moods should be used. • Mode indicates how the information should be presented and organised.

  11. House’s Contextual Model • J. House’s Contextual model was designed as an instrument for comparing source and target texts in translation. • It is based on parameters called ‘dimensions’. • Their purpose is to ensure that the TT matches the ST version at all levels. • There are two kinds of dimension in this system: ‘language user’ and ‘language use dimensions’

  12. Dimensions of ‘language user’ Language user dimensions: • Geographical origin • Social class • Time These parameters establish the text in space, register, and time. The refer to geo-socio-historical factors determining the language used in the text, and they must be accounted for in the translation.

  13. Dimensions of‘language use’ Language use dimensions: • Medium • Participation • Social relationship • Social attitude • Province These dimensions broadly coincide with aspects of situation identified in the systems above. (Taylor pp. 81-81)

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