This article is devoted to the less researched part in linguistics, to the usage of contrastive method in the analysis of translation of proverbs. The proverbs in English and Uzbek are taken as the examples, the proverbs are analysedand compared structurally and semantically, and some difficulties which occur at the process of translating proverbs are solved with using contrastive method.
Key words:contrastive linguistics, contrastive method, comparative philology, comparativist, philogenic, language teaching methodology, target language, proverb, paremiology, metaphor, grammatical component,equivalent, pun.
The research methods used in lexicology have always been closely connected with the general trends in linguistics. The principles of comparative philology have played an important role in the development of a scientific approach to historical word study. They have brought an enormous increase in ordered and classified information about the English vocabulary in their proper perspective. The methods applied consisted in observation of speech, mostly written, collection and classification of data, hypotheses, and systematic statements.
Contrastive linguistics as a systematic branch of linguistic science is of fairly recent date though it is not the idea which is new but rather the systematization and the underlying principles. It is common knowledge that comparison is the basic principle in comparative philology. However the aims and methods of comparative philology differ considerably from those of contrastive linguistics. The comparativist compares languages in order to trace their philogenic relationships. The material he draws for comparison consists mainly of individual sounds, sound combinations and words, the aim is to establish family relationship. The term used to describe this field of investigation is historical linguistics or diachronic linguistics.
Comparison is also applied in typological classification and analysis. This comparison classifies languages by types rather than origins and relationships. One of the purposes of typological comparison is to arrive at language universals — those elements and processes despite their surface diversity that all language have in common.
Contrastive linguistics attempts to find out similarities and differences in both philogenically related and non-related languages.
In fact contrastive analysis grew as the result of the practical demands of language teaching methodology where it was empirically shown that the errors which are made recurrently by foreign language students can be often traced back to the differences in structure between the target language and the language of the learner. This naturally implies the necessity of a detailed comparison of the structure of a native and a target language which has been named “contrastive analysis”.
It is common knowledge that one of the major problems in the learning of the second language is the interference caused by the difference between the mother tongue of the learner and the target language. All the problems of foreign language teaching will certainly not be solved by contrastive linguistics alone. There is no doubt, however, that contrastive analysis has a part to play in evaluation of errors, in predicting typical errors and thus must be seen in connection with overall endeavours to rationalize and intensify foreign language teaching.
It should be borne in mind that though objective reality exists outside human beings and irrespective of the language they speak every language classifies reality in its own way by means of vocabulary units. In English, the word foot is used to denote the extremity of the leg. In Uzbek there is no exact equivalent for foot. The word denotes the whole leg including the foot.
Classification of the real world around us provided by the vocabulary units of our mother tongue is learned and assimilated together with our first language. Because we are used to the way in which our own language structures experience we are often inclined to think of this as the only natural way of handling things whereas in fact it is highly-arbitrary.
Nowadays modern linguisticsis beginning to deal more fully with the peculiarities of proverbs.Proverbs picture practically all the details of the everyday life of ordinary people. A proverb (from the Latin “proverbium”) is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. The study of proverbs is called “paremiology” (from Greek “paroimia” – “proverb”) .
Contrastive analysis on the level of the grammatical meaning reveals that proverbs in different languages may differ in the grammatical component of their meaning.
Translators are faced with formidable problems. Many writers and poets thought it necessary to voice their opinion of how one should approach proverbs. V. A. Zhukovsky stressed that translators «should produce the effect of the original.» Not a few writers likewise opposed literal, word-for-word translations of proverbs (and we know this to be true), the question however remains: how should they be translated? V. G. Belinsky said that «the internal life of the translated expression should correspond to the internal life of the original.» This is true again. It seems therefore that we should do this, that and the other. We agree to do this, that and the other… But, apparently, we must focus our attention on figurativeness when translating proverbs . Thus, our translation of a proverb must either be, in fact, an English proverb or an idiomatic sounding metaphor. And this seems to be the right answer to the question of what we must do above all, especially because «the corresponding image as well as the corresponding phrase does not always present a visible adequacy of words.»
And now, while the British linguist McCarthy says, in an effort to convince his colleagues, that "...both in the original and in translation, the matter is more important than the manner", the noted scientist Romelhart records: «The translator's aspiration for achieving semantic and stylistic identity of translation and the original is a lasting gain of our culture».
An interpreter may say that translation is a bridge for mutual understanding among nations and that one has to know the laws and rules of engineering as well as to have the proper material for its construction at hand .
The translation difficulties usually arise in cases when (a) there happens to be no corresponding English proverb that we can use for our translation or (b) when the existing «ready-made» equivalent (e.g., an English proverb) cannot be used as it is because, for example, the Uzbek proverb is innovated in speech and, thus, may convey a specific additional meaning.
A rhyme alone is a supplementary means. For instance, the rhymed words "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should" have a meaning which is in no way metaphorical. These cigarettes are real, and one cannot say the same of the words "Balki qor yog’ar, balki yomg’ir, balki yog’ar, balki yog’mas". Both "qor" and "yomg’ir" are metaphorical. This Uzbek saying was once translated as "Who knows — maybe rain and maybe snow, maybe yes and maybe no."
And a rhymed metaphor made this sound proverbial.
Of course, it is hardly possible to make a satisfactory rhymed metaphor in the process of interpretation (not translation) . However, it is good to know a number of rhymed metaphors by heart so that they could be used as «ready-made» equivalents of some of the “difficult” and frequently used Uzbek proverbs.
Contrastive method is applied to reveal the features of sameness and differences in the lexical meaning and the semantic structure of proverbs in different languages.
Naturally translators must often translate Uzbek proverbs that do not have their «ready-made» English equivalents. Translations show that some of our colleagues seem to think that one should try to convey only the meaning of such proverbs. Thus, the proverb “Ish ayiq emaski o’rmonga qochib ketsa” was once translated as “Business is no bear, to run away to the forest”. Yet, the process of this translation was actually terminated at the stage of “transposition”. It could have been continued: “Ish ayiq emaski o’rmonga qochib ketsa” -»- (Transposition:) “Business is no bear, to run away to the forest” (Idiomatization by way of making the metaphor rhymed and by means of grammatical restructuring:) -»- “Business is no bear, it won't go nowhere”. One can see that we have excluded the word “forest” as an obviously redundant detail, and used the grammatical colloquialism "won't go nowhere" (double negation).
Suppose we have to construct a pun. As soon as our translation is figurative (i.e. has an idiomatic background), we would have no problem at all in making a play on any of the metaphor's components.
Proverbs have many kinds of structures, that is why studying their structural peculiarities and comparing them is useful for proverbial research. Proverbs in different languages have different features and comparing them is considered as the one of the main tasks of linguistics.
For analysing proverbs we must choose methods which can help us to have good results. Growing interest in methods of study is one of the most symptomatic features of present-day linguistics.
Acquaintance with the currently used procedures of linguistic investigation shows that contrastive analysis and statistical analysis are widely used in the preparation of teaching material and are of primary importance for teachers of English.
To sum up contrastive analysis is considered as an indispensable stage in translation of proverbs from target language into another one, in preparation of teaching material, in selecting lexical items to be extensively practiced and in predicting typical errors. It is also of great value for an efficient teacher who knows that to have a native like command of a foreign language, to be able to speak what we call idiomatic language and proverbs be learned within the lexical, grammatical and situational restrictions of different languages.
2. Obeng S.G. The Proverb as a Mitigating and Politeness Strategy. Colorado. Colorado Springs, 1998, p.521-549.
3. McCarthy M. Felicity O’Dell. English Vocabulary in Use. Cambridge University Press, 1994, p.35.
4. Romelhart, David E. Some Problems with the Notion of Literal Meanings. In Ortony. A. (ed.), 1993, p.24-32.
5. Yo’ldoshev B., Qodirov M. Tilshunoslik asoslari. Toshkent. O’qituvchi, 1996, p.29.
6. Reddy, Mark J. The Conduit Metaphor. In Ortony. A. (ed.), 1993, p.285-324.
7. Martin Mingorance. Functional Grammar and Lexematics in Lexicography. In Tomaszczyk, J. and B. Lewandoska-Tomaszczy. (eds.). Meaning and Lexicography. Amsterdam. John Benjamins, 1990a, p.227-253.
8. Karamatova K.M., Karamatov H.S. Proverbs. Maqollar. Пословицы. Toshkent.Mehnat, 2000.