The Functioning Of Gender Metaphors In Political Discourse
Nowadays the gender aspect of language has a significant impact on the functioning of political discourse. In this article, gender metaphors are understood as the metaphorical names of men and women acting as a means of marking “typically masculine” and “typically feminine” qualities on the basis of likening the phenomena of different conceptual series. The presence in the media texts of a large number of gender metaphors shows the need for their adequate translation from English into Russian. Modern society is characterized by significant changes in the functions of roles of men and women, as a result of which a clear boundary is erased between exclusively male and exclusively female characteristics. Translation of gender metaphors is very difficult for a translator, since a metaphorical image created in the original language is not always possible to convey in the target language. The article analyzes various classifications of metaphor translation methods proposed by various linguists. As a result of the detailed analysis, several methods for translating the gender metaphor were singled out: full translation; transformation and demetaphorization. Each method of translating a gender metaphor is analyzed on the example of journalistic articles, which show gender stereotypes regarding behavior, appearance, and character of a person in general, men and women separately, and reflect the system of gender metaphors. In the analysis of practical material, the degree of equivalence and adequacy is assessed when choosing a particular translation method and maintaining the aesthetic impact on the recipient, which was laid down in the original.
Keywords: Gender metaphorsgender stereotypespolitical discoursefull translationtransformationdemetaphorization
In modern society the gender aspect of language plays an important role in the functioning of political discourse. Among the gender factors of the language, gender metaphors occupy a special place.
In this article gender metaphors are understood as metaphoric naming of men and women, acting as a means of marking “typically masculine” and “typically feminine” qualities based on assimilation of various phenomena of conceptual notions.
The presence in the media texts of a large number of gender metaphors shows the need for their adequate translation from English into Russian. Modern society is characterized by significant changes in the roles and functions of men and women, as a result, a clear boundary between the exclusively male and exclusively female characteristics is erased.
Translation of gender metaphors is of great difficulty for the translator, as it is not always possible to convey the metaphorical image created in the original language in the target language.
The article analyzes the various classifications of methods for the translation of metaphors proposed by various linguists. As a result of the detailed analysis, several methods for translating a gender metaphor were singled out: full translation, transformation, and demetaphorization. Each method of translating a gender metaphor is analyzed on the example of journalistic articles, which show gender stereotypes regarding behavior, appearance, and character of a person in general, men and women separately, and reflect the system of gender metaphors (Arnold, 2016).
In the analysis of practical material, the degree of equivalence and adequacy is assessed when choosing a particular translation method and maintaining the aesthetic impact on the recipient, which was in the original.
In all gender studies, the separation of the concepts of “sex” and “gender” is taken as the basis. The concept of “sex” refers only to the anatomical and biological structure of men and women, and the concept of “gender” is a set of sociocultural values designed by society and identified with representatives of the male and female sexes (Arustamyan, Makurina, & Pirozhkova, 2016). Gender values have national specificity and are of great importance in the process of creating ideas about the ideal embodiment of “masculinity” and “femininity” in any culture (Ahmed, 2018). These representations play a large role in the formation of public consciousness and have an impact on a person’s ability to perceive the world, on human behavior and speech acts.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this article is to investigate the functioning of gender metaphors in English and their translation into Russian.
The research material was the texts of foreign-language media with their translation provided on the inosmi.ru.
While writing the article the following research methods were used: classification method, continuous sampling method, translation analysis, comparative analysis, semantic analysis of gender-marked units, quantitative analysis.
The metaphor and gender metaphor, in particular, is of particular interest to researchers of the conceptosphere, since it embodies the “cultural-national vision” of each nation (Teliya, 1988). A gender metaphor contributes to the formation of new concepts, which means changing the everyday language of people, equally changing their worldview and methods of comprehending it. In cultural life, the gender metaphor performs the functions of self-knowledge, self-expression and sense-formation, which are the hallmark of modern culture. The metaphorical feature of gender categorization is most clearly reflected in the ability of inanimate objects and phenomena to be associated in consciousness with male and female principles (Egorova & Kalashnikova, 2016). At the linguistic level, this phenomenon is most visible on the material of the English language, since it is devoid of formal-grammatical generic features.
It should be noted the creativity of gender metaphors and their functioning on traditional cultural differences of gender. This creativity is genetically embedded in the asymmetric attitude of the sexes: gender always means an asymmetric relationship between a man and a woman, which positions the functions of these gender groups in such a way that they are involved in various activities and are in different social spaces (Barchunova, 2002). Gender-marked metaphors are metaphors which target sphere is represented by a person of a certain gender, male or female (Bratic & Stamatović, 2017). Cognitive linguistics is aware of the role of metaphor as the main tool of cognitive processes. In this case, the translation of a metaphorical concept is a problem of semantic equivalence.
The classical approach to metaphor uses three different ways of translating it:
The metaphor is not translatable.
A metaphor can be translated just like any other word.
A metaphor can be translated, but there are linguistic and intercultural restrictions for it (Berkner & Voshina, 2003).
The cognitive approach to metaphor means that its translation is an intercultural process, so it is too difficult to adequately translate the metaphor. Therefore, translation of metaphors based on cultural factors cannot be regarded as a linguistic phenomenon. For an adequate translation of the conceptual metaphor, it is necessary to have a deep knowledge of intercultural relations. However, the practical rules of translation proposed by researchers of cognitive linguistics are the same as traditional ones.
Metaphorical expressions take more time and are harder to translate if they use a cognitive domain other than the equivalent language of the target language. The reason for this delay, complexity and uncertainty when translating metaphors of different domains is the search for another conceptual mapping. In other words, the translator is called upon to play the role of a proxy agent that performs conceptual mapping on behalf of the reader of the target language. If he can touch on such a cognitive area of the target language, then his task will be completed quite successfully and easily. Attempts to literal translation or simply linguistically transference of metaphorical expressions from one language to another lead to a noticeably poor product, especially when these expressions rely on culture-specific thinking methods. rather than general or universal concepts and schemes (Kirina, 2015).
The Russian linguists Kunilovskaya and Korovodina (2010) distinguish the following methods of translating metaphors aimed at preserving imagery:
a full translation while preserving the semantics and structure of the metaphor: replacing lexical meanings with equivalent ones that will cause the same associations among representatives of two linguistic cultures;
replacement at the level of lexical design, i.e. the use of words with a different composition of semes, but with a similar meaning;
replacement at the level of morphological design, i.e. the use of words with similar lexical meaning, but related to other lexical and grammatical classes;
replacement at the level of syntax;
the addition or omission of lexical units making up the image.
Broeck van den (2009) noted the direct dependence of the translatability of a metaphor on their communicative function and cultural connections - the more information in the text and the more it is connected when structuring the text, the worse the translatability. He offers the following methods for translating metaphors: 1) Literal translation; 2) Lexical and grammatical replacement (replacement at the level of vocabulary, morphology, syntax); 3) Rephrasing (demetaphorization) – replacing a metaphor with a non-metaphorical expression.
Literal translation is rightfully considered the leading technique for translating gender metaphors, as the primary task of the translator is to convey the metaphor in its original form. The examples of literal translation of a metaphor:
builder of world peace – строитель мира во всем мире
Taking into account the impossibility of transferring the metaphor in its original form to target language due to the differences in the English and Russian languages, the lexical and grammatical replacement as a way of translating a metaphor is of great importance. Examples of lexical and grammatical substitution:
The fact that it gets into that spot where it’s really difficult to use makes it really
The ability to translate correctly gender metaphors in media texts so that they are equivalent to the original metaphors is a kind of art. For this, the translator needs both excellent knowledge of the mother tongue and a foreign language, as well as certain extra-linguistic knowledge. An analysis of translated media texts using gender metaphors reveals three ways that translators resort to when working with gender metaphors:
Full translation (loan translation, transliteration, transcription).
Transformation (lexical-semantic substitutions: specification, generalization, modulation; grammatical substitutions, addition; the whole transformation).
Demetaphorization as a kind of explication.
A full translation is used in the absence of untranslatable sociocultural realities and a conflict between form and content. The most common transformation for translating gender metaphors is loan translation.
Loan translation is most often used in cases where the rules of compatibility and the tradition of expressing the emotionally-valued information of metaphors in the original and target languages coincide. Moreover, metaphors can be stock, i.e., fixed in the explanatory dictionaries of both languages and, therefore, are known to a wide range of people, as well as adaptive – having one metaphorical meaning in the dictionary, however, the author underwent some adaptation in the context of the article.
Here is an example of stock gender metaphors.
Berenson, in his role as
The devil’s advocate metaphor is a gender-unmarked metaphor that characterizes human behavior. In this case, the metaphorical image in the Russian language is preserved, it means a person who pretends to be opposed to some idea that most people support in order to get them to discuss this idea in detail.
Sometimes several gender metaphors are found in media texts at once. Here are some examples.
The president of the United States presents himself as a kind of
The explanatory dictionaries of the English language recorded the metaphorical meaning of the words caveman and ape – rude or stupid person. In Russian, these words are also called a rude man, therefore, the metaphorical image of the original language is similarly reproduced in the target language.
A similar metaphorical image is reproduced in the following example.
Trump is out to prove that he, not Putin, is the 800-pound
The metaphorical meaning of the word “gorilla” in both linguistic cultures is a large man, giving the impression of a stupid or rude person; alpha male is a dominant figure in a group of people.
Metaphors calling a man with a negative connotation are much more common than positive ones. Consider the following examples.
So why are these young men turning into
The metaphorical name narcissist (narcissus) actualizes the behavior of a narcissistic man or boy who admires himself.
But as he himself stated with quiet pride, he was no
In the explanatory dictionary of the English language, the metaphorical meaning of the word torpedo as a professional killer is recorded. The Russian dictionary indicates the meaning of “a person who moves quickly”. However, in the article itself there is an explanation that killers are called by this word, therefore, in this case, the translator applied loan translation while maintaining a metaphorical image.
Here are examples of negatively coloured gender metaphors calling women.
See Daniel, with Trump’s strings being pulled by the likes of Bolton, Pompeo and even the
The translation is carried out using loan translation, because the metaphorical images in the original and target languages coincide with a slight difference: in English linguistic culture, a metaphor for a dragon is usually called a stern woman, most often an elderly woman; in Russian linguistic culture – a dragon is called both a ruthless man and a woman.
As mentioned above, metaphors conveyed by loan translation can be stock and adaptive. Here are examples of adaptive gender metaphors.
Ultimately, he seeks to break it up, with the Eastern bloc – brought into the European fold by Margaret Thatcher’s single market – dragged back into the lair of the
The metaphor “Russian bear” is the way the author calls the Russian president. The explanatory dictionary of English and Russian languages gives the meaning of this metaphor – a large, strong, but heavy and awkward, awkward person. However, in this case, the author most likely proceeded from the fact that the Russian president called himself a bear in one of his interviews, using words, drawing an analogy with a bear as a master of the taiga, who is not going to move somewhere and share his territory . Therefore, in this case, the adaptive metaphor of a bear characterizes a person as the owner of his territory. The image created by the metaphor is understandable in the target language; therefore it is transmitted by loan translation.
Transcription is the translation of the translated word into the target language using the conventional signs of all the subtleties of the pronunciation of the original language is a fairly common transformation in the translation of gender metaphors. Basically, transcriptions are subjected to proper nouns, which have become common nouns. Let us analyze the following examples.
I do think Elizabeth Warren’s been hurt very badly with the
This option is a strictly gender-marked metaphor for the appearance of a woman with Native American roots. Trump jokingly gave this nickname to her because Senator Warren claimed to have her Native American roots.
In the following example, there are two gender metaphors that are translated into the Russian language by transcription.
He has regularly vilified those who keep trying to pry out classified documents as “hoaxers,” “
In both cases of the use of metaphors, the preservation of the same metaphorical images is observed: Rambo – the personification of a forceful approach to solving any problems, including political ones; charlatan – a cheater, a bouncer.
Transliteration is the letter-by-letter translation of words from the original language into the target language. It is also quite common when translating a gender metaphor. Here are some examples.
The title of richest person on Earth seems to ping-pong between tech
The metaphorical meaning of the word titan is a person outstanding in areas characterized by exceptional strength of mind, talent, greatness of activity.
Trump Is Locked in a
The gender-marked metaphor “macho” characterizes a man as a strong and courageous person.
The following example demonstrates the use of two translational transformations at once when translating a single gender metaphor.
The first part of the word is translated using transliteration, the second part is literally by loan tramslation. The meaning of this author’s metaphor is an animal advocate who opposes poachers.
All the examples described above show that the full translation carried out with the help of transformations such as loan translation, transcription and transliteration allows us to convey the gender metaphor to the target language in its original form.
The transformation in the translation of gender metaphors is due to lexical, stylistic and functional factors. The transformation is carried out using lexical-semantic substitutions (specification, generalization, modulation), grammatical substitution, methods of addition and omission; the whole transformation.
Modulation (semantic development) is the most common lexical transformation in this group. We give the following examples.
Puritans are people who hold strict moral or religious beliefs. In this case, loan translation is used. However, the English dictionary does not directly translate the expression gymbunny. Explanatory English Dictionary provides an explanation as “a person who spends a lot of time in the gym”. The explanatory dictionary of the Russian language gives a similar definition to the word “bodybuilder”. In Russian linguistic culture, rabbits are sometimes called people when they playfully or cronyically appeal to interlocutors. Thus, the translator used the expression “bodybuilder rabbit” to attract readers’ attention and preserve a metaphorical image.
I have no evidence to prove it, but I suspect that Mussolini, who was a noted
The meaning of the word “womanizer”' is a libertine. In the Russian language, the word “Casanova” is often used in relation to a man whose metaphorical meaning is a lover of amorous and adventurous adventures. The metaphorical image is preserved during translation; translation transformation is semantic development.
Specification is rarely used in the translation of gender metaphors. This is due to the fact that with the use of this translation transformation, the metaphorical image created in the original language disappears in the target language. We give the following example.
May’s Brexit deal is as a
Grammar substitutions are also rarely used in translating gender metaphors in media texts. Here are a few examples.
Poroshenko and others are sure to resort to
In this example, a grammatical substitution is used at the morphological level, in which a noun calling a person, i.e., a gender-unmarked metaphor in the original language, becomes a noun calling a process. In this case, the metaphorical image is preserved, since trolling is a process in which trolls participate, that is, people who place provocative posts.
His administration’s Russia policy hasn’t suddenly turned hostile over Syria: Let’s admit it was
With the help of a grammatical substitution, the adjective hawkish in the original language becomes a noun in the target language. At the same time, a simple metaphor in the original language becomes a gender-unmarked metaphor in the target language. The metaphorical image in the target language is conveyed as a comparison.
The whole transformation as a technical technique for translating gender metaphors is a kind of semantic development, while the transformation does not occur separately by elements, but integrally.
We give the following example.
The truth is that to those in the international banking elite, Soros is considered to be something of a “
The literal translation of the metaphorical expression black sheep is a scabby sheep. Black sheep are not as valuable as white, and in the distant dark times they were even considered a sign of the devil. There is a proverb there are black sheep in every flock (in any herd there are black sheep), from which, in turn, came the expression there's a black sheep in every family (in any family there is a black sheep). The metaphorical meaning of a “black sheep” is a person who is considered a shame in some group of people or in society as a whole. This example describes Soros, who is radically different from other employees in his views, not necessarily in a negative sense. Therefore, the translator applied a holistic transformation, in which the equivalent of black sheep was the metaphorical expression of a white crow – a person who stands out from others, unlike others. The metaphorical image created in the original language is replaced in another way in the target language.
Thus, transformation as a way of translating gender metaphors is applied in the following cases: 1) when there is no direct equivalent to the original metaphor; 2) when the grammar rules of the target language do not allow the direct translation of a metaphor; 3) when the translator needs to replace the metaphorical image of the original language with the standard image of the target language; 4) when the context requires a holistic transformation of the expression, which is more appropriate in meaning in the target language.
Demetaphorization is due to the inability to convey the metaphorical image of the original language into the target language. In this case, there is a need to remove the image of the original language in the target language.
We give the following examples of demetaphorization.
The metaphor “ultra-hawkish” does not have a literal translation into Russian, since it is an authorial one. “Ultra” means excessive; extreme views; hawkish – supporting the use of military force. Therefore, this metaphor characterizes a person who is extremely belligerent. In Russian, it is difficult to pick up a metaphor that would preserve a metaphorical image in the target language, so demetaphorization was applied. An ultra-conservative characterizes a person who defends the immutability of something (political system, way of life), opposing some innovations.
2) Adam Levine is a
In English, the metaphorical name of “fox’ actualizes the following characteristics of a person: 1) a cunning, flattering and sneaky person; 2) honey (used exclusively in colloquial speech).
The article is about Adam Levine, an American singer and actor who made a tattoo for himself, symbolizing eternal love for his wife. It’s difficult to pick up a metaphor in the target language that would preserve a metaphorical image, so demetaphorization was applied.
We have analyzed 98 examples of the use of gender metaphors in political texts of the media of the original language and the peculiarities of their translation into Russian. The analysis allowed us to draw the following conclusions:
1) Gender-unmarked metaphors, i.e. metaphors that do not emphasize gender differences predominate in media texts in quantitative terms compared to gender-marked metaphors (55 metaphors (56%) calling a person in general; 28 metaphors (28%) calling a man; 8 metaphors (9%), calling a woman; 7 (7%) loosely gender metaphors). This fact indicates that in the English language the gender aspect is not fundamental in the metaphorical nomination of a person, an extragender characteristic dominates. At the same time, the prevailing category, actualizing the metaphorical images of both a person in general and a man and a woman separately, is the category “character, behavior, lifestyle”.
2) Having studied 98 examples, we found out that the prevailing translation transformation in the translation of gender metaphors is loan translation (55%). This is due to the fact that, firstly, the emotional and evaluative information of most gender metaphors of the original language is similar to the gender metaphors of the target language, and secondly, when using the author’s gender metaphor, it is important for the translator to preserve the metaphorical image.
3) The most common way of translating gender metaphors is a full translation (76% of the total number of metaphors analyzed), which allows you to transfer the metaphorical image created by the original language into the target language in its original form.
The analysis shows that a full translation ensures the absolute equivalence of the metaphor of the target language to the metaphor of the original language. Absolute equivalence is characterized by the fact that the metaphorical image, the way of describing the situation, the functional-stylistic fixation and the emotionally expressive coloring of the gender metaphors of the original language remain in the target language. At the same time, the gender metaphors of the target language have the same effect on the Russian-speaking readers as the author of the original language expected, since they cause the same associations between representatives of two languages, which allow them to be used as correspondences to each other.
Transformation (18% of the total number of metaphors) as a method of translation is used if there is no direct equivalent to the metaphor of the original language in the target language, if necessary, obey the grammatical rules of the target language that do not allow direct translation, as well as if the metaphorical image of the original language is replaced by a standard image of the target language, more clear to the reader. The transformation leads to a decrease in the level of equivalence due to the fact that the way the image of the gender metaphor is changed, however, this method conveys not only the figurative meaning of the original, but also the author’s intention to use the metaphorical form, although the metaphorical image of the original language may in some cases not correspond to the metaphorical image, used in target language. With this method, gender metaphors in the target language have the same emotional impact on the readers of the target language as the metaphor in the original language.
Demetaphorization (6% of the total number of metaphors) as a way of translating gender metaphors in political discourse is used if it is impossible to convey the metaphorical image created in the original language in its original form; if there is no equivalent in the target language that corresponds to the metaphor of the original language, as a result of which a metaphorical image of the original language is given a non-metaphorical description. This method is characterized by the lowest degree of equivalence, since there is a change in the conceptual model in the target language, due to either the absence of the original model or other connotative component. Although this method leads to a loss of the beauty of the utterance and metaphor, in some cases, demetaphorization is the only way to cause an adequate perception of the described image by the Russian-speaking recipient.
Thus, the analysis shows that the translator seeks to maximize the preservation of the aesthetic impact on the reader that was incorporated into the original language. A full translation is possible if the semantic and structural characteristics of the gender metaphor are preserved, which leads to a correspondence between the original and target languages. If there is a shortage of vocabulary equivalence or a difference in semantic meanings, in order to maintain the emotional fullness of the metaphor, the translator has to resort to transformation or demetaphorization.
- Ahmed, U. (2018). Metaphor in the Construction of Gender in Media Discourse: Analysis of Metaphors Used to Describe Women in Nigerian newspapers. International Journal of Gender and Women's Studies, 6. https://doi.org/10.15640/ijgws.v6n1a8
- Arnold, I. V. (2016). Semantika. Stilistika. Intertekstual'nost' [Semantics. Stylistics. Intersexuality]. Izdatel'skaya gruppa URSS.
- Arustamyan, R., Makurina, M. A., & Pirozhkova, I. S. (2016). Proyavlenie gendernyh osobennostej v politicheskom diskurse [The reproduction of gender peculiarities in political discourse]. Politicheskaya lingvistika, 6(60), 242-247.
- Barchunova, T. V. (2002). Egoistichnyj gender, ili vosproizvodstvo gendernoj asimmetrii v gendernyh issledovaniyah [Egoistic gender or reproduction of gender asymmetry in gender studies]. Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost', 5, 180-191.
- Berkner, S. S., & Voshina, O. E. (2003). Problema sohraneniya individual'nogo stilya avtora i stilya proizvedeniya v hudozhestvennom perevode (na primere proizvedenij S. Moema) [The problem of reproduction of the individual style of the author and the style of the literary work in literary translation (at the example of S.Moem’s novels)]. Vestnik VGU. Lingvistika i mezhkul'turnaya kommunikaciya, 1.
- Bratic, V., & Stamatović, V. M. (2017). Commodification of women through conceptual metaphors: The metaphor woman as a car in the western Balkans. Gender and Language, 11, 51-76. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.22009
- Broeck van den, R. (2009). The limits of translatability exemplified by metaphor translation. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1772487
- Egorova, O. A., & Kalashnikova, V. V. (2016). Kognitivno-pragmaticheskie parametry konceptual'noj metafory v britanskom politicheskom diskurse [Cognitive and pragmatic characteristics of conceptual metaphor in British political discourse]. Filologicheskie nauki v MGIMO, 8, 39-53.
- Kirina, O. V. (2015). Gender v literature: diskursivnyj aspect [Gender in literature: discourse aspect]. Voprosy sovremennoj nauki i praktiki. Universitet im. V.I. Vernadskogo, 2(56), 125-131.
- Kunilovskaya, M. A., & Korovodina, N. V. (2010). Avtorskaya metafora kak ob"ekt perevoda [Author’s metaphor as the object of translation]. Retrieved from http://tc.utmn.ru/files/Kunilovskaya_Korovodina_2010_ActiveMetaphors%20in%20Translation_0.pdf
- Teliya, V. N. (1988). Metaforizaciya i ee rol' v sozdanii yazykovoj kartiny mira [Metaphorization and its role in creation of the linguistic picture of the world]. Rol' chelovecheskogo faktora v yazyke. YAzyk i kartina mira, 1, 178-204.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
About this article
Cite this paper as:
Click here to view the available options for cite this article.
VolumeEpSBS / Volume 86 - WUT 2020