Linguacultural isomorphism / anisomorphism and synesthetic metaphor translation procedures


  • Olha Zhulavska Sumy State University, 2, R. Korsakova St., Sumy, Ukraine, 40007
  • Alla Martynyuk V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. 4, Svobody Square, Kharkiv, Ukraine 61022


Anisomorphic / isomorphic cross-sensory mapping, linguaculture, synesthetic metaphor, translation procedure.


In this paper, we combine analytical tools of conceptual metaphor theory with the affordances of corpus-based linguistics and quantitative analysis to investigate the translation of synesthetic metaphors found in Donna Tartt’s novels into Ukrainian. A synesthetic metaphor is addressed as a linguistic expression representing a sensation of one modality in terms of another. We claim that the choice of a translation procedure – retention, removal, omission, modification, or addition is partly determined by linguacultural similarity (i.e. isomorphism) or specificity (i.e. anisomorphism) of cross-sensory mappings that underlie the source-text and target-text linguistic expressions and partly – by the translator’s free choice, which cannot be explained by objective reasons. The obtained results show the following trends. Original metaphors as well as conventional metaphors based on isomorphic cross-sensory mappings are mostly retained. Conventional metaphors that rest on anisomorphic mappings are mostly modified or removed/omitted. However, the translator can choose to remove/modify a synesthetic metaphor that rests on an isomorphic mapping. Added synesthetic metaphors usually root in isomorphic mappings. The applied methodology minimizes subjectivity of judgment in differentiating between the compulsory (i.e. imposed by the linguacultural specificity) and free strategic choices, which contributes to the potential impact of this research.