Ways of translation of pun (based on the "Alices Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll)

Linguistic and cognitive aspects of stylistic device "pun" in linguistic studies. Ways of translation of pun from the source language to the target language. Puns as translation problem (based on the "Alices Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll).

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Chapter 1. pun as a stylistic device and ITS THEORETICAL BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION

1.1 Linguistic aspects of humor

1.1.1 Theories of humor

1.1.2 Structure of humor

1.2 Linguistic and cognitive aspects of stylistic device pun in linguistic studies

Chapter 2. Ways and means of translating pun on the fiction material

2.1 Ways of translation of pun from the source language to the target language

2.2 Puns as translation problem (based on the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)




The term paper is focused on the role of puns in the literature and its difficulties in translation. Pun is a special use of sound, lexical or grammatical form of words and parts of words, phraseology, syntax for creating phonetic, semantic and stylistic phenomena based on the comparison and rethinking, or harping similar sounding language units with different.

Presentation of the problem's theoretical background is based on the works of several scientists, writers and professors. They researched humor and puns from lexicological, morphological, historical points of view, studied the `kinds of laughter' and problems of categorizing humor itself and humor theories, examined the sense of humor and puns.

Presentation of the topicality for the study is performed by trends of modern linguistic stylistic tools and development of mechanisms of translation. Frequently consumption of this phenomenon and difficulty in translation cause theoretical and practical value of the research.

The task of the research aim and objectives of the study is to identify the characteristics and features of wordplay as a stylistic device and the means of transfer in translation. Achieving this goal involves specific objectives, such as:

1) to identify and describe the linguistic and cognitive aspects of such stylistic device as pun;

2) to consider the specific definition and basic characteristics of pun as a kind of language game;

3) to analyze the main ways of translation words from the source language;

4) to explore the characteristics of the rendering of language game functions in translation;

5) to consider role of wordplay, based the material of the fiction by Lewis Carroll "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and to analyze Ukrainian translation terms of rendering.

The object of the research is pun as the stylistic device.

Identification of the investigation subject of the research is ways of rendering of puns from the source language to the target language.

Data sources of the study are English texts and its Ukrainian translations.

Outline of the methods used in the research are universal principles of scientific and objectivity. The study relies on structural, comparative, systematic, analytical and a number of scientific methods such as the method of logical analysis, synthesis and generalization.

Theoretical and practical value of research is to show riches of both languages, which is represented in use of pun and its translation.

Brief outline of the research paper structure is performed due to its purpose and goals and consists of an introduction, two chapters, the general conclusions, resume, annex and lists of sources. linguistic translation pun language


1.1 Linguistic aspects of humor

At first glance, humor is easy to define. Humor is what causes amusement, mirth, a spontaneous smile and laughter. And humor, it seems, is a distinctly human phenomenon because to laugh is proper to man. Yet modern research does not confirm this simplicity. While humor is intimately related to laughter, it is not true that humor and laughter are equally proper to people. One short way to elucidate the concept of humor is precisely by analyzing its relation to laughter [11; 24].

In observing our behavior in daily life, we surely realize that all of us regularly react with humor and laughter in the most different situations. Therefore, we have to admit that humor represents a central aspect of our everyday conversation and it is a general fact that all humans naturally participate in humorous speech and behavior, which justifies Oring's point of view when classifying humor and laughter as "cultural universals" representing "a condition of our humanity" [23, p. 45].

Gruner emphasizes this point that without laughter everyday living becomes drab and lifeless; life would seem hardly human at all. Likewise, a sense of humor is generally considered a person's most admirable attribute [10, p. 78].

Humor is known to challenge translators. It is often seen as a paradigm case of untranslatability: When it comes to translating humor, the operation proves to be as desperate as that of translating poetry [21, p. 126]. The relative or absolute untranslatability is generally related to cultural and linguistic aspects. To understand cultural untranslatability, we should think of our above-mentioned characteristics of humor. Humor occurs when the rule has not been followed, when an expectation is set-up and not confirmed, when the incongruity is resolved in an alternative way. On the one hand, any translation failure will therefore be very visible. On the other hand, the translator of humor has to cope with the fact that the rules, expectations, solutions, and agreements on social play are culture-specific [19, p 375].

1.1.1 Theories of humor

Important philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle laid the foundations of humor research, a field that has been developing continuously ever since. Various researchers have dealt with specific categories of humor and have either developed humor theories or modified theories put forth by former researchers.

Research on the structure of humorous discourse began in classical philosophy and still represents an essential research area for contemporary linguists. Many theories of humor have been advanced by famous philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Schopenhauer, and Kant. All their theories dealt with the question of why people laugh at certain situations, whereas they do not show any reactions in others. They tried to explain the various mental processing that allow us to experience humor [29, pp. 73-79].

In general, the principal theories of humor can be classified into three main groups:

incongruity theories

The context for humour is crucial for determining whether an individual finds something amusing or not. Even so, it is possible to examine the features of language that have the potential to make people laugh. The incongruity theory focuses on the element of surprise. It states that humour is created out of a conf lict between what is expected and what actually occurs in the joke. This accounts for the most obvious feature of much humour: an ambiguity, or double meaning, which deliberately misleads the audience, followed by a punchline [24, pp. 31-36].

It has less interest in the social aspects of humor and tend to focus on its cognitive features. However, an exact and single definition of comical incongruity is a difficult matter. Morreall considers the incongruity theory to be "the most popular current philosophical theory of humor" and states further that it "holds that the formal object of amusement is 'the incongruous'." [18, p. 106]. Wilson explains the term incongruity thus: "the general proposition is that the components of a joke, or humourous incident, are in mutual clash, conflict or contradiction"[30, p. 215]. Humor results in this case from the fact that there is a difference between what the recipient of the joke expects to happen and what actually happens. This means that humor is created by incongruity evoked by two conflicting meanings.

hostility theories [24, pp. 36-38]

Plato's and Aristotle's early work and refer to the negative and the aggressive side of humor, which is mainly used to disparage and humiliate specific opponents. Both philosophers emphasized in their work that laughter is a means of power and superiority when it is directed against the faults of other people and it thus expresses their inferiority. Plato considered amusement to be "a kind of malice toward [powerless] people". In his work Human Nature, Hobbes also stresses the fact that laughter stems from the feeling of superiority of the person who is laughing at some object. Hobbes's theory of humor not only takes superiority into consideration but also suddenness, which serves to create a surprise effect and seems to become a further necessary condition for humor [12, pp. 54 - 73].

release theories [24, pp.38-40]

As their name suggests, release theories posit that humor is used to release tensions or to make one feel liberated when talking about taboo topics such as sex. In the comic situation, the amusement arises because of the economy in the expenditure of thought. There is always some disappointment or deceived expectation involved in comic situations. In wit, the pleasure results from economy in the expenditure of inhibition, whereas in humor, it is due to the economy in the expenditure of feeling. Situations which would cause a sort of suffering are given less significance from a humorous standpoint. The most influential proponent of this humor theory is Sigmund Freud, which is the reason why I will focus on his work in this section.14 Freud was the first to work on real humorous texts; he started to identify the various joke techniques in terms of "sounds, syllables, repetition, and variation" and formulated the psychoanalytic theory of humor. Freud introduces two forms of joking: "innocent" and "tendentious" jokes [22, p.1334]. Tendentious jokes describe events that would normally leave the audience shocked or terrified. For Freud these jokes have two functions: either they serve to express hostility and aggressiveness or obscenity and exposure. He argues that in a tendentious joke, there is an underlying, unconscious thought which is responsible for the joke's release of repressed feelings. Freud defines the tendentious joke as a joke that displaces aggression, and he presents three different categories of tendentious jokes: "exposing or obscene jokes, aggressive (hostile) jokes [and] cynical (critical, blasphemous) jokes" [9, p.137].

1.1.2 Structure of humor

This section provides a brief overview of the various genres of humor. Puns represent only one field of humor. In general, jokes can take many forms, such as narrative jokes, proverbial phrases, oneliners, knock-knock jokes, or riddles. They all have their own particular structure.

Various linguists have already dealt with the most different kinds of humor. Among those who have dealt with the discussion and the analysis of joke telling are important names such as Freud, Schegloff, Sacks, Schenkein, Tannen and Norrick. They focused particularly on conversational joking.

In the examination of the internal structure of jokes, Hockett, who stated in The View from Language that jokes have three different components:

1) build-up

2) pivot

3) punch line [13, pp. 257-289]

The "build-up" forms the body of the joke. It is the sentence which introduces the joke and presents the orientation and much of the complicating action. The "pivot" signifies the word or phrase around which the ambiguity is created. The "punch line" serves to conclude the joke and often introduces "a conflicting point of view or a new scene entirely", as Norrick explains in his work. The punch line therefore represents a surprise effect [21, p.118].

The three components of the internal structure according to Hockett are: After waiting for half an hour in a Soho restaurant the customer called over to the waiter: (Build-up) "How long will my spaghetti be?" he asked. (Pivot) "How should I know", replied the waiter. "I never measure it." (Punch line) [13, pp. 257-289].

1.2 Linguistic and cognitive aspects of stylistic device pun in linguistic studies

Wordplay represents one of the most common techniques of making jokes by using the different meanings of a word in an amusing or clever way. This might be the result of what Freud has described in his work as an "economy in expenditure." According to Freud, the double meaning which arises from the literal and the metaphorical meanings of a word is "one of the most fertile sources for the technique of jokes." It is one of the most common techniques of making jokes by using the different meanings of a word in an amusing or clever way [9, p. 39].

Ross [25, p. 7] also emphasizes the importance of the double meaning of a word when he states that "an ambiguity, or double meaning, which deliberately misleads the audience" can be considered "the most obvious feature of much humour." Wordplay can be performed in various forms, including punning, sarcasm, mocking, or banter.

As a result of the different perceptions of the pun there are also various approaches as to how it should be classified. Gruner differentiates three major types of puns, which are the homograph, the homophone, and the double-sound pun [11, p.131]. He states that the homograph "employs a word or words with two or more meanings." These different meanings are expressed by identical words: Who was the first man to bear arms? Adam. He had two. In this example, the noun "arms" is used as a pun because in the question it stands for "weapons", whereas in the answer it stands for the "human limbs"[11, p. 131].

In this example, Gruner uses a homonym (a form identical in spelling and pronunciation) of which only one meaning is appropriate to the joke's context so that the other meaning serves to express incongruity. Further, he states that the homophone "combines two words of different meanings and spellings but which sound alike" [11, p. 131]. As an example, he uses the following: What is black and white and red (read) all over? A newspaper. A bloody zebra.

Whereas the first answer "A newspaper" refers to the meaning of the irregular past participle form of the verb "to read", the second answer "A bloody zebra" refers to the adjective "red". Humor derives here from the phonological identity of both words. The last type Gruner mentions is the double-sound pun, which is considered to be more complicated because it "can be a word that puns on a pun" [11, p. 132].

Eastman [7, p. 68] defines a pun as "a verbal absurdity", whereas Koestler [14, pp. 64-65] provides a more detailed definition when he states that a pun is "the bisociation of a single phonetic form with two meanings - two strings of thought tied together by an acoustic knot." According to Nilsen, "the English meaning of pun, which comes from the Italian word puntiglio meaning 'fine point', is the humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound." [20, p. 238].

The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of wordplay which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. Henri Bergson defines a pun as a sentence or utterance in which "the same sentence appears to offer two independent meanings, but it is only an appearance; in reality there are two different sentences made up of different words, but claiming to be one and the same because both have the same sound" [6, pp. 197-199].

Considering the above mentioned definitions and the study of empirical material, we can come to the conclusion and say that the pun is a figure of speech which consists of a deliberate confusion of similar words or phrases for rhetorical effect, whether humorous or serious. It is a way of using the characteristics of the language to cause a word, a sentence or a discourse to involve two or more different meanings. So humorous or any other effects created by puns depend upon the ambiguities words entail [6, p. 205].

There are several subcategories of pun and consequently its various classifications and types are formulated by different scholars. On the basis of the mentioned types and various classifications of pun and the analysis of the empirical material examples in the article, a new classification form of pun including all the main types of pun is introduced below:

1. Lexical-Semantic Pun;

2. Structural-Syntactic Pun;

3. Structural-Semantic Pun.

As a feature of language, ambiguity occurs when a word or phrase has more than one meaning and accordingly one linguistic expression allows more than one understandings or interpretations. So ambiguity is a convention of punning, but as Attardo points out, not every ambiguous word constitutes a pun [4, p. 133].

The lexical ambiguity of a word or phrase pertains to its having more than one meaning in the language to which the word belongs. Semantic ambiguity happens when a sentence contains an ambiguous word or phrase - a word or phrase that has more than one meaning. Syntactic ambiguity arises when a sentence can have two (or more) different meanings because of the structure of the sentence - its syntax. That is why, understanding pun involves multiple cognitive processes, which are still to be studied from both theoritical and experimental perspectives.

Lexical-Semantic Pun

Lexical ambiguity may result from homonyms, words spelt and pronounced in the same way but have different meanings, as well as from homophones, words pronounced in the same way but have different meanings or spelling and polysemantic words. In the following examples lexical-semantic ambiguity is clearly seen on the basis of polysemy, homonyms, homophones, etc. One of the one -liner jokes is discussed as an example under the category of Lexical - Semantic Pun. I like kids, but I don't think I could eat a whole one. In the given example polysemous word kid creates pun. kid - 1. a baby; 2. a baby goat. Here, ambiguity is based on a single homonym and polysemy.

Structural-Syntactic Pun

Structural - syntactic ambiguity arises when a complex phrase or a sentence can be parsed in more than one way. For example: - How do you stop a fish from smelling? - Cut off its nose. Specifically, smelling means stink as well as to smell. Therefore, it is possible for one and the same sentence with the same structure to be interpreted in different ways as in the following example. How do you stop the fish from smelling?

1. How can we keep the fish from smelling ?

2. How can you stop the fish to smell? In the answer of the waiter and surprise effect is created To which side, in what position?

Structural-Semantic Pun

Structural - semantic ambiguity arises when a word or concept has an inherently diffuse meaning based on its widespread or informal usage. This is often the case, for example, with idiomatic expressions whose definitions are rarely or never well-defined, and are presented in the context of a larger argument that invites a certain conclusion. For instance: - Did you take a bath? -No, only towels, is there one missing? Take a bath, as a fixed phrase means to have a shower, but its direct, word for word translation can be - carry away a bath, to carry it from one place to another.

So we can conclude that puns consist of an intentional confusion of similar words or phrases for a humorous rhetorical effect and have to do with misinterpretation and misunderstanding, and can often display an aggressive effect. Norrick also refers to the last-mentioned point of aggression by noting that "punning as a type of word play may function either to amuse or to verbally attack."[22, p.1348]. But normally, puns should enhance rapport and make the talk enjoyable for all the speakers. Nilsen states that "the best puns are those that fit so well into a conversation that they increase the level of understanding for those who catch on without interrupting the conversation's flow for those who miss the point." Often, one pun leads to another and can relax a serious topic so that it develops amusement and enjoyment [20, p. 239].

CHAPTER 2. Ways and means of translating pun based on the fiction material

2.1 Ways of pun translation from the source language to the target language

Wordplay captures the reader's attention because it stands out from the surrounding textual environment. Often the function of wordplay in a text is to amuse the person reading the text, namely by producing humour. The function of wordplay is not always to amuse, however. As Delabastita points out, in addition to producing humour, possible functions of wordplay include adding to the thematic coherence of the text,, forcing the reader/listener into greater attention, adding persuasive force to the statement, deceiving our socially conditioned reflex against sexual and other taboo themes, and so forth [9; 129-130]. Hobbes points out that in addition to its function as benevolent humour, wordplay may also convey biting parody or irony with a certain person or phenomenon becoming the laughing stock [12; 141].

The notion of pun is not simply and unambiguously defined. As Delabastita points out, during his research of wordplay he had to cope with terminological and conceptual inconsistency due to differences in the treatment of the pun [8; 55]. Theoreticians attach different meanings to the term pun, which range from more specific to broader. The definition provided by Goddard on the last pages of her book on the language of advertising could be used as an illustration of those definitions which limit the range of linguistic levels on which a pun can be realized: A comic play on words as a result of a word having more than one meaning or two words with different meanings having the same sound [29; 125]. Hokkett's definition is based on a similar concept: A pun is a foregrounded lexical ambiguity, which may have its origin either in homonymy or polysemy [13; 209]. In the context of wordplay, `broad' would refer to those definitions which cover puns created not only on the basis of words' equivalence regarding their form or meaning, but also on their proximity on the level of phonetics, semantics, as well as morphology, syntax and other levels. Such is the definition offered within Delabastita's view of the pun and its classification, which was used as the basis for my analysis of the translations of Carroll's puns: Wordplay is the general name indicating the various textual phenomena (i.e. on the level of performance or parole) in which certain features inherent in the structure of the language used (level of competence or langue) are exploited in such a way as to establish a communicatively significant, (near)-simultaneous confrontation of at least two linguistic structures with more or less dissimilar meanings (signifieds) and more or less similar forms (signifiers) [7; 57].

Delabastita insists on exposing the complexity of the term in relation to the structure, content and the pragmatic nature of the pun. His treatment of the pun will prove to be the most appropriate one after considering the translation solutions, as the translators repeatedly rely on other levels of language to recreate source text puns in the target text. Delabastita's list of techniques is used in connection to pun translation within this research should be clarified: translation technique, translation solution and translation strategy. Delabastita uses this term to list and explain various possible results in pun translation [8; 125]. Vynohradov explained that translation techniques affect micro units of the text, in this case puns, and define the result of their translation [2; 508]. Several techniques from Delabastita list are exploited by translators when they are dealing with wordplay.

Delabastita uses two criteria to establish a typology of wordplay:

a. the type of formal similarity between the lexical units at play: homonymy, homophony, homography and paronymy (the relationship operating between words having very similar though not identical sounds and spellings);

b. the vertical/horizontal distinction. Vertical puns are those in which the two (or more) meanings that can be activated are co-present in the same word or sequence, whereas in horizontal puns the two (or more) meanings in question are distributed over two (or more) words or sequences [8; pp.126-129].

Among these techniques the source text pun is translating as `pun > pun', a target text pun may or may not be equivalent to the original pun regarding its form or content and can be modified to a certain degree. These shifts in structure are justified by certain objective factors - by the differences between languages, contexts and co-texts, as well as some subjective factors, such as translators' abilities and efforts [21; 221]. The frequently occurring semantic difference between the source text pun and its counterpart in the target text can arise from the following: shifts in the focus of the pun (in the target text, play on words is inspired by a word or a group of words from the imminent context of the source text pun); shifts in the semantic field to which the two meanings of the target text pun belong (the meanings of the target text pun can be shifted within the semantic field of the source text pun or they can belong to a completely different semantic field); or shifts in the textual environment, i.e. the co-text, of the target text pun [7; pp. 192-202].

Another technique for translating puns is `pun > non-pun' where the translated fragment of the source text containing wordplay does not contain a pun in the target text. Delabastita indicates three possibilities within this technique: non-selective non-pun in which both of the two meanings of the word engaged in wordplay are translated, but they do not result in a pun in the target text; selective non-pun - one of the two meanings of the punning word is translated more or less correspondingly and the other meaning is omitted; diffuse paraphrase includes all other cases of pun > non-pun translation in which the source text wordplay is translated rather freely by means of a passage which does not include wordplay, but some semantic elements of the source text passage can be distinguished within it. [7; pp. 202-206].

Translators can also apply the technique `pun > related rhetorical device' in their translations. The source text pun is replaced by a wordplay-related rhetorical device (repetition, alliteration, rhyme, irony, paradox, etc.) in order to recreate the effect of the source translation pun; [7; pp. 207-208].

In addition, the translator of the source text pun may decide to omit the whole portion of the text containing wordplay. This technique is included in the list as `pun > zero' [7; pp. 209-210].

Translators also have the possibility of using two similar techniques: direct copy and transference. Direct copy is a technique in which, as its name indicates, the translator directly copies the pun from the source text, without changing its original form or adapting it to the target text in any way. In transference, target text elements acquire the meaning of their equivalents from the source text. The difference between the two techniques is, that direct copy functions on the level of the signifier and transference functions on the level of the signified [7; pp. 210-215].

Translation of a fragment from the source text which does not contain a pun by a target text fragment that includes a pun is called addition (`non-pun > pun'). This technique is usually used as a means of compensation for any earlier losses in the translation of the original text. Addition can also signify the technique of adding new textual material (a portion of text containing wordplay) to the target text for which there is no corresponding portion of the text in the source text (`zero > pun') [7; pp. 215-217].

The last group of translation techniques in Delabastita's list are editorial techniques which include various commentaries on translations (endnotes, parentheses within the target text marked with italics, etc.) [7; pp. 217-221].

These techniques, which accompany Delabastita's analysis of Shakespeare's puns, have proved applicable in the analysis of Carroll's wordplay and its translation. The majority of these techniques have been used to a greater or lesser extent in the translations which present the corpus analysed in this paper. The two volumes edited by Delabastita in 1994 and 1996 contain other attempts at classifications of wordplay translation techniques -- even if sometimes their concern is not wordplay in its entirety but a particular kind of wordplay. Thus, Koestler focuses on idiom-based wordplay and provides the following list, in which the order suggests no preference but goes from a higher level of faithfulness to relatively `freer' approaches [14; pp. 163-171):

1. Equivalent idiom transformation, which occurs when the source and target languages present equivalents with respect to the source text idiom, its components and the transforming elements;

2. Loan translation: the original idiom is translated linearly, with all its components. It works with logical and transparent idioms;

3. Extension: insertion of some additional explanatory information, which may take the form of an unobtrusive editorial comment after a loan translation;

4. Analogue idiom transformation: using a stylistically close idiom which will thus yield to contextual transformation;

5. Substitution (similar to analogue idiom transformation): there is willingness on the translator's part to change the image underlying the idiom altogether so as to achieve a similar (punning) effect;

6. Compensation: when the translator feels that equivalence should be achieved at the level of the whole text, i.e. globally not locally;

7. Omission (loss, zero translation), which can adopt two forms: either the relevant passage is omitted altogether, or the idiom is preserved in terms of its contents but with loss of the wordplay;

Some of these techniques could only be applied to the particular kind of wordplay that the author intends to bring under scrutiny, whereas others have a broader scope.

Next chapter offers a more detailed analysis of their use and provides concrete examples of their exploitation in the comparison of puns from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and their equivalents from English and Ukrainian.

2.2 Puns as translation problem (based on the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has always attracted the interest of scholars from many disciplines. Of course, among them are translation scholars who have concentrated on puns and their translation into various languages, as they are most likely to cause translators sleepless nights [6; 109]. Norick, in analysis of three Hebrew translations of Alice, found that the rendering of wordplay was governed by different norms of literary translation. In the first translation, socio-cultural acceptability demanded wordplay which was deeply rooted in Jewish culture, while linguistic acceptability resulted in an elevated style in the second translation [21; pp 219-234]. In the third translation the translator had greater freedom of using all the possible translation strategies at his disposal, as the norms had changed and required adequacy at the linguistic and socio-cultural levels. As Willmann concludes in comparison of two English-German translations of Carroll's book, translation of wordplay is often adapted to the target audience. While the version for adults is written in a more formal register and contains many instances of compensation, the translation aimed at children is `more reader friendly' - the language is simpler and there are more comparisons and explanations [29; pp. 115-126].

The notion of translatability has been a topic for vivid discussion among translators and translation theorists ever since the first translations have been produced. It has been explored by scholars such as Sapir, Benjamin, Whorf, Chomsky or McGhee, each of whom developed their own theory on the topic. The theories, in general, tended to fluctuate, as far as `favouring the side' is concerned.

Following McGhee's assumption that everything is translatable, just will be to claim that puns are as well. At this moment, it is worth to consider the aim and sense of translation. For what is translation? After all, it is not just a process of re-writing of words of the Source Text in words of TL into the Target Text. Translation is a trans-mission of meaning, of sense, it is committing intentions of the author of the source text to paper in which the target text is contained. As he notes, the task of the translator consists in finding that intended effect upon the language into which he is translating which produces in it the echo of the original [17; 19-20]. While translating a pun, it is crucial, then, to take into consideration the aim of the author of the ST contained in using this form of communication. For what indeed is the aim of inventing a pun? Is it only author's will to show his writing abilities? Perhaps, more often, however, puns aim at amusing the receiver. Before this happens, a reader must notice the pun, discover its double meaning and compare the meanings to each other to trigger the comic effect. Thus, the real aim of producing a pun is to force the reader to logical thinking, to solve the mini-riddle. It is this aim that should be the basic one for the translator who takes up the challenge of translating a pun. After setting an aim and deciding to make an attempt to translate a pun, it is worth to `meet the enemy', that is to say, learn what actually a pun is.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines pun as the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound. This definition implies that a pun is a form of wordplay, specifically based on ambiguity. For his part, Oring defines pun in a more phonetic way as "the bisociative play between two sound sequences." [23; 194]. He adds that "the relationship between the different meanings of the two word sequenceswill affect its quality, its success or failure." The majority of semanticists emphasize the homonymous and polysemous nature of words used in pun or word play. They mention the homonymous (different words having identical forms) nature of a word like bank, as in the bank of the river and the bank for money storing, and the polysemic (one word having different but related senses) characteristic of another word like foot, as in the foot of the man, the foot of the mountain and the foot-long snake. Ross claims that the humor of pun and other verbal jokes derives from the fact that humans express their ideas and feelings through circumscribed and logical elements. Any deviation from these elements, it is added, is felt as a release from conventional restrictions and is, therefore, humorous. Pun is also used in advertisements to attract attention and make people dwell on the topic and in fables which often tolerate more than one meaning [25; pp.100-120]. Puns is equally found in the Bible, in orthography (the case of Japanese Kyoka), and in film titles. McHovec additionally discerns the phonetic type, which is omitted in the works of later linguists. Typically, lexical ambiguity occurs when a single word used in a given con-text has more than one meaning. There are two types of lexical ambiguity in English: polysemy and homonymy. Polysemy occurs when a lexeme can be ascribed more than one meaning, homonymy - when two lexemes that have two different meanings have the same spelling and pronunciation. It should be remembered that in homonymy one can discern homography and homophony. The latter if the two is described by McHovec as the phonetic type of ambiguity [15; 156]. Typically, two words are homophonic if they are pronounced in the same way, while their spelling and meaning remain different. While lexical ambiguity is based on words, structural ambiguity derives from structure. Indeed, this second type of ambiguity is based on a double reading of a sentence because of its syntactic structure. Lyons refers to this type of ambiguity as a `grammatical ambiguity' and defines it in the following way: grammatically ambiguous sentence is any sentence to which there is assigned more than one structural analysis at the grammatical level of analysis. It would be far too easy to assume that a double meaning of a word makes it a pun. Delabastita discerns vertical and horizontal types of pun, which can also be visible in puns [7; 178]. As Wilson explains, in vertical puns various meanings are activated by one form (token) on the communicative axis, whereas in horizontal puns several identical or similar tokens appear in the chain of communication in order to activate various meanings. To put it more simply, the double meaning of horizontal pun is visible instantly, while ambiguity of vertical pun can be resolved only in a specific context [30; pp. 69-80].

The humor of a pun depends very much on the "expectations shared by the framer of the message and the addressee and on the way the latter is taken by surprise and plunged into something entirely different from what she has been prepared for [8; 138]. "Punning should also be considered in relation to another important aspect of human nature, namely our own sense of humour and our desire to produce a humorous effect on the people we communicate with." Puns or wordplays are based commonly on a "confrontation or clash of two meanings" [8; 139]. One should notice too that puns "result not only from the confrontation of two (or more) different meanings of an identical or similar string of letters or sounds, but also from the clash between two (or more) domains of human knowledge and experience." In this sense, punning is "a perfect illustration of the close ties between language and thought" [8; 152].

The wordplay comic effect strength is determined by showing the distance between the domains of human knowledge and experiences and the way they are connected. "Punning is possible in any language in so far as it seems to be universal feature of language to have words with more than one meaning (polysemy), different words with the same spelling or pronunciation (homographs and homophones) and words which are synonyms or near synonyms while having different pragmatic meanings and evoking different associations" [8; 138-139]. "Wordplay is inherently linked with the asymmetrical relationship between language and the extralinguistic world, whichis geared to the optimum use of our information processing system" [8; 139]. It is also dependent on the asymmetry between the more or less limited number of language signs and the much greater number of entities, events, and relationships we experience and try to describe by means of language" [8; 153].

In all fields of translation, the translator should stay faithful to the source language message and try his/her best to convey the original style and atmosphere of it. What makes wordplay particularly challenging for a translator is the fact that it employs particular structural characteristics of the source language for its meaning and effect. For these structural characteristics, it is often impossible to find a counterpart in the target language.

Delabastita discusses the `untranslatability' of wordplay in two of his articles from the years 1994 and 1996. He points out that focusing on wordplay and ambiguity as facts of the source text and/or the target text, we may be tempted to say that wordplay and translation form an almost impossible match, whichever way one looks at it [8; 136]. Indeed, the translator often has to depart from source text structures for the sake of recreating certain effects [7; 229]. With wordplay translation this can mean for example that an `untranslatable' pun in the source text is replaced with another one that will work in the target language. Delabastita points out that these translation shifts will often affect also the wider textual environment, when a new textual setting needs to be created for the target-text wordplay to come to life [8; 137].

This results in the fact that the requirements of translation equivalence are rarely met, and provides an explanation as to why wordplay is sometimes deemed `untranslatable'. However, as expecting subtitles to conform to the requirements of formal equivalence is simply not very realistic, wordplay can be considered successfully translated if the target text manages to produce the same effect in the target audience as the source text produced in the original receptors of the message - this would mean that the target text is a functional equivalent of the source text. In the case of translating a text like Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, the `effect' caused by the target text is often the amusement caused by the humour or the intellectual satisfaction caused by recognising instances of wordplay.

What is demanded then of a translator who comes across instances of wordplay and then has to render the wordplay into another language? The first requirement is obvious: the person coming across wordplay must be competent enough in the language in question to be able to recognize the verbal message in question as an instance of wordplay. The wordplay has to play on knowledge which is shared between sender and recipient [7; 101]. So, in addition to the obvious demand that one has to understand the language in which the wordplay occurs, one has to possess enough sociocultural knowledge to be able to recognize instances of wordplay. Bergson states that one also has to be able to recognize broken (or merely bent) linguistic rules, and therefore a high standard of proficiency in the language in which the joke is delivered is essential [6; 12]. Bergson calls this the poetic competence of language [6; 13]. What is interesting regarding translation is that a translator has to possess this three-dimensional competence in both the source and target languages. Often the question of recognizing wordplay is present especially in the case of intertextual wordplay. He states that a translator can choose among a wide range of translation methods when translating wordplay. But in order to select one of these methods, or even to start contemplating what might be at stake in a given choice, he or she will have to identify the instances of source-text wordplay in the first place [6; 174]. When studying the translation of wordplay in Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, it was stated that one indeed has to possess an extraordinarily good knowledge of the source language and a broad knowledge on various aspects of Britain culture to notice the instances of wordplay.

This section offers a detailed analysis of different techniques the translators from the corpus used when dealing with puns. Going back to Delabastita's list of techniques, whose brief explanation can already be found in this paper among the key concepts. All of the following examples are taken from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its translations from the corpus of this study. As the present study focuses primarily on the puns based on the semantic and phonetic structure of words, that is, polysemy, homonymy and homophony, only these types of puns and their translations will serve as examples here.

Pun > Pun

When they come across a pun in the original text, translators usually try to create a corresponding target text pun. This is not always possible due to various subjective and objective circumstances, such as differences between languages and cultures, or translators' capabilities, creativity, etc. This research shows that, in the large majority of cases, translators actually do manage to apply this technique. Here is an example from the corpus to exemplify how this is achieved:

`Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found it advisable -'

`Found what?' said the Duck.

`Found it,' the Mouse replied rather crossly: `of course you know what it means.'

`I know what `it' means well enough, when I find a thing,' said the Duck: `it's generally a frog or a worm. The question is, what did the archbishop find?'

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When a pun is based on polysemy, the two or more associated meanings are part of what is considered to be one single word. In the following pun, we find a clash between two different signifieds of dry: without water or liquid and not interesting or exciting in any way. The former meaning refers to the audience listening to the Mouse, who have got wet, and the latter to the story he is about to tell:

Sit down, all of you, and listen to me ! I'll soon make you dry enough!

They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.

Ahem! said the Mouse with an important air, are you all ready ? This is the driest thing I know.

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For example, the focus of the pun can be shifted, that is, another word from the immediate co-text of the original pun becomes the focus. For example:

Just think of what work it would make with the day and night ! You see the earth takes twenty-four hours to turn round on its axis

Talking of axes, said the Duchess, chop off her head !

? ? , ? . , . , ...

, ! ? . ? ³ !

The source text pun is based on homophony between the words `axis' and `axes'. The translator preserves the type of wordplay - homophonous, but the focus of the pun is shifted to another segment from the co-text. Thus, in the translation, the Duchess does not mishear the word `axis', but thinks that Alice is talking about `' (eng. knife), when she is actually use the conjunction (eng. that).

Another shift may occur within the semantic field of the pun:

`Of course not,' said the Mock Turtle: `why, if a fish came to me, and told me he was going a journey, I should say `With what porpoise?'

`Don't you mean `purpose'?' said Alice.

, , , ? ? .

, , , ?

Here the word which produces the pun in the source text - `porpoise' - is replaced with a Ukrainian word for shrimp - `'. The two words differ in meaning, but they still belong to the same semantic field of sea animals. This can also serve as an example for a change in the type of wordplay. While the original pun is based on homophony, the target text pun is paronymous - the words combined to produce wordplay, little identical in sounding, but only similar.

Perhaps not, Alice cautiously replied : but I know I have to beat time when I learn music. Ah! that accounts for it, said the Hatter. He won't stand beating.

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! ! ? . ? !

In this example, the focus of the pun and the semantic field of the meanings of the pun are not changed, but there is a noticeable shift in the co-text. The translator decided to modify the textual environment of the pun with a fragment which functions as a sort of a clarification of the target text pun.

Here the Red Queen began again. `Can you answer useful questions?' she said. `How is bread made?'

`I know that!' Alice cried eagerly. `You take some flour--'

`Where do you pick the flower?' the White Queen asked. `In a garden, or in the hedges?'

`Well, it isn't picked at all,' Alice explained: `it's ground-- '

`How many acres of ground?' said the White Queen. `You mustn't leave out so many things.'

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Pun > non-pun

Sometimes translators are not aware of the pun in the source text or they are unable to create a corresponding pun in the target text. In either case, they may choose to replace the original pun with a non-pun in the target text. There are several subtypes of this translation technique which are determined by the degree of change or loss of meaning.


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