Semantic Prosody in Translation: Slovene and English ADV-V combinations


  • Primož Jurko University of Ljubljana



semantic prosody, translation, extended unit of meaning, top-down approach


Semantic prosody is perhaps the most elusive meaning component established to date, and the present paper is a corpus-driven attempt to elucidate the meaning-forming process in some of the most frequent lexical items in Slovene and English. The underlying methodology is based on the novel top-down approach, which provides a semantically unmotivated point of view and is based on raw data, i.e., frequency of occurrence. The paper features a comparison of the pervasiveness of evident semantic prosody in high-frequency lexical items in Slovene and English, respectively. In closing it also deals with the problems involved in L1-L2 translation of the observed extended units of meaning, where possible translation equivalents exhibit varying levels of (mis)match in their semantic prosodies.


Download data is not yet available.


Berber Sardinha, Tony. 2000. “Semantic Prosodies in English and Portuguese.” Cuadernos de Filogía Inglesa 9 (1): 93–110.

Biber, Douglas, and Edward Finegan. 1991. “On Exploitation of Computerized Corpora in Variation Studies.” In English Corpus Linguistics. Studies in Honour of Jan Svartvik, edited by Karin Aijmer, and Bengt Altenberg, 204–20. London: Routledge.

Dam-Jensen, Helle, and Karin Korning Zethsen. 2008. “Translator Awareness of Semantic Prosodies.” Target: International Journal on Translation Studies 20 (2): 203–21.

Gabrovšek, Dušan. 2007. “Connotation, Semantic Prosody, Syntagmatic Associative Meaning: Three Levels of Meaning?” ELOPE 4 (1–2): 10–28.

Hauser, David, and Norbert Schwarz. 2018. “How Seemingly Innocuous Words Can Bias Judgment: Semantic Prosody and Impression Formation.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 75: 11–18.

Hirci, Nataša. 2012. “Electronic Reference Resources for Translators: Implications for Productivity and Translation Quality.” The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 6 (2): 219–35.

Hoey, Michael. 2005. Lexical Priming. London: Routledge.

Hunston, Susan. 2002. Corpora in Applied Linguistics. Cambridge Applied Linguistics Series (CALS). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

—. 2007. “Semantic Prosody Revisited.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 12: 249–68.

—. 2010. Corpus Approaches to Evaluation. London: Routledge.

Jurko, Primož. 2017. “Pragmatic Meaning in Contrast: Semantic Prosodies of Slovene and English.” Perspectives 25 (1): 157–76.

—. forthcoming. “Semantic Prosody of Slovene Adverb-Verb Collocations: Introducing the Top-Down Approach.” CORPORA.

Kjellmer, Göran. 2005. “Collocations and Semantic Prosody: Abstract.” AAACL 6 / ICAME Conference, 12 – 15 May, 2005, Ann Arbor.

Kübler, Natalie, and Alexandra Volanschi. 2012. “Semantic Prosody and Specialised Translation, or How a Lexico-Grammatical Theory of Language Can Help with Specialised Translation.” In Corpus Informed Research and Learning in ESP: Issues and Applications, edited by Alex Boulton, Shirley Carter-Thomas, and Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet, 103–34. Studies in Corpus Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Lindley, Jori. 2015. “A Corpus-Based Cognitive-Functional Study of the Meaning and Use of ‘Always’ and ‘Never’, and Related Phenomena, in American English.” PhD diss., University of California.

Lopes, Maria Cecilia. 2011. “Tradução, padrões e nuances: um estudo de Linguística de Corpus sobre diferentes prosódias semânticas na língua fonte e na língua alvo.” Revista Brasileira de Linguística Aplicada 11: 747–72.

Louw, Bill. 1993. “Irony in the Text or Insincerity in the Writer? The Diagnostic Potential of Semantic Prosodies.” In Text and Technology: In Honour of John Sinclair, edited by Mona Baker, Gill Francis, and Elena Tognini-Bonelli, 157–76. Philadelphia: Benjamins.

—. 2000. “Contextual Prosodic Theory: Bringing Semantic Prosodies to Life.” In Words in Context: A Tribute to John Sinclair on His Retirement, edited by Chris Heffer and Helen Sauntson, 48–94. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.

Méndez-Naya, Belén. 2014. “Out of the Spatial Domain ‘Out’-Intensifiers in the History of English.” Folia Linguistica Historica 35 (1): 241–74.

Munday, Jeremy. 2011. “Looming Large: A Cross-Linguistic Analysis of Semantic Prosodies in Comparable Reference Corpora.” In Corpus-Based Translation Studies: Research and Applications, edited by Alet Kruger, Kim Wallmach, and Jeremy Munday, 169–86. London: Continuum.

Newmark, Peter. 1988. A Textbook of Translation. London: Prentice Hall.

Palma Gutiérrez, Macarena. 2019. “Semantic Prosody in Middle Construction Predicates: Exploring Adverb + Verb Collocation in Middles.” In Computational and Corpus-Based Phraseology, edited by Gloria Corpas Pastor and Ruslan Mitkov, 11755. Cham: Springer.

Partington, Alan. 1998. Patterns and Meanings: Using Corpora for English Language Research and Teaching. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

—. 2004. “Utterly Content in Each Other’s Company: Semantic Prosody and Semantic Preference.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 9 (1): 131–56.

Philip, Gill. 2009. “Why Prosodies Aren’t Always Present: Insights into the Idiom Principle.” In CL2009 Corpus Linguistics Conference, edited by Michaela Mahlberg, Victorina González-Díaz, and Catherine Smith. Liverpool: University of Liverpool.

—. 2011. Colouring Meaning. Collocation and Connotation in Figurative Language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Pokorn, Nike Kocijančič. 2009. “Natives or Non-natives? That Is the Question…: Teachers of Translation into Language B.” The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 3 (2): 189–208.

Rundell, Michael. 2018. “Searching for Extended Units of Meaning – And What to Do When You Find Them.” Lexicography Journal of Asialex 5: 5–21.

Siepmann, Dirk. 2006. “Collocation, Colligation and Encoding Dictionaries. Part II: Lexicographical Aspects.” International Journal of Lexicography 19 (1): 1–39.

Sinclair, John McHardy. 1987. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. London: Collins ELT.

—. 1991. Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

—. 1998. “The Lexical Item.” In Contrastive Lexical Semantics, edited by Edda Weigand, 1–24. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

—. 2004. Trust the Text: Language, Corpus and Discourse, edited with Ronald Carter. London: Routledge.

Stewart, Dominic. 2010. Semantic Prosody: A Critical Evaluation. New York: Routledge.

Stubbs, Michael. 2001. Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Šorli, Mojca. 2012. “Semantična prozodija v teoriji in praksi – korpusni pristop k proučevanju pragmatičnega pomena: primer slovenščine in angleščine.” In Dvojezična korpusna leksikografija: slovenščina v kontrastu: novi izzivi, novi obeti, edited by Mojca Šorli, 90–116. Ljubljana: Trojina, zavod za uporabno slovenistiko.

—. 2014. “Pragmatični pomen v dvojezičnem slovaropisju.” PhD diss., University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts.

Tognini-Bonelli, Elena. 2001. Corpus Linguistics at Work. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

UNESCO. 1976. “Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators and Translations and the Practical Means to improve the Status of Translators.”

Wang, Huijuan, and Yufeng Zou. 2018. “The Semantic Features of ‘v+adv’ in Native English Public Speaking.” Theory & Practice in Language Studies 8 (12): 1636–48.

Wei, Naixing, and Xiaohong Li. 2014. “Exploring Semantic Preference and Semantic Prosody across English and Chinese: Their Roles for Cross-Linguistic Equivalence.” Corpus Linguistics & Linguistic Theory 10 (1): 103–38.

Whitsitt, Sam. 2005. “A Critique of the Concept of Semantic Prosody.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 10: 283–305.

Wu, Zhong, and Lihua Li. 2016. “A Contrastive Study on Semantic Prosodies of Minimal Degree Adverbs in Chinese and English.” In Semantic Technology – 5th Joint International Conference, JIST 2015, Yichang, China, November 11–13, 2015, Revised Selected Papers, edited by Guilin Qi, Kouji Kozaki, Jeff Z. Pan, and Siwei Yu, 209–15. Springer.

Xiao, Richard, and Tony McEnery. 2006. “Collocation, Semantic Prosody and Near Synonymy: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective.” Applied Linguistics 27 (1): 103–29.



21. 06. 2021

How to Cite

Jurko, P. (2021). Semantic Prosody in Translation: Slovene and English ADV-V combinations. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 18(1), 187-209.