Contrastive Linguistics

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Slovenski jezik – Slovene Linguistic Studies 7 (2009): 153–168

Biljana Božinovski Ljubljanska borza, d. d., Ljubljana

The Language of the Stock Exchange – A Contrastive Analysis of the Lexis V članku je podana analiza jezika borze s stališča slovensko-angleške protistave. Izrazje (samostalniške zveze) obeh jezikov smo protistavili tako v strukturnem kot v semantičnem smislu, pri čemer se je razkrilo več protistavnih značilnosti, med drugim različni načini ubeseditve istega pojma, terminološke praznine in lažni prijatelji, slovensko borzno terminologijo pa zaznamujejo tudi angleške tujke. The article analyzes the language of the stock exchange from a Slovene-English contrastive viewpoint. The specialized lexis of the two languages was juxtaposed as to the structural and semantic differences of their respective terms and expressions (nominal phrases), revealing such contrastive phenomena as different conceptualizations, terminological gaps and false friends, while the Slovene stock exchange terminology is also characterized by English foreignisms.

1. Introduction James characterizes contrastive analysis (CA) as a hybrid linguistic discipline (1989: 4), since it is neither particularist nor generalist and is interested both in the immanent genius of a language and in the ways in which one language compares to other languages. CA does not strive to classify languages and is interested both in the differences and similarities between them. Having had strictly pedagogical implications at first, the theoretical foundations of CA were initially laid down by Robert Lado in his Linguistics Across Cultures (1957). Lado supported the conviction that if learners of a foreign language (L2) were made aware of the ways in which their mother tongue (L1) and L2 differed, this would facilitate foreign language learning. He went even further by claiming that the elements of L2 that are similar to the learners’ L1 will prove simple to learn, with those that are different being difficult. Lado was the first to suggest a systematic set of technical procedures for the contrastive study of languages; this included descriptions of languages and their comparisons as well as predictions of L2 learning difficulties. In its most ambitious phrasing, the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis claimed to be able to predict all learners’ errors committed in using an L2. However, empirical studies conducted during the 1970s could not sustain this claim, making it clear that CA could only predict certain problematic areas for learners and some of the errors they are bound to make in their versions of L2 (James 1989: 145; my italics). All comparisons work on the basis of the assumption that the entities to be compared have certain things in common, and that any differences between them can be laid

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Slovenski jezik – Slovene Linguistic Studies 7 (2009)

against this common background. A CA thus always involves a common linguistic platform of reference, against which contrastive deviations are stated. This common platform is termed tertium comparationis (TC). Depending on the adopted TC, the same aspects of language may turn out be similar or different (Krzeszowski 1990: 16). In syntactic and lexical contrastive studies, the TC is often taken to be formal or semantic correspondence (ibid.), chiefly in combination. Contrastive linguistics is not a unified field of study. The focus may be on general or on language specific features. The study may be theoretical (theoretical CA), without any immediate application, or it may be applied (applied CA), i.e. carried out for a specific purpose (Fisiak 1981: 2–3). Further, Gabrovšek (2005: 75–6) points out that contrastive work can be done at the levels of: phonology, graphology, lexicology, grammar, and textology. This is why any contrastive work must necessarily be limited in scope and thus always represent but a fragment of the overall contrastive landscape of a given pair of languages. Contrastive...
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