Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Pragmatic Functions of Fuzzy Language and Its Translation

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Pragmatic Functions of Fuzzy Language and Its Translation

Article excerpt

Abstract

In this thesis, the author expounds pragmatic functions of fuzzy language systematically on the basis of the brief introduction of its definition and attributes, and then proposes three strategies for the translation of fuzzy language.

Keywords: Fuzziness, Pragmatic functions, Translation

1. Introduction

Fuzziness, which means the property of fuzzy language whose boundary is not definite, is attached great importance by experts at home and abroad for a long time. At the very beginning of the thesis, it is significant to have a brief review of the history of the study on fuzzy language. In western countries, Eubulides is the first person to notice fuzzy characteristic of natural language. After several years C. S. Perce takes the lead in formulating the notion in a rigorous way(Channel, 1994: 7). He thinks that it is possible for speakers to produce utterance even they didn't know the exact boundary of them. In 1965, A Zadeh put forward the Fuzzy Set Theory, which is published in Information and Control. Thereby, a host of disciplines sprang up, including fuzzy mathematics, fuzzy psychology, fuzzy logic and fuzzy linguistics.

From then on, great attentions have been drawn from linguists. For instance, American linguist Lakeoff (1973) applies Fuzzy Set Theory to word meaning; American scholar, Prince together with his cooperators find that fuzzy language is universal in our language (Prince & Bosk, 1980: 83-97). British mathematician Guilbaud suggests fuzziness is indispensable for our communication (Guilbaud, 1997). Australian linguist Burns also achieves a lot in fuzzy language.

In China, Wu Tieping takes the lead in introducing fuzzy language research to domestic linguistic field. Following Wu's footsteps, quite a few linguists begin to focus on language fuzziness. In 1979, Zhang Qiao (1998a) starts semantic fuzziness. Shi Anshi (1988) also publishes an article about fuzzy semantics. Besides the study of fuzzy language from the perspective of semantics, there are still some experts paying attention to pragmatic fuzziness. Wu Tieping (1999) once refers to it in Fuzzy Linguistics. He Ziran (1985) focuses on the pragmatic analysis of hedges. As a matter of fact, fuzzy language has its distinct pragmatic functions and is employed in many fields.

This thesis adopts the method of analyzing the data collected from all sorts of writings and it is composes of five parts, namely, introduction, fuzzy language and its attributes, pragmatic functions of fuzzy language, strategies for translation of fuzzy language and conclusion, based on the careful analysis of the pragmatic functions of fuzzy language, strategies for translation of fuzzy language are proposed so as to give some useful suggestion in the process of translation.

2. Pragmatic Functions of Fuzzy Language

For the distinctive attributes fuzzy language performs certain functions in our daily life. In this chapter, we would focus on its functions from the perspective of pragmatics, which is the study of language in use, and concerned with practical results and values. That is to say, we would study the functions of fuzzy language in context. The author here demonstrates positive functions, including improving accuracy, improving flexibility, conveying meaning efficiently, conveying meaning politely and appropriately and negative functions.

2.1 Positive Functions of Fuzzy Language

2.1.1 Improving Accuracy

Wittgenstein (1953) argues that: "Is it even always an advantage to replace an indistinct picture by a sharp one? Isn't the indistinct one often exactly what we need? " People usually think precise language is good for communication while in some cases, the use of fuzzy language can improve the accuracy of expressions. H.P. Grice (1975:45) put forward Cooperative Principle in 1967. He thinks that in order to make communication smooth and successful, we should obey four principles ,namely, the maxim of quality, the maxim of quantity, the maxim of relation, the maxim of manner. …

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