Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

What's in a title? A cognitive approach to the role played by translated text labels and (un)adapted semiotic elements

Catalina Iliescu Gheorghiu



This paper draws upon the importance of titles in intercultural communication starting from the results of an experiment in the field of psychology aimed at measuring the mnemonic value of titles as well as the expectations and evaluations they entail or the influential power they exert on receivers. Assuming that translation is a form of communication and adopting an eclectic approach based on the functionalist view in translation and the relevance theory in linguistics, I will try to analyse the role played by text labels in literary communication through an example provided by the title of a translated drama. I will also try to observe how the dichotomic tendency 'informativity versus/and/or motivation' is solved in this case of title translation. In addition, so as to complete the view of an intercultural communicative act of such a complex nature, some semiotic elements accompanying or highlighting the translated title will be discussed within a cognitive-communicative framework. Therefore, if both titles and semiotic elements function as ostensive stimuli in the literary/dramatic intercultural communication, then a separation between both types of stimuli is needed. Thus, titles will be dealt with as 'linguistic ostensive stimuli', whereas pictures, colours and fonts manifested by the front covers, which are part of the communicative situation since they are meant to introduce the communicative act (i.e. the dramatic text) to an audience, will be dealt with in terms of visual or typographic ostensive stimuli.


Semiótica; Títulos literarios; Enfoque cognitivo; Tipografía; Traducción


Copyright (c) 2001 Catalina Iliescu Gheorghiu

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