In all languages, humans frequently use linguistic combinations called phraseological units (PUs) in communicative acts. These PUs are characterized by their institutionalized fixation and, in many cases, by their opacity. Phraseological Units —which often pose many equivalence problems to translators— are used with a very clear discursive objective, since they represent the speaker's wish to use a fixed expression in the communicative act known by most of the speech community, and adding to it a cultural, social, generational nuance, an expressive or stylistic function, etc.
Badly treated over many centuries, phraseology is finally one of the great linguistic issues that is being systematically analysed since the last quarter of the 20th century.
In this 5th Lucentino Conference, we would like to open further the range of phraseological studies and deal with the problems posed by phraseological variation from the areas of lexicography and translation.
Traditionally, the work on phraseology has placed the emphasis on the total fixing of components and structures of verbal expressions. Variation in PUs is currently an uncontested fact and has been extensively studied and analysed. In addition, in the case of languages like Spanish, English, French, spoken in many countries, new creations or diatopic variants arise. While these diatopic expressions have been collected or analysed in their territory of influence, no comprehensive collection showing all the expressions and contrastive analysis to observe the similarities and differences between these diatopic creations with all their idiosyncratic and cultural references have been made so far.
The interest of this subject lies in the ambiguity of the notion of variation under study; for example, from the following two definitions:
- The first refers to any changes that fixed sequences can reflect as close paradigms, as well as all structures and transformation that they may undergo in discourse.
- The second, which is not specific of fixation, has to do with the different variants that the same sequence may have according to geographical areas (diatopic variations), language registers (diaphasic variations), speakers (diastratic variations), etc.
These two types of variations can be found both in the general language, and in specialized languages. While in the general language there are three focuses of interest —structuring; geographical, stylistic and individual differences; and collocation—, specialized languages are an ideal habitat to study terminology and specialized phraseology.
Different lines of thought can be studied:
-Theoretical dimension of the two kinds of variations concerning to the status of the units within the same variant and in its relations with the variants in the same variants and with different variants: defining elements, way of functioning, use, etc.
- Building of corpus directly related to variants, and database management establishing relations between the types of variants.
- Geographical variation in the major linguistic areas (French, Spanish, English, Arabic, etc..).
- Social variants: differences in registers, social dialects (professional corpus, generations, etc.), and euphemistic expressions.
- The individual variants as in idiolects defining, for example, the author style in literary texts or the way of talking about specific individuals.
- The variants specific to jargon and specialized languages.
- Pragmatic variants, such the pragmathemes, etc.
Phrasal variation may also have applied dimensions: language teaching, translation and automatic processing of language. In this sense, the conference invites also proposals on the translation of phraseological units and their teaching.