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Daniela Hăisan

Abstract

Drawing loosely on text linguistics, Gérard Genette’s classic works on paratextuality, as well as a number of fairly recent concerns in Translation Studies (e.g. paratranslation, translator’s habitus, translator’s visibility), the present article deals with a collection of notes by Alphonse Daudet published posthumously (1930) as La Doulou, and particularly with its best-known English version, In the Land of Pain, signed by Julian Barnes (2002). The translator counterbalances the inherent deficiencies of Daudet’s fragmentary text by making the most of paratextual patronage (he writes an introduction, two afterwords and 64 footnotes in order to turn Daudet’s notes into a proper book).

Open access

Roberto Paura

Abstract

In recent years the simulation argument, namely, the idea that our reality is a kind of computer-generated simulation developed for hidden purposes, has acquired some credit and has been appropriated by the conspiracy culture, especially in the works of David Icke, author of paranoid bestsellers and known for his pseudo-theory about Reptilian aliens who secretly rule our world. To understand the reasons for the success of such an implausible pseudo-theory, it is necessary to analyze its genealogy inside popular culture. The methodological proposal underlying this paper is that the analysis of conspiracy theories and pseudo-scientific beliefs can benefit from the contribution of the history of ideas, which traditionally focuses on the reconstruction of the genealogy and the metamorphosis of unit-ideas over time and through different cultural levels. In this way, it is possible to shed light on the background and the peculiar rationality behind these pseudo-theories. The paper highlights New Age appropriation mechanisms of the theories of physicist David Bohm and neuropsychiatrist Karl Pribram (holographic principle), in particular through the pseudoscientific works of the McKenna Brothers (The Invisibile Landscape, 1975) and Michael Talbot (The Holographic Universe, 1991) as well as the impact of some sci-fi works based on the simulation argument, especially Philip K. Dick’s novels and The Matrix movie (1999), in exposing the paranoid and conspiracy implications of this argument. The paper also highlights the role of pseudo-scientific concepts as a characteristic aspect of contemporary superconspiracies, which in the age of rationalization and disenchantment seek to embrace a patina of science in order to be better accepted by the public. Wider application of this perspective to other cases of pseudo-scientific beliefs and contemporary conspiracy theories (e.g. flat Earth or chemtrails) could provide useful suggestions on the most effective way of counteracting them.

Open access

Onoriu Colăcel and Corneliu Pintilescu

Abstract

Conspiracy thinking has a long history in Romanian literary culture. In the early 21st century, what counts as a conspiracy theory in the mainstream of Romanian life is nevertheless elusive enough to keep the public engaged more than ever before. The growing number of attempts to address the gap in knowledge with regard to local conspiracy theories is proof that concern with their possibly harmful consequences is on the rise as well. For most of the conspiracy-minded, the topics of the day are specific threats posed to post-communist Romania and its people. In the main, conspiratorial beliefs fall into three main fields. Namely, they come across as 1) conspiracy theories against the body politic of the nation, 2) health-related conspiracy theories and 3) conspiracy theories on use and conservation of natural resources. While the first two overlap and build on the tradition of home-grown populism, the third is mostly a borrowing from Western media sources. However, the most influential instances of Romanian conspiracism posit that the well-being of the nation’s body politic and that of individuals’ own bodies are one and the same.

Open access

Dan Nicolae Popescu

Abstract

Readers and critics alike have bickered over the verisimilitude of Gulliver’s Travels since it was first published in 1726. No critical consensus has ever been reached even on some very fundamental interpreting issues. While several particulars of Swift’s satire appear to have been decoded and agreed upon, such as the parody of travel literature and the attack on Walpole’s corrupt administration, some others are still debated over, even after more than a century of modern criticism, such as the overall object of the universally reverberating satire and what it teaches us about Swift’s own values and worldview. Fully aware of the Gulliverian critical deadlock the world is still in, we suggest in the present article that the narratorial duet Swift-Gulliver ‘conspires’ against readers, be they innocent (gullible) or competent (lucid): by construing the latter as a microcosm who explores the world in order to gain identity, the former stages an elaborate hoax in which a potentially paranoid narrative is cunningly brought within the boundaries of acceptable, coherent discourse, with a view to achieving his far-reaching satire.

Open access

Todor Hristov

Abstract

The paper claims that conspiracy theories in Bulgaria are organized as a milieu rather than as a genre, and that, depending on their intensity, conspiracy theories can perform heterogeneous functions, which range from justification of political claims and popular mobilization to entertainment. Building on that conceptual framework, the paper illustrates the most prominent functional types of Bulgarian conspiracy theories. The higher-intensity theories are exemplified by the narratives of corruption and of the afterlife of the former communist secret services. The lower-intensity theories are illustrated by the fortunately short-lived question if the president of the United States has been abducted by aliens. The impact of the Bulgarian conspiratorial milieu on global theories is represented by the example of the Bulgarian modifications of the traveling narrative of the conspiracy of Jewish bankers. The emancipatory potential of the conspiracy theories is demonstrated by the example of the 2011 anti-GMO protests, motivated by narratives of conspiracy between the government and transnational corporations, which derived their energy from the associated milieu of ecological concerns.

Open access

Iris Memić-Fišić and Nina Bijedić

Abstract

Distance education, as a form of education that enables and promotes development of autonomous life-long learning skill, necessary to keep up with rapid changes and development in today’s society, is a concept definitely worth considering. Teaching a foreign language in a distance education system is very challenging, primarily in terms of overcoming the main gap – lack of direct contact between teachers and learners. This paper focuses on the aspect of teaching materials used for ESL in a distance learning system.

Open access

Amin Karimnia and Shidak Rahbarian

Abstract

This study investigated Nowruz (Persian New Year) messages by Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama in March 2016. The study critically analyzed the discourse of these two presidential messages and uncovered the hidden aspects of their ideologies, policies, and background worldviews. In doing so, an integrated version of Halliday’s systemic functional grammar (SFG) and critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used. The analysis of data included various linguistic dimensions (e.g. processes, modality, transitivity) of the messages and their statistics. Although results suggested that Obama intended to build a more intimate situation, both presidents tried to inspire a spirit of action, development and effort in their respective governments. The messages did not reveal considerable thematic differences, except some discoursal religious features expressed in Rouhani’s message.

Open access

Sanja Berberović and Mersina Mujagić

Abstract

The paper investigates the interaction of conceptual blending and conceptual metaphor in producing figurative creativity in discourse. The phenomenon of figurative creativity is defined by Kövecses (2005) as creativity arising through the cognitive mechanisms of metonymy, metaphor, and blending. Specifically, the paper examines the use of creative figurative language in the British public discourse on the topic on Brexit. The aim of this paper is to show that conventional metaphors can be creatively stretched through conceptual blending, producing instances of creative figurative language. Specifically, applying blending theory, we will analyse innovative conceptual blends, motivated by the conventional marriage/divorce metaphor. In addition, the paper also examines the way in which creative figurative language produced in metaphorical blends provides discourse coherence at intertextual and intratextual levels.

Open access

Zaha Alonazi

Abstract

Computerized dynamic assessment (CDA) posits itself as a new type of assessment that includes mediation in the assessment process. Proponents of dynamic assessment (DA) in general and CDA in particular argue that the goals of DA are in congruence with the concept of validity that underscores the social consequences of test use and the integration of learning and assessment (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2002; Poehner, 2008; Shabani, 2012;). However, empirical research on CDA falls short in supporting such an argument. Empirical studies on CDA are riddled with ill-defined constructs and insufficient supporting evidence in regard to the aspects of validity postulated by Messick (1989, 1990, 1996). Due to the scarcity of research on CDA, this paper explores the potentials and the viability of this intervention-based assessment in computer assisted language testing context in light of its conformity with Messick’s unitary view of validity. The paper begins with a discussion of the theoretical foundations and models of DA. It then proceeds to discuss the differences between DA and non-dynamic assessment (NDA) measures before critically appraising the empirical studies on CDA. The critical review of the findings in CDA literature aims at shedding light on some drawbacks in the design of CDA research and the compatibility of the concept of construct validity in CDA with Messick’s (1989) unitary concept of validity. The review of CDA concludes with some recommendations for rectifying gaps to establish CDA in a more prominent position in computerized language testing.

Open access

Andrea Bargan

Abstract

The present article deals with archaic pieces of folklore, namely with Transylvanian Saxon (TS) charms recorded in the 19th century. The author, herself a speaker of the TS dialect, translated a number of those charms into English and added comments that were meant to indicate connections with similar pieces of the same genre recorded in Germany and England in early medieval times.