Paraphrase (language)

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Paraphrase (from ancient Greek παρά pará "next to it" and φράζειν phrázein "speak, say") in the sense of linguistics is an ambiguous expression.


The paraphrase can include the following:

  1. It is the description of the meaning of a linguistic expression by other linguistic expressions. This happens in particular with the claim that the meaning of a word or the idea of ​​a sentence or text should be reproduced as exactly as possible.
  2. The paraphrase describes the analogous reproduction of a linguistic expression or a text. It is a means of explanation, clarification, or interpretation. This process is also called paraphrasing . It is the repetition of what has been read or heard in one's own words, which is common in mediation , for example .
  3. It is a free, only analogous transfer into another language. Due to the wide variety of translation options (literal translation, philological translation, communicative translation, editing translation), the paraphrase is often the focus of discussion in translation studies
  4. The paraphrase is especially an elementary method of generative grammar for determining the semantic identity of different sentences. These paraphrases generated for analytical purposes are called linguistic paraphrases. They form the counterpart to the communicative paraphrases as the result of a "paraphrase formation in the wild for practical communication".

There are many fixed expressions with which a paraphrase can be introduced and by which a paraphrase can also be recognized accordingly. In linguistics, these expressions are called reformulation or paraphrase indicators. One of the most famous indicators is that is (i.e.) . Example of a paraphrase: The traffic light is red, which means that pedestrians are not allowed to cross the street. Other examples of paraphrase indicators are: more precisely , so or speak .

Quotations can be completed with a paraphrase, detailed or reproduced and interpreted in your own words . The paraphrase is often the first step in text analysis .

Types of paraphrases

In linguistic literature, different types of paraphrases are distinguished according to their function and content. Paraphrases can represent an expansion, reduction or variation - depending on the content ratio of the reference expression to the reformulation expression, i.e. the type of so-called equivalence relation. Similarly, a distinction is sometimes made between complete, summarizing or aspectizing paraphrases. Accordingly, paraphrases can also fulfill very different communicative functions, e.g. B. Establish or secure understanding, structure discussions and control thematically, and enable the explication and precision of thoughts. In addition to these semantically or text-linguistically describable functions, paraphrases can also fulfill interactive functions, e.g. B. when they are uttered to gain time to plan subsequent utterances.

Since paraphrases, just like repair phenomena, also represent a certain type of reformulation action, they can also be differentiated according to who is paraphrasing an expression (self vs. external reference) and who initiates the paraphrasing without necessarily executing it himself (self vs. external initiation).

Related techniques

The interpretation or reflection as well as active listening are related communication techniques . In ancient times and in medieval universities, the paraphrase was a common part of scientific discussions. Examples of this are the Platonic dialogues .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Paraphrase  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hadumod Bußmann (ed.) With the assistance of Hartmut Lauffer: Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft. 4th, revised and bibliographically supplemented edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-520-45204-7 , Lemma Paraphrase.
  2. Duden: Lemma Paraphrase.
  3. ^ K. Reiss: Paraphrase and Translation. Attempt to clarify. In: J. Gnilka and HP Rüger (eds.): The translation of the Bible - task of theology. Bielefeld 1985, pp. 273-287.
  4. Brigitte Handwerker: On the concept of paraphrase in linguistics and translation theory. In: Journal for Literary Studies and Linguistics , Vol. 21 (1991), pp. 14-29.
  5. Helmut Glück (Ed.): Metzler Lexikon Sprach. 4th edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2010, Lemma Paraphrase.
  6. Ewald Lang: Paraphrase Problems I: About different functions of paraphrases when carrying out semantic analyzes. Contributions to semantic analysis. 1977, p. 100,
  7. ^ A b Elisabeth Gülich and Thomas Kotschi: Reformulation actions as a means of text constitution: Investigations into French texts from oral communication. In: W. Motsch (Ed.): Sentence, text, linguistic action. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1987, pp. 199-261.
  8. a b Angelika Wenzel: Functions of communicative paraphrases: using the example of conversations between citizens and civil servants at the social welfare office. In: P. Schröder and H. Steger (eds.): Dialog research. Schwann, Düsseldorf 1981, pp. 385-401.
  9. Gerold Ungeheuer : Paraphrase and syntactic deep structure. In: Folia Linguistica: Acta Societatis Linguisticae Europaeae. 1969, pp. 178-227.
  10. Beatrix Schönherr: Paraphrases in spoken language and their contextualization through prosodic and non-verbal signals. In: Journal for Germanistic Linguistics , Vol. 29 (2001), pp. 332–363.