521-Class 9

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Analogy and translation[edit]

Readings: Hofstadter, 2006; Optional, but recommended, if only to get a sense of Nabokov's personality: Nabokov (1941)

Study Questions[edit]

Hofstadter (2006)

  • What is chunking? Why is it important?
  • What is analogy-making? How is this process related to the activation of abstract concepts? How do analogies help us make sense of sentences like “Hey, fancy that! Shades of “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! (see example in reading).
  • What is polysemy? What does Hofstadter mean when he claims that concepts are ‘nonspherical’? How does this relate to examples given in lecture of a concept like “open” as it differs between, e.g., Korean and English?
  • What are lexical blends?
  • What makes the word/phrase “Whatever!” a genuine category according to Hofstadter?
  • What is the goal of communication, according to Hofstadter, and how does he propose that this is achieved?
  • In light of Hofstadter’s view of communication, what makes translation so difficult?
  • According to Hofstadter, why are none of the translations of the stanza of Evgenii Onegin entirely satisfactory?