The Cultural Differences Of Lexical Gaps In Language

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I. Introduction

The lexical gaps is both a linguistic phenomenon and a cultural phenomenon, and usually there is non-equivalence in two languages.
“Words are the basic element of language, which is the foundation and support for the existence of the language system. ”(王盼妮, 1998: 40-43 ) The meaning system of the words is usually composed of two parts: the rational meaning and the associative meaning. When the rational meaning of the words in two languages is basically the same, they form the corresponding words. But due to the universality and particularity of the culture, a language phenomenon can only be translated into the associative meaning but can not be translated into the rational meaning in the target language. Then it is equal to be said that in the target language there is a lexical gap. The phenomenon of lexical gaps exists widely in the translation practice. There are great similarities and differences among regional cultures. Their similarities make words in one culture find its corresponding word which has the same or similar meaning with it in other culture. The differences make some words in one culture find no corresponding words in other culture. In the progress of translation, those words which carry unique cultural features in the source language cause lexical gaps in the target language.
Cultural differences usually cause lexical gaps. For example, “keep up with the Joneses” means “与人攀比”. This phrase is from Arthur R. Momand’s comic strip which

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