Phraseological Competence and Linguistic Anticipations in the Interpreting Performance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


In this paper presentation we will report on an experiment that investigates the influence of phraseological competence on linguistic anticipations during the interpreting performance. Phraseology can be described as the study of syntagmatic relations between individual words, whereas anticipation refers to the interpreter's production of a constituent in the target language before the speaker has uttered the corresponding constituent in the source language. Wills (1978) states that these anticipations are triggered by certain linguistic units of syntactic and semantic nature which serve as cues. These cues can be part of idiomatic expressions, verb-complement collocations or standardized phrases and fall within the scope of phraseology. Research showed that interpreting performances seem to draw heavily on phraseological competence in the target language (Eyckmans et al. 2006a; Eyckmans et al. 2006b; Eyckmans 2007).
In our experiment we investigate (1) whether phraseological competence in the L2 has a beneficial effect on the number of produced anticipations in the interpreting performance and (2) whether phraseological competence serves to unburden the interpreter's working memory. Relying on phraseological competence might enable the interpreter to attribute more attention to the many different cognitive processes that take place during the interpreting performance. While interpreting, these processes battle for working memory's limited processing capacity. In a controlled experiment, we have examined four interpreting performances. Using acoustical analysis software, we made a chronological comparison between the speech production of the source language and the speech production of the target language. This allowed us to detect linguistic anticipations and to observe the processing time needed to translate a particular constituent. Preliminary results suggested that the presence of phrases in the L2 was either likely to trigger anticipations or that constituents containing formulaic language required less processing time, hinting at a possible beneficial effect on information processing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference of The American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), 6-9/03/2010
PublisherAmerican Association for Applied Linguistics, Atlanta, Ga., USA
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009


ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet


  • Linguistic Anticipations
  • Simultaneous Interpreting
  • Interpreting Studies
  • Phraseology
  • Working Memory


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