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Matamala, Anna (2005) Les interjeccions en un corpus audiovisual. Descripció i representació lexicogràfica.

Barcelona: Publicacions de l'IULA, Sèrie Tesis, 14 [CD-ROM]. 20 €. ISBN: 84-89782-10-5.

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Matamala, Anna (2005) Les interjeccions en un corpus audiovisual. Descripció i representació lexicogràfica.

Tesis Doctorals en Xarxa, pp 731. ISBN: 84-689-4200-6 (available at

It is not uncommon for first-year PhD students to be warned by their supervisors that their thesis plan is too ambitious and wide enough to be covered in two theses instead of one. Whether or not Anna Matamala received such warning, she does not seem to have paid much heed to it, judging by a thesis that covers, among other areas, conversation analysis, (cognitive) linguistics, (contrastive) pragmatics, (audiovisual) translation and lexicography from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. Fortunately, this is done in a rigorous and comprehensive manner, which means that Matamala's contribution may indeed be regarded as (at least) two theses in one.

Matamala undertakes the study of interjections in an audiovisual corpus, dividing her thesis into three major sections. The first one is devoted to theory and methodology. After setting the background, aims and objectives of her study, the author provides a comprehensive literature review of the units under scrutiny. It becomes clear that interjections have only been dealt with partially and from very different perspectives, which adds to their indeterminacy from the point of view of research. Having reviewed these approaches in Chapter 2, Matamala puts forward in Chapter 3 the theoretical framework for her thesis, which draws mainly on cognitive linguistics and a series of pragmatic-discursive features from conversation analysis. The last chapter of this initial section (Chapter 4) presents a description of the corpora to be analysed, made up of dubbed (English-Catalan) and original sitcoms. At the same time, it serves to illustrate the quality of this thesis. Indeed, although corpora are usually means to achieve certain results, the corpus included in this thesis may well be considered an end in itself. Very much along the same lines as the Forlixt corpus created in 2003 by Christine Heiss, Marcello Soffritti and Cristina Valentini at the Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori de Forlì, Matamala's corpus is truly audiovisual. In other words, the parallel and comparable corpora that she studies are aligned with the audiovisual material included. This introduction of the audiovisual component facilitates the analysis greatly and constitutes, as is often pointed out, one of the last frontiers to be conquered by corpus-based research.

The second section of the thesis (Chapters 5-10) focuses on the description at different levels of the interjections found in the corpora. Chapters 5-9 provide an account of the main phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic aspects of interjections, whereas Chapter 10 deals with the use of these units in original and dubbed scripts, and is thus the most relevant one from a translational viewpoint. Discussing the role played by these interjections as elements of orality in fictional scripts, Matamala provides a very useful contrastive overview of these units in English and Catalan. From the point of view of Audiovisual Translation, her analysis is also thorough and rigorous. A freelance audiovisual translator herself, Matamala shows awareness of all the different steps and stages involved in the translation of a script for dubbing and incorporates them to her analysis. In this sense, her inclusion of both pre- and post-production scripts in the corpora is especially worth-noting, as it allows her to ascertain who adds what when in the dubbing process. Among other interesting results obtained in this section, Matamala concludes that even though 31% of interjections are omitted in dubbing, there is a strong linguistic control to strive for a natural rendition of the translated script. Although these statements on the naturalness of the dubbed scripts are backed by a short sample of naturally-occurring data used in a similar study, it becomes clear that Matamala's thesis would have been greatly benefited by adding a corpus of spontaneous conversation in Catalan to her study. Yet, the breadth of her study, one of its strongest points, logically thwarts a more in-depth analysis of issues such as this.

Finally, the third section of the thesis (Chapters 11 and 12) focuses on the last area dealt with in this study –lexicography. Chapter 11 provides an overview of the lexicographic resources audiovisual translators have at hand to deal with the translation of interjections and makes a strong case for the need of a new tool. This is provided in Chapter 12, which features Matamala's proposal for a user-friendly hypertextual lexicographical application revolving around interjections.

Overall, then, this is an outstanding study that manages to marshal and interweave pragmatics, audiovisual translation and lexicography and which impressively delivers as much as it promises. 

Pablo Romero
Roehampton University