Exploring common ground in bilingual brochures for Ohrid tourist area

Written by: Dr. Irina Petrovska, Assistant professor
University St Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality – Ohrid, R. Macedonia
e-mail: irinapetrovska@yahoo.com

Abstract

The  paper aims to identify  categories  of specialized lexis  and selected specialized  terms  by the method of contrastive analysis. Data  consist of  a set of brochures and lists of dishes   Macedonian-English available  in the area. The second part of the paper  examines  whether selected  specialized terms  are left in  Macedonian, or translated, and if left in Macedonian whether they are explained.

INTRODUCTION
Tourism becomes very important channel of globalisation. Communication practices  and processes  and the media  are of fundamental concern  to humanities  and social sciences disciplines. Although languages and communication are central aspects of tourism studies, this is relatively unexplored area of study.

International tourism and hospitality industry  is a rapidly growing industry  entailing the need for using  the English language  instrumentally  as a lingua franca (ELF) in cross-cultural communication .When English taking on the role of a global language  and tourists coming  from a range of countries, English language texts   in multilingual and bilingual promotional materials for the Ohrid tourist area  can be said to be aimed  at  a multicultural audience. Even if one or two “English speaking cultures” are considered prime targets, the readership of English texts may in fact represent   a number of cultures, especially when the material is in Macedonian and English only. Whatever their linguistic background, visitors or potential visitors, from different parts of the world  do not share the same knowledge  of the local geography, culture, tradition, specialties and so on. The situation is further complicated by the need for the choices – whether on the part of translators or members of local organizations  – about whether  to maintain a specialized  in the local language  or ‘translate’ it.

The notion of ‘Total Quality Management’ has become popular worldwide, clearly calling for error-free performance in all domains, including composing visitor materials. As for the   composers of such materials, influential writers  in applied linguistics  commonly advocate  strategies  that would involve a great deal  of thinking about meaning  and help non-native learners understand  and use the ‘natural’ English  idiom in a coherent discourse. However, adult learners of English,  who have already acquired a vast amount of knowledge about the surrounding world, tend to use foreign  words in accordance with thee way of use characteristic of their respective  native languages. They are inclined to simplify, replace  or avoid certain  combinations of words or structures commonly used   by native speakers, which may eventually jeopardize  successful communication. To this effect M. Lewis (1993:88,89), one of the most influential proponents  of lexical approach in applied linguistics argues  that ‘since the purpose of language is the communication  of meaning, language  teaching activities should invariably be meaning-centered.’ He also highlights that ‘language consists of grammaticalized lexis, not lexicalized grammar. Lexis is the core or heart of language but in language teaching has always been the Cinderella”. The following lines  aim to emphasize  the importance of exploring modern monolingual dictionaries as a springboard  for communication  and as a source of information  about the way  English words  are used and combined into multi-word units  to generate meanings typical  of professional  settings, such as composing visitor materials.

This paper explores  the notion of common ground, examining the use  of specialized lexis  in bilingual  and monolingual visitor materials  for the Ohrid  area and  suggests  some applications  for improvement of the quality  of these  materials.

Tourism  in the Republic of Macedonia   emerges as predominantly  English  speaking industry. Both tourism and hospitality industry rely heavily on English as lingua franca. Whatever their linguistic background, visitors or potential visitors from different parts of the world do not share the same knowledge of the local geography, culture, traditions specialties and so on.

In this context  common ground, used as a general term  for those assumptions  shared by interactants  about  common or shared knowledge, goals, wants,  values,  and so on  takes on  an important role. Since, the use of specialized lexis can contribute to common ground (Brown and Levinson 1978/1987:102),  an investigation of its use  is significant, especially when different cultures are involved. These specialized terms can be used  to communicate a destination’s attractions  and to help build a particular image. They have a potential to  reflect a local identity  and brand,  and to take on a positive connotation. In addition,  an examination of  the presupposition  behind the  use of specialized lexis  in different languages  relates to wider issues concerning  marketing communication.

VISITOR MATERIALS
The authentic visitor materials explores culture  in different ways  thus providing models of values, behaviours, traditions and needs for the visitors. Durant (Durant, 1996:123-141) states that the promotional literature similarly to the tourist guides is not just presentation of information but also it holds the role  of a  wider presentation  of the cultural life and understanding. In addition travel logs as well as other promotional materials are ‘active interpreters of culture trough which they travel’. In this way, they are actually ‘translations’ of the culture into language and as it is the case with all translations they are product in time. (Cronin, 2000:23).From country to country, the social taboos, politics and religious traditions and values differ. These cultural variables are recognized and contrasted in the visitor materials for Ohrid area as well.

In the process of composing the promotional text the choice of specialized lexemes is of crucial importance. The analysis of the visitor materials showed certain characteristics of the promotional text. It is a restricted text with a choice of specialized lexemes. This choice should attract reader’s attention and make him wish visiting the destination.

The promotional visitor material is the most important document used in promoting a destination.  It is a text with an exceptionally usage of a descriptive language a combination of an adjective + noun or a group of adjectives + noun, a combination known as brochure language. (Jacob & Strut, 1997:48).

беспрекорно чисто сместување
приватни бањи
мирни изолирани градини
базен  на отворен простор
декорирани спални соби
национален специјалитет
поврзани соби
древна архитектура
стари занаети
охридски бисер
свежи ноќи
‘immaculate accommodation’
‘private baths’
‘secluded gardens’
‘outdoor pool’
‘decorated bedrooms’
‘national specialty’
‘adjoining rooms’
‘ancient architecture’
‘old-tradition crafts’
‘Ohrid pearl’
‘breezy nights’

Very often the composer implements more than one adjectives as modificators in order to create an image of  attractiveness of the promoted destination. The order of  the adjectives is as followed: subjective opinion, qualificator, (largeness, age, form), color, origin, material of which the specialized lexeme is made of.

the hectic pace of  the fast-changing  Great Britain Capital
‘брзиот начин  на живеење во главниот град  на Велика Британија кој постојано се менува’

a  pleasant  rural setting
‘пријатен рурален пејзаж’

CATEGORIES OF SPECIALISED LEXIS
Data used in this  paper  consist  of a set of  multilingual brochures  Macedonian – English  available in the  Local Office for tourism  in Ohrid and selected web pages  concerning tourism in Ohrid. Additional data were gathered by analyzing a number of lists of dishes collected from the most popular dining restaurants. Most of them are focused on nearby resort areas.  We identified seven categories of specialized lexis:

Geography and natural surroundings:
Glacier
Galicica
Flora
Fauna
Lake
endemic forms
underwater springs
bay
hill
underwater archeology

Buildings
mountain huts, villas,
St. Bogorodica Perivleptos
Gorna Porta
Dolna Porta

Local culinary specialties and beverages
skopsko
boza
gravce-tavce
sarma
ajvar

Sports and outdoor activities
skiers
cycling
diving

Non-sports vacation activities
thermal bath
sauna
jacuzzi

First and last names of people
Kliment
Naum
Cyril and Methodius
tsar Samuil

Other events and activities related to local culture  and not included in the above categories
Balcan festival of folk dances and songs
Vodici
Ilinden

By examining the data we came to a conclusion that  the selected specialized terms are treated differently in different promotional materials.

There is a list of specialized terms that are translated into English with no explanation at all. The conclusion behind this is that the composer of such promotional materials  presupposes the notion of common ground for the potential visitors.

Lake Ohrid, cultural heritage,

However, specialized terms which seem to represent local specialties and attractions seem to cause greater problem. A number of these specialized terms are left in Macedonian with no explanation in a number of brochures.  This can cause additional proglem for the potential visitor who might find himself confused   when making a choice.

Krstdjamija (religious monument, a church transformed into a mosque)
gravce-tavce (national specialty)

The following specialized terms are left in Macedonian and described in English. There are many situations when these terms are left in Macedonian in one brochure and then  described into English in another  brochure. Most of them refer to national specialties such as:

ajvar
turi-potpeci (gomleze)
sarma

The translations and/or descriptions may also differ, which can cause doubt and cultural misunderstanding between the interactants in the tourism discourse. In addition,  the implications of these  differences  appear in terms of  building  a particular  image  for an awareness  of the area  and its specialties and emphasising the issue of identity , that is what is  a local identity’  or ‘brand identity’  for a local  specialty.

Many specialized terms are in their original form but accompanied with additional visual details. Visitor materials  is characterized  with  creative usage of  the material form of the language, with the shapes of ther letters, the font, with the presentation of the words  and sentences. Cook, (Cook, 1992:45), uses the term  paralanguage to describe this inclination. Examples for such presentation are present in the analyzed visitor materials fro Ohrid  tourist area.  The Heritage of Ohrid  churches and Cathedral expressed through  archaic fornt  of words, replacement of words with icons, etc.  This is similar to the slogan  I love Ohrid Lake, where the verb  сакам ‘love’  is being replaced by red heart.

CONCLUSION
The phenomenon as tourism itself is, asks for an interdisciplinary approach in future  composing of visitor materials.

The paper shows that in a number of cases  a potential visitor may find himself confused with the diversity of variety of forms  in the texts  in English language.  It  arises the issue of  coordinating  visitor materials, especially linguistic choices, when a number of organizations produce them. Finally the role of internet has to be considered since the internet gains in quality as well as in quantity as overtaking the role   of presenting the area’s attractions to audiences whose background knowledge  and motivations  may vary.  These differences  build  a particular image  for an awareness  of the area and its specialties.

REFERENCES

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