Between orality and literacy: parallelism and repetition in Russian folk epics and their challenge to translation


  • Elisa Moroni University of Bologna



Oral narratives have been relatively neglected by Translation studies, for the oral as such is hard to capture in writing without losing significant elements. In this paper I will focus on certain aspects and features of oral composition displayed as signs of the complex relationship between orality and literacy. In particular, I will present a series of problems involved in the translation of Russian oral epics in English and Italian. I will explore the specific kind of interference the style of the Russian folk poems (meant to be performed) has created in the translated texts. The relationship between these two semiotic systems – oral and written – produces an intricate connection of different stylistic norms in the translation, resulting in a transfer of oral devices into the translated written text. Through an analysis of translations of Russian epics in Italian and English, I will show how this transfer is realized in English and Italian, and how orality has influenced translation strategies.

Author Biography

Elisa Moroni, University of Bologna

Phd in Translation studies and Russian, with a Thesis on the translation of Russian oral epics

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Bologna University

Affiliated to the Centre for Semiotic and Tipology of Folklore

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow




How to Cite

Moroni, Elisa. 2010. “Between Orality and Literacy: Parallelism and Repetition in Russian Folk Epics and Their Challenge to Translation”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 1 (1).