Logos Multilingual Portal

9 - The Logos Library (Wordtheque)

"Thus, when we say that an unconscious thought strives for translation into the preconscious in order subsequently to penetrate through to consciousness, we do not mean that a second idea has to be formed, in a new locality, like a paraphrase, as it were, whilst the original persists by its side"1.

On the site www.logoslibrary.eu you find a resource comparable to the British National Corpus, but of a very different structure. It is a precious resource for translators because, as we'll see, it allows many kinds of search.

The Logos Library, a site that is part of the Logos Group portal, whose headquarters are in Modena, Italy, is a huge data bank of texts of many types and in many languages. At the time of the drafting of this text (March 2004), the Logos Library contains more than 700 million words in the languages:

Afan Oromo, Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Assamese, Asturian, Aymara, Azerbaijani, Basque, Brazilian Portuguese, Breton, Bulgarian, Byelorussian, Calabrese, Catalan, Chinese, Corsican, Cree, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dioula, Dutch, Emiliano-Romagnolo, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Faeroese, Finnish, French, Frisian, Furlan, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Greenlandic, Guarani, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Kashmiri, Kawésqar (Alacalufe), Kinyarwanda, Klingon, Konkani, Korean, Kurdish, Latin, Latvian; Lettish, Lingala, Lithuanian, Lombard, Luo, Luxembourgish, Malagasy, Malay, Maltese, Maori, Mapunzugun, Maya, Mongolian, Mudnés, Nahuatl, Neapolitan, Norwegian, Occitan, Persian, Piemontese, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua, Rapanui, Roman, Romanian, Romansh, Russian, Sardinian, Serbian, Sicilian, Siswati, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tsonga, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Valencian, Venetian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish, Zeneize, Zulu

The Logos Library home page, compiled in English, presents its search grid right away, showing the following fields: language, word, author, title, and, if you click on the relevant tabs, subject and publisher. These are the possible criteria for a search, conducted on all the relevant portion of the huge corpus. The corpus is not created by linguists, therefore it has no criteria for homogeneity or heterogeneity. Texts that are found here are free from copyrights, or they are sold in electronic or other format and appear here only in the form that makes search-engine consultation possible. The result is great, in any case, above all for the more numerically represented languages, like English Italian Spanish Portuguese German and Latin. The texts are literary or technical, essays or articles, translated or originals. When a search gives any results, these are visualized in a window containing about seven lines providing the co-text of the word or string.

You can insert, more than one word, word sequences up to three words. Like in the previous example regarding the British National Corpus, in the Logos Library you also get no definitions, you get co-texts, and the meanings must be searched by empirical, intuitive way and can then be checked. If the found co-text is not enough to get an idea of the sense of the searched word/s, you can expand it upwards or downwards by clicking on the relevant arrows.

Moreover, if you want to access the complete text (for example, a novel, if it is available), you can click on the title. If you wish to see if the word is present on the Logos online dictionary, you can click on the word (in the co-text window, the searched word/s appears highlighted in a blue color, to indicate the presence of the link to the dictionary).

I use the Logos Library to clarify a doubt. In a British drama on the late XX century, I find the expression "Leave well alone". There is nearly no co-text, it is a complete line of dialogue and, since the whole text is not easy to foresee, it could have many meanings. I know the expression "leave alone", meaning "leave in peace", "leave", but I don't know if the adding of "well" alters its sense and how.

Inserting the whole string in the "word" window, and indicating English as the language, I get four results:

... significantly with woman as the pilgrim! But the end--that would be a difficulty." "One for your sex to solve," said the Professor. When they arrived at the cottage the wails were dying away, and Hadria advised that they should leave well alone. So the baby's victim somewhat reluctantly retired. "After all, you see, if one has strength of purpose, one can achieve freedom," he observed. "At the expense of the affections, it would seem," said Hadria. The walk was [...] Author: Caird Mona Title: THE DAUGHTERS OF DANAUS

... so long for the question, while the schoolmaster looked at a new side of his finger, and bit it, and looked at it again, that at length the boy repeated: 'The question is, sir--?'Whether you had not better leave well alone.'Is it well to leave my sister alone, Mr Headstone? do not say so, because I do not know. I put it to you. I ask you to think of it. I want you to [...]Author: Dickens Charles Title: OUR MUTUAL FRIEND Source: http://promo.net/pg/_authors/dickens_charles_.html

... best to get up in the world, you pull me back. Charley? you, Liz. Why can't you let bygones be bygones? Why can't you, as Mr Headstone said to me this very evening about another matter, leave well alone? What we have got to do, is, to turn our faces full in our new direction, and keep straight on.'And never look back? Not even to try to make some amends?'You are such a [...] Author: Dickens Charles Title: OUR MUTUAL FRIEND Source: http://promo.net/pg/_authors/dickens_charles_.html

... shot by some trigger-happy Philistine with a sub-machine gun..." "You mean Palestinian," His Holiness interjected. "It makes no difference: same name, same race, same alms," He growled. He stopped for a moment, in a fit of rage. "Let's leave well alone," He suggested, when He had quietened down. "But I have to say there is no excuse for the excesses of the Middle Ages and still less for the excesses that followed, which opened the way to the dogma [...] Author: Russo Vittorio Title: HOLINESS! Source: http://www.panservice.it/mirror/liberliber/bibliot Subject: ITALIAN FICTION (853)

The frequency with which I find such word combination makes me think that it is a standard collocation, and from the linguistic context I gather that it has a meaning similar to "leave alone". The first three texts are originally written in English, while the fourth one is a translation from the Italian. I try, then to look for the Italian original on the internet. Having found an electronic version of it on the site www.liberliber.it, I look for a significant word present in the co-text, for example "palestinese", and I find the matching Italian quotation:

rischiando anche qualche raffica di mitra dei Filistei...» «Palestinesi, vuoi dire» rettificò Sua Santità. «Fa lo stesso: stesso nome, stessa razza, stessi obiettivi!» commentò quello secco. Si fermò per un attimo mentre sibilava d'ira il suo naso. «Voglio lasciar perdere» sentenziò quando si fu placato. «Dico però che non ci sono scuse per gli eccessi del Medioevo e ancor meno ce ne sono per quelli successivi, che aprirono la via al dogma [...]

The translation "Voglio lasciar perdere" confirms that the meaning of "leave well alone" is the one I had hypothesized when I had analyzed the co-text. In the next unit we'll try other functions of the Logos Library.


Bibliographical references

FREUD SIGMUND, L'interpretazione dei sogni, in Opere, vol. 3, Torino, Boringhieri, a cura di C. L. Musatti, 1966.

FREUD SIGMUND, The Interpretation Of Dreams, translated by A. A. Brill, London, G. Allen & company, 1913.

1 Freud 1900: 532.