Stretching conceptual structures in classifications across languages and cultures

Barbara H. Kwaśnik, Victoria L. Rubin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

2 Scopus citations


The authors describe the difficulties of translating classifications from a source language and culture to another language and culture. To demonstrate these problems, kinship terms and concepts from native speakers of fourteen languages were collected and analyzed to find differences between their terms and structures and those used in English. Using the representations of kinship terms in theLibrary of Congress Classification(LCC) and theDewey Decimal Classification(DDC) as examples, the authors identified the source of possible lack of mapping between the domain of kinship in the fourteen languages studied and the LCC and DDC. Finally, some preliminary suggestions for how to make translated classifications more linguistically and culturally hospitable are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKnowledge Organization and Classification in International Information Retrieval
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780203050392
StatePublished - 2013


  • Classification
  • Cultural hospitality
  • Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)
  • Library of Congress Classification (LCC)
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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