Associative meaning According to Geoffrey Leech, the associative meaning of an expression has to do with individual mental understandings of the speaker. They, in turn, can be broken up into six sub-types: connotative, collocative, social, affective, reflected and thematic (Mwihaki 2004).
Connotative Meaning Connotation is the aspect of meaning that deals with the emotional attitude of the author and the emotional response of the receptor.
The connotative meanings of an expression are the thoughts provoked by a term when in reference to certain entities. Though these meanings may not be strictly implied by relevant definitions, they show up in common or preferred usage regardless. This is not to be confused with what is historically referred to as connotation, which more closely describes rigid definitions of words.
Connotative Meaning The word ‘koboi’ from the English ‘cowboy’ and the indigenous word ‘gembala sapi’. They have the same denotation, still no one would say ‘film gembala sapi’ instead of saying ‘film koboi’. The latter still contains Western, especially American, connotations. The word ‘koboi’ immediately takes the Indonesian hearer or reader to American cowboys on the ranch, riding on horseback with their particular hats, pants, boots, guns, rearing cows. The hearer or reader might even seem to hear the typical cowboy songs. These connotations would not appear with the word ‘gembala sapi’. The power of a word to make emotional and interpretative suggestion, beyond the designated meaning, is the word’s connotation.
The emotional reactions to words can be good or bad, strong or weak; words with very strong connotations, either good or bad, often became taboo. For example, the word daging babi denotes particular edible meat. The connotation of this word, that is to say, the way people react emotionally to the word is usually quite different.
In all translation work, one must be careful to check constantly the denotation as well as the connotation of words. Words dealing with sex and procreation must be carefully examined, since here in Indonesia those words are still taboo, except when they are used scientifically or used at certain places, such as universities, lecture halls, etc. Words of negative taboos need to be euphemized to avoid producing negative connotations.
Connotative meanings can be used to persuade, to move, or to stimulate emotion. Compare the following that describes the same incident: ‘Didepan Rapat Dewan semalam Ketua gembar gembor soal perbaikan nasib anggota-nya’. ‘Di depan Rapat Dewan semalam Ketua dengan gigih memperjuangkan nasib anggota-nya’.
Remember: As a translator, one must realize that the readers will respond not only intellectually but also emotionally to the words chosen. Again, he must not lean toward or be biased against words that will cause a departure from or a distortion of the actual content of the message.
Collocation Collocation is the way in which words are used together regularly. Collocation refers to the restrictions on how words can be used together, for example which prepositions are used with particular verbs, or which verbs and nouns are used together. For example, in English the verb perform is used with operation, but not with discussion: The doctor performed the operation. High collocates with probability, but not with chance: a high probability but a good chance Jack C. Richards, John Platt, Heidi Platt. 1992. Longman Dictionary of Language teaching and Applied Linguistics, Longman Group UK Limited(2nd Ed).
If the expression is heard often, the words become 'glued' together in our minds. 'Crystal clear', 'middle management' 'nuclear family' and 'cosmetic surgery' are examples of collocated pairs of words. Some words are often found together because they make up a compound noun, for example 'riding boots' or 'motor cyclist'. Collocations can be in a syntactic relation (such as verb- object: 'make' and 'decision'), lexical relation (such as antonymy), or they can be in no linguistically defined relation. Knowledge of collocations is vital for the competent use of a language: a grammatically correct sentence will stand out as 'awkward' if collocational preferences are violated. This makes collocation an interesting area for language teaching.
Social meaning Where words are used to establish relationships between people and to delineate social roles. For example, in Japanese, the suffix "-san" when added to a proper name denotes respect, sometimes indicating that the speaker is subordinate to the listener; while the suffix "- chan" denotes that the speaker thinks the listener is a child or childlike (either for purposes of affection or derision).
Affective meaning Affective meaning has to do with the personal feelings or attitudes of the speaker.
Reflected meaning Reflected meaning has to do with when one sense of a particular word affects the understanding and usage of all the other senses of the word.
Thematic meaning Thematic meaning concerns itself with how the order of words spoken affects the meaning that is entailed.