This paper highlights the importance of a common ground, or tertium comparationis, in order to establish unbiased cross-linguistic equivalence in contrastive studies. Following an outline of the two main types of corpora used in contrastive analysis—comparable and parallel bidirectional—a discussion of how they relate to different tertia comparationis is presented. This is further illustrated in a case study where the same phenomenon is investigated based on the two types of corpora. It is concluded that a bidirectional parallel corpus, relying on both comparable monolingual and bidirectional translation data, may yield more robust insights into cross-linguistic matters than either of the two on their own.
30 May 2020.