My major objective in this presentation is to investigate the status of phrases with wish when complemented by a finite clause, through a close analysis of Czech equivalents of these sentences in a parallel translation corpus. A more general question: To what extent can a systematic study of translations reveal facts about a certain language phenomenon we would have failed to notice otherwise? Corpora used: Preliminary and any supplementary research done on the BNC, then InterCorp
InterCorp parallel corpus of Czech and 22 languages with Czech as the pivot language developed at Charles University Prague about 50 million words English-Czech and Czech-English component English as a source language 25 texts, mostly fiction Project Syndicate English as a target language 7 novels and one academic text
Wish complementation basics Quirk et al (1985) list wish [V] among several groups of verbs according to its complementation: monotransitive (B), complex transitive (C) and ditransitive (D): B3 those complemented by a finite clause I wish (that) she were here. (Q 1183) B6 those complemented by a subjectless infinitive clause Do you wish to comment on that? [BNC HVH 85] B8 those complemented by to-infinitive clause (with subject) Do you wish me to stay? [BNC BMN 2099] C1 those complemented by an adjective phrase as object complement Who had reason to wish her ill, then? [BNC AB9 1572] C2 those complemented by a ‘noun phrase as object complement’I have often wished myself a millionaire. (Q 1199) D 1 those complemented by noun phrases as both indirect and direct object: They wished him good luck (Q 1209)
What is the frequency of the above-mentioned types of complementation of wish for individual personal pronouns as subjects of wish? BNC-based analysis More specifically, due to the size of the BNC, what is the total number of tokens of individual personal pronouns as subjects of wish what is the number of to-infinitive complements of wish for individual personal pronoun subjects of wish what is the number of finite clause complements of wish for individual personal pronoun subjects of wish
High percentage of complementation by finite clauses after singular personal pronouns, more specifically, high frequency of the phrases I wish I wishedshe wishedhe wished What is the distribution of personal pronouns as subjects of the complementing clauses after these phrases?
Iyouhesheitwethey I wish I wished he wished0095 (including 22 could) she wished (including 47 could) 704 Frequencies of personal pronouns as subjects of finite clauses complementing I wish, I wished, she wished, he wished in the BNC The subject of the complementing finite clause is most likely to be the same pronoun as the subject of wish.
Phonological reductions of the phrases with wish There are 58 tokens of Wish at the beginning of the sentence followed by a clause in the BNC, that is, with the subject (I) omitted. 34 of the 58 tokens were found in spoken language Examples: Wish you boys would make your minds up! [BNC KD5 8889] Wish he'd make his mind up [BNC KBW 13759] Wish I could find my glasses she said. [BNC KBD 7129] INTERCORP texts Rowling, J.K.,Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ”Škoda že profesorka McGonagallová zase nenadržuje nám,” řekl Harry. [Pity that McGonagall doesn’t favor us…] "Wish McGonagall favored us," said Harry.
The main clause status of the phrase with wish is thus open to argument. What about the dependent clause status of the finite clause complementing I wish and I/he/she wished ? That complementizer is often omitted. Iyouhesheitwethey I wish that I wished that he wished that she wished that
BNC: Distribution of personal pronouns as subjects of finite clauses complementing I wish (asyndetic link) past perfectwouldcould past tense ´d (had) (+-en) had (+-en) ´d (would) + inf would + (inf) would have (+-en) could could have (-en) other verb form I you he she it we they
I wish that_ ´d (had) + -en had (+ -en) ´d (would) + inf would + inf would have (+-en) couldcould have (-en) had (got) -ed I1383 (her guts, time) were you3 he31 (the guts) she1 it1were possible, weren´t happening we111had to were debating BNC: Finite clauses introduced by that as complements of I wish … very infrequent in general, you hardly ever used
Pseudoclefting: Can these ‘dependent finite clauses’ be pseudoclefted? What I wish [be] CLAUSE was not found in the BNC What I/he/she wished [be] CLAUSE was not found in the BNC either, but in Intercorp there is one token: What she wished was that she’ d had a chance to talk to the murdered salesgirl (John Irving, A Widow for a Year) Perhaps these finite clauses are not dependent (nominal object) clauses, and phrases with wish are not main clauses.
Suggestion I wish when complemented by a finite clause is not a main clause but rather a modality marker. Do the Czech translations support this thesis? Can the same be said about I wished / she wished / he wished?
Distribution of tenses in finite clauses after I wish in Intercorp (English source texts) TOTALTOTAL past perfectwouldcould ´d (-en) had (-en) ´d (inf) would (inf) would have (-en) couldcould have (-en) past tense subj. were I and 2 were -ing 1 you he0 she11 it11 we42 2 were -ing they11 noun phrase there51 4 somebody11
Distribution of tenses in finite clauses after I wish in the BNC past perfectwouldcould ´ d (+-en) had (+-en) ´ d + inf would + (inf) would have (+-en) could could have (-en) past tense subj. were other verb form I you he she it we they someone15 2 (had told me) 13 people11119
A close analysis reveals that translating phrases with wish when complemented by a finite clause is very far from straightforward and translators seem to be struggling with it. There are 19 different Czech equivalents of the phrase I wish when complemented by a finite clause and 14 different equivalents of such phrases with wished (I/he/she wished). Concrete data with literal translations into English are provided in the tables in the slides to follow. Though numbers of tokens are sometimes quite low, certain tendencies seem to be there.
Czech equivalents of I wish In the first part of the table I wish is NOT translated by a main clause. I wish... __ total could could have would simple past past perfect kéž by/bych/bychom [if only, may] and 1 past conditional už aby [it’s high time] 11 ať + finite verb [let (him, her…) inf] 0+1 kdybych (tak) [if only] 312 imperative form11 škoda že (ne) [pity that] 5113
I wish cont. totalcould could have would Past tense Past perfect mrzí mě, že (ne) I regret that... I am sorry that 211 je mi líto, že (ne) I am sorry that 211 lituju, že (ne) I am sorry that 11 přeju/i si, aby I wish that past conditional přál(a) bych si, aby I would wish that and 1 past conditional přál(a) bych si inf I would wish inf 211 chtěl(a) bych, aby I would want it that 2+1 chtěl(a) bych inf I would want to 0+1 chci, aby I want that domnívám se, že by měla I think that... should 11 byl bych rád, kdybys, kdybychom I would be glad if 431 ( moc, tak, velmi) rád bych l-form I would gladly 651 potěšilo by mě, kdybys it would please me if 11
Some notes on I wish … would ‘Would in this position can have volitional colouring: we wish you would come and stay with us. I wish you wouldn’t drink so much. Such remarks often have the force of requests or commands’ (Leech 2004:123) For Searle (1975:64-5) I wish you wouldn’t do that is one of sentences ‘conventionally used in the performance of indirect directives’. Adams, Douglas Stopařův průvodce po galaxii, Adams, Douglas, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, ”Přestaň s tím pořád otravovat,” houkl na něj Ford. [“Stop bothering me with that”] "I wish you’d stop saying that," shouted Ford.
Adams, Douglas,Stopařův průvodce po galaxii, Adams, Douglas, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, ”Byl bych rád, kdybys už jednou přestal skuhrat kvůli tý zatracený planetě. [I would be glad if you once (in life)] "I wish you’d stop sulking about that bloody planet," said Ford. Steelová, Danielle,Strážný anděl,2004Steel, Danielle,Johnny Angel,2003 „Byla bych radši, kdybys počkal a najedl se až doma,“ povzdychla si matka. [his mother gave a sigh]…. "I wish you'd wait and eat here once in a while," his mother said. Franzen, Jonathan, Rozhřešení, 2004Franzen, Jonathan,The Corrections, 2001 Byl bych moc rád, kdyby ses alespoň jednou v životě dokázala na něco vykašlat.” [I would be very glad if…] I wish once in your life you would let something drop." ELT materials: ‘We use I wish… would… when we want something to happen or when we want somebody to do something. The speaker is not happy with the present situation’ (Murphy 1994:80).
Though the subject of the finite clause (which arguably is to express a command) is very often you, that is the Addressee = a direct participant in conversation, it does NOT have to be you… Kundera, Žert,1991Kundera, The Joke,1992 Ať jde k čertu ! [Let him go to hell] I wish he’d go to hell !
mělo by se … [it should be done] ať už konečně někdo…. [let finally someone do …] No solution for *I wish anyone/anybody would this is NOT a non-assertive context!
Wish in the past tense: Finite clauses after I wished, he wished, she wished in Intercorp and their Czech equivalents
TOTALTOTAL past perfectwouldcould ‘d (had) (+-en) had (+-en) ‘d (would) + (inf) would + (inf) would have (+-en) couldcould have (-en) past tense subj. were I wished I71132 I wished they 11 he wished he 11 1 (never) 3 (hadn’t) 133 she wished she 9342 she wished he 3 1 (hadn’t) 11 she wished NP she wished they 11 she wished it 11
I/he/she wished.... total could could have wouldsimple past past perfect kéž by/bych/bychom...[if only, may]11 mrzí Acc.Pers.Pron, že (ne) [I/he/she regret(s) / is sorry that] 11 (moc, tak, velmi...) rád by(ch) l-form [I/he/she would (so, very...) gladly] 3111 mrzelo Acc.pers.pron, že ne [I/he/she regretted / was sorry that] 22 (za)litoval(a) jsem, že, litoval toho [I/he/she was sorry that... / about that] 6114 přál(a) (jsem) si, aby(ch) [I/he/she wished that] and 2 past cond. …jak si přála, že by měli [...in a way she wished they should] 11 přála (jsem) si inf [I wished inf]211 toužil(a) (jsem) inf [I/he/she desired inf] 211 (za)toužila, aby [she desired that]11 byla ráda, že [she was glad that]11 býval by raději, kdyby [he would rather have -en] 11 radši měla [she should have –en]11
Concluding remarks I.The fact that the I wish construction when followed by a finite clause is a modality marker seems to be supported by its Czech translations. It is often the case that it is not translated by a main clause. a.If the subject of the complementing clause is you (addressee), especially followed by would, the whole sentence can have the illocutionary force of a directive and may be translated with a verb in the imperative form. Adams, Douglas Stopařův průvodce po galaxii, Adams, Douglas, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, ”Přestaň s tím pořád otravovat,” houkl na něj Ford. [“Stop bothering me with that”] "I wish you’d stop saying that," shouted Ford.
b. In one case I wish translates the periphrastic imperative with the optative particle ať. c. Very often, the somewhat dated optative particle kéž is used in Czech translations. d. Sentences with I wish are often translated by reduced phrases (stažené výpověďní útvary) in which the main clause is either completely lost (kdyby tak [if only] ), reduced into a particle (už aby [ high time ]), or particle- like element (škoda že [pity that] ), where the predicate verb, and often also the comma separating the ‘main clause’ from the ‘dependent clause’ are lost (je škoda, že [it is a pity that] ). Kundera, Žert,1991 Kundera, The Joke,1992 Ať jde k čertu ! [Let him go to hell] I wish he’d go to hell !
“Škoda že ses nezeptal !” Franzen, Jonathan The Corrections, 2001 [Pity you didn’t ask!] "I wish you'd asked ! " Škoda, že jsem to neudělala sama, ale to jsem nevěděla to co dneska. Lindsey, Johanna, A Loving Scoundrel,2004 [Pity I didn’t do it myself…] I wish I could've done it for m'self, but I didn't know then what I do now. This happens when the complementing finite clauses contain verbs in the past perfect tense, could with the past or even present infinitive (and theoretically also verbs in the past tense). The sentence then has a reversed polarity.
e. Polarity is also reversed in translations of I wish as mrzí mě and je mi líto [I am sorry], which were used if the complementing finite clause contained a verb in past perfect and once also a verb in simple past. After all, there is ‘a negative entailment or presupposition’ (Huddleston and Pullum 2002:1009) for all content clauses complementing wish and reversing the sentence polarity in Czech may be its proof.
“ Mrzí mě, že jsem neměl takový krásný veliký bazén, když jsem byl malý kluk, ” poznamenal šéf, ačkoliv všichni věděli, že bazén v YMCE není ani krásný, ani veliký. Franzen, Jonathan, The Corrections, 2001 [I am sorry I didn’t have…] "I wish I'd had a nice big swimming pool like that when I was growing up, " the boss said, although for all he knew the pool at the Y was neither nice nor big. Lituju, že jsem vám nenakopal zadek, když jsem k tomu měl dobrý důvod. Brownová, Sandra, Hello, Darkness, 2003 [I am sorry I didn’t kick…] I wish I'd kicked your ass while I had a good excuse. "
II. There is a discrepancy between translations of I wish and clauses with wish in the past tense (I wished, he wished, she wished). Due to the fact that wishes are only reported here, the original illocutionary force is lost, which means that neither imperatives nor optative particles are used in the translations (with one exception of kéž in a translation of arguable quality). phrases in which the main clause is entirely lost (kdyby tak) or reduced to a particle (už aby) are not used in the translation of I/he/she wished.
the particle-like expression škoda is never used, as it is closely related to the speaker of the utterance and thus it does not survive reporting, unless the verb be is added and a reporting verb is overtly mentioned, such as in říkala, že je škoda, že (she said that it was a pity that…). these sentences, however, are avoided in translation, due to the stylistically inappropriate repetition of the conjunction že, which cannot be omitted in Czech. the verb přát si [to wish] is not used performatively or in the conditional mood but in the past tense, except when a reporting verb is overtly mentioned (also note the inverted commas). Řekla Andreovi, že by si přála, aby ten stařec „ nás nechal na pokoji “, a proklela „ nastokrát to protivné Mogliano “. She told Andrea she wished the old man "would just leave us in peace" and cursed "that wretched Mogliano a hundred times." [She told Andrea she would wish that…]
A close analysis of translations can thus bring some supporting evidence and reveal facts about a language phenomenon we might have failed to notice otherwise. One note at the end… Phrases translating be sorry are always in the past tense, never in the conditional mood or in the present indicative.
Intercorp data: Numbers of wish in English source texts (singular personal pronouns as subjects of wish) total to-inf. clausefinite clause 0NP – NP/adj (for) NP no thatthat pseudo- cleft no subj. with subj. I wish ?30 I wished ? you wish you wished11 he wishes ? he wished she wishes10001 she wished it wishes (Project Syndicate) it wished00
Numbers of wish in English target texts (singular personal pronouns as subjects of wish) total to-inf. clause without/with subj. finite clause (asyndetic link / that / pseudo-cleft) 0NP – NP/adj (for) NP I wish I wished211 you wish413 you wished11 he wishes44 he wished76 she wishes0 she wished it wishes0 it wished0
English target texts differ from English source texts as far as the clauses with wish are concerned. Translators from Czech to English do not perhaps make full use of the phrases with wish, especially where the match is not literal, that is they do not use them to translate sentences with škoda and those with an illocutionary force of directives.
Thank you for your attention.
Selected bibliography Dušková, L Mluvnice současné angličtiny na pozadí češtiny. Academia. Grepl, M. a P. Karlík Skladba češtiny. Votobia. Huddleston, R., and G. Pullum The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. CUP. Johansson, S Seeing through multilingual corpora. In Facchinetti, R.(ed), Corpus Linguistics 25 Years on. Rodopi. Leech, G Meaning and the English Verb. Pearson Education Limited. Mluvnice češtiny (3). Skladba. Praha, Academia 1986 Příruční mluvnice češtiny Nakladatelství Lidové noviny. Quirk, R. et al Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Longman. Searle, J "Indirect speech acts." In Syntax and Semantics, 3: Speech Acts, ed. P. Cole & J. L. Morgan, pp. 59–82. New York: Academic Press. Czech National Corpus - InterCorp. Institute of the Czech National Corpus FF UK, Praha. Accessible at WWW: The British National Corpus, version 2 (BNC World) Distributed by Oxford University Computing Services on behalf of the BNC Consortium. URL: