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Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies Information Structure.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies Information Structure."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies Information Structure

2 Theme  What the clause is about, point of departure, topic  In English, usually the leftmost constituent of the clause (exception, marked theme) Rheme  What is said about the topic

3 Information Structure Translation Strategies  Retain thematic patterning of the original without distorting TT (English to French)  Abandon thematic patterning for Grammatical reasons (e.g. verb in theme position in Spanish to English translation) Naturalness (e.g. Pronoun in theme position in English to Arabic translation)  Halliday’s model of thematic patterning not applicable to language investigated (cf. Prague School)

4 Information Structure Markedness  Beautiful were her eyes  Her eyes were beautiful  To foreground a particular element as the topic of the clause or its point of departure

5 Information Structure Adjunct  “A word or group of words added to a clause to give more information about the circumstances of an event or situation, usually in terms of time, place, or manner, e.g. I’ve known him for years” (Baker 1992:284)

6 Information Structure Predicator  “The verb or verb group in a clause” (Baker 1992:286) Complement  “A noun group or adjective which comes after a link verb such as is, was, or remain and gives more information about the subject, e.g. The child looked neglected” (Baker 1992:285)

7 Information Structure Types of marked theme  Predicated theme Using it-structure (cleft structure), e.g. It was the book that received a lot of interest in China  Identifying theme Using wh-structure (pseudo-cleft structure), e.g. What the book received in China was a great deal of publicity  Fronted theme Fronting of time or place adjunct (least marked in English) Fronting of object or complement Fronting of predicator

8 Information Structure Types of marked theme (cont.)  Preposed theme (dislocation) The fitter, he sent these documents to the office  Postponed theme (associated with dialect) With the glasnost today, the Soviet Union, it’s the Mount Everest of the recording business

9 Information Structure Given  Information already known to the hearer New  New information which the speaker wishes to convey to the hearer

10 Information Structure Intonation Signalling systems  “Given information is conveyed in a weaker and more attenuated manner than new information” (Chafe 1976)  In English: Given information is signalled by lower pitch and weaker stress and is subject to pronominalization (ibid.)  In other languages?

11 Information Structure Thematic Progression  T1 – R1; T2 (=T1) – R2; T3 (= T1/2) – R3,.....  T1 – R1; T2 (=R1) – R2; T3 (= R2) – R3,.....

12 T1 – R1; T2 (=T1) – R2; T3 (= T1/2) – R3,..... Saddam’s most recent speech is an outrage. He is not withdrawing. His defeated forces are retreating. He is trying to claim victory in the midst of a rout. And he is not voluntarily giving up Kuwait. He is trying to save the remnants of power and control in the Middle East by every means possible. And here too, Saddam Hussein will fail. Saddam is not interested in peace, but only to regroup and to fight another day. And he does not renounce Iraq’s claim to Kuwait... He still does not accept UN Security Council resolutions, or the coalition terms of February The coalition will, therefore, continue to prosecute the war with undiminished intensity. As we announced last night, we will not attack unarmed soldiers in retreat. We have no choice but to consider retreating combat units as a threat, and respond accordingly. Anything else would risk additional coalition casualties... (Hatim and Mason 1997:38)

13 T1 – R1; T2 (=R1) – R2; T3 (= R2) – R3,..... The book provides an analytical historical exposition of the most important Islamic organizations in Egypt. These organizations – The Muslim Brothers, The Muslim Society and Al Jihaad – have all been involved in violent clashes with the government. (Hatim & Mason 1990:214)

14 Information Structure References  Baker, Mona (1992) In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation, London & New York: Routledge. (Chapter 5: Textual Equivalence: Thematic and Information Structures)  Brown, Gillian and George Yule (1983 Discourse Analysis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Chapter 4: ‘Staging’ and the Representation of Discourse Structure, and Chapter 5: Information Structure)  Doherty, Monica (1996) ‘Passive Perspectives; Different Preferences in English and German: A Result of Parameterized Processing’, Linguistics 34:  Firbas, Jan (1999) ‘Translating the Introductory Paragraph of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago: A Case Study in Functional Sentence Perspective’, in Gunilla Anderman and Margaret Rogers (eds) Word, Text, Translation, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters,

15 Information Structure References (cont.)  Halliday, Michael (1967) ‘Notes on transitivity and theme in English, Part 2’, Journal of Lingusitcs 3(2):  Halliday, Michael (1970) ‘Language Structure and Language Function’, in John Lyons (ed) New Horizons in Linguistics, Harmonsworth: Penguin Books,  Halliday, Michael (1985) An Introduction to Functional Grammar, London: Edward Arnold. (Chapter 3: Clause as Message, and Chapter 6: Beside the Clause: Intonation and Rhythm)  Hasselgård, Hilde (1998) ‘Thematic Structure in Translation between English and Norwegian’, in Stig Johansson and Signe Oksefjell (eds) Corpora and Cross-linguistic Research: Theory, Method and Case Studies, Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi,

16 Information Structure References (cont.)  Hatim, Basil (1989) ‘Text Linguistics in the Didactics of Translation: the Case of the Verbal and Nominal Clause Types in Arabic’, IRAL XXVII(2):  Hatim, Basil and Ian Mason (1990) Discourse and the Translator, London: Longman. (Chapter 10: Discourse Texture, pages : Thematisation: Functional Sentence Perspective)  Hatim, Basil and Ian Mason (1997) The Translator as Communicator, London & New York: Routledge.  Kurzon, Dennis (1984) ‘Themes, Hyperthemes and the Discourse Structure of British Legal Texts’, Text 4(1-3):

17 Information Structure References (cont.)  Lorés Sanz, Rosa (2003) ‘The translation of tourist literature: The case of connectors’, Multilingua 22(3):  Mason, Ian (1994) ‘Discourse, Ideology and Translation’, in Robert de Beaugrande, Abdulla Shunnaq and Mohamed H. Heliel (eds) Language, Discourse and Translation in the West and Middle East, Amsterdam: John Benjamins,  Mauranen, Anna (1999) ‘What Sort of Theme is there?: A Translational Perspective’, Languages in Contrast 2(1):  Maynard, Senko (1986) ‘Interactional Aspects of Thematic Progression in English Casual Conversation’, Text 6(1):

18 Information Structure References (cont.)  Rogers, Margaret (2006) ‘Structuring Information in English: A Specialist Translation Perspective on Sentence Beginnings’, The Translator 12(1):  Sévigny, Alexandre (2002) ‘Information flow in excerpts of two translations of Mme Bovary’, Linguistica Antverpiensia NS1:  Williams, Ian A. (2006) ‘Towards a target-oriented model for quantitative contrastive analysis in translation studies: An exploratory study of theme– rheme structure in Spanish-English biomedical research articles’, Languages in Contrast 6(1):  Yaguello, Marina (1981/1998) Language through the Looking Glass: Exploring Language and Linguistics, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 14: Tweedledum and Tweedledee: The Tricks and Traps of Syntax)  Young, David (1980) The Structure of English Clauses, London: Hutchinson. (Chapter 12: Theme)


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