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Discourse and intertextual issues in translation.

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Presentation on theme: "Discourse and intertextual issues in translation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discourse and intertextual issues in translation

2 The discourse level: the textual variables considered on the discourse level are those that distinguish a cohesive and coherent text from a sequence of unrelated utterances. This level- the discourse level- is concerned with intersentential relations(relations between sentences) and relations between larger units such as paragraphs, etc.

3 For our purposes, however, it is sometimes useful also to consider relations between parts of sentences on the discourse level (particularly clauses).This is particularly important with respect to Arabic as Arabic sentences are often extremely long, and the lack of consistent punctuation often makes it impossible to determine where one sentence ends in Arabic and another begins.

4 Cohesion and coherence : It is useful to distinguish between two aspects of discourse cohesion and coherence. Following Halliday and Hasan (1976), cohesion is the transparent linking of sentences by explicit discourse connectives such as then, so however and so on. These act as signposts pointing out the thread of discourse running through the text.

5 Cohesion is also realized by the use of features such as root repetition and lexical item repetition, in additions to features such as theme-rheme elements and main-subordinate elements. Coherence: Unlike cohesion coherence is not explicitly marked in a text: it is a thematic or emotional development running through the text. Consequently, all cohesive texts are coherent, but not all coherent texts are cohesive.

6 We can illustrate the difference with a simple example. (see p: 30) As can be seen from the two examples: Text 1 lacks intersentential connectives. It is still coherent due to the underlying chronological narrative structure. In text 2 thought is achieved by the use of connectives. Some of these connectives link sentences by explaining or commenting on the speaker’s actions: so, I mean, still, anyway. Others are instances of grammatical anaphora- that is the replacement of previously used words and phrases by expressions referring back to them; here the anaphoric elements are “it”(replacing the kitchen ) and “there’ replacing on the ground.

7 As we mentioned before cohesion is realized by the use of features such as root repetition and lexical item repetition. Repetition in Arabic has two functions: 1. It may allow the writer to talk about closely related ideas, serving in this case much the same purpose as lexical variation does in English. 2. It may serve as cohesive text-building function, in much the same way as connectives do

8 Look at the following text, a speech by Jamal Abed Al Nasser (page 31)

9 Another area in which Arabic and English differ is their use of discourse connectives. In many genres, Arabic sentences are typically longer than English sentences, and sentences and clauses in Arabic are typically connected either by one of the three basic connectives و،ف،ثم or by the use of one of the secondary connectives such as حيث،إذ

10 A striking feature of the translation of the passage about Ibn Khaldoun is the concessive use of و which is translated by but. Even in modern Arabic the و and sometimes ف are best translated by a concessive. See examples on pages (34-35)

11 In some types of modern Arabic writing, the system of connectives is rather different from classical Arabic norm. Consider the following from a modern Arabic text on housing economics. (pages 35). Unlike unplanned narratives (story telling) planned narratives in English, particularly the narratives of written fiction, tend to make greater use of subordination. In Arabic, by contrast, coordination is a typical feature of written fictional narratives as well as unplanned material.

12 In translating written fictional material, it is often stylistically appropriate to convert coordinate structures in Arabic into subordinate structures in English. See page 36 See the translations of أما... ف... (Page 37)

13 Languages also differ in their use of punctuation as a cohesion marker. It should be remembered that Arabic traditionally made no use of punctuation, and that even now punctuation is often used in Arabic in ways which seem rather arbitrary. Even the use of punctuation marks such as full stops can be highly idiosyncratic, particularly in literary writing.

14 Sentence splitting: Since sentences in Arabic tend to be longer than sentences in English, it is quite frequently necessary to split up one Arabic sentence into a number of English ones. (See page 38)

15 Textual restructuring: It is the reorganizing of chunks of textual material in the TT in order to make them read more cogently. Sentence splitting may be regarded as oriented towards cohesion, in that it concerns the ways in which texts, in different languages, adopt different ways of linking material together. Textual restructuring, by contrast, is more oriented towards coherence; it concerns the ways in which languages typically organize their ideas differently from one another. (See page 39)

16 Paragraphing: Like punctuation, paragraphing can pose problems in Arabic/English translation. There are some generic considerations involved in paragraphing. For example, news report tend to have very short paragraphs, sometimes only a single sentence. Academic writing, by contrast, often makes use of extremely long paragraphs.

17 In Arabic, similar conventions for paragraphing to those of English are followed by many writers. However, one may come across paragraphing in Arabic which clearly does not follow English-type conventions. Under such circumstances, the translator will normally expect to reparagraph the TT according to the conventions of English.

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