Is there interference of usage constraints?: A frequency study of existential there is and its French equivalent il y a in translated vs. non-translated texts

Abstract : We examine the possible impact of frequency differences between a construction in L1 and its equivalent in L2 on translations. Our case is that of existential there in English and existential il y a in French. Using corpus evidence, we first confirm previous claims that existential there is used more freely in English than existential il y a is in French. Drawing on extensive counts conducted in available corpora and self-compiled samples of translated English and French, intra-language comparisons of translated and non-translated language use show that existential there is under-represented in English translated from French while existential il y a is over-represented in French translated from English. It is suggested that source-language interference is responsible for these differences. In addition, counts of existentials in individual novels and their translations show that inter-language frequency shifts systematically occur in the direction of target-language norms, most clearly so for translations into French, which suggests that the observed usage constraint on il y a still applies to a noticeable extent in translated French. Methodologically, we argue the need for a large corpus of translated French.
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Article dans une revue
Target, John Benjamins Publishing, 2013, 25 (2), pp.252-275. 〈10.1075/target.25.2.05cap〉
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01495728
Contributeur : Bert Cappelle <>
Soumis le : dimanche 26 mars 2017 - 19:27:41
Dernière modification le : mardi 3 juillet 2018 - 11:38:40

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Bert Cappelle, Rudy Loock. Is there interference of usage constraints?: A frequency study of existential there is and its French equivalent il y a in translated vs. non-translated texts. Target, John Benjamins Publishing, 2013, 25 (2), pp.252-275. 〈10.1075/target.25.2.05cap〉. 〈hal-01495728〉

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