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Predication Transformation: A parallel corpus-based study of Russian verbless sentences and their English translations

Abstract : The paper presents a corpus-based contrastive analysis of the predication involved in the translation of verbless sentences from Russian to English based on a pilot parallel corpus consisting of Dostoyevsky’s dialogue-based Russian Brat’ja Karamazovy (1880) and the Pevear and Volokhonsky English translation The Brothers Karamazov (1990). In contrast to English, known for its dependency on the finite verb phrase, Russian permits the use of verbless sentences more productively than any other Indo-European language (McShane, 2000; Kopotev, 2007). Combining the parallel-text approach to contrastive linguistics developed by Guillemin-Flescher (2003) with a new method of automatic verbless sentence extraction, the present study examines reoccurring patterns regarding the way that predication is gained or lost in translation. Following automatic segmentation, morphosyntactic annotation and extraction, verbless sentences and their translation correspondences are manually annotated for verbal and non-verbal predication in accordance with Hengeveld’s (1992) definitions. The results present a typology of a phenomenon we call ‘predication transformation’, in which translation correspondences are transformed in terms of predication type. Quantitative results reveal the rate at which verbs are gained in translation of the verbless sentences from Russian to English, as well as the predication verbalization rate. We argue that a verb-centric notion of semantic predication is not cross-linguistically stable.
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Antonina Bondarenko. Predication Transformation: A parallel corpus-based study of Russian verbless sentences and their English translations. Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Skłodowska - Philologiae, 2018, La Linguistique Contrastive, 36 (1), pp.43-54. ⟨hal-02177744⟩

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