Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: discrepancy of translation of Bally's sentence
Question: Eugenio Coseriu cites Bally's sentence (from linguistique generale et linguistique francaise p.18)in his book [Sincronia,
diacronia e historia 1p.]'' les langues changent sans cesse et ne
peuvent fonctionner qu'en ne changeant pas''.

the books of Italian and Portuguese version translate respectively as follows:
It. le lingue cambiano continuamente e non possono funzionare se
non cambiando.
Pt. as linguas mudam sem cessar e nao podem funcionar nao mundando.

Nevertheless, the Russian version translates as follows:
Языки неперывно изменяются,однако они могут фунционировать
только неизменяясь.

Japanese version translates like rus.one.

Quite contrary in its meaning.

Be kind enough to let me know why such discrepancy happens in
translation, though French, Italian and Portuguese are of Romance languages.

Yoshimasa Sato: amateur linguist aficionado interested in Coseriu's way of thinking regarding historical linguistic.
Thanks a lot in advance.

Reply: Charles Bally was stating his observation of an apparent paradox: languages change constantly, though they can’t function unless they’re stable. He then goes on to say that languages are the product of a transient balance between these opposing forces.

The Italian and Portuguese translations that you quote seem to imply a different observation, that languages change constantly and can’t function unless they change.

I can’t read Russian, so I can’t tell what this translation implies!

I hope this helps anyway

Madalena
Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
 
Date: 29-Jul-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: discrepancy of translation of Bally's sentence    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (30-Jul-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions