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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Contact Effects of Translation: Distinguishing two kinds of influence in Old English
Author: Ann Taylor
Institution: University of York
Linguistic Field: Syntax; Translation
Subject Language: English, Old
Abstract: Many of our surviving Old English (OE) texts are translations from Latin originals. Given that the syntax of Latin and OE differ in a number of ways, the possibility of transference in the process of translation is an important issue for studies of OE syntax. This article examines one syntactic structure where the syntax of the languages differ: the prepositional phrase (PP) with pronominal complement. In Latin, PPs with pronominal complements are essentially head-initial, while in OE they vary between head-initial and head-final. I show that two distinct translation effects can be distinguished, one direct and one indirect, and that these effects apply differentially to two different types of translation, biblical and nonbiblical. I relate these different translation effects to the different strategies of OE translators when faced with biblical and nonbiblical texts.

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This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 20, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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