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Academic Paper

Title: The Obama presidency, the Macintosh keyboard and the Norway fiasco: English proper noun modifiers and their German and Swedish correspondences
Author: Jenny Herold
Author: Magnus Levin
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Translation
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article concerns English proper noun modifiers denoting organizations, people and places and their German and Swedish correspondences. It supplements previous studies touching upon contrastive comparisons by providing large-scale systematic findings on the translation correspondences of the three aforementioned semantic types. The data are drawn from the Linnaeus University English–German–Swedish Corpus (LEGS), which contains popular non-fiction, a genre previously not studied in connection with proper noun modifiers. The results show that organization-based modifiers are the most common and person-based ones the rarest in English originals. Compounds are the most frequent correspondences in German and Swedish translations and originals with genitives and prepositional phrases as other common options. The preference for compounds is stronger in German, while it is stronger for prepositional phrases in Swedish translations, reflecting earlier findings on language-specific tendencies. Organization-based modifiers tend to be translated into compounds, and place-based modifiers into prepositional phrases. German and Swedish translators relatively often opt for similar target-language structures. Two important target-language differences emerge: (i) compounds with complex heads are dispreferred in Swedish (US news show > *USA-nyhetsprogram) but unproblematic in German (US-Nachrichtensendung), and (ii) compounds with acronyms (WTO ruling > WTO-Entscheidung) are more frequent in German.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 23, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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