Syntactic constancy across languages
A B S T R A C T
This article presents the findings of a detailed inquiry into syntactic constancy between English and Czech; the clause elements under discussion include the subject, object, adverbial and subject complement. The project assumes the general validity of the principle of end focus (basic distribution of communicative dynamism) as a superordinate factor with respect to syntactic structure. Since the primary word order principle differs in English (grammatical function) and Czech (functional sentence perspective or FSP), the presentation of identical content in the same linear order may involve a different syntactic structure. These assumptions are tested by comparing parallel texts. Instances of divergent syntactic structure are collected and analyzed against the background of identical syntactic renderings which provide the constancy measure. Clause elements are considered with respect to syntactic function, including the formal indicators thereof, sentence position, and the FSP function. The role of FSP as a factor of syntactic divergence has largely been confirmed especially where the divergence involves the subject. In the case of postverbal elements, motivating factors were primarily found in different verb valency and the more nominal character of English. These two factors play a role in the English-Czech translation direction, besides greater compliance of syntactic with semantic structure.
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Ústav anglistiky a amerikanistiky FF UK
nám. Jana Palacha 2, 116 38 Praha 1
Slovo a slovesnost, ročník 66 (2005), číslo 4, s. 243-260
Předchozí Jan Králík: K jazyku studentských próz
Následující Nikolaj P. Savický: Existenciální věty v historické perspektivě: osudy indoevropského *es-