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The Past Tense in Polish and French

Karolak, Magdalena

The Past Tense in Polish and French

A Semantic Approach to Translation

Series: Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics - Volume 27

Year of Publication: 2013

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2013. 203 pp., 7 b/w fig., 26 tables
ISBN 978-3-0343-0968-4 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.310 kg, 0.683 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book presents the first detailed analysis of the mechanism of translating the Polish past tense into French. Grounded in the field of aspectual research, this study bridges the gap between theory and practice by presenting a set of equivalency rules for Polish past imperfective verb forms and French past tenses.
Drawing on a wide selection of Polish literary texts and their translations into French, the author analyses the translation of Polish past imperfective verbs in factual contexts and their actual uses in narration. Using the semantic theory of aspect developed by Stanisław Karolak, the author establishes rules of equivalency for imperfective uses in both languages as well as rules of equivalency between Polish past imperfective verbs and perfect tenses in French (passé composé, passé simple and plus-que-parfait).
The translation rules developed in this study can be applied directly in translation practice as well as providing a resource for scholars of the French and Polish languages. Additionally, this book lays the foundation for future contrastive studies on aspect in languages from different language families.


Contents: Oppositions between past tenses in French – Relations between tenses in French and Polish – Stanisław Karolak’s semantic theory of aspect and its implications for the translation of Polish imperfective verbs into French – Factual and actual meanings of Polish imperfective verbs and and problems with their translation into French – Detailed translation rules – Concluding remarks.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Magdalena Karolak is Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Silesia, Poland. Her research focuses on the comparative study of aspect in Slavic and Romance languages.


Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics. Vol. 27
Edited by Graeme Davis and Karl A. Bernhardt