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Corpus-based studies on language varieties

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Edited By Francisco Alonso Almeida, Laura Cruz García and Víctor González-Ruiz

This volume brings together a number of corpus-based studies dealing with language varieties. These contributions focus on contemporary lines of research interests, and include language teaching and learning, translation, domain-specific grammatical and textual phenomena, linguistic variation and gender, among others. Corpora used in these studies range from highly specialized texts, including earlier scientific texts, to regional varieties. Under the umbrella of corpus linguistics, scholars also apply other distinct methodological approaches to their data in order to offer new insights into old and new topics in linguistics and applied linguistics. Another important contribution of this book lies in the obvious didactic implications of the results obtained in the individual chapters for domain-based language teaching.
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Integrating controlled corpus data in the classroom: a case-study of English NPs for French students in specialised translation

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1.  Introduction

It is widely acknowledged that terms are highly frequent in scientific writing and noun phrases (henceforth NPs), in which a head noun may be modified by an adjective, another noun or a prepositional phrase, are known to be problematic in French-English translation due to their varying and contrasted complexity (Bouscaren et al. 1992; Vinay and Darbelnet 2004; Huart and Larreya 2006). Indeed, French students hardly master English NPs in their translations – they tend to overuse the ‘the [Noun1] of [Noun2]’ construction as a loan translation (e.g. ‘qualité de l’image’ translated as ‘quality of the image’) where the ‘[Noun2][Noun1]’ construction (e.g. ‘image quality’) may be more appropriate. This remains a pitfall for more advanced translation students, notably in specialized (medical) translation. Indeed, medical English generally follows the principle of economy, so that the use of concise, complex NPs prevails (Maniez 2012). Yet in some contexts, the (the [noun] of [noun]) construction will be preferred, and there is no straightforward rule to help students decide which construction will yield an accurate translation. Based on how challenging English NPs are in French-English translation, we have carried out a corpus-based study in medical English texts, with a view to providing students with controlled corpus data that could be brought to bear on the decision-making process. ← 167 | 168 →

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