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A Corpus-Based Study of Nominalization in Translations of Chinese Literary Prose

Three Versions of "Dream of the Red Chamber</I>


Yu Hou

This corpus-based study investigates the use of nominalization in English translations of Chinese literary prose through the analysis of three English versions of the Chinese novel Hong Lou Meng ( Dream of the Red Chamber).
Previous studies have explored the relevance of the cultural and linguistic positioning of different translators, but thus far no corpus-based study of nominalization has been undertaken in relation to translator style. This book uses quantitative and qualitative analyses of the nominalized transform of finite verbal forms in three Chinese-to-English translations to distinguish between translator styles, concluding that nominalization is a key identifier in translations.
This book provides a comprehensive picture of the use of nominalization in English translations of Chinese literary prose and, more generally, encourages further study into nominalization in translation.
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Chapter 4: Methodology




This chapter specifies data selection, a theoretical framework, a descriptive framework and an analytical framework. The theoretical framework involves the working definition of English nominalization, Mathesius’ (1975) [1961] ‘complex condensation’ theory, and nominalization as one manifestation of implicitation in translation. The descriptive framework is concerned with a comprehensive description of the use of English nominalization based on the three English versions of HLM. This study adopts three analytical tools: Chinese grammatical features, stylistic effects of nominalization, and nominalization as a feature of translator style.

4.1 Data selection

This corpus-based study intends to examine the use of nominalization in the three English versions of HLM (e.g. Joly’s version, the Yangs’ version, and Hawkes and Minford’s version) and in English translations of other Chinese literary prose works, and to quantitatively compare its use with the use of nominalization in English literary prose works. As Joly’s version is a first fifty-six chapter version, the present study decides to examine nominalization in the first fifty-six chapters of these three versions of HLM, from which it is sufficient to elicit their respective characteristic uses of nominalization. Due to some complicated reasons, the Chinese novel has various master copies and editions. According to Wang (2007), Joly undertook his translation mainly based on Wang Xilian’s edition of HLM. According to Liu and Tan (2010), the Yangs undertook their translation of ← 61 | 62 → the first eighty chapters of HLM based on the HLM edition published by Shanghai...

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