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Translation and Meaning. New Series, Vol. 2, Pt. 1

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Edited By Lukasz Bogucki, Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk and Marcel Thelen

The volume contains a selection of articles on current theoretical issues in Translation Studies and literary translation. The authors are experts in their fields from renowned universities in the world. The book will be an indispensable aid for trainers and researchers, but may be of interest to anyone interested or active in translation and interpreting. A companion volume in this series contains articles on audiovisual translation, translator training and domain-specific issues.

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The English Past Perfect Tense in Translation into Polish

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Abstract: Theoretically, Polish does have a Past Perfect Tense – the Plusquamperfectum (see Klemensiewicz 2001: 61), but, practically, this tense is now used so rarely that it can be regarded as virtually dead or non-existent (see, for example, Doroszewski 1976: 90, who states clearly that the tense “is no longer used”, as well as Podlawska and Płóciennik 2002: 85). In reality, the only case in which this tense is used with any noticeable frequency is with the Polish defective modal verb powinien, which cannot be marked for the past tense, and which is therefore occasionally used in its Plusquamperfectum form in order to signal that it refers to the past (regrettably, this usage is becoming less and less popular, with many speakers using the unmarked form to refer also to the past, thus producing ambiguity and causing confusion). The Polish Plusquamperfectum being now practically obsolete, consequently, the question arises how the functions of the English Past Perfect Tense are expressed in Polish and how the various occurrences of this tense in literature are rendered in translations into Polish. Even if the Polish Plusquamperfectum were used more often, there would still be no guarantee that there would be a one-to-one correspondence between the two tenses, that every single occurrence of the English Past Perfect would get translated by means of the Polish Plusquamperfectum and vice versa (for example, German does have Perfect tenses – both Present and Past – not only in theory, and yet their distribution is somewhat different from...

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