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Challenging Boundaries in Linguistics

Systemic Functional Perspectives


Edited By Stella Neumann, Rebekah Wegener, Jennifer Fest, Paula Niemietz and Nicole Hützen

Linguistics, like any discipline, is full of boundaries. However, in nature, as Ruqaiya Hasan points out, there are no clear cut boundaries. The participants of the 42nd International Systemic Functional Congress held at RWTH Aachen University addressed and challenged the notion of boundaries in linguistics in many creative ways. Twenty-one of the papers presented at the congress are collated in this volume. The six sections cover topics that challenge theoretical notions and stances, and explore historical, interpersonal and lexicogrammatical boundaries as well as those between languages and in language development. The volume presents a state of the art overview of systemic functional linguistic theorising with extensions into other theoretical frameworks.

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Shifts in Theme and Subject realization in English-German translation (Paula Niemietz / Stella Neumann / Jonas Freiwald)


Paula Niemietz, Stella Neumann, Jonas Freiwald RWTH Aachen University {niemietz|neumann|freiwald}

Shifts in Theme and Subject realization in English-German translation

Abstract: Contrastive differences in Theme and Subject mappings between German and English trigger translation shifts. The data confirms assumptions about differences in what is termed ‘the extended Theme zone’ and shows that translators have a range of options to change the Theme zone to accommodate the requirements of the target language.

1 Introduction

Translation always involves a certain amount of negotiation of the boundaries of a source and a target language. Given contrastive differences between two languages, translators may well challenge or even redraw some of these boundaries, for example with the help of the effect Teich (2003) describes as ‘shining through’, where the distribution of a given linguistic feature in translation is more similar to that in the source language (SL) than in comparable non-translated texts in the target language (TL). Even in languages that are genetically related, like English and German, the process of translation will involve moving along the borders determined by contrastive constraints evolved within each language.

In the language pair English-German, the initial zone of the clause—the part preceding the Finite in independent (i.e. main) clauses—is an area of some interesting contrasts. These manifest in particular in diverging constraints on Theme and Mood choices in declarative clauses. German has a fairly strong verb second constraint (Steiner and Teich 2004, 173), meaning...

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