A Parallel Latin – Old English Corpus of Biblical Translations as a Tool for Word Order Studies: Anna Cichosz
A Parallel Latin – Old English Corpus of Biblical Translations as a Tool for Word Order Studies Anna Cichosz Abstract The present paper aims to examine the advantages and limitations of biblical translations as a study material for scholars interested in Old English word order. This attempt may seem unjustified since translations are usually neglected by historical linguists as a text type unsuitable for the purposes of syntactic analyses, the assumption being that such texts reflect the word order of the source language rather than the natural syntax of the target language. Nonetheless, I would like to claim that before excluding such a huge body of texts from analysis, we should first check to what extent they are copied, and not assume, a priori, that they always strictly follow the syntax of the original. The tool which will be used to present the degree of (in)dependence of the analysed translations will be a parallel Latin-Old English corpus, which enables the researcher to identify clauses with copied word order. Surprisingly enough, the frequency of such clauses in the sample analysed for the purpose of the present study (the Old English translation of the first 16 chapters from the Book of Genesis) is in fact quite low. Keywords Old English word order, parallel corpora, Old English Bible. Introduction – why translations? Translations are traditionally considered to be a risky choice for a syntactic study, which is naturally related to the possible influence of the source language on the translated text. However, in the...
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