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Re: Translation theory; was: Subordinate Clauses

From:David Barrow <davidab@...>
Date:Saturday, June 19, 2004, 21:14
Sally Caves wrote:

>----- Original Message ----- >From: "David Barrow" <davidab@...> > > > >>Sally Caves wrote: >> >> >> >>>----- Original Message ----- >>>From: "David Barrow" <davidab@...> >>> >>> > >David wrote: > > >>>>'The dog that I saw that was with the man was green' breaks down thus: >>>> >>>>the dog was green >>>>I saw (the dog) (the dog) is replaced by the first 'that' >>>>(the dog) was with the man (the dog) is replaced by the second 'that' >>>> >>>>3 sentences so embedding 2 relative clauses >>>> >>>>whereas my sentence >>>> >>>>'The dog that I saw was with the man was green' breaks down thus: >>>> >>>>the dog was green >>>>I saw [that (the dog) was with the man] [object clause] (the dog) is >>>>replaced by the only 'that' >>>> >>>>2 sentences so embedding 1 relative clause >>>> >>>> >>>> >>>> >Sally said: > > >>>Wouldn't it be easier just to say "The dog that I saw with the man was >>>green"? After my fervent posting on Wittgenstein, I feel unenergetic >>> >>> >about > > >>>arguing this distinction, I'm afraid. But I'll try to absorb your >>> >>> >comments. > > >David: > > >>Yes, it would, And I think most of us would say it that way. >>But remember I provided my sentence because of the ambiguity of who >>'with the man' qualifies >> >> > >Right, but I think I'm gonna cast my vote here with Roger, who responded to >your message by declaring that the two sentences make the same statement: > > Roger elo krespr: > > >Excuse me, the two S's say exactly the same thing, and aside from the >delected second "that", the same structure. > >Main sentence: The dog was green. >Embed 1: I saw the dog >Embed 2: the dog was with the man > >Somewhere in the derivation, Embed 1 & 2 are combinable into >Embed 1-prime: I saw the dog AND I saw that the dog was with the man. which >paraphrase to: I saw the dog that was with the man. When you embed this into >Main Sentence, lo and behold-- > >The dog |that I saw that was with the man| was green. ><< > >I'll let the two of you thrash this out, it's a late night for me, and we >only have five posts a day! But here are some responses to your other kind >and curious questions: > > > >>the dog that I saw that was with the man was green >> >>Is clearer on this, but it has the double copula you don't like >> >> > >I don't like the double copula in this sentence because it makes the >statement confusing, as I explain below. It's not that I'm against copulas >piling up as a rule. > >
The sentence above is actually your sentence, so I take it you don't like your own sentence either
> > >>>>The relative pronoun is not the object of I saw, it is the subject of >>>>the object clause >>>> >>>> >>>It's still an infelicitous sentence that is confusing, especially with >>> >>> >the > > >>>two "was"s. I find it almost unreadable. The dog that I saw was with >>> >>> >the > > >>>man was green. Your other sentence about the missing money is better >>>because it doesn't involve this ugly double copula. >>> >>> >>> >>But it does have a double copula: WAS missing - has BEEN found >> >> > >Yes! > > > >>or am I missing something in your dislike/definition of double copula >> >> > >You are missing the fact that it's a confusing sentence. It makes one >stumble. The one you give below, with its plethora of copulas, does not. >It makes one stumble because "the dog that I saw was with the man" seems >like a completed statement with a relative clause. The dog was with the >man. I saw it. >
I think this is where you are getting confused my sentence does NOT have an embedded 'I saw it' clause 'it' meaning the dog the embedded sentence is 'I saw that the dog was with the man' not 'I saw it' or 'I saw the dog
>One reads this far, then one finds the weird extension: >"was green." I have to go back and read the sentence again! And yes, there >IS a missing relative that I tried to supply between "saw" and "was" to >clarify what I perceived as sentence with two relatives, one embedded within >the other. I call this particular kind of awkwardness "squinting diction; >it seems to look in both directions with the suppression of the second >relative pronoun. None of your other examples have been so badly worded. >It was so confusing I misunderstood you completely. That's not good. It >leads to misunderstandings and long posts saying "what I meant was, but what >*I* meant was..." encouraging unhealthy obsessive/compulsive disorders. :) >And the task at hand (a translation exercise) isn't accomplished. Now, >granted, I could have been having one of my brain farts... they seemed to >pile up over the last few days--but the sentence DOES squint at first >glance. > >
the dog that I saw was with the man was green and the money that I thought was missing has been found are syntactically the same Main clauses [the money] [has been] [ found] [The dog] [was] [green] Embedded sentences [I] [thought] [that] [the money] [was] [missing] [I] [saw] [that] [the dog] [was] [with the man] There is only one relative pronoun in 'the dog that I saw was with the man was green' for the same reason there is only one relative pronoun in 'the money that I thought was missing has been found' namely that the relative pronoun is a subject one not an object one I think the problem with my sentence is that you keep visualising 'that' as the object of 'saw' when it isn't , perhaps because we're more likely to expect 'see' to have a single item rather than a clause as its object, 'see an item' rather than 'see a situation or event' whereas with 'think' we expect an object clause.
>>how about >> >>those who ARE late ARE not TO BE allowed in? >> >> > >No problem. It doesn't squint. > > > >>>And your sentence >>>below, because it substitutes who/whom clarifies the relationship (to a >>>person instead of an animal/thing) and introduces case. When I said >>>"nobody" would say that, of course I was using hyperbole, and yes I was >>>appealing to spoken discourse; but I do believe that an editor of a >>> >>> >formal > > >>>essay would call you on this sentence and ask you to reword it. It's >>> >>> >only > > >>>really interesting because of the super subtleties you are expressing in >>> >>> >it, > > >>>but as a workable written sentence, I think it stinks. I'm a stylist, >>> >>> >see, > > >>>and Teonaht reflects that propensity! :) >>> >>> >>> >>Fair enough, >> >>since you introduced 'the dog that I saw that was with the man was >>green' as what seemed >>to me to be a correction of my sentence I'm simply trying to point out >>that it is grammatical >> >> > >So all this is about correcting each other? :) Bad word. It was an >attempt to understand you, not correct you. > >I said earlier: > > >>>I think the problem with this exercise is that it forces Teonaht (or any >>>other language) to be what it's not: have the same density that English >>> >>> >has > > >>>in some of its expressions and to express restricting or embedded clauses >>> >>> >in > > >>>exactly the same way. Teonaht regards restriction and emphasis somewhat >>>differently and possibly imprecisely according to English standards. >>> >>> >This > > >>>is because Teonaht has its own quirky laws that have to be obeyed. This >>> >>> >is > > >>>indeed a difficulty of close translation. >>> >>> > > > >>The thing is to express the same idea >> >> > >Not at this microlevel. (Remember, I side with Roger on the business of >your sentence.) What is "the thing" that you're appealing to? Is there >only one "thing"? What is "same"? This gets into thorny issues of >translation theory. Lots of translations bend to the target languages and >not the source, and don't mind adding to or subtracting a phrase from the >idiom that suits the target. I wrote out Aelfric's long paragraph about >translating Latin into English and then erased it, because this opens up a >whole new can of worms. Essentially, so my labor won't be wasted, here's >the final sentence of that passage: > >aefre se the awent oththe se the taecth of Ledene on Englisc, aefre he sceal >gefadian hit swa thaet thaet Englisc haebbe his agene wisan, elles hit bith >swythe gedwolsum to raedenne tham the thaes Ledenes wise ne can. > >"Always he who translates or he who interprets from Latin into English, >always he must arrange it so that the English may have its own fashion, or >else it will be very misleading to read for those who know not the fashion >of Latin." > >TERRIBLE! Reworded with an emphasis on the target language, standard modern >English: > >"He who translates or interprets from Latin into English must always arrange >it so that the English keeps its own idioms, otherwise it will be very >difficult to read for those unfamiliar with Latin's idioms." I guess that >was my point about Teonaht; as it starts developing its own idioms, its >"fashion" for saying things, it starts resisting exact equivalences in >translation exercises. >
I meant same idea rather than same grammar. In whatever way the target language best expresses the thought of the source language. If the target language has to use five words to express what the source language said with one, so be it.
> > > >>>>hain = which IT, ACTUALLY, AND IT'S IN THE ACCUSATIVE >>>> >>>> >>>> >>you used which in your translation. Teonaht has no distinction between >>subject and relative pronouns? >> >> > >Sure it does. Hai is "ai" with an "h" added. It used to be >"ihhai/n"--particle "ih" added at an earlier time to render it relative. >Actually, the regular pronoun could probably be used. Relatives in Old >English and many other languages developed out of ordinary juxtaposed >pronouns or articles. I stood by the man. Him I chose. I stood by the man >whom I chose. Ic stod bi tham menn tham the ic ceas. >
You originally used 'which' in your translation, so I used 'which' then you said 'it, actually If I translated the second 'der' of 'Der Bote, der den Brief bringt, is hier' as 'who' would you say 'the actually'?
> > > >>>>uo = and >>>>le = the VOLITIONAL DETERMINER >>>> >>>> >>>> >>what's the difference between a subject and a determiner in the context >>of li and le above >> >> > >Maybe I'm using the term incorrectly. I've heard it used of articles and >possessive pronouns. I've always used "article," but it functions also to >determine the volitionality of the subject, not marked on the subject >itself--T. is a largely uninflected language. Article, determiner, whatever >the better term is. > >
I understand volition, I meant why did you use 'subject' in your definition surely you meant li = 'non-volitional determiner or article and le = volitional determiner or article
> > >>>>zef = man >>>> >>>> > > > >>>>vyrm li kohs kelsoyts, yryi le zef-jo >>>> >>>>vyrm = green >>>>li = the >>>>kohs = dog >>>>kelsoyts = saw-we >>>>yryi = I in a tense? which one? EMPHASIZED VOLITIONAL >>>>
so volition is marked on articles and pronouns, but not on nouns?
>>>>le = the VOLITIONAL DETERMINER >>>>zef-jo = the man + tense? the man + and? AND >>>> >>>> > > > >>I'm curious about the different 'and's in the two sentences >> >> > >Teonaht can pre- or postposition its conjunctions, especially "and," and >especially where style requires it. Yryi ends with a vowel, two unstressed >ones, and in written T., which is mostly what I've charted, it's preferable >to have Yryi le zef-jo instead of yryi uo le zef. /'iri&le'zEfZo/ rather >than /'ir&jole'zEf/. In Menarilihs, you can say, ryi jo le zef. But I >haven't gotten to Menarilihs, yet. Need to feel more comfortable in formal >Teonaht before I develop grammars for its variants. This is working >ass-backwards, I know, but there it is. Ass backwards into the future. >(Another thread) :) > > > >>>Hey. Grateful that you're interested in Teonaht. ;-) Of course T. has >>>deficiencies compared to the subtleties of English. And I am unpracticed >>> >>> >in > > >>>this process of sentence analysis. >>> >>> >>> >>It's even harder when you're analysing a language you know nothing >>about. Word for word tranlations help >>with the definitions, but you still have to go beyond your own >>language's (s)' mindset(s) >> >> > >I agree completely. What language(s) are you working on? Nat and con? > >Sally, who must resist her obsessive/compulsive disorder and turn away from >this finally. > >
I'm English (native) and Spanish (second) bilingual. I occasionally dabble with German and Old English, but never seriously enough to learn them properly, and I often forget a lot of what I've learnt. Con? none really. I haven't got beyond random thoughts of what features a conlang I created might have. David


Sally Caves <scaves@...>