Article published in:Cognitive Linguistic Aspects of Information Structure and Flow
Edited by Wei-lun Lu and Jirí Lukl
[Cognitive Linguistic Studies 7:2] 2020
► pp. 334–356
Narrative viewpoint and subjective construal across languages
English inversion, associated strategies and their Chinese renditions in multiple parallel texts
The present study explores the viewpointing function of word order inversion and associated stylistic strategies across languages, comparing English-Chinese multiple parallel texts as illustration. In particular, I investigate whether the cognitive strategy of inverting the word order to create a subjective construal is similar in both languages, to what extent, and if the languages differ, what systematic contingency plans there are. To answer the question, I examined selected excerpts with inversion written in English and their multiple translations in Mandarin Chinese, to see how the subjective construals in the English originals are rendered. I find that in addition to inversion, the English samples exhibit a zoom-in effect through use of punctuation, the participial clause, and an ad hoc schema of [some] – [X] with the middle three instantiations sharing an identical phonological schema. The identical phonological schema and the shared narrative viewpoint makes the three instantiations iconic. In comparison, the Chinese renditions employ the presentative construction and a focus particle to approximate the character-based viewpoint, but the zoom-in effect is not present in any of the Chinese versions. Another important difference is the generally longer iconic part in the Chinese versions, due to the productivity of four-character templates at the phonological pole in Mandarin Chinese.
Keywords: constructional schema, iconicity, phonological pole, subjective construal, translation
Published online: 01 October 2020
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Research materials used
Cited by other publications
Knotková, Magdaléna & Wei-lun Lu
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