Thematic choice in English and Norwegian
Using material from a parallel corpus with originals and translations in both English and Norwegian, the present study sets out to explore the lexicogrammatical properties of Theme and thematic choice in the two languages. Theme is defined according to systemic-functional grammar as the first element that has a function in transitivity, plus any preceding element(s). The extent to which Themes are preserved or altered in the translation process is also studied. There are more similarities than differences between the two languages as regards thematic structure. Some differences are due to the verb-second constraint that applies to Norwegian, but most are due to differences in frequency. Norwegian allows non-subject participants to be thematic more often than English does, while multiple Themes are more frequent in English. Within multiple Themes, the logical relations expressed by textual Themes differ between the languages. Translators tend to preserve the topical Theme of the original in the great majority of cases. When changes are made this may be due to lexicogrammatical differences between the languages or they may represent ‘normalization’ to a more frequent pattern in the target language. Translations are found to differ from original text in the same language as they borrow features from the source language.