This article argues for a type of corpus-based contrastive research that is item-specific, predictive and hypothesis-driven. It reports on a programmatic study of the ways in which impersonalization is expressed in English and German. Impersonalization is taken to be epitomized by human impersonal pronouns like German man (e.g. Man lebt nur einmal ‘You/one only live(s) once’). English does not have a specialized impersonal pronoun like Germ. man and uses a variety of strategies instead. The question arises what determines the choice of a given impersonalization strategy in English. Drawing on relevant theoretical work and using data from a translation corpus (Europarl), variables potentially affecting the distribution of impersonalization strategies in English are identified, and their influence on the choice of a strategy is determined. By testing hypotheses derived from theoretical work and using multivariate quantitative methods of analysis, the study is intended to illustrate how bridges can be built between fine-grained semantic analyses, on the one hand, and more coarse-grained, but empirically valid, corpus research, on the other.
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Aijmer, Karin & Diana Lewis
2017. Introduction. In Contrastive Analysis of Discourse-pragmatic Aspects of Linguistic Genres [Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics, 5], ► pp. 1 ff.
2019. Translated Language or Edited Language? A Study of Passive Constructions in Translation Manuscripts and their Published Versions. Across Languages and Cultures 20:1 ► pp. 35 ff.
Breed, Adri, Jo-Ann Chan & Daniël van Olmen
2021. Developing and validating a visual questionnaire for the study of impersonalisation strategies: A design thinking approach. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 39:2 ► pp. 152 ff.
Breed, Adri & Daniël Van Olmen
2021. The Passive as an Impersonalisation Strategy in Afrikaans and Dutch: A Corpus Investigation. Dutch Crossing 45:2 ► pp. 171 ff.
Brůhová, Gabriela & Markéta Malá
2017. On English Locative Subjects. AUC PHILOLOGICA 2017:1 ► pp. 19 ff.
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