Language contact through translation
The influence of explicitness in English–Chinese translation on language change in vernacular Chinese
This article investigates the role of translations from English in language change in Chinese. It employs a new corpus, the Chinese Diachronic Composite Corpus (CDCC), which incorporates a parallel corpus and comparable corpus in three sampling periods in the twentieth century, and a reference corpus as a starting point in the timeframe. We examine whether explicitness in English–Chinese translations has exerted an impact on the target language, focusing on adversative conjunctions as a measure of explicitness. The results of the study demonstrate that: (1) translated Chinese texts have changed in step with original Chinese texts in the frequency of adversative conjunctions; (2) translated Chinese texts and original Chinese texts are interrelated throughout the three periods, but the correlation between them has changed perceptibly over the three sample points; and (3) source language interference found in translated Chinese texts increases over the three periods.
Keywords: explicitation, explicitness, language change, language contact, English–Chinese translation, adversative conjunctions
Published online: 21 May 2020
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