Translating asyndeton from French literary texts into English
While asyndeton between finite clauses within the sentence may be considered a marginal construction, compared for example to coordination or subordination, it is more frequent in French than in English, in which it is limited with respect to genre. Particularly interesting examples, both quantitively and qualitively, can be found in French literature, notably in the fiction of Marguerite Duras, who made asyndeton her hallmark. This study documents the choices made by English translators of Duras, and of three other French writers who exploit asyndeton. Literature aside, asyndeton in French texts is not carried over into English, in what can be qualified as norm-governed translation. However, asyndeton in literary texts is carried over into English in up to fifty percent of cases, reflecting a certain compromise between norms in the source language and those in the target language. Apart from describing Duras’ specific use of asyndeton, and illustrating the difficulty of translating any element that is an essential ingredient of a writer’s style, which, by definition, represents a departure from an accepted norm, this study brings to light certain aspects governing clause combining in English. Certain linguistic parameters that favour the exploitation of asyndeton in English are systematised, specifically concision, rhythm and isotopy. Semantic, temporal and/or aspectual constraints are also highlighted.
Cited by other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 14 june 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.