Clefts in Translations between English and German

Monika Doherty


A great number of translation problems are linguistic in nature, but they can only be properly diagnosed and their solutions 'objectively ' assessed if one takes account of the context in which the problematic elements occur. The paper focuses on a prototypical case of such translation problems: English cleft sentences and their counterparts in German. Clefts are claimed to establish a rhetorical relation with a propositional antecedent located beyond the local context, thus contributing to the formation of textual macro-structures. While the local context determines the focal interpretation of clefts within the current discourse, the appeal to earlier ideas attributes to the cleft a higher degree of contextual relevance.

Table of contents

It is the context that fixes the meaning

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