Global English, discourse and translation: Linking constructions in English and German popular science texts

Juliane House
Universität Hamburg/Hellenic American University, Athens

This paper first briefly discusses the relationship between comparative discourse analyses of original and translated texts as the basis for revealing the behavior of a particular linguistic phenomenon in context and use. Concretely, the paper examines how global English impacts on translations from English into German with regard to so-called ‘linking constructions,’ a hitherto rather neglected area of connectivity in discourse. The analysis focusses on the forms, functions, distribution, and the translation equivalents in parallel and comparable corpora. Results indicate that the use of linking constructions differs substantially in English and German discourse, and these differences may well block English influence on German discourse norms via translation.

Table of contents

What is the contribution of discourse analysis to translation studies? Given that this special issue is about linking discourse and translation, I want to preface the study to be reported in this article with a few general remarks about how I view the connection between discourse and translation. First of all, discourse analysis is a textual approach which sets out to elucidate the function(s) of an utterance due to its specific position in a text/discourse, or the function(s) of part of an utterance inside a larger unit. As in all text-linguistic approaches, the object of investigation is therefore twofold: looking at an utterance in (a certain) position and looking at how discourse is constructed by this utterance in combination with other [ p. 371 ]utterances. An ‘utterance’ is here understood as the smallest unit of speech which starts with a pause and ends with a pause or a change of speaker, and is usually represented in written language by a clause.

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