Understanding translation as a site of language contact: The potential of the Code-Copying Framework as a descriptive mechanism in translation studies

Sofia Malamatidou

Abstract

This paper begins by acknowledging translation as an important site of language contact and its primary aim is to reinterpret a theoretical framework from the field of language contact, namely Johanson’s Code-Copying Framework (1993, 1999, 2002a), with translation in mind. The framework is then systematically applied to empirical data and a corpus-based study is conducted, using the translation of popular science articles from English into Greek as a case in point, and in particular examining any change in the frequency of passive voice reporting verbs. The discussion and corpus analysis suggest that the Code-Copying Framework offers a new vantage point for understanding translation as facilitating linguistic development in the target language, and that translation studies can benefit from adopting it as a descriptive mechanism when comparing instances of contact through translation across languages.

Keywords:
Table of contents

Translation as an instance of language contact between the source and the target language is a field of research that has traditionally been ignored by both linguistics and translation studies. Recent studies, however, mainly dictated by interest in the status of English as a modern lingua franca, have begun to address issues relating to translation and language contact and change. Ballard, for example, argues that “translation as management of two languages by the same individual, is a particular and acute form of language contact” (2003, 253) [my translation]. House (2003, 2006, 2008) and her team (Baumgarten and Özçetin 2008; Becher, House, and Kranich 2009; Kranich, Becher, and Höder 2011; Kranich, Becher, and House 2012) have also taken an interest in the investigation of the ways in which translation from English may affect other European languages, namely German, French and Spanish, in popular science and economic texts. Their research concludes that, while some changes observed are a result of direct influence from English, others are most likely instances of a more general tendency towards subjectivity in the genres (House 2011). McLaughlin (2011) reports that news translations from English have led to changes in the way in which information is presented through syntactic means in the genre in French, and similar observations have been made about Italian economic texts (Musacchio 2005), German business articles (Bisiada 2013), and Swedish fiction (Gellerstam 2005) translated from English. Finally, Bennett (2007a, 2007b) argues that the anthropocentric worldview typically encoded in Portuguese academic discourse is abandoned in favour of the English positivist worldview, when Portuguese academic articles are translated into English. These studies provide evidence that translation can give rise to language change, but also take a step forward from the obvious lexical changes to an examination of the possible effects that translation from English might have on the development of native genres. Although attempts have been made to provide some explanation of the role played by translation in linguistic change in specific contexts, for example by observing that there is a decline in the “cultural filtering” in translations from English (Kranich, Becher, and House 2012; House 2011), or by establishing the factors that might have an impact on contact through translation (Kranich, Becher, and Höder 2011), these studies provide only partial links between translation and the wider processes of language contact and change. Thus, the question of how exactly translation can contribute to change in a range of contexts has not so far been adequately addressed.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Aitchison, Jean
2001Language Change: Progress or Decay? 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Amouzadeh, Mohammad, and Juliane House
2010 “Translation as a Language Contact Phenomenon.” Languages in Contrast 10: 54–75. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Apostolou-Panara, Athena-Maria
1991 “English Loanwords in Modern Greek: An Overview.” Terminologie et Traduction 1 (1): 45–60.Google Scholar
1999 “ΓλωσσικήΜεταρρύθμιση και Εξωτερικός Δανεισμός: Η περίπτωση τηςΝέας Ελληνικής [Language reform and external borrowing: The case of Modern Greek].” In Συνέδριογια τηνΕλληνικήΓλώσσα 1976-1996: Είκοσιχρόνια από την καθιέρωσητηςΝεοελληνικής (Δημοτικής) ως επίσημηςγλώσσας [Conference on the Modern Greek language 1976-1996: Twenty years from the establishment of Modern Greek (Demotic) as an official language], 333–341. Athens: Tsiveriotis. Google Scholar
Backus, Ad, and Anna Verschik
2012 “Copiability of (Bound) Morphology.” In Copies versus Cognates in Bound Morphology, ed. by Lars Johanson, and Martine Robbeets, 123–150. Leiden: Brill. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Ballard, Michel
2003Versus: La version réfléchie [Versus: The reflected version]. Paris: Ophrys.Google Scholar
Baumgarten, Nicole, and Demet Özçetin
2008 “Linguistic Variation through Language Contact in Translation.” In Language Contact and Contact Language, ed. by Peter Siemund, and Noemi Kintana, 293–316. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Becher, Victor, Juliane House, and Svenja Kranich
2009 “Convergence and Divergence of Communicative Norms through Language Contact in Translation.” In Convergence and Divergence in Language Contact Situations, ed. by Kurt Braunmüller, and Juliane House, 125–152. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Becher, Viktor
2011Explicitation and Implicitation: A Corpus-Based Study of English-German and German-English Translations of Business Texts. PhD thesis University of Hamburg.Google Scholar
Bennett, Karen
2007a“Epistimicide! The Tale of a Predatory Discourse.” The Translator 13 (2): 151–169. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2007b “Galileo’s Revenge: Ways of Construing Knowledge and Translation Strategies in the Era of Globalization.” Social Semiotics 17 (2): 171–193. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad, and Edward Finegan
1999Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
Bisiada, Mario
2013 “Changing Conventions in German Causal Clause Complexes: A Diachronic Study of Translated and Non-Translated Business Articles.” Languages in Contrast 13 (1): 1–27. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Bloch, Joel
2010 “A Concordance-Based Study of the Use of Reporting Verbs as Rhetorical Devices in Academic Papers.” Journal of Writing Research 2 (2): 219–244. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Boeschoten, Hendrik
1999 “Equivalence and Level of Analysis.” In Language Encounters Across Time and Space, ed. by Bernt Brendemoen, Elizabeth Lanza, and Else Ryen, 63–71. Oslo: Novus Press.Google Scholar
Bybee, Joan L., and Paul J. Hopper
eds. 2001Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Clyne, Michael
2003Dynamics of Language Contacts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Csató, Éva Á.
2002 “Karaim: A High-Copying Language.” In Language Change: The Interplay of Internal, External and Extra-Linguistic Factors, ed. by Mari C. Jones, and Edith Esch, 315-327. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Dardano, Maurizio
1986 “The Influence of English in Italian.” In English in Contact with Other Languages: Studies in Honour of Broder Carstensen on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday, ed. by Wolfgang Viereck, and Wolf-Dietrich Bald, 231-252. Budapest: Kiadó.Google Scholar
Floyd, Alan
2000 “The Reporting Verbs and Bias in the Press.” Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 13:43–52. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Frawley, William
1984 “Prolegomenon to a Theory of Translation.” In Translation: Literary, Linguistic, and Philological Perspectives, ed. by William Frawley, 159-175. London: Associated University Press.Google Scholar
Gellerstam, Martin
2005 “Fingerprints in Translation.” In In and Out of English: For Better, for Worse?, ed. by Gunilla Anderman, and Margaret Rogers, 201-213. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Heine, Bernd, and Tania Kuteva
2005Language Contact and Grammatical Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
House, Juliane
2003 “English as a Lingua Franca: A Threat to Multilingualism?” Journal of Sociolinguistics 7 (4): 556–578. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2006 “Covert Translation, Language Contact, Variation and Change.” SYNAPS 19:25–47.Google Scholar
2008 “Global English and the Destruction of Identity?” In Translation Selves: Experience and Identity between Languages and Literatures, ed. by Paschalis Nikolaou, and Maria-Venetia Kyritsi, 87-107. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
2011 “Using Translation and Parallel Text Corpora to Investigate the Influence of Global English on Textual Norms in Other Languages.” In Corpus-Based Translation Studies: Research and Applications, ed. by Alet Kruger, Kim Wallmach, and Jeremy Munday, 187-208. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
Hundt, Marianne, and Geoffrey Leech
2012 “ ‘Small Is Beautiful’: On the Value of Standard Reference Corpora for Observing Recent Grammatical Change.” In The Oxford Handbook of the History of English, ed. by Terttu Nevalainen, and Elizabeth Traugott, 175-188. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Hyland, Ken
1999 “Academic Attribution: Citation and the Construction of Disciplinary Knowledge.” Applied Linguistics 20 (3): 341–367. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Johanson, Lars
1993 “Code-Copying in Immigrant Turkish.” In Immigrant Languages in Europe, ed. by Guus Extra, and Ludo Verhoeven, 197-221. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
1998 “Code-Copying in Irano-Turkic.” Language Sciences 20 (3): 325–337. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
1999 “The Dynamics of Code-Copying in Language Encounters.” In Language Encounters Across Time and Space, ed. by Bernt Brendemoen, Elizabeth Lanza, and Else Ryen, 37-61. Oslo: Novus Press.Google Scholar
2002aStructural Factors in Turkic Language Contacts. London: Curzon.Google Scholar
2002b “Contact-Induced Change in a Code-Copying Framework.” In Language Change: The Interplay of Internal, External and Extra-Linguistic Factors, ed. by Mari C. Jones, and Edith Esch, 285-313. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2008 “Remodelling Grammar: Copying, Conventionalization, Grammaticalization.” In Language Contact and Contact Languages, ed. by Peter Siemund, and Noemi Kintana, 61-79. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Klairis, Christos, and Georgios Babiniotis
(1998) 2005 Γραμματική της Νέας Ελληνικής: Δομολειτουργική-επικοινωνιακή [Modern Greek grammar: Structural-functional-communicative]. 3rd edition. Athens: Ellinika Grammata.Google Scholar
Kranich, Svenja, Victor Becher, and Steffen Höder
2011 “A Tentative Typology of Translation-Induced Language Change.” In Multilingual Discourse Production, ed. by Kranich, Svenja, Victor Becher, Steffen Höder, and Juliane House, 9-44. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Kranich, Svenja, Victor Becher, and Juliane House
2012 “Changing Conventions in English-German Translation of Popular Scientific Texts.” In Multilingual Individuals and Multilingual Societies, ed. by Kurt Braunmüller, Christoph Gabriel, and Barbara Hänel-Faulhaber, 315-334. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Labov, William
1981 “What Can Be Learned about Change in Progress from Synchronic Description?” In Variation Omnibus, ed. by David Sankoff, and Henrietta Cedergren, 177-200. Edmonton: Linguistic Research.Google Scholar
Larsson, Lars-Gunnar
2001 “Baltic Influence on Finnic Languages.” In Circum-Baltic Languages: Volume I: Past and Present, ed. by Östen Dahl, and Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, 237-253. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Mair, Christian
2009 “Corpora and the Study of Recent Change in Language.” In Corpus Linguistics: An International Handbook, ed. by Anke Lüdeling, and Merja Kytö, 1109-1125. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Marmaridou, Sophia
1987 “Semantic and Pragmatic Parameters of Meaning: On the Interface between Contrastive Text Analysis and the Production of Translated Texts.” Journal of Pragmatics 11:721–736. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
McEnery, Tony, Richard Xiao, and Yukio Tono
2006Corpus-Based Language Studies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
McLaughlin, Mairi
2011Syntactic Borrowing in Contemporary French: A Linguistic Analysis of News Translation. Oxford: Legenda.Google Scholar
Musacchio, Maria Teresa
2005 “The Influence of English on Italian: The Case of Translations of Economic Articles.” In In and Out of English: For Better, for Worse?, ed. by Gunilla Anderman, and Margaret Rogers, 71-96. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Oakes, Michael
1998Statistics for Corpus Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
Pratt, Chris
1980El Anglicismo en el Español Peninsular Contemporáneo [Anglicisms in contemporary peninsular Spanish]. Mardid: Gredos.Google Scholar
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik
1985A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Sifianou, Maria
2010 “The Announcements in the Athens Metro Stations: An Example of Glocalization?” Intercultural Pragmatics 7 (1): 25–46. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Silva-Corvalán, Carmen
1994Language Contact and Change: Spanish in Los Angeles. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Steiner, Erich
2008 “Empirical Studies of Translations as a Mode of Language Contact: ‘Explicitness’ of Lexicogrammatical Encoding as a Relevant Dimension.” In Language Contact and Contact Languages, ed. by Peter Siemund, and Noemi Kintana, 317-345. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Thomason, Sarah
2001Language Contact: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Verschik, Anna
2008Emerging Bilingual Speech: From Monolingualism to Code-Copying. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
Warburton, Irene
1970On the Verb in Modern Greek. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
1975 “The Passive in English and Greek.” Foundations of Language 13 (4): 563–578.Google Scholar
Weinreich, Uriel
1953Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems. New York: Linguistic Circle of New York.Google Scholar
Winford, Donald
2005 “Contact-Induced Changes: Classification and Processes.” Diachronica 22 (2): 373–427. CrossrefGoogle Scholar