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Translation of the Chinese Serial Verb Construction

Author: WangYan
Tutor: ZhangLongKuan
School: Central South University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: Serial Verb Construction aspect eventuality
CLC: H315.9
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2010
Downloads: 73
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This thesis focuses on the translation of Chinese Serial Verb Construction. Translation practice shows that translation is not just listing the words in accordance with the source text but a process making new arrangement according to the expression in the target language after making correct analysis of the sentences in the source text.That is because Chinese and English belong to diffident language families and have different cultural backgrounds. Distinct differences exist in morphology, syntax and discourse structure, especially when more than one action or movement exists in one sentence, Chinese and English will organize the structure in a different way. Chinese manifests a dynamic orientation and has the tendency of using verbs, whereas English exhibits a static orientation and is inclined to adopt other means to express the meaning of action, due to the grammatical rules that a sentence structure can only have one predicate verb. Other factors also contribute to the difficulties of translation between Chinese and English, for instance, Chinese is featured by parataxis and English by hypotaxis. After contrasting the features of sentence in Chinese and those in English the thesis summarizes the translation method in the practice of translation between Chinese and English. Serial Verb Construction is the typical characteristic of Chinese sentences and also one of the hottest and most difficult problems in modem Chinese. The study of Serial Verb Construction has been more than 50 years, its nature, features and other parts have been analyzed and discussed closely, but domestic linguists have divergent views. The thesis firstly makes a review and summary of the studies concerning this problem, for instance, the controversies over the definition and scope of Chinese Serial Verb Construction and then gives a different definition. The basic syntactic structure of Chinese Serial Verb Construction is N(S) +VP1+VP2+VP3+VP4+…+VPn. While in practical language use, the form N(S)+VP1+VP2 is much more common, which is the very study object of this thesis. And the pattern VP1+VP2can serve as subject, object, attributive and complement as well as predicate, the pattern VP1+VP2 serving as predicate is the main discussion object, in addition, the pattern serving as object is also discussed later.In this thesis there are two main directions:the study concerning Serial Verb Construction itself and the translation of it. Different perspective is employed to analyze Serial Verb Construction. Serial Verb Constructions can be well explained by eventuality. Aspect, an important category of predicate, has a close relationship with eventuality, and aspectual telicity is the key factor of structuring event. Another difference in sentence focus in Chinese and English also makes an important influence on translation between Chinese and English. Apart from this, it is difficult to determine the focus in a sentence with two verbs or verb phrases, like Serial Verb Construction. It is mostly a subjective matter to determine the sentence focus only by the semantic relation between the verb phrases. By employing aspect and eventuality, the semantic focus, the central sub-event, can be determined more effectively and accurately.Previous studies of the translation of Serial Verb Construction mostly start from the analysis of the semantic relations between the verbs, and corresponding skills are used according to the types of semantic relations.While transition is supposed to provide a good communication between different language speakers, so the responses of readers in the target language will also be taken into consideration in dealing with translation of Chinese Serial Verb Constructions. The thesis begins with a discussion of the aspectual features and eventuality of Serial Verb Construction and obtains the information to determine how Serial Verb Construction of a Chinese sentence can be rendered into an English sentence, thus completes the task of providing a different perspective of study and some guidance for translation practice.

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