Article published in:Atypical predicate-argument relations
Edited by Thierry Ruchot and Pascale Van Praet
[Lingvisticæ Investigationes Supplementa 33] 2016
► pp. 87–112
Non-human agents as subjects in English and Dutch
A corpus-based translation study
In English sentences with a verb denoting an action like give, the subject usually plays the semantic role of agent. While in English non-human agents such as this manual in This manual gives instructions on the correct assembly occur quite frequently, Dutch seems to apply more restrictions, as illustrated in Dit handboek bevat voorschriften over de juiste montage in which the Dutch subject dit handboek is not an agent but rather a possessor (see e.g. Delsoir 2011; Vandepitte & Hartsuiker 2011). This article investigates how a set of 154 English sentences from the Dutch Parallel Corpus with non-human agents as subjects of give are translated into Dutch. The lower number of Dutch non-human agents are discussed with regard to translation tactics and explained in terms of differences in verb meanings between English give and its Dutch cognate geven and the lexico-semantics of the non-human agents . The lexical choices translators made lead to valency loss in Dutch.
Published online: 08 December 2016
Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad & Edward Finegan
Goldberg, Adele E.
Hawkins, John. A.
Huddleston, Rodney & Geoffrey K. Pullum
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech & Jan Svartvik
Rura, Lidia, Willy Vandeweghe & Maribel M. Perez
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Schlesinger, Izchak M.
Vandepitte, Sonia & Robert J. Hartsuiker
Online dictionary items
“geven” Dikke Van Dale. Van Dale Uitgevers. 02 December 2013. http://www.vandale.nl/zoeken/zoeken.do#.
“give”. Oxford Dictionaries Oxford University Press, n.d. Web 21 October 2013. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/give.