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Languages in Contrast

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ISSN 1387-6759
E-ISSN 1569-9897

<p><em>Languages in Contrast </em>aims to publish contrastive studies of two or more languages. Any aspect of language may be covered, including vocabulary, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, text and discourse, stylistics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics.</p><p><em>Languages in Contrast</em> welcomes interdisciplinary studies, particularly those that make links between contrastive linguistics and translation, lexicography, computational linguistics, language teaching, literary and linguistic computing, literary studies and cultural studies.</p><p><em>Languages in Contrast</em> provides a home for contrastive linguistics. It enables advocates of different theoretical linguistic frameworks topublish in a single publication to the benefit of all involved in contrastive research.</p><p><em>Languages in Contrast </em>provides a forum to explore the theoretical status of the field; stimulates research into a wide range of languages; and helps to give the field of contrastive linguistics a distinct identity.</p>

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  • Passive constructions in English and Chinese: A corpus-based contrastive study
    • Authors: Richard Xiao, Tony McEnery, and Yufang Qian
    • Source: Languages in Contrast, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2006, pages: 109 –149
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    • This article combines the corpus-based and contrastive approaches, seeking to provide a systematic account of passive constructions in two typologically distinct languages, namely British English and Mandarin Chinese. We will first explore, on the basis of written and spoken corpus data, a range of characteristics of passives in the two languages including various passive constructions, long vs. short passives, semantic, pragmatic and syntactic features as well as genre variations. On the basis of this exploration, passive constructions in the two languages are contrasted in a structured way. Methodologically, this study demonstrates that comparable monolingual corpora can be exploited fruitfully in contrastive linguistics.
  • Languages With and Without Objects: The Functional Grammar Approach
    • Author: Anna Siewierska
    • Source: Languages in Contrast, Volume 1, Issue 2, 1998, pages: 173 –190
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    • Among the theoretical frameworks which consider grammatical relations to be a possible but not necessary level of clausal organization, the approach to the object relation espoused in Simon Dik's (1978, 198g, 1997) Functional Grammar is the most restrictive. Unlike various other models of grammar, only one object relation is recognized and its presence in a language is conditional on the existence of a productive dative-shift opposition relating predications depicting the same states of affairs, as in the case of the English The teacher gave the picture to the child and The teacher gave the child a picture. Taking the existence of pairs of clauses such as these as a diagnostic of the object relation heavily reduces the number of languages manifesting an object relation, so the presence of an object relation emerges as a potentially interesting typological parameter. But do the languages manifesting an object relation, in this restrictive sense of the term, have any properties in common other than the object relation? Little attention has been given to this issue either by Functional Grammarians or other linguists who adopt a similar view of the object relation. The present paper seeks to redress this situation by exploring the cross-linguistic applicability of the object relation, as defined in FG, in an extensive sample of genetically and geographically stratified languages. It examines the typological characteristics of the languages with objects in the FG sense of the term and establishes the typological profile most likely leading to the presence of an object relation.
  • Cross-linguistic analyses of backward causal connectives in Dutch, German and French
    • Author: Mirna Pit
    • Source: Languages in Contrast, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2007, pages: 53 –82
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    • The Dutch, German and French languages display a variety of regularly used connectives all of which introduce causes, arguments or reasons, such as Dutch omdat, want and aangezien, German weil, denn and da, and French parce que, car and puisque. Why should these languages have different connectives to express the notion of backward causality? The central argument developed in this article is that the use of these connectives is dependent on the degree of subjectivity associated with the causal relation. The pre-eminence of this account with respect to prior accounts of the uses of these connectives is established on the basis of a series of corpus analyses. The outcomes show that the degree of subjectivity of the main participant involved in the causal relation strongly predicts the occurrence of one or another connective. A distinction can be made between objective connectives like omdat and doordat, parce que and weil on the one hand and subjective connectives like want and aangezien, car and puisque and denn and da on the other hand. No differences between the subjective connectives aangezien/want, puisque/car and denn/da could be observed in terms of subjectivity, but additional frequency data and analyses of translation practices revealed promising directions for supplementary explanations.
  • Cohesive explicitness and explicitation in an English-German translation corpus
    • Authors: Silvia Hansen-Schirra, Stella Neumann, and Erich Steiner
    • Source: Languages in Contrast, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2007, pages: 241 –265
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    • Explicitness or implicitness as assumed properties of translated texts and other texts in multilingual communication have for some time been the object of speculation and, at a later stage, of more systematic research in linguistics and translation studies. This paper undertakes an investigation of explicitness/implicitness and related phenomena of translated texts on the level of cohesion. A corpus-based research architecture, embedded in an empirical research methodology, will be outlined, and first results and possible explanations will be discussed. The paper starts with a terminological clarification of the concepts of ‘explicitness’ and ‘explicitation’ in terms of dependent variables to be investigated. The two terms — and their usage by other scholars — will be discussed. An electronic corpus will then be described which provides the empirical data and techniques for information extraction. For the investigation carried out using our corpus, indicators will then be derived on the basis of which operationalizations and hypotheses can be formulated for patterns of explicitation occurring between source and target texts. Some initial results relating to cohesive explicitness and explicitation in the data will be presented and discussed, with particular attention being paid to the areas of ‘reference’, ‘substitution‘, ‘ellipsis’, ‘conjunction’, and ‘lexical cohesion’. First attempts will also be made at explaining the findings.
  • English and French causal connectives in contrast
    • Authors: Sandrine Zufferey, and Bruno Cartoni
    • Source: Languages in Contrast, Volume 12, Issue 2, 2012, pages: 232 –250
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    • Discourse connectives are often said to be language specific, and therefore not easily paired with a translation equivalent in a target language. However, few studies have assessed the magnitude and the causes of these divergences. In this paper, we provide an overview of the similarities and discrepancies between causal connectives in two typologically related languages: English and French. We first discuss two criteria used in the literature to account for these differences: the notion of domains of use and the information status of the cause segment. We then test the validity of these criteria through an empirical contrastive study of causal connectives in English and French, performed on a bidirectional corpus. Our results indicate that French and English connectives have only partially overlapping profiles and that translation equivalents are adequately predicted by these two criteria.
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