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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

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Lexical and grammatical properties of Translational Chinese: Translation universal hypotheses reevaluated from the Chinese perspective

1Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, United Kingdom

2Department of Foreign Languages, Fujian University of Technology, Fuzhou, Fujian, China

3Department of English, University of Macau, Macau, China

Citation Information: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. Volume 0, Issue 0, Pages 1–45, ISSN (Online) 1613-7035, ISSN (Print) 1613-7027, DOI: 10.1515/cllt-2013-0016, June 2013

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Corpus-based Translation Studies focuses on translation as a product by comparing comparable corpora of translated and non-translated texts. A number of distinctive features of translations have been posited including, for example, explicitation, simplification, normalisation, levelling out, source language interference, and under-representation of target language unique items. Nevertheless, research of this area has until recently been confined largely to translational English and closely related European languages. If the features of translational language that have been reported on the basis of these languages are to be generalised as “translation universals”, the language pairs involved must not be restricted to English and closely related European languages. Clearly, evidence from a genetically distant language pair such as English and Chinese is arguably more convincing, if not indispensable. This article explores, in the broad context of translation universal research, lexical and grammatical properties of translational Chinese on the basis of two one-million-word balanced comparable corpora of translated and non-translated native Chinese texts. The findings of this empirical study of the properties of translational Chinese have enabled a reevaluation, from the perspective of translational Chinese, of largely English-based translation universal hypotheses.

Keywords: corpus-based approach; translation universal; translational Chinese; lexical and grammatical properties

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