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De la polysyndète anglophone à l'hypotaxe francophone : problèmes de traduction

Abstract : The aim of this doctoral dissertation was to solve and explain a set of problems related to the translation of ‘polysyndetic’ structures within texts originally written in English into more frequently ‘hypotactic’ structures in French. To do so, I started by comparing multiple text corpora composed of original English texts, and followed by their French translations (produced by several translators), so as to point out a few ‘general tendencies’ which I expected to be potentially systematizable. Starting from these empirical data, and after redefining the notion of ‘polysyndeton’ from an etymological / historical as well as literary, stylistic and linguistic point of view, I then endeavoured to check the validity of my different hypotheses using a series of texts that had been selected for their plainly polysyndetic character. This was to verify that the crux of the problem lay, indeed, in a certain form of enunciative divergence between the two languages in their use of coordination – this very divergence being the reflection of two different psycho-linguistic realities which, although giving the illusion of being symmetrical, fail to be perfect equivalents in a large number of cases. Polysyndeton – a figure that is often described as a ‘figure of speech’, coming all the way down from an age-old tradition starting with The Old Testament, then passed on through the first Christian texts and followed by William Shakespeare’s plays, and eventually by Ernest Hemingway’s novels – should rather be described as a ‘figure of syntax’ in English. Nevertheless, the French language – contrary to the English language in which coordination stands for 4% of total words in a text – uses coordinated structures amounting to only 1. 5 to 2% of its global lexical items. Indeed, the French language “ties up” sentence elements by other means than mere coordination, especially the following: simple neutralisation of the coordinating device (whether or not coupled with the use of a punctuation sign), coordinative periphrases, and subordination (whether verbal or adverbial). I have thus worked towards highlighting a series of general translational tendencies, as part of an explanatory theory of polysyndeton. In the last part of my dissertation, I attempted to validate these rules by way of an original experimental test – which led me to put forward a short list of practical rules for automatized translation.
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  • HAL Id : tel-00812550, version 1

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Joachim Zemmour. De la polysyndète anglophone à l'hypotaxe francophone : problèmes de traduction. Linguistique. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30045⟩. ⟨tel-00812550⟩

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