17. The laws of addition and direction of modification as viewed from a translator’s perspective (generating discourse units: the cumulative sentence and the paragraph)
The text develops in time, but it modifies what has been said before. Today a cumulative sentence is one of the most effective means to characterize some phenomenon, object or event.
There are 2 processes: addition and direction of modification or characterization (forward and backward). For the most part the direction of modification becomes backward, sometimes may go with the flow of speech. It depends upon the culture and mentality of the people who speak the language. It’s a syntax-cultural phenomenon.
If a sentence is rather long we use specification (make info about the whole object more precise) or division (speak of or characterize separate details)
Additions are achieved by word-combinations (clusters): Noun-cluster, Verb-Cluster, Adjective-cluster, Adj + Adjective-Cluster, absolute constructions, prepositional phrases. Each of these structures present a little challenge for a translator. The challenge is to translate structures which have no analogues in the TL: R->E verb-adverb constructions – деепричастный оборот
E->R absolute constructions (may be treated as a clause, separate sentence, prepositional phrase etc) gerundial constructions
The next sentence has a flowing and ebbing movement (типа прилива и отлива):
* She came among them behind the man, gaunt in the gray shapeless garment and the sunbonnet, wearing stained canvas gymnasium shoes.” – Она пошла за ним вместе с другими. Она выглядела изможденной в своем бесформенном сером платье и шляпке. Обута она была в грязные парусиновые тапочки.
Example of addition:
* The bird’s eye, bright and silly as a sequin, remained fixed upon him. Its little bones wrapped in a warm padding of feathers seemed swooning in his hand.
The sentence developed by using clusters, all of which are placed in layers:
1- sentence, which presents a characterized object, a main clause
2,3,4 - characteristics of the object
1. Joad’s lips stretched tight over his long teeth for a moment, and
1. he licked his lips,
2. like a dog (PP)
3. two licks (NC)
4. one in each direction from the middle (NC).
There are two main clauses (1,1). The 1st layer is very much peculiar as it has 2 clauses and there should be some sort of redundancy, which is seldom used in Russian:
* Рот Джода застыл в некоем подобии оскала, обнажив на мгновение длинные зубы. 2) Он облизнул губы как собака, два раза, каждый раз начиная с середины.
1) Is a static picture, 2) is a dynamic picture. The challenge here is that we change hierarchy.
Syntax is a cultural phenomenon as it reflects mentality, nature.
There can be 2 types of relations: coordination (согласование) and subordination (подчинение). Additions by coordination have practically the same structure.
The cumulative sentence allows us to go to linguistic units larger than a sentence, e.g. a paragraph. The structure of a paragraph is like that of a cumulative sentence. It follows the same two principles of addition and direction of modification. But instead of the main clause there’s the topic sentence and the same types of relationships among sentences that we observe in the cumulative sentence. They are: coordination (the same level) and subordination (different levels). The cumulative sentence may serve as a model for writing an effective paragraph.