Constancy of syntactic function across languages


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In the present paper constancy of syntactic function is understood as identical syntactic representation of a lexical item and its lexical equivalent in parallel texts taken from two (or more) different languages. Syntactic constancy conceived in this way is examined between English and Czech on the basis of original English texts and their Czech translations, and vice versa. Both instances of syntactic correspondence and instances of syntactic divergence are taken into account.
The proposed analysis is based on the assumption that syntactic structure is hierarchically subordinate to the information structure (functional sentence perspective, FSP henceforth); that is, given the universal validity of the principle of end focus, a translated text is assumed to present (or at least to show a tendency to present) the meaning content in the same perspective as the original, with changes in the syntactic structure, if need be, according to the respective grammatical rules. Accordingly, attention is focused on instances of syntactic divergence, which are examined with a view to ascertaining the underlying factors of the divergence.


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