Contextual Prosodic Theory Applied to English-Serbian Poetic Translation
Keywords:corpus stylistics, Contextual Prosodic Theory, collocation, semantic prosody, corpus-derived subtext, poetic translation
The paper focuses on two rival translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 into Serbo-Chroatian (Hlebec 1987). The translator provides Version A, which faithfully conveys the stylistic nuances of the original, and is aimed to be appreciated by a sensitive reading public, and Version B, which the translator calls “adulterated”, but believes to be more accessible to a wider audience. However, he feels that Version B is “somehow more likeable” (Hlebec, personal communication). This impression was shared by all seven educated native speakers of Serbian consulted, among whom were three third-year students of English. Using Contextual Prosodic Theory and the Corpus of Contemporary Serbian, the paper sets out to explain this impression. The results suggest that syntactic patterns in Version A, being closer to the English original than in Version B, may impede comprehension, and that certain lexical items may not chunk the same states of affairs in Serbian as their English equivalents do in English. A representative poetry corpus must be created in order to verify Hlebec’s view (personal communication) that syntax employed in Version A is characteristic of Serbian poetry and therefore appropriate in poetic translation.
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