Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Corpus-based Study on English Versions of Kong Que Dong Nan Fei

Author ZhangWenJing
Tutor MaHongJun
School Agricultural University of Hebei
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Kong Que Dong Nan Fei corpus-based translation studies qualitativeapproach quantitative approach
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Kong Que Dong Nan Fei, with an impressive and touching plot, lively andbeautiful language, is the first long narrative poem in Chinese literary history and alsothe longest narrative poem in ancient China. The poem is well-structured, bothconstructive and artistic. It exposes, very profoundly, the evils of the feudal ethics andfeudal partiarchal domination through the marriage tragedy of Jiao Zhongqing and LiuLanzhi. Several kinds of rhetorical devices, such as parallelism and intertextuality areemployed in it, which not only enhances the artistic quality, but also increases thedifficulty for its translation. There are several English translation versions of it, forexample, Xu Yuanchong’s and Wang Rongpei’s translations at home and Arthur Waley’sand Burton Watson’s versions abroad. Some of them are expert in accuracy, whileothers are distinguished for fluency. All in all, each has a distinct identity. At present,the research of Kong Que Dong Nan Fei’s English version is limited to impressioncriticism. The qualitative research method may be too subjective, one-sided andunconvincing. As a newly subject emerged in recent decades, a new approach andmethod for translation studies, the corpus-based translation studies absorb the ideas andmethods of descriptive translation studies and corpus linguistics. Three Englishtranslations, Arthur Waley’s version together with Anne Birrell’s and Xu Yuchong’sversions, are selected to establish three small parallel corpora. Qualitative andquantitative approaches, Roman Jakobson’s translation theories and translationuniversals are employed in this paper. Analyses of the three English translations arecarried out from three aspects-lexical level, syntactic level and textual level. Comparedto the other two translations, Waley’s version, with the largest number of tokens, usesmuch more functional words, especially conjunctions. The lexical density of his versionis the lowest, while the proportion of verbs and adjectives is the largest. With thehighest lexical density and the largest proportion of nouns, Birrell’s translation is a littlebit of difficult to read. Xu Yuanchong’s version, with the smallest number of tokens,uses much less functional words and more unusual words. All in all, there is a tendencyof explicitation, simplification and nominalization in all the three translations.

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