Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Contrastive Study of Address Forms'Translation in Two English Versions of a Dream Of Red Mansions

Author YuLiLi
Tutor MaWen
School Shandong University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords A Dream of Red Mansions address forms translation contrastive analysis
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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In recent years, there are many studies about translation of address forms and A Dream of Red Mansions, but there are few systematic contrastive studies on this novel’s English versions based on the corpora of address forms. This thesis collects the address forms used by Wang Xifeng of the first80chapters as the corpus and compares its English versions from the point of sociolinguistics and functional linguistics. The writer is supposed to draw inspiration on translation from the study. In terms of English versions, there are many editions with A Dream of Red Mansions made by the couple of Xianyi Yang and Gladys Dai (abbreviated into Yang’s version in the following paper) and The Story of the Stone by David Hawks and Min Fude (abbreviated into Hawks’ version in the following paper) being most famous. The two versions are comparable with their close publication and influence. While Wang Xifeng is one of the core figures in the novel, she is talkative and rich in choice of speech with wide interpersonal relations, which makes her the great research value.This thesis is supported by the Theory of Power and Solidarity of Roger Brown and Albert Gilman and Theory of Interpersonal Function of M. A. K. Halliday with the quantitative and contrastive analysis of address forms’ translation in Wang Xifeng’s discourse. The paper is divided into seven chapters. Chapter one briefly introduces research orientation, aim, the definition and classification of address forms, and methodology. Chapter two is literature review, introducing relative researches at home and abroad. Chapter three is theoretical framework with the two theories introduced in detail. The Theory of Power and Solidarity is classical in the field of social linguistics. Although Brown and Gilman put forward the theory in the1960s, it is still of great application in many fields. English linguist Halliday put forward functional linguistics in1970s which made great influence in the latter generations. This thesis is focused on Theory of Interpersonal Function. Chapter four made the contrastive study of translation of address forms addressed to people with different social powers. It is divided into four sections. The first section is about respectful address forms used to those of great authority such as the Lady Dowager and Lady Wang. The study finds that Yang’s version mostly adopts respectful forms and is loyal to the original novel and its cultural background of feudal ethics. However, Hawks’version is much closer to the cultural features of the target language with a large proportion of kinship address terms. Section two analyzes the terms application between Xifeng and those equal to her, which reveals little difference between the two versions. Section three is focused on the terms Xifeng used to address those with less or no power. The study also finds that there is no great difference in translating address forms with the similar translation method of literal translation. Section four is summary, which tells that the two versions are different in handling respectful forms but similar in other forms. Yang attaches importance to respectful terms while Hawks mostly uses pronouns and kinship terms which follows western ethics and weakens the original feudal color in terms of Chinese deeply rooted feudal ethics and grade system the novel embodies. Chapter five analyzes them in terms of interpersonal function linguistics. The chapter is divided into four sections. Section one discusses how the translation of address forms realizes the role relationship. Section two discusses how the translation of address forms realizes affinity and disaffinity relations. Section three is about how to express emotions through translation of address forms. Section four is conclusion. Chapter six tries to search for the cultural origins in which differences are brought about. Differences may be caused by translators’cultural backgrounds, translation purposes and methods among which translators’cultural backgrounds are generally embodied in their works. The two versions’ differences are mainly due to the Chinese and Western cultural and social backgrounds. Chapter seven summarizes the whole analysis, stating the results and implication of the research.The research finds out that Yang’s version is more loyal to the original text and proper to the power relationship with strict grades, while Hawks takes the English native culture into consideration having weakened the hierarchy. In terms of expressing interpersonal function, Yang’s version gives a clearer solution to deal with role relations and affinity and disaffinity relations, especially power relations. But Yang’s version and Hawks’ version show no difference as to solidarity and close relations. And in terms of expressing addresser’s emotions, Hawks’ version is much richer in choice of words. In all, the writer hopes this study could provide some inspiration and help in translating address forms.

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