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Conclusive English then and Swedish

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Conclusive English then and Swedish are compared on the basis of a bi-directional translation corpus. The examples are classified into five different uses according to certain formal and contextual criteria. The two words are shown to have obvious functional similarities: in each of the categories distinguished then and are the preferred translation equivalents of each other. But there are also striking differences. Swedish is generally much more common than English then and the latter is often left out in the English translations. In other words, the use of an explicit conclusion marker is more often felt to be redundant in English than in Swedish. The two words also display positional differences. For example, unlike then, Swedish cannot occur initially in non-declarative clauses and its use as an unstressed pragmatic particle is confined to clause-final position. Another notable feature is that an unstressed particle in the original text (in both languages) is sometimes rendered by a stressed adverb in the translation, a tendency which suggests that the distinction between stressed anaphoric adverb and unstressed pragmatic particle is blurred and a matter of degree rather than a clear-cut dichotomy.
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Keywords: English/Swedish; conclusion marker; contrastive analysis; corpus linguistics; translation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 08 April 2010

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