28 June 2009

Conference in November 2009


November 06 - 07, 2009
University of Hamburg
-- Warburg Haus --
Heilwigstraße 116
D-20249 Hamburg

"Discourse production in multilingual contexts represents a specific type of language contact situation. Translation may be seen as the prototypical type of multilingual discourse production, other types would include parallel text production in different languages (e.g. for web sites) or the production of versions more loosely connected with the source text.

"When divergent communicative norms and conventions come into contact in any of these types of text production, one may find that such conventions transcend established language boundaries, potentially leading to the emergence of new genres. A case in point may be the so-called Corporate Philosophies in German, which owe much of their existence to the impact of English role models. These texts seem to represent hybrids in that they partly follow German communicative preferences and partly a communicative style more typical of English texts (cf. Böttger & Bührig 2003). If one looks back at the history of the European languages, it becomes clear that to some extent all of them have taken over textual conventions and/or structures from Latin, which may be related to the numerous translations from Latin into the vernaculars, generally representing a major part of early text production. For example, Koller (1998) has argued that Latin-German translations have substantially shaped the development of written German, in particular the literary language. Looking at English one finds, for instance, that the possible contexts of accusative-cum-infinitive constructions spread as a result of contact with Latin (cf. Fischer 1992, 1994). Another example can be seen in innovations in late-medieval Swedish, such as the use of new subordinating structures (cf. Höder 2008).

"Consequences of contact are manifold and may vary according to socio-historical circumstances as well as in relation to the functional and structural peculiarities of the linguistic systems involved. Factors which may determine the linguistic outcome of contact through translation could be:

* the quantitative basis (i.e. how many texts are translated from language A into language B and the ratio between translated and non-translated texts in language B)
* the prestige of the source vs. the target language (cf. Toury 1995, Baker 1996)
* the degree of standardization of the target language
* the degree of establishment of the genre in the target culture
* the possibility of establishing clear form-function equivalences (which in turn is related to the genetic proximity of the two languages) (cf. Becher, House & Kranich forthc.)

"In the workshop we wish to study in how far these and possibly other factors influence the result of language contact through translation and similar discourse production types. The central question is thus: Under which conditions does translatory activity have a (lasting) impact on the languages involved? This question may be approached from different angles."

The deadline for paper proposals has passed, but you might want to attend the conference.

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