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Volume :31 Issue : 123 2013      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Lexical Semantic Constraints on the Use of Cognate Object and their Syntactic Implications in Arabic-English Translation

Auther : Mohamed Abdelmageed Mansour

This study presents a cross-linguistic analysis of the lexical semantic constraints which govern the occurrence of Cognate Object (CO) in English and Arabic and how they affect Arabic-English translation. Based on real language examples drawn from Arabic and two English translations, the study provides a typology of the possible and impossible Grammatical Function Patterns and Thematic Role Hierarchies of CO constructions. Moreover, the study offers a classification of the compensational syntactic devices that the English language manipulates when it fails to find CO constructions at its disposal. Showing the lack of intimacy between the surface grammatical functions and their deep thematic roles, it is assumed that licensing of CO constructions in English are constrained semantically, but not syntactically, as the case in Arabic, because licensing CO in English depends on the lexical semantic entry of the governing verb.  Unaccusative-unergative distinction shows that in English one-place predicate licenses CO, provided that the agentive subject should be self-generated enough to induce the event denoted by the verb. English two-and three-place predicates as well as Patient passive constructions do not accept COs, contrary to Arabic. It is claimed that the lexical semantic restrictions on the use of CO in English do not necessarily carry over to Arabic and the occurrence of CO is a matter of language-specific lexical-semantic idiosyncracy.
Key words: lexical semantics, cognate object, thematic roles,
unaccusative and unergative verbs, degree of predicate.

 

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