J. C. CATFORD. LANGUAGE. LANGUAGE. LEARNING. A Linguistic. Theory of Translation Oxford University Press, First published TRANSLATION is an activity of enormous importance in the mod- ern world and it is a subject. A linguistic theory of translation: an essay in applied linguistics. Front Cover. John Cunnison Catford. Oxford University Press, – Language Arts & Disciplines – pages. A Linguistic Theory of Translation: An Essay in Applied Linguistics. Front Cover. John Cunnison Catford. Oxford University Press, – Linguistic research.

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Books tranwlation articles on translation have been written by specialists in all these fields. The present volume is not primarily concerned with any of these special problems, but rather with the analysis of what translation is. It proposes general categories to which we can assign our observations of particular instances of translation, and it shows how these categories relate to one another. In short, it sets tganslation, though somewhat tentatively and incompletely, a theory of translation which may be drawn upon in any discussion of particular translation-problems.

Since translation has to do with language, the analysis and description of translation-processes must make considerable use of categories set up for the description of languages.

It must, in other words, draw upon a theory of language — a general linguistic theory. It was thus originally intended for an audience of students already fairly well-informed about general linguistics. To make it more acceptable to the general reader, an opening chapter has been added which dis- cusses briefly the nature of language and the categories of general linguistics as well as giving an outline of the analysis and descrip- tion of English which underlies the discussion of a number of examples.

Parts of the book are somewhat technical. This is PREFACE inevitable in a book on a specialized topic, but it should not dismay the linguidtic reader since the main arguments demand little or no previous knowledge of linguistic science and the first chapter may be used for reference when required. Language-teachers, in particular, may find the book of interest.

A Linguistic Theory Of Translation Oxford Univ. Press ( 1965)

The extent to which translation can be used in language-teaching is an issue of great concern to teachers, and it is one which cannot be fruitfully discussed without the support of some theory about what translation is, linhuistic the nature of translation equivalence, the difference between translation equivalence and formal corres- pondence, the levels of language at which translations may be performed and so on. A number of students and colleagues contributed useful sugges- tions when the essay was first circulated in duplicated draft form, to all of whom I am grateful.

In particular, however, I should like to thank Dr M. Halliday, with whom I discussed many parts of the work while it was in preparation, and Miss Leila Dixon, who carried out the difficult task of typing the manuscript in several stages. Catford Edinburgh, viii Contents ] Genera! Linguistic Theory 1 2 Translation: Clearly, then, any theory of translation must draw upon a theory of language — a general linguistic theory.

General Linguistics is, primarily, a theory about how languages work. It provides categories, drawn from generalizations based on observation of languages and language-events.

These categories can, in turn, be used in the description of any particular language. The general linguistic theory made use of in this book is essentially that developed at the University of Edinburgh, in particular by M.

Halliday 1 2 and influenced to a large extent actford the work of the late J. The present writer, however, takes full responsibility for the linguisstic and, indeed, oversimplified sketch of linguistic theory given here, which translstion from that of Halliday chiefly in its treatment of levels 1,2.

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This leads on to classification of levels of language or of linguistic analysis and then to a discussion of the fundamental categories of linguistics which can be used in the description of at least the grammar transoation phonology of particular languages. Language is a type of patterned human behaviour. It is a way, perhaps the most important way, in which human beings interact in social situations.

Language-behaviour is externalized or mani- fested in some kind of bodily activity on the part of a performerand presupposes the existence of at least one other human participant in the situation, an addressee. In the limiting case of a catdord talking to himself — i. In the next paragraph we shall, for simplicity, confine ourselves to language in its spoken manifestation.

Language, as we said above, is patterned behaviour. It is, indeed, the hheory which is the language. On any given occasion, the particular vocal movements and the resultant sound-waves can be described with a delicacyor depth of detail, limited only by the delicacy of the apparatus used for observation and analysis.

The overt language-behaviour described above is causally related to various other translationn of the situation in which it occurs. There are specific objects, events, relations and so on, in the situation, which lead datford performer to produce these particular vocal movements, and no others.

Language then is an activity which may be said to impinge on the world at large at two ends. On the one hand, it is manifested filled simultaneously by the same biological individual: Both of linuistic vocal movements, and actual events, etc. They are extralinguistic events. They are the phonic substance in which vocal tueory is manifested, and the situation or situation substance to which this activity is related. The language itself is, however, the organiza- tion or patterning which language-behaviour implicitly imposes on these two kinds tranalation substance — language is form, not substance.

Both types of medium substance have a certain patterning or organization imposed upon them by medium-form.

As we have said above, there is another interlevel: Both types of meaning are discussed in Chapter 5. In English phonology, for example, there tyeory a unit, the tone-group, which is the carrier of recurrent meaningful patterns of pitch.

The following are exam- ples of English tone-groups the pitch-pattern being roughly indicated by lines drawn over the texts. The fact that each of these tone-groups is a carrier of a meaningful pattern is shown by the possibility of occurrence of units of a similar type which differ only in that the pitch-pattern which they carry ttheory meaningfully different, thus: In English grammar we have units such as sentence, catfor and group: The following are examples of sentences, each carrying the same pattern of arrangement of clauses.

Ill If you do that, II theeory will regret it. They form a scale of units at different ranks. Thus, the sentences quoted above each consist of two clauses. The sentence is a unit of higher rank than the clause. And each clause consists of several groups — the clause being a unit of higher rank than the group.

The patterns themselves still have to be accounted for — and these are what we call structures. A structure is an arrange- ment of elements. Each clause has the structure SPC.

Among the units of English phonology we find the syllable: Thus the syllables represented in orthography by tea, car, now exemplify the structure KN, those represented by cat, stop, lumps, etc.

KNK, and so on. Structure, as we have said, is stated in terms of ordered arrangements in which linear sequence often is, but need not always be, a characteristic of elements: The units which operate as exponents of these elements are themselves groups. Groups, then, may be classified in terms of the particular elements of clause structure which they expound. Thus we have, in English, the class of Verbal Groups, which operate at — or as exponents of — P in clause-structure; the class of Nominal Groups which operate as exponents of S or C in clause- structure, etc.

In English phonology, for instance, we have classes of the unit phoneme, defined in terms of their operation in the structure of the unit next above, the syllable. Very often, these alternants, the terms in a system, are the members of a class: Where number is a system of the Nominal group as in English the terms in the system are themselves sub-groups or sub-classes of the class. These three terms refer to three scales which are part of the general theory of language, and of language-description.


By placing these in this order on the scale of rank we mean that every sentence consists of one or more than one clause, every clause of one or more than one group, every group of one or more than one word, and every word of one or more than one morpheme.

The first clause consists of three groups, the second of four groups. In the first clause the group as soon as consists of three words, the groups the boys and had arrived of two words each.

In the second clause, the first group their mother consists of two words, the remaining three groups of one word each. To deal with this, we make use of the concept of rank-shift. Thus, in English, clauses normally operate as exponents of elements of sentence-structure.

But we also find clauses operating within groupsi. But in The man we met after the concert is my brother the clause we met after the concert is rank-shifted. Similarly in He met Susan at the party the adverbial group at the party is operating directly in the structure of the clause — as exponent of A. But in The girl at the party was Susan the group at the party is rank-shifted. It is not operating directly in the clause, but within a Nominal Group, as exponent of Q.

The concept of rank and rank scale is an important one both in theoretical linguistics and in many applications of linguistics, including translation-theory.

Thus, in English phonology, we may say that the class C consonant represents the highest degree of abstraction at phoneme rank. In any given instance, say of an utterance of the word tea, we may say that the initial phoneme here is a member of the class C: Exponence is related to rank in the sense that an element of structure of a unit at one rank is expounded by — or has as its exponent — a unit or units of the rank next below.

But exponence is a separate scale, and at any one rank we may go off sideways, as it were, to a relatively concrete exemplification: In other words, we also use the term exponent in talking of the relationship between the abstract units and items of grammar and lexis and their realizations in medium form.

A Linguistic Theory of Translation: An Essay in Applied Linguistics – J. C. Catford – Google Books

At a primary degree of delicacy, we recognize, translatino set up, only the minimal number of units or classes, etc. Thus, if we are going to attribute any structure at all to English nominal groups we must set up three elements: H headM modifier and Q, qualifier. Our least delicate description of English Ngp structure is thus M.

Thus we should say, at a primary degree of delicacy, that the groups: We stated in 1. The distinction between- grammar and lexis is not absolute, but rather in the nature of a dine, with very well marked poles, but some overlap in between.

In English, for instance, most exponents of the word-class verb are open-set lexical items: We deal formally with lexis in terms of collocation and lexical sets. Any particular lexical item tends to collocate most frequently with a range of other lexical items. We refer to the item under discussion as the node or nodal item, and the items with which it collocates as its collocates. There are certainly overlaps in collocational range— thus we may have a whole roast sheep and we might have fat sheep as well as mutton fat, but on the whole they have different collocational ranges, and this linguisic the fact that they belong to different lexical sets and are different lexical items.