TRANSPOSITIONS

What is known as transposition is a change in the order of linguistic elements, such as words, phrases, clauses and sentences. Most often, this due to the necessity preserving in fact what is called "functional sentence perspective", namely, the division of the sentence into two main parts from the point of view of communication: "the known" or "theme" and "the new" or "rheme", in Russian this division of the sentence is usually expressed by means of word order: what is already known or supposed to be known to the receptor (usually from the preceding context), that is, the "theme" is placed at the beginning of the sentence whereas what is new, that is, communicated for the first time and , therefore, what forms the semantically most important part of the message ("rheme") is placed at the end. In English the word order is arranged, on the whole, along the same lines; however, in certain cases the "theme" is placed at the end and the "rheme", at the beginning due to the fact that the "rheme" is marked differently, namely, by the use of the indefinite article (or, with plural forms of nouns and with uncountable nouns, the "zero article") with the noun which is the subject of the sentence. Therefore, in Russian the word order in such cases must be reversed, that is, the sentence subject which is the "rheme" of the sentence must be placed at the end. Cf.:

A boy came in - Вошел мальчик.

But: The boy came in - Мальчик вошел.

Within a complex sentence, a similar tendency is observed: in Russian, the first place is occupied by that part of the sentence (main or subordinate clause) which must logically precede the second, whereas in English the position of both clauses, though not quite fixed, is in most cases governed by purely syntactical rules; namely, the main clause precedes, in most cases, the subordinate one. This often calls for a change in the order of the clauses in translation, as, for instance: He trembled as he looked up - Взглянув наверх, он задрожал. (Note here also the rendering of the English subordinate clause by means of the Russian verbal adverb; see above, the preceding lecture).

Within a passage of discourse, independent sentences are also transposed, as in the following example: "You goin' to court this morning?" asked Jim. We had strolled over. (H. Lee, To kill a Mockingbird). Мы подошли. - Вы в суд пойдете? - спросил Джим. (пер. Н. Галь и Р. Облонской) Here the transposition of the sentence is used to make up for the absence in Russian of the difference between the Past Indefinite and the Past Perfect (the action of the second English sentence precedes that of the first). See also below, on additions.








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