Item Details

Towards a comparison of cohesive reference in English and German: System and text

Issue: Vol 6 No. 1-3 (2010)

Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lhs.v6i1-3.219


The present study is concerned with contrasts in cohesion between English and German, with a special focus on the investigation of cohesive reference. Employing system-based as well as corpus-based methods, we are adding a contrastive to the hitherto dominating monolingual perspectives. Methodologically, we are furthermore attempting to complement the pre-existing system-based accounts with an empirical text-based approach. The paper starts with an overview of different approaches to cohesion, situating and clarifying our own concepts. We then look in more detail at the conceptualizations of cohesive reference and its subcategories before discussing the cohesive resources systemically available in the two language systems for the creation of personal and demonstrative reference. We finally present some preliminary findings from our corpus-linguistic study. These not only test some initial hypotheses derived from the systemic comparison, but also reveal some interesting tendencies with respect to textual frequency and function in the two languages, the registers investigated, and in originals compared to translations. Our study aims at conceptual clarifications, systemic comparisons and some initial textual evidence that may be valuable for basic research as well as language teaching and translator training.

Author: Kerstin Kunz, Erich Steiner

View Original Web Page

References :

Ahrenholz, B. (2007) Verweise mit Demonstrativa im gesprochenen Deutsch. Grammatik, Zweitspracherwerb und Deutsch als Fremdsprache. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.
Amoia, M., Kunz, K. and Lapshinova-Koltunski, E (2011) Discontinuous constituents: A problematic case for parallel corpora annotation and querying. In Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Annotation and Exploitation of Parallel Corpora (AEPC2 a RANLP 2011 workshop). Hissar, Bulgaria. September.
Asher, N. (1993) Reference to Abstract Objects in Discourse. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Barwise, J. and Perry, J. (1983) Situations and Attitudes. Cambridge, MA: MIT-Bradford.
Beaugrande, R.-A. de and Dressler, W. U. (1981) Introduction to Text Linguistics. London and New York: Longman (German version also in 1981 published by Niemeyer).
Becher, V. (2011) Differences in the use of deictic expressions in English and German texts. Linguistics 48 (4): 1309–1342.
Becher, V., Höder, S. and Kranich, S. (2009) A tentative typology of translation-induced language change. Paper given at Workshop Multilingual Discourse Production, 6–7 November. University of Hamburg Research Centre on Multilingualism.
Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S. and Finegan, E. (1999) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Longman.
Bosch, P., Katz, G. and Umbach, C. (2007) The non-subject bias of German demonstrative pronouns. In M. Schwarz-Friesel, M. Consten and M. Knees (eds) Anaphors in Text. Cognitive, Formal and Applied Approaches to Anaphoric Reference 145–164. Universität Jena: Studies in Language Companion Series.
Brinker, K. (2005) Linguistische Textanalyse: Eine Einführung in Grundbegriffe und Methoden. 6th edition. Berlin: Erich Schmidt.
Brown, G. and Yule, G. (1983) Discourse Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Carston, R. (2002). Thoughts and Utterances: The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication. Oxford: Blackwell.
Cruse, D. A., Hundsnurscher, F. and Lutzeier, P. (2005) Lexikologie/ Lexicology. Ein internationals Handbuch zur Natur und Struktur von Wörtern und Wortschätzen. Berlin/New York.
Čulo, O., Hansen-Schirra, Neumann, S. and Maksymski, K. (forthcoming). Querying the CroCo corpus for translation shifts. Beyond corpus construction: exploitation and maintenance of parallel corpora. In S. Hansen-Schirra, S. Neumann and C. Oliver (eds) Beyond Corpus Construction: Exploitation and Maintenance of Parallel Corpora. Special Issue of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics.
Diessel, H. (1999) The morphosyntax of demonstratives in synchrony and diachrony. Linguistic Typology 3 (1): 1–49.
Doherty, M. (2004) Reorganizing dependencies. In: SPRIKreports, No 23, October 2004.
Doherty, M. (2006) Structural Propensities. Translating Nominal Word Groups from English into German. Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA: Benjamins.
Ehlich, K. (2007) Anadeixis und Anapher. In K. Ehlich (ed.) Prozeduren des sprachlichen Handelns (Sprache und sprachliches Handeln 2), 25–44. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Eisenberg, P. (1994) Grundriss der deutschen Grammatik. 3rd edition. Stuttgart: Weimar: Metzler.
Engel, U. (2004) Deutsche Grammatik. Neubearbeitung. München: iudicium.
Esser, J. (2009) Introduction to English Text-linguistics. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.
Fabricius-Hansen, C. (1996) Informational density: a problem for translation and translation theory. Linguistics 34 (special issue): 521–565.
Fabricius-Hansen, C. (1999) Information packaging and translation: Aspects of translational sentence splitting (German–English/Norwegian). Studia Grammatica 47: 175–214.
Fabricius-Hansen, C. (2005) Elusive connectives. A case study on the explicitness dimension of discourse coherence. Linguistics 43 (1): 17–48.
Featherstone, S. and Winkler. S. (eds) (2009) The Fruits of Empirical Linguistics. Vol. 1: Process, Vol. 2: Product. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Grimes, J. E. (1975) The Thread of Discourse. The Hague: Mouton.
Grosz, B. J., Joshi, A. K. and Weinstein, J. (1995) Centering: A framework for modelling the local coherence of discourse. Computational Linguistics 21 (2): 203–225.
Gundel, J. K., Hedberg, N. and Zacharski, R. (2004) Demonstrative pronouns in natural discourse. Proceedings of the Fifth Discourse Anaphora and Anaphora Resolution Colloquium 81–86. São Miguel, Portugal.
Halliday, M. A. K. and Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (2004) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 3rd edition. London: Arnold.
Halliday, M. A. K. and Hasan, R. (1976) Cohesion in English. London and New York: Longman.
Hansen-Schirra, S., Neumann, S. and Steiner, E. (2007) Cohesion and explicitation in an English-German translation corpus. Languages in Contrast 7 (2): 241–265.
Haspelmath, M. (2009) Welche Fragen können wir mit herkömmlichen Daten beantworten? Forum Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft ZfS 28 (1): 157ff.
Hatakeyama, K., Petöfi, J. S., Sözer, E. (1989) Text, Konnexität, Kohäsion, Kohärenz. In: Conte, E. (ed.) (1989) Kontinuität und Diskontinuität in Texten und Sachverhalts-Konfigurationen. Diskussion über Konnexität, Kohäsion und Kohärenz. Hamburg: Buske, 1–55.
Hawkins, J. A. (1986) A Comparative Typology of English and German: Unifying the Contrasts. London: Croom Helm.
Heidolf, K. E., Flämig, W. and Motsch, W. (eds). (1981) Grundzüge einer deutschen Grammatik. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
Helbig, G. and Buscha, J. (2001) Deutsche Grammatik. Ein Handbuch für den Ausländerunterricht. Berlin, etc.: Langenscheidt.
Huddleston, R. D. and Pullum, G. K. (2002) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kamp, H., Reyle, U. (1993) From Discourse to Logic. Introduction to Model-theoretic Semantics of Natural Language, Formal Logic and Discourse Representatio Theory. Kluwer: Dordrecht.
König E. and Gast, V. (2007) Understanding English-German Contrasts. Grundlagen der Anglistik und Amerikanistik (revised 2nd edition: 2009). Berlin: Schmidt.
Königs, K. (2000) Übersetzen Englisch–Deutsch. Systemischer Ansatz. München: Oldenbourg.
Kunz, K. (2010) English and German nominal coreference. A study of political essays. PhD Thesis. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Kunz, K. and Lapshinova-Koltunski, E. (2011) Tools to analyse German-English contrasts in cohesion. In Hamburg Working Papers in Multilingualism (poster at GsCL 2011 Hamburg).
Kunz, K. and Steiner, E. (forthcoming) Cohesive substitution in English and German – a contrastive and corpus-based perspective. In: K. Aijmer and B. Altenberg (eds). Advances in Corpus-based Contrastive Linguistics. Studies in Honour of Stig Johansson. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Lascarides, A. and Asher, N. (1993) Temporal interpretation, discourse relations and commonsense entailment. Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (5): 437–493.
Linke, A., Nussbaumer, M. and Portmann, P. R. (2004) Studienbuch Linguistik. 5th edition. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Lipka, L. (2002). English Lexicology. Lexical Structure, Word Semantics and Word Formation. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Mann, W. C. and Thompson, S. A. (1987) Rhetorical Structure Theory: A theory of text organization. In Technical Report ISI/RS-87-190. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California, USC Information Sciences Institute.
Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. and Thompson, S. A. (1988). The structure of discourse and ‘subordination’. In J. Haiman and S. A. Thompson (eds) Clause Combining in Grammar and Discourse, 275–329. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Matras, Y. (2009) Language Contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S. Leech, G. and Svartvik, J. (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Harlow: Longman.
Ramm, W. (2010) Satzgrenzenveränderung in der Übersetzung: Satzverbindung und lokale Diskursorganisation im Norwegischen und Deutschen. Oslo: University of Oslo, Humanistiske Fakultet.
Rohdenburg, G. (1990) Aspekte einer vergleichenden Typologie des Englischen und Deut­schen. Kritische Anmerkungen zu einem Buch von John A. Hawkins. In C. Gnutzmann (ed.) Kontrastive Linguistik. Forum Angewandte Linguistik. Band 19, 133–152. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag.
Schreiber, M. (1999) Textgrammatik. Gesprochene Sprache. Sprachvergleich. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag. (Reihe Vario Linguistica. Nonstandard – Standard – Substandard).
Schubert, C. (2008) Englische Textlinguistik. Eine Einführung. Berlin: Erich Schmid Verlag.
Siemund, P. and Kintana, N. (eds) (2008) Language Contact and Contact Languages. Hamburg Studies in Multilingualism Vol. 7. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Steiner, E. (1994) A fragment of a Multilingual Transfer Component and its Relation to Discourse Knowledge. In W. Ramm (ed.). Text and Context in Machine Translation: Aspects of discourse representation in discourse processing. Studies in Machine Translation and Natural Language Processing6, 77. Brüssel and Luxemburg Europäische Kommission.
Steiner, E. and Ramm. W. (1995) On Theme as a grammatical notion for German. Functions of Language 2 (1): 57–93.
Steiner, E. and E. Teich. (2004) Metafunctional profile of the grammar of German. In A. Caffarel, J. R. Martin and C. M. I. M. Matthiessen (eds) Language Typology. A Functional Perspective, 77–138. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Steiner, E. (2006) Construing contextualization through meaning: Some thoughts on a semantics for theme. In S.-Y. Cho and E. Steiner (eds) Information Distribution in English Grammar and Discourse and other Topics in Linguistics. Festschrift for Peter Erdmann on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, 267–288. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Steiner, E. (2012) Towards a comparison of cohesion in English and German – the concept of cohesion. in: Atayan, Vachram und Wienen, Ursula. Hrsg. ‘Sprache – Rhetorik – Translation. Festschrift für Alberto Gil zum 60. Geburtstag’. Reihe ‘Rhethos’. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Taboada, M. and Mann, W. C. (2006) Rhetorical Structure Theory: Looking back and moving ahead. Discourse Studies 8(3): 423–459.
Taboada, M. and Zabala, W. C. L. (2008) Deciding on units of analysis within Centering Theory. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 4 (1): 63–108.
Teich, E. (2003) Cross-linguistic Variation in System and Text. A Methodology for the Investigation of Translations and Comparable Texts. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.
Thomason, S. and Kaufman, T. (1988) Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley, Los Angeles, CA and Oxford: University of California Press.
Vater, H. 2001. Einführung in die Textlinguistik. 3rd edition. München: Fink.
Wanzeck, C. (2010) Lexikologie: Beschreibung von Wort und Wortschatz im Deutschen. Göttingen: Vandenhoek und Ruprecht.
Weinrich, H. (1993) Textgrammatik der deutschen Sprache. Mannheim: Dudenverlag.
Zifonun, G., Hoffmann, L. and Strecker, B. (1997) Grammatik der deutschen Sprache. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter.