Syntax, discourse analysis, and translation studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The linguistics of the 60s and 70s did not prove to be of much help to translation and translation theory, due to the emphasis placed on languages as formal systems. However, newer directions of linguistics research which focus on the communicative function of language, such as text linguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, have much to offer to translation studies. This paper shows how discourse analysis can be applied to translation and highlights some of the benefits of knowledge of linguistics and discourse analysis for the translation teacher, the student and the professional translator. In addition, it joins recent literature on translation studies and linguistics (House and Blum-Kulka 1986; Hatim and Mason 1990; Neubert and Shreve 1992; Baker 1992) in calling for a more influential role of linguistics in translation studies and translation theory. Working within discourse analysis and, in particular, syntax in discourse, i.e. discourse functions of syntactic constructions, the present study examines the discourse functions of the passive in Spanish and in English. The paper first presents a contrastive description of the textual functions of the passive in English and in Spanish based on a corpus of original texts in both languages. Then a discourse-based explanation for the differences is provided. Finally, the author examines the solutions found in translation as well as the analysis' efficiency in predicting and/or explaining such solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-137
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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