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Title: Systemic functional linguistics on bible translation
Authors: Wong, Kim Hoi Ki (黃愷琪)
Department: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Issue Date: 2010
Course: CTL4235 Project
Programme: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) In Linguistics and Language Technology
Instructor: Prof. Webster, Jonathan J.
Subjects: Bible. N.T. John I, 1-14 -- Translations into English -- History and criticism.
Functionalism (Linguistics)
Abstract: The Bible, the sacred book of Christianity, has been translated into thousands of languages including over four hundred translated versions in English; some of these English translations have been surveyed and classified according to their “equivalence” to the bible‟s original language, as published by the Canadian Bible Society – Our Bible: How it came to us – in 1997. The survey categorized twelve English translations of the Bible into three groups: “formal equivalence”, “dynamic equivalence”, and “paraphrases”; this classification coincides with the well-established fact that the so-called “translation equivalence” consensus is not yet achieved. This being the case, this study aims at using Hallidayan Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) to investigate, first, the linguistic difference between the three groups of translations through analyzing Bible text John 1:1-14 in three different English translation versions (King James Version, New International Version and the Message); second, the potential problems caused by linguistic differences; and third, a more concrete view of “equivalence” through SFL. Systemic Functional Linguistics is an “appliable” theory which emphasizes on social accountability and it targets to unite theory and practice instead of exploring only theories, and is appliable in many aspects including education, culture problems, translation etc. According to M.A.K. Halliday‟s writing about translation, translation and “translation equivalence” happen in all strata of language and that “equivalence at different strata carries differential values” (Halliday, 2001: p.15. See also Steiner & Yallop, 2001). Realizing this, the study spotlights on textual and ideational meaning at the stratum of semantics, i.e., it studies on theme and rheme, the cohesion achieved by thematic progression as well as the text‟s process and participants in order to examine on “translation equivalence” and how it becomes observable and achievable in this stratum of linguistics.
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