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Title: A text linguistic study of Romans 8:1-17: comparing English and Chinese translations
Authors: Lau, Pan Ying Peony (劉盼迎)
Department: Department of Linguistics and Translation
Issue Date: 2014
Course: CTL4235 Project
Programme: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) In Linguistics and Language Technology
Instructor: Prof. Webster, Jonathan
Subjects: Bible. Romans, VIII, 1-17. English -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. Romans, VIII, 1-17. Chinese -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. Romans, VIII, 1-17 -- Translations into English.
Bible. Romans, VIII, 1-17 -- Translations into Chinese.
Citation: Lau, P. Y. P. (2014). A text linguistic study of Romans 8:1-17: comparing English and Chinese translations (Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS)). Retrieved from City University of Hong Kong, CityU Institutional Repository.
Abstract: A German theologian Philipp Spener said if the Bible were a ring and Romans its precious stone, chapter 8 would be “the sparkling point of the jewel” (Godet, 1977:295). The book of Romans is one of Paul’s epistles in the Bible. The first part Romans 8:1-17 deals with the significance of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers of God, resolving the problem raised in the previous chapter. However, the noticeably frequent occurrences of the reference of the Spirit in Romans 8 mark a discrete discourse unit within the epistle. In light of this, this study hopes to investigate the ideology and inner beauty of this passage through a functional linguistic analysis. Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) suggests that a text (language in use) serves to make meaning ideationally, interpersonally and textually. A text consists of functionally-significant text spans characterized by distinctive lexicogrammatical patterning (texture). The spans contribute to the meanings of the text. Span beyond clause is discourse; discourse structures are studied in Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST). This study investigates Rom 8:1-17 from a functional semantic perspective in terms of such lexicogrammatical structures such Theme and transitivity. The New Testament of the Bible was originally written majorly in Greek, but has been translated into various languages. How translations of different languages make different meanings in reader’s mind is also the other concern in this paper. It is illustrated by an English translation and a Chinese, with the New International Version (NIV) and the Worldwide Chinese New Version (WCNV) taken as textual bases. Note that this study is not a textual criticism, thus the analysis of translation equivalence is beyond the scope of this study. It is suggested that while the two translations behave in different ways, both reveal lexicogrammatical texture and rhetorical evidence that communicate text producers’ meaning to readers.
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