Saturday, 20 December 2014

Articles (I)

Articles are complex. Even in English we are not always sure why and when we use them. Even as I write this I can see: WARNING: STAND CLEAR OF HAZARD AREAS WHILE ENGINE IS RUNNING

We do not understand from this anarthrous sentence that people are warned against standing too close to SOME hazard areas, or just AN engine of the aeroplane. We all understand that we are to steer clear of all the hazard areas relative to the engine! In professional translation work, I have previously been required to use these anarthrous constructions. That brings us in to the next example:

J'habite en France
Vive la France!

In French, if we do not have a preposition like "en" (in), we often need the definite article: "he comes from France" is most accurately stated "il vient de la France", and "France is going to win!" is most assuredly "c'est la France qui va gagner! "But in English we are, perhaps more like the Greeks, somewhat happier to part ways with our definite articles.

I live in England
Long live England! England is going to win!

This introduction can serve us as a word of caution as we tiptoe with trepidation toward John 1:1.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your feedback, really appreciate the interaction.