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Diminutives in Three Slovene Translations of Hamlet: Contrastive Analysis of the Original and the Translations
Urša Marinšek, 2018, master's thesis

Abstract: The use and formation of diminutives in English and Slovene differ to a considerable extent. The main categorization of diminutives into two groups according to their morphological structure classifies them into analytic and syntactic diminutives. On the one hand, it seems that in the English language it is difficult to find syntactic diminutives; this language apparently favors the analytical ones. On the other hand, there is a high frequency of syntactical diminutives in Slovene. These general characteristics of the two languages are expected to be replicated in literary works, therefore, also in drama, which – at least in theory – comes as close to spoken discourse as possible. These differences will therefore become evident in the contrastive analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and its three Slovene translations. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how the diminutives, their structure, function and even existence will vary in the process of translation from one language into the other. This thesis thus explores diminutives in four versions of this famous play by William Shakespeare: the original Hamlet and its three Slovene translations, which were completed over a relatively long time span by three different Slovene translators. Contrastive analysis shows that there are significant differences when it comes to the usage of diminutives. It is not just their presence, absence or modification that is interesting, but more importantly it is their stylistic function. Diminutives in the traditional sense mark “smallness,” but several other important functions emerge within dramatic texts. Emotional nakedness proved to be one of the most important roles and functions. In this role, they can express endearment, sarcasm, irony, facetiousness and many other stylistic and semantic nuances. If a diminutive is present in the original and carries emotional markedness, it is highly important for the translator to do his or her best to preserve this markedness (or compensate for it with a similar type of markedness) in the translation and thus retain the style of the original. If the translator is unsuccessful in this undertaking, regardless of whether objective reasons for such translation shifts exist, the translation inevitably loses. Questions related to changes in the interpretative potential of the translation versus the original represent one of the central issues in this Master’s thesis. Shakespeare has a long tradition in the Slovene cultural space and, therefore, in the Slovene context – and vice versa: Slovene readers and theatregoers have been acquainted with his plays for a long time. Hamlet has been translated into Slovene more than five times, and even more adaptations exist. The first translation of Hamlet dates back to the late 19th century, and the most recent to 2013 (translated by Srečko Fišer), which makes a time span of more than a hundred years. Because of multiple existing translations, this drama is a perfect candidate for a contrastive analysis such as this thesis and its research into the preservation of stylistic elements in translation. Only three translations are examined in this thesis, but they differ from each other in many respects. Considering their core characteristics, we could afford to label each of them with a distinctive adjective: Oton Župančič’s translation could be seen as the “traditional” one, Janko Moder’s as “experimental” and Milan Jesih’s as “modern.” Each translator has his own approach to the translation of diminutives, their employment, function and even formation; in some cases (but not all), one could even call it strategy. This means that if there is a diminutive in the original, it is not necessary that all (if any) of these translators will preserve it.
Keywords: William Shakespeare, Hamlet, contrastive analysis, translation, stylistics, diminutives, emotional markedness
Published in DKUM: 03.10.2018; Views: 722; Downloads: 75
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