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The Kentish Sermons as evidence of thirteenth-century English and translation practice

Abstract : This paper compares the thirteenth-century Kentish Sermons with their French originals composed by Maurice of Sully. The aim is to study the influence French may have exerted on the translator when it came to choosing between competing English forms. The morphosyntactic domains under study are genitive relations (where the inflectional genitive competes with the of-phrase) and interclausal relations (which offer a choice between different connectives, whether adverbs or subordinators), and we build a case for a determinating influence from French. In that respect our paper raises the epistemological question of the reliability of the material that historical linguists have to work on. We also examine the relationship between the Kentish and the French homilies in the light of the different meanings the act of translation could have in the Middle Ages. The target text does not emerge so much from the fancy or habits of writing of one individualhere an anonymous translatoras from a scholarly community. As evidence of thirteenth-century translation practice, the Kentish Sermons can be characterized as somewhat awkwardly literal, probably because, we contend, they aim at serving the authority of a much-admired source rather than displacing it. In that respect our paper raises the question of translation theory and practice in medieval England, and should be a modest contribution to understanding vernacular translation of such audience-oriented texts.
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Contributor : Sylvain Gatelais Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 1:19:39 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-03386851, version 1



Sylvain Gatelais, Fabienne Toupin. The Kentish Sermons as evidence of thirteenth-century English and translation practice. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, Modern Language Society, 2012, 113 (2), pp.191-218. ⟨hal-03386851⟩



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