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English-Korean Translational Strategies of Plural Expressions in Texts

Kwak, Eun Joo 1 Silo Chin 1

1세종대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Much linguistic evidence shows that the notion of natural atomicity, which applies to atoms in the real world, should be distinguished from semantic atomicity, which is for atoms in semantics. This distinction provides a theoretical basis that semantic plurality may not be used to represent a plural number of objects. The plural morpheme ‘-s’ in English is mainly used to represent the plurality of objects while the semantic role of ‘-tul’ in Korean is divided between plurality and distributivity. Thus, nouns referring to plural objects may not be accompanied by ‘-tul,’ and nouns with -‘tul’ may not be related with the plurality of their references in Korean. According to earlier theories on Korean plurality, nouns referring to humans are count nouns whereas the other categories of nouns are more likely to be used as mass nouns. Hence, the occurrence of ‘-tul’ basically represents plurality with human nouns but distributivity with non-human nouns. Based on the distinct semantics of ‘-tul,’ three translational strategies are suggested for plural nouns. First, plural human nouns in English are translated to nouns with or without ‘-tul’ in Korean. Second, non-human plural nouns in English are translated to nouns with ‘-tul’ only when they implicate strong individuality in texts. Finally, the plurality of non-human nouns in English is instantiated in diverse ways in Korean when plurality itself makes a crucial role in text interpretation.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.