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How Animacy and Agenthood Influence Argument Order in the Translation of English Passive Constructions to Korean

John Williamson 1 Kim, Soo Yeon 1

1세종대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The Animate First Principle (AFP), which states that an animate argument must appear first in a sentence, has been observed in a large number of human languages and is asserted by many researchers to hold true in the specific instance of the Korean language. This study utilized a translation experiment with 56 Korean ESL students at a Korean university in an effort to understand how animacy and agenthood affect the translation of English into Korean. More specifically, it investigates how variations in animacy and argument structure influence the choice of voice, either active or passive, in the Korean translation. The results lead to the conclusion that passive constructions following a word-by-word translation are not preferred in all circumstances and are only strongly avoided when the agent is animate in the original English sentence. Thus, the findings support the AFP but needs to be amended to an Animate Agent First Principle when it comes to the choice of voice.

Citation status

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