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Original scientific paper

Dubravka Sesar; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



By comparing the syntactical structure of the original poem from the Czech Nobel Laureate (1984) Jaroslav Seifert’s Jarní rondeaux (»Spring rondo«) with its Croatian translation – Proljetni rondeaux we tried to illustrate the magic of language, namely to present at least one of the many linguistic functions in the broad field of word art. Foremost we rely on well–known Jacobson’s attitudes towards linguistics and poetry, i. e. grammar and poetry. The said poem has a very complex verse structure; Seifert experiments with the »archaic« form rondo (famous from the Provencal and Old–French Renaissance poetry) and artfully applies the verse possibilities of the Czech language. Because of its structure the poem is a great challenge to translators; furthermore, the cyclic repetition of poetic passages and the strictly bound verse makes it linguistically demanding.
However, the complex form is filled with a simple content, thus it is not problematic in terms of meaning; one »simple« lyrical, nostalgic, poetic metaphor (spring: reminiscence on youth and love) is unpretentious in style and lexis. Nevertheless, the rondo form necessarily bothers and »deforms« the neutral, unmarked or standard syntax. The parallel syntactic analysis and comparison of a selected short passage from the original poem and its translation was carried out by drawing upon two syntactic approaches: the traditional structural–functional syntax and the two–level valence syntax. Although by definition poetry breaks the rules of creating neutral modal expression schemes, the modal aspect is also taken into consideration, as well as the word order, i. e. the information structure of the sentence. The analysis of the chosen verses, based on the two syntactical descriptions, has shown that the original and its translation do not differ on the semantic level, whereas on the syntactic level they vary in only one element. However, the study undoubtedly displays that the syntax – the formal and the semantic one – by itself does not reveal much about the poem’s poetic character or the quality of the translation. To make the description complete we cannot hold on only to syntax, for the poetic work is accomplished and perceived as a complex structure of all linguistic means (lexical and grammatical) and procedures in the poetic function. The function of the other linguistic (and stylistic) poem’s elements is illustrated on particular examples and comparisons. Although these elements might be more appealing than the mere syntax, their entire realization is accomplished solely within the syntax.



Seifert, Jaroslav; syntactic analysis; poetry; Czech litterature


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