CONSTRUCTIONS WITH CAUSAL VERBS



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CONSTRUCTIONS WITH CAUSAL VERBS



 

Constructions with causal verbsoften require word for word translation: What led you to take up teaching as a career? – Что привело тебя к выбору профессии педагога? He forced me to give him the information. – Он заставил меня дать ему эту информацию. Poverty and hunger drove them to steal. – Из-за нищеты и голода они вынуждены были красть.

A translator should bear in mind that the semantic scope of English causative verbs is much wider than that of Russian verbs. Therefore the translator must choose an appropriate equivalent from a range of synonyms expressing various degrees of causal relations: вызывать, побуждать, заставлять, вынуждать: A stupid program made me turn off my TV. – Дурацкая программа вынудила меня выключить телевизор. He made me wait for two hours. – Он заставил меня ждать два часа. Stupid commercials make me want to throw my set out the window. – Глупая реклама вызывает во мне желание выкинуть телевизор в окно.

In some contexts, the causal meaning is so weakened that in Russian the causation is not expressed at all. In this case the causative construction indicates a desirability of the action or a transition to some state: I can’t make anyone hear.Не могу достучаться. The wind is making my eyes water. – Из-за ветра у меня слезятся глаза.

Some causal verbs can be used without the infinitive. In this case they resemble a phrasal verb, with the third component expressed by a preposition only: The bad weather has driven the tourists away. – Из-за плохой погоды туристы были вынуждены уехать. Nothing could force him back. – Ничто не могло заставить его вернуться назад.

 

§3. CONSTRUCTIONS WITH THE VERBS TO HAVE, TO GET

 

These constructions can be of two subtypes: with the infinitive and with the participle.

1. to have somebody do

to get somebody to do

2. to have something done

to get something done

The first subtype is called the active causative. Here a noun or a pronoun object is a “performing agent”, whereas the sentence subject is a causer of the action expressed by the infinitive: We have had the police investigate this matter. – Мы поручили полиции расследовать это дело. How did you get your dog not to bark? – Как вам удалось сделать так, что ваша собака теперь не лает?

The difference between the get - and have constructions is both formal and semantic. The get construction is used with the particle to, whereas the have construction requires a bare infinitive: I love canaries, but how can I get them to sing? They usually have the gardener mow the lawn on Fridays. The get construction, as compared with the have construction, suggests that the subject has to persuade someone to perform a certain action: How did you get your husband to cut off his beard? – Как тебе удалось уговорить мужа сбрить бороду?

The translation of these constructions depends on the context. Often the causal relations are implied but not expressed overtly in Russian: Get a fire to burn. – Разожги костер. I can’t get the car to start. – Не могу завести свою машину. In terms of translation theory, a contextual substitution takes place here.

The constructions with Participle II are called the passive causative. The object here denotes a thing which undergoes the action expressed by the participle. The sentence subject is a receiver of this action. Most often this causative construction implies that a performing agent is other than the one expressed by the sentence subject: I can’t iron very well. I have to have my shirts done at a laundry in town – two dollars a shirt. – Я плохо глажу. Приходится сдавать рубашки в городскую прачечную, где их гладят - два доллара за рубашку. I got my car washed for five bucks. – Мне вымыли машину за пять долларов.

In corresponding Russian sentences, the causative meaning is usually not expressed: Я подстригся. - I had my hair cut. / I cut my hair. Она сшила себе новое платье (в ателье или у портнихи). - She got a new dress made. (сама) – She made a new dress. Thus the translator should rely upon the context when dealing with these construction.

For a translator, the have/get constructions are of special interest, since their meaning may be ambiguous.

The have/get constructions can be causative and non-causative. Above, the causative construction is described. In it, the sentence subject usually denotes someone who orders the action expressed by the participle. In a non-causative construction, the sentence subject denotes either a sufferer or a performer of the action expressed by the participle. Thus the construction implies some state: We had our car stolen. – У нас украли машину. He has finally gotten the sink fixed. He did it himself; he couldn’t afford a plumber. – Наконец-то раковина у него отремонтирована. Он сам ее отремонтировал, так как денег, чтобы вызвать сантехника, у него не было.

One and the same form can have different meanings: He had his horse killed. – a) Он приказал убить свою лошадь. (causal meaning); b) У него убили лошадь. (non-causal meaning). So, to translate adequately, it is necessary to be certain of the context to state the meaning of the construction.

 



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