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Anna Hartley - Master Thesis

MA Linguistics
Master Thesis
‘The thee and the tha and the thysen’: An analysis of how the
non-standard dialect in D.H. Lawrence’s novels has been
translated into Dutch
Anna Hartley
November 2016
Supervisor: Dr Eric Metz
Abstract..................................................................................................................................... 4
Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 5
2.1 Research question ................................................................................................................. 5
2.2 Status quaestionis .................................................................................................................. 6
Theoretical background ............................................................................................................ 8
3.1. Linguistic varieties: a definition ............................................................................................. 8
3.2. Lawrence’s non-standard dialect .......................................................................................... 9
3.2.1. An Introduction ............................................................................................................... 9
3.2.2. Hatim and Mason’s model.............................................................................................. 9
3.2.3. Phonology and Orthography ........................................................................................ 10
3.2.4. Morphosyntax ............................................................................................................... 12
3.2.5. Lexicon ......................................................................................................................... 13
3.3 The functions of non-standard dialect in literature............................................................... 14
3.3.1. Dialect literature vs. literary dialect .............................................................................. 14
3.3.2. Newmark’s functions of non-standard dialect .............................................................. 14
3.3.3. Additional functions of non-standard dialect ................................................................ 17
3.4. Non-standard dialect as a translation problem ................................................................... 18
3.4.1. Comprehension ............................................................................................................ 18
3.4.2. Extra-linguistic connotations ........................................................................................ 18
3.5 Strategies for translating non-standard dialect .................................................................... 19
3.5.1. Normalisation ............................................................................................................... 19
3.5.2. The use of an existing target-language dialect ............................................................ 20
3.5.3. The use of general non-standard language ................................................................. 22
3.5.4. Ramos Pinto’s model ................................................................................................... 23
Analysis .................................................................................................................................. 28
4.1. Lady Chatterley’s Lover ...................................................................................................... 28
4.1.1. Linguistic varieties in the source text ........................................................................... 28
4.1.2. Linguistic varieties in the target text ............................................................................. 30
4.1.3. Discussion .................................................................................................................... 33
4.2 The Rainbow ........................................................................................................................ 34
4.2.1. Linguistic varieties in the source text ........................................................................... 34
4.2.2. Linguistic varieties in target text 1 ................................................................................ 35
4.2.3. Discussion .................................................................................................................... 37
4.2.4. Linguistic varieties in target text 2 ................................................................................ 38
4.2.5. Discussion .................................................................................................................... 41
4.3 Sons and Lovers .................................................................................................................. 42
4.3.1. Linguistic varieties in the source text ........................................................................... 42
4.3.2. Linguistic varieties in the target text ............................................................................. 43
4.3.3. Discussion .................................................................................................................... 46
Conclusion .............................................................................................................................. 47
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................... 49
1. Abstract
This paper explores the translation strategies used when translating the Nottinghamshire dialect
features in D.H. Lawrence’s novels into Dutch. The main challenges in dialect translation are the
presence of extra-linguistic connotations and the lack of formal correspondence in the target
language. In societies where there is a large difference in prestige between the standard and
non-standard varieties of the language, normalisation is often the preferred translation strategy.
However, a complete normalisation of the non-standard language in a novel can result in a target
text that appears rather flat in comparison to its source text. Translating the non-standard variety
using an existing target text language variety, on the other hand, can render the characters in a
novel unconvincing. This study takes a critical look at the two aforementioned techniques, and
gives an overview of the other techniques put forward translation scholars Assis Rosa, Brodovich
and Ramos Pinto. The theoretical background is followed by a qualitative analysis of the
strategies employed by four translators when translating the Nottinghamshire dialect in D.H.
Lawrence’s modernist fiction into Dutch. Although Langeveld and Storm have previously dealt
with the translation of English dialects into Dutch, this is the first study to focus solely on the
Dutch translation of D.H. Lawrence’s novels.
Keywords: translation, Dutch, English, dialect, non-standard language varieties, normalisation,
D.H. Lawrence.
2. Introduction
2.1 Research question
The translation of a non-standard dialect can be a demanding task for even the most
experienced translator (Langeveld, 1988: 216). Not only do translators have to understand the
dialect, which often differs to a large extent from the standard variety the translator is used to,
they also have to be aware of the extra-linguistic content that the dialect contributes to a text.
Individual dialect features have no exact equivalents in other languages (Brodovich 1997: 25),
and as a dialect often carries very specific connotations, it can be extremely difficult to find an
equivalent dialect that will have the same effect on the reader of the target text. Yet the many
functions of a dialect in a text, including the major role it plays in the characterisation process,
mean that the dialect cannot simply be ignored by a translator. Scholars describe the translation
of dialect as a frustrating task for the translator, resulting in ‘a comparative flatness and
insipidness’ (Brodovich 1997: 26) and a target text that is merely a faint reflection of the original
(Langeveld 1988: 216). Moreover, dialect usually suffers a degree of loss of meaning when it is
translated (Newmark 1988: 194). The translator’s task is therefore to select a translation strategy
that minimizes this loss as much as possible. The aim of this research is to investigate which
strategies literary translators have at their disposal, and examine how Dutch translators have
dealt with the Nottinghamshire dialect which is spoken by various characters in the novels written
by the British author D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930).
The research is structured as follows. The first section will define the main features of the nonstandard variety that is spoken by a number of Lawrence’s characters, and examine the
functions of dialect speech in fiction. The following sections will describe in detail a number of the
translation strategies proposed by translation scholars. Finally, a comparative textual analysis of
the non-standard linguistic variety in the source and target texts will be carried out, and the
strategy adopted by each translator will be evaluated. The corpora for the research consists of
three D.H. Lawrence novels as source texts: Sons and Lovers (SAL), (1913), The Rainbow (TR),
(1915), and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (LCL), (1928). These particular novels were selected as
source texts for two reasons. Firstly, there are characters in each of these novels who speak a
non-standard variety of English, and secondly, all of these novels have been translated into
Dutch. The target text corpus consists of four novels: Zonen en Minnaars (ZEM), (1966),
translated by J.F. Kliphuis, De Regenboog (DRi), (1947), translated by H.J. Balfoort & J. de Jong,
De Regenboog (DRii), (1968), translated by J.A. Schalekamp, and Lady Chatterley’s Minnaar
(LCM), (1950), translated by J.A. Sandfort.
Throughout this research, it is important to remain aware of the fact that the translation of a nonstandard linguistic variety is not just dependent on the translator’s personal preference, but on
the preferences and norms of other translation agents. Publishers have a great influence on the
international circulation of literature (Sapiro, 2008: 154); in many cases, it is the publisher that
initiates a literary translation. The final product is also often shaped by editors who provide the
translator with guidelines to ensure that the target text conforms to particular norms (Fawcett,
1995: 189). The target language’s literary tradition may also constrain or motivate the translator’s
decisions (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 292). In some languages, the use of dialect in literary works is
more widely accepted than in other languages. For instance, in societies where there is a large
difference in prestige between the standard and non-standard varieties of the language, there is
a strong tendency towards the standardisation of the linguistic variation in translation (Ramos
Pinto, 2009: 292). In British literature, dialect has been used to portray characters for centuries,
and is witnessed in the works of numerous influential authors including William Shakespeare,
Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy (Ilhem, 2013). Langeveld (1988: 217) states,
however, that dialect in Dutch literature is usually associated with a specific genre of literature,
namely regional novels, referred to in Dutch as streekromans. As dialect is not generally found in
other novels, the translation of a non-standard variety of the source language as a non-standard
variety of Dutch can often be perceived by the reader to be somewhat unrealistic. For this
reason, we can probably expect the translators of D.H. Lawrence’s novels to have employed a
strategy which leans more towards the normalisation of the dialect when translating into Dutch.
Any markers of non-standard speech that we do observe in the target texts are likely to be lexical
markers, as Brodovich (1997: 29), Catford (1965: 88) and Newmark (1988: 195) all claim that
translators rely more frequently on lexical items than on phonological and morphosyntactic
markers when reproducing non-standard speech in the target text. This research will therefore
also investigate whether non-standard lexical items play a main role in this corpus.
2.2 Status quaestionis
The most noteworthy critical studies of the non-standard linguistic variety depicted in Lawrence’s
novels include those of Leith (1980) and Hillier (2013). In his 1980 publication Dialect and
Dialogue in D.H. Lawrence, Leith discusses the functions of the non-standard variety in the same
three novels that are included in this research. Hillier (2013), on the other hand, discusses the
functions of the dialect only briefly in her study of the dialect in Sons and Lovers, focusing her
attention on the morphosyntactic, lexical and phonological features of the variety.
Translation scholars including Catford (1965), Newmark (1988), and Hatim and Mason (1990)
have discussed the topic of linguistic variation in translation in their comprehensive publications
on approaches to translation. More recently, Brodovich (1997) and Assis Rosa (2012) have
published articles which deal solely with the topic of non-standard speech in translation. While
Brodovich makes use of a descriptive case study - the translation of the non-standard English in
one play and two novels into Russian - Assis Rosa’s article is primarily theoretical, and she does
not draw upon any examples to demonstrate the strategies. While this provides the advantage of
rendering the article comprehensible for translators of various languages, the article’s
functionality is limited to some extent by the fact that the translator is left to think up his or her
own examples in order to visualise each strategy.
By far the most comprehensive publication on the strategies available to translators is Ramos
Pinto’s 2009 publication ‘How important is the way you say it?’, in which she proposes her model
of the decisions a translator must make during the process of translating a non-standard
linguistic variety, and the strategies that are subsequently available based on the outcome of
each decision. She then goes on to identify and discuss the strategies used in the Portuguese
translation of the two English plays Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and My Fair Lady by
Alan Jay Lerner. The strategies that are employed by a translator will undoubtedly vary according
to the genre of the text and the language combination being translated. It is therefore important
that various language combinations and genres are studied.
Other studies that focus on the translation of dialect in fiction include Englund Dimitrova’s (1997)
analysis of the translation of the Swedish non-standard dialect in Vilhelm Moberg’s novel Din
stund på Jorden (‘A Time on Earth’) into English and Russian, and Määttä’s (2005) analysis of
the French translation of the non-standard speech of African Americans in William Faulkner’s
novel The Sound and the Fury. Of the scholarly works on the translation of non-standard
linguistic varieties, few have focused on the English-Dutch language combination. In his
publication Vertalen wat er staat: Aspecten van het Vertalen (1988), Langeveld touches on the
translation of non-standard English dialects into Dutch, and in her recent publication Agatha
Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles in German and Dutch Translation: The remarkable case
of the Six Poirots (2016), Storm looks at how the non-standard dialect in Agatha Christie’s
detective novel has been translated into German and Dutch. As far as we are aware, no research
has been published specifically on the Dutch translation of Lawrence’s dialect. This innovative
research draws on aspects of all of the aforementioned studies, combining a comprehensive
overview of the dialect in the source text with a detailed analysis of the translation techniques
used by the translator to translate the dialect in the target text. The end result is a detailed,
qualitative analysis of how the dialect in Lawrence’s modernist fiction has been translated from
English into Dutch.
3. Theoretical background
3.1. Linguistic varieties: a definition
Languages are made up of many varieties, which, although generally regarded to be mutually
intelligible, differ to some extent in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary (Weber and Horner,
2012: 29). These internal varieties of a language are often termed dialects. In many languages,
one particular dialect has undergone a process of standardisation. This means that it has
acquired a publicly recognised and fixed form which is usually registered in dictionaries and
grammars (Trudgill, 1999b: 117). The standardised variety of English is referred to as Standard
English, and stems from the varieties that were originally spoken in the southeast of England, as
the government and other important institutions were situated there, as well as the universities of
Oxford and Cambridge (Trudgill, 1999a: 13). The standardised variety of Dutch is known as
Standaardnederlands (Standard Dutch) (Pinget, Rotteveel, and Van de Velde, 2014: 4).
The standard variety of a language is often considered to be the most important variety, primarily
because of its wider functions: it is usually the variety that is used in written language, and it
tends to be the variety that is taught to non-native speakers of a language (Trudgill, 1999b: 118).
In comparison, other varieties, often referred to as non-standard because of their deviation from
the standard (Taavitsainen & Melchers, 1999: 8), tend to be considered less prestigious and in
some cases, even incorrect (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 290). However, from a purely linguistic
standpoint, both are simply varieties of one language with their own phonological, lexical and
morphosyntactic systems, meaning that neither variety can be considered incorrect.
The dialect a speaker uses is largely related to his or her geographical provenance (Catford,
1965: 85). For example, a speaker who originates from Sheffield may speak a Yorkshire dialect
of English. This type of linguistic variety is referred to in linguistics as a diatopic variety (Auer &
Schmidt, 2010: 230-232). Speakers of a dialect do not necessarily have to live in the same
geographical region, however. Some dialects are spoken by members of a particular social
group, for example, students. This form of dialect is referred to as a diastratic variety (Auer &
Schmidt, 2010: 233), or a social dialect. The geographical distribution of dialectal varieties often
corresponds to socio-economic patterns (Meetham, 1969: 243), and for this reason diatopic
dialects and diastratic dialects are often considered simultaneously (Meetham, 1969: 248). Other
groups, including those who have the same occupation, and those who are from the same ethnic
background, can also speak a particular variety. An occupational dialect, such as the one spoken
by the miners in Lawrence’s novels is often referred to as a diatechnic variety, and a dialect
spoken by people from the same ethnic background is referred to as an ethnolect. A linguistic
variety can also belong to a specific time period: a temporal dialect – often referred to as a
diachronic variety – is a dialect spoken in a certain era. For example, if a speaker refers to ‘social
media’ and ‘microblogging’, it is highly likely that the diachronic variety is contemporary. Of
course, not all speakers of a particular dialect speak in exactly the same way, each individual has
his or her own unique vocabulary, morphosyntax and pronunciation. The variety of language that
is unique to an individual is known as an idiolect. A typical feature of an idiolect is the tendency to
use particular lexical items frequently (Catford, 1965: 86).
In Discourse and the Translator, Hatim and Mason (1990: 39) present the different aspects of a
dialect in a framework, which is aimed to help translators define the linguistic variety they are
confronted with, and determine which aspects of the variety can be relayed in the target text. The
framework includes four of the aspects mentioned above – geographical, social, temporal and
idiolect – and one other aspect: whether the dialect can be considered standard or non-standard.
When focusing on this aspect, the translator needs to analyse the extent to which the linguistic
variety resembles the standard variety of the language to which it belongs. For example, the
Bavarian dialect differs to a large extent from Standard German, and would therefore be
considered ‘non-standard’.
3.2. Lawrence’s non-standard dialect
3.2.1. An Introduction
D.H. Lawrence was born and raised in Eastwood, a village in the East Midlands of England.
Several of his novels include dialogue in the linguistic variety traditionally spoken in Eastwood,
which contains features from both the Nottinghamshire dialect and the Derbyshire dialect, due to
Eastwood’s location on the border between the two counties (Hillier, 2013: 22). This chapter aims
to provide a detailed overview of the features of the non-standard linguistic variety that features
in Lawrence’s novels.
3.2.2. Hatim and Mason’s model
Hatim and Mason use the non-standard variety spoken in D.H. Lawrence’s novel Lady
Chatterley’s Lover to demonstrate their framework, which was introduced in the previous chapter.
Although their example refers to one specific character, Oliver Mellors, it also applies to a large
number of Lawrence’s other dialect-speaking characters.
Geographical dialect:
Midlands of England
Temporal dialect:
contemporary with publication; now dated
Social dialect:
working class
(Hatim and Mason, 1990: 45)
The above model provides a clear overview of the non-standard language variety in the novels;
we can briefly conclude that the variety can be considered a geographical dialect, as its speakers
live in one particular region, the Midlands of England. It is also a sociolect that tends to be
spoken by members of the working class. The variety can be considered somewhat dated
nowadays, but it was contemporary at the beginning of the twentieth century. As it deviates from
the standard variety of English, the dialect is considered to be non-standard.
Although Hatim and Mason' framework is useful for the typology of the dialect, it does not provide
any information on the specific features of the dialect, and a more in-depth description of the
variety is required for this research, so that we can understand exactly the type of language that
the translators of Lawrence’s novels were confronted with. In the following sections, we will
therefore describe the main phonological, morphosyntactic, and lexical characteristics of the
3.2.3. Phonology and Orthography
It can be very difficult for writers who use a non-standard dialect to satisfactorily represent the
characters’ pronunciation, as they need to seek a balance between authenticity and reader
comprehension (Hillier, 2013: 23; Ramos Pinto, 2009: 290). It goes without saying that the use of
the phonetic alphabet in a novel is not an option, as it would most certainly alienate the reader.
Lawrence therefore uses orthography to represent the sounds of the non-standard linguistic
variety. For example, when an ‘e’ occurs before the consonant ‘v’ in Standard English, the ‘e’ is
pronounced as an ‘i’ in the Nottinghamshire dialect depicted by Lawrence. The Standard English
word ‘never’ [nevə] is therefore pronounced as [nɪvə], and spelled ‘niver’, when Mr Morel, one of
the main characters in Sons and Lovers, says ‘Niver you mind’ (SAL: 68) and ‘I’ve niver known
Jerry mean in my life’ (SAL: 28). Similarly, the word ‘whatever’ is written as ‘whativer’: ‘Whativer’s
a matter, my duckie?’ (SAL: 44), ‘wherever’ is written as ‘wheriver’: ‘Wheriver dun they rear that
sort?’ (SAL: 84), and ‘every’ is written as ‘ivry’: ‘Nowt b’r a lousy hae’f-crown, an’ that’s ivry
penny-‘ (SAL: 15).
Van Marle (2003: 27) states that as non-standard varieties are usually purely spoken language
systems, they are more likely to be influenced by the performance mechanisms governing
speech production than standard varieties, which are now primarily written varieties. In other
words, a construction that facilitates the pronunciation of a word is more likely to become a
feature of a non-standard variety than a standard variety. In the non-standard variety spoken by
a number of D.H. Lawrence’s characters, Van Marle’s theory holds true. There are a large
number of reductions: instances where a sound is either reduced or completely eliminated from a
word. The most frequently occurring phonological feature of the non-standard variety is most
probably the reduction of the English definite article ‘the’, which is shown either as th’: ‘It’s her
from th’ vicarage’ (TR: 30), or t’: ‘We’ve got what’s on t’ table’ (TR: 34). A study of the corpora
shows that ‘th’ is used much more frequently than ‘t’. ‘Th’ is used to precede vowel sounds and
most consonant sounds, whereas the definite article ‘t’ is always depicted before nouns
beginning with the voiceless alveolar stop [t]. In some cases, the definite article is even omitted
altogether: ‘You’re niver satisfied till I’m down pit, none on yer’ (SAL: 52) and ‘Mornin’ missis!-mester in?’ (SAL: 28). In many instances, the voiceless glottal fricative /h/ at the beginning of a
word is not pronounced when characters are speaking the non-standard variety. In the following
examples, the word is written with an apostrophe instead of an ‘h’, to demonstrate that the
characters ‘drop’ the /h/. ‘Her’ is written as ‘er’ and ‘head’ is written as ‘ead’ in the sentence:
‘Lettin’ your Missis split ‘er ‘ead open like she has done’ (SAL: 57), and ‘hard’ and ‘he’ are written
as ‘ard’ and ‘e’ in the sentence: ‘When a man’s been drivin’ a pick into ‘ard rock all day, Mister
Heaton, his arms is that tired, ‘e doesn’t know what to do with ‘em’ (SAL: 47). According to
Trudgill (1999a: 28), this loss of the initial /h/ is a feature of many local dialects in England. The
pronunciation of some proper nouns is also reduced by those speaking dialect. In Lady
Chatterley’s Lover, those who speak non-standard English pronounce the surname Chatterley
‘Chat’ley’: ‘Well thank you ever so much, Lady Chat’ley’ (LCL: 61), and in The Rainbow, Ursula’s
name is pronounced ‘Urs’ler’: ‘Ello Urs’ler, ‘ow are yer goin’ on?’ (TR: 388).
Another feature of the non-standard dialect depicted is the pronunciation of the reflexive pronoun
ending ‘-sen’ instead of ‘-self’. For example, in the novel Sons and Lovers, Mr Morel tells his wife
to leave him alone while he washes himself: ‘Sluther off an’ let me wesh my-sen’ (SAL: 27). This
is a typical feature of the Eastern Central traditional dialect area to which Nottinghamshire
belongs (Trudgill, 1999a: 100). The Standard English third person reflexive pronoun ‘himself’ is
barely recognisable in the non-standard variety: not only is the suffix ‘–sen’ used instead of the
standard English ‘–self’, but both the ‘h’ and the ‘m’ are not articulated, forming ‘issen’: ‘A fool
runs away for a soldier – let ‘im look after ‘issen – I s’ll do no more for ‘im’ (SAL: 220).
As we have seen, a number of pronunciation patterns are explicitly represented in Lawrence’s
spelling. However, not all of the sounds that characterise the dialect are represented (Hillier,
2013: 42). For example, one of the characteristics that distinguishes the dialects of central and
northern England – and therefore the Nottinghamshire dialect - from the standard variety of
English is the way in which the vowel sound is pronounced in words like ‘path’ and ‘cat’ (Trudgill,
1999a: 69). In the Nottinghamshire dialect, the word ‘racket’ in the housekeeper Tilly’s
exclamation, ‘What a racket!’ (TR: 80) would be pronounced with a short ‘a’: [rækɪt]. However, in
Standard English, the word would be pronounced with a long ‘ah’: [rɑːkɪt]. By writing the word in
Standard English orthography, Lawrence does not make the Nottinghamshire pronunciation of
the vowel explicit. In the same way, words such as ‘but’ and ‘truck’ in the following sentence
spoken by Mr Morel, ‘But six shillin’ wearin’ his truck-end out on a stool’s better than ten shillin’ i’
th’ pit wi’ me, I know’ (SAL: 70), would be pronounced with a short ‘oo’, as [bʊt] and [trʊk]. In
Standard English, these words would be pronounced with a short ‘u’ vowel, as [bʌt] and
[trʌk] (Trudgill, 1999a: 53). Again, Lawrence does not distinguish the Nottinghamshire
pronunciation from the Standard English pronunciation. One can only speculate on the reasons
why Lawrence did not represent these particular phonetic characteristics of the dialect: he may
have presumed that his readership would be aware of these pronunciation patterns; he may have
considered an overabundance in non-standard orthography to be a hindrance to comprehension
and a distraction from what the character is saying (Leith, 1980: 246); or he may simply have not
been able to devise a spelling that would represent the sounds effectively.
3.2.4. Morphosyntax
One of the most significant morphosyntactic features of the dialect is its personal deixis system,
namely the use of the singular personal pronouns ‘thee’ and ‘thou’, and the plural personal
pronouns ‘ye’ and ‘you’. Three hundred years ago, all varieties of English made the distinction
between the singular form of ’you’ and the plural form of ‘you’, as many other languages still do
today (Trudgill, 1999a: 90). The pronouns ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ were not only used to refer to one
person, they were also used by speakers to address children or individuals who were considered
‘inferior’ to the speaker. In addition to denoting vertical relationships, the pronouns ‘thee’ and
‘thou’ were used in informal settings, for example when addressing close friends, and when a
speaker wanted to express solidarity with the person he or she was addressing. These pronouns
functioned very much like the French pronoun tu. The pronouns ‘ye’ and ‘you’, on the other hand,
were not only used to refer to more than one individual, but they were used as a deferential form:
to address individuals the speaker did not know well in a formal setting or to address individuals
who were considered ‘superior’. These pronouns were comparable to the French pronoun vous.
Eventually, the polite form was used so extensively in Standard English that the singular
pronouns ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ were gradually dropped from both that variety and a few other
mainstream dialects (Trudgill, 1999a: 91). However, the pronouns did remain a feature of the
Nottinghamshire dialect spoken by the characters in D.H. Lawrence’s novels. This can be
observed in the following example. In the novel Sons and Lovers, Mr Morel addresses his son
with the pronoun ‘thou’, which is often spelled and pronounced ‘tha’: ‘Tha can ha’e more than
that’ (SAL: 68). However, when talking to the vicar, Mr Heaton, Mr Morel uses the more formal
pronoun ‘you’, which is often spelt and pronounced ‘yer’: ‘Mr Heaton, can yer tell me owt for my
‘ead?’ (SAL: 48). Characters who only speak Standard English, such as Mrs Morel in Sons and
Lovers and Anna Brangwen in The Rainbow, refer to everybody using the pronoun ‘you’,
regardless of the characters’ relationship. For example, Mrs Morel addresses her young son,
‘You know you’ve got no right to rip his collar’ (SAL: 67).
A number of verbs in the non-standard dialect follow different conjugation patterns than in
Standard English. In particular, the second person singular form of the verb is inflected
differently. The present tense second person singular form is regularly used with the suffix –s,
which is only added to the third person singular form in Standard English. This can be observed
in Sons and Lovers when Mr Morel says ‘I’ve niver fun out how much tha knows, Alfred’ (SAL:
Some of the verbs that are irregular in the past tense in Standard English are conjugated as
regular verbs in the Nottinghamshire dialect. In The Rainbow, Tom Brangwen uses the past
participle ‘wakened’ as opposed to the Standard English past participle ‘woken’ when he asks his
stepdaughter, ‘Have you just wakened up?’ (TR: 64). Similarly, in Sons and Lovers, a pit lad uses
‘seed’ as the past tense of the irregular verb ‘to see’, instead of the Standard English past tense
‘saw’, claiming: ‘I seed him at th’ bottom’ (SAL: 108). On occasions, Lawrence relies on
orthography to differentiate the Nottinghamshire past tense from the Standard English past
tense. For example, the word ‘heered’ is used by characters speaking the Nottinghamshire
dialect as the past tense of the verb ‘to hear’, as opposed to the Standard English past tense
‘heard’. In the novel Sons and Lovers, a neighbour of the Morel’s says, ‘I’ve got a copperful of
clothes, an’ I’m sure I heered the bell’ (SAL: 40). The infinitive form of the verb ‘to hear’ is
pronounced [hɪə], with a vowel sound equivalent to the vowel sound in ‘deer’, whereas the
Standard English past tense ‘heard’ is pronounced [hɜːd], with a vowel equivalent to the vowel
sound in the word ‘nurse’. In the Nottinghamshire dialect, however, the vowel sound of the past
tense is equivalent to the vowel sound in the infinitive form of the verb. To make the
pronunciation clear for the reader, and to differentiate this form from the Standard English past
tense, Lawrence therefore spells the past tense of the verb with a double ‘e’.
3.2.5. Lexicon
There is an enormous variety of vocabulary in the different dialects of England (Trudgill, 1999a:
116), and this is reflected in the large scope of non-standard lexicon used by the speakers of the
Nottinghamshire dialect in Lawrence’s novels. Since the focus of this research is the translation
of the non-standard variety, and not the characteristics of the variety, just a few interesting
examples have been selected for this section.
A recurring lexical feature of the non-standard variety is the conjunction ‘as’, which is used
instead of the Standard English word ‘that’ (Hillier, 2013: 36). This feature is observed in the
novel Sons and Lovers, when Mr Morel, the father of the family, claims: ‘But there’s that much
draught i’ yon scullery, as it blows through your ribs like a five-barred gate’ (SAL: 235). ‘As’ is
also used as a relative pronoun instead of the Standard English relative pronouns ‘who’, ‘which’
and ‘that’ (Hillier, 2013: 40). In Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Mellors uses ‘as’ instead of the relative
pronoun ‘that’: ‘She carted off ivrything as was worth taking from th’ ouse,’ (LCL: 198), and in
Sons and Lovers, Mr Morel uses ‘as’ instead of the relative pronoun ‘who’: ‘A man as comes
home as I do ‘s too tired to care about cloths’ (SAL: 47).
The word ‘ay’ is often used to express assent, as an alternative to the word ‘yes’. In The
Rainbow, when his brother remarks, ‘It’s a fine night’, Alfred Brangwen simply replies, ‘Ay’, to
indicate that he agrees (TR: 132). Earlier in the novel, when a young Anna claims she wants to
see her mother, Tom Brangwen replies ‘Ay, but she’s badly’ (TR: 72). Here, the character uses
‘ay’ to indicate that he understands. Speakers use the word ‘nay’ to express dissent, as an
alternative to the word ‘no’. When his stepdaughter tells him to go away, Tom Brangwen replies,
‘Nay, I’m not going. You can go’ (TR: 64).
A strong feature of the dialect in the novel Sons and Lovers is the lexicon which is related to the
coal mining industry, an industry that was a major source of employment in Nottinghamshire and
Derbyshire at the time. This lexicon can be considered to be part of an occupational dialect, and
includes words such as ‘pick-haft’ (SAL: 46) which is used to refer to the handle of the pick axe,
‘carfle’ (SAL: 167) which is used to refer to the coal wagon, and ‘oss‘ (SAL: 89), which is the
dialect word for horse, used to refer to the pit pony. The words ‘gin-pit’ (SAL: 9) and ‘ash-pit’
(SAL: 10) are used to describe different parts of the mine, and the term ‘day-man’ (SAL: 238) is
used to describe a miner who is hired on a daily basis.
3.3 The functions of non-standard dialect in literature
3.3.1. Dialect literature vs. literary dialect
Before we discuss the possible techniques for the translation of non-standard linguistic varieties,
it is important to establish the reasons why an author may choose to include a non-standard
linguistic variety in fictional literature. Taavitsainen and Melchers (1999: 13) identify two types of
use of non-standard language in fictional literature. The first type is known as ‘dialect literature’.
This term refers to works which are composed entirely in a non-standard language form and are
aimed at readers who speak that particular non-standard variety. Dialect literature has a primarily
social function, and is often used to boost patriotism (Taavitsainen and Melchers, 1999: 13.). The
other type of non-standard language in literature is known as ‘literary dialect’ (Taavitsainen and
Melchers, 1999: 13). Here, the main body of the text is written in standard language, but some or
all of the direct speech is written in a non-standard form, a ‘literary dialect’. As D.H. Lawrence’s
novels are written in Standard English and only make use of a literary dialect, this research will
only be concerned with that particular use of non-standard language.
3.3.2. Newmark’s functions of non-standard dialect
In A Textbook for Translation, Newmark (1988: 195) states three main functions of dialect in
fictional texts: to show a slang use of language; to stress social class contrasts; and to indicate
local cultural features. The extent to which these functions apply to a particular text vary
depending on the genre and the function of the text.
The term slang was originally used to refer to the lexicon used by people of a ‘low and
disreputable character’ (Ayto & Simpson, 2010: ix). Nowadays, it is used to refer to highly
colloquial and informal vocabulary, or vocabulary that is used by people who practise a particular
profession (Ayto & Simpson, 2010: ix). Some of the lexical features of the dialect in the three
D.H. Lawrence novels can be considered slang. However, the term slang refers solely to lexicon,
and a large number of the non-standard features we observed in the source texts were
morphosyntactic and phonological. The representation of a slang use of language is therefore
the least important of the three functions of dialect in our source texts. The other two functions
play a more significant role in Lawrence’s work.
In all three source texts, there is evidence of dialect being used to stress social class contrasts.
The linguistic markers of a certain language variety are almost always associated with a certain
amount of prestige, which expresses the character’s place within the community depicted by the
author (Assis Rosa, 2012: 80). The majority of readers presume that characters who speak a
standard variety are from a higher social class than those who speak non-standard varieties
(Ramos Pinto, 2009: 291). This is due to the fact that the greatest degree of regional variation is
observed among lower working-class speakers (Trudgill, 1979: 9). Lawrence draws upon this
linguistic stereotype: the characters in the novels who are from a low social class generally speak
a non-standard variety of English, whereas those with a higher social status speak Standard
English. The characters, too, comment on other characters’ speech, providing evidence that the
non-standard dialect is stigmatised and associated with a lower social class. For example, in
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lady Chatterley asks of Oliver Mellors, ‘How could they make him an
officer, when he speaks broad Derbyshire?’ (LCL: 92) and in The Rainbow, William Brangwen
remarks that a girl he meets in Nottingham has a ‘common accent’, and therefore assumes she
is ‘a warehouse-lass’ (TR: 211).The difference in social class is particularly emphasised when
characters from different social classes converse with each other. In Sons and Lovers, when
Gertrude Coppard, a girl from a ‘good burgher family’ (SAL: 15) first meets her future husband
Walter Morel, a working class miner, her standard English speech contrasts greatly with his local
dialect, stressing their different backgrounds:
“And you are a miner!” she exclaimed in surprise.
“Yes. I went down when I was ten.”
She looked at him in wondering dismay.
“When you were ten!—and wasn’t it very hard?” she asked.
“You soon get used to it. You live like th’ mice, an’ you pop out at night to see what’s
going on.”
“It makes me feel blind,” she frowned.
“Like a moudiwarp!” he laughed. “Yi, an’ there’s some chaps as does go round like
moudiwarps.” He thrust his face forward in the blind, snout-like way of a mole, seeming to
sniff and peer for direction. “They dun though!” he protested naïvely. “Tha niver seed
such a way they get in. But tha mun let me ta’e thee down sometime, an’ tha can see for
(SAL: 19)
Thus, there is a large amount of proof that D.H. Lawrence used different language varieties to
stress social class contrasts. However, it could be argued that this function is more
comprehensive than Newmark perceived it to be, as the use of dialect not only informs the
reader of a character’s social class, it unveils a lot more about a character’s socio-cultural profile.
It situates a character within a certain geographical location and time-frame, and gives an
indication of his or her educational level and ethnic background (Ilhem, 2013: 102). For example,
when Mr Morel speaks dialect in Sons and Lovers, the vast majority of readers will be aware that
he is from a working class background. A large number of readers will also be aware that he is
from the East Midlands of England, and some may even be able to place the dialect more
specifically. Many readers will associate his strong use of dialect with a low level of education,
and some may also be able to recognise that he is a miner due to the lexicon he uses. The use
of a dialect can therefore contribute greatly to the characterisation process, in a manner that is
much more convincing for the reader than a direct presentation of a character carried out by the
narrator (Assis Rosa, 2012: 83).
The third function described by Newmark (1988: 195) is ‘to indicate local cultural features’. D.H.
Lawrence himself had working class origins and was born in Nottinghamshire, where his novels
are set. Although his novels belong to the fiction genre, they are largely centred on Lawrence’s
own observations, and he uses the dialect to portray the social community within which he grew
up (Hillier, 2013: 22). The use of this authentic dialect allows the reader to take ‘a tourist’s
interest in local colour’ (Lawrence, Black, and Boulton, 1992: 2). Authors often indicate local
cultural features by including lexical features in the dialect speech that are specific to a particular
community. An example of this in Lawrence’s novels is the mining lexicon used by Mr Morel and
his colleagues, ‘dingin’ away at coal face’ (SAL: 47) and ‘drivin’ a pick into ‘ard rock all day’ (SAL:
47), which aims to evoke the malaise of the miner’s social class (Ilhem, 2013: 118).
3.3.3. Additional functions of non-standard dialect
In addition to Newmark’s three functions, a dialect can also be used to reflect the state of a
relationship between two or more characters at a certain point in a novel (Hillier, 2013: 27). This
function can best be explained by an example. In Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lady Chatterley, a
member of the upper class, only speaks Standard English. Oliver Mellors, the son of a
blacksmith and the Chatterleys’ gamekeeper, speakers both Standard English and the local
dialect. Lady Chatterley tells Mellors that she would like to sit and relax in his hut in the woods,
and proceeds to ask him questions about it, to which he replies in Standard English:
‘ “Do you lock the hut when you’re not here?”
“Yes, your ladyship.” ‘
(LCL: 90)
However, as she continues her enquiry, he soon becomes irritated and proceeds in dialect:
‘ “Do you think I could have a key too? So that I could sit sometimes! Are there two
“Not as Ah know on, the’ isna.” ‘
(LCL: 90)
The narrator acknowledges this, stating, ‘He had lapsed into the vernacular. Connie hesitated.
He was putting up an opposition’ (LCL: 90). The characters’ attitude towards each other is
reflected in their speech; the more they irritate each other, the more Mellors exaggerates the
linguistic differences between them using non-standard English. This function of the dialect is
also witnessed in Sons and Lovers, when Mr Morel exaggerates the linguistic differences
between himself and his wife when they criticise each other (Hillier, 2013: 27).
Finally, the dialect can be used creatively, to add comic moments to the text. This is often the
case when a character speaks a non-standard variety in situations where non-standard speech
would be deemed socially inappropriate. In Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Oliver Mellors deliberately
speaks the Derbyshire dialect when he meets his lover’s upper class sister, even though he is
also able to speak Standard English. He is fully aware of the fact that she disapproves of his
relations with her sister because of their difference in social class. The reader would therefore
expect him to use the standard variety in this situation, in order to reduce the apparent difference
in class and gain her approval. Instead, he speaks in the broad non-standard variety to provoke
her, stating: ‘Nay nay, let me talk Derby if it suits me. If yo’n nowt against it’ (LCL: 242). In the
same novel, Lady Chatterley attempts to imitate Mellors’ dialect in what is a rather humorous
‘Sholl ter?’ she echoed, teasing.
He smiled.
‘Ay, sholl ter?’ he repeated.
‘Ay,’ she said, imitating the dialect sound.
(LCL: 177)
As we have observed, a literary dialect adds not only linguistic meaning, but also pragmatic and
semiotic meaning to a fictional text. This makes the translator’s task even more challenging than
one first perceives it to be. In the following section, we will identify the obstacles a translator may
face when attempting to translate dialect speech in fiction, and examine the potential translation
strategies that have been put forward by scholars.
3.4. Non-standard dialect as a translation problem
3.4.1. Comprehension
It is a known fact that a translator has to be able to fully understand what is written in the source
text in order to translate the text successfully (Langeveld, 1988: 209). The translators of
Lawrence’s novels therefore firstly had to decipher what was being said by the characters
speaking the non-standard variety, before they could even begin to translate the dialogue into
Dutch. This is a demanding task, particularly when utterances such as ‘Nay, yo’ mun ax ‘er’ (LCL:
58) and ‘It’s a winder as we canna ha’e a sup i’ th’ ‘ouse’ (SAL: 61) bear very little resemblance
to the standard variety of English. Dialect words sometimes belong to a category that Newmark
(1988: 176) termed ‘unfindable words’. These words cannot be found in standard dictionaries,
and translators therefore often have to contact the source text writer, if possible, to find out their
meaning. Alternatively, the translator can consult source language experts or a dictionary of the
dialect (Newmark, 1988: 177-178). Nowadays translators also have the internet at their disposal,
giving them access to a plethora of information on dialects. However, at the time the translations
included in this corpus were produced, this was not yet an option. Searching for those unfindable
words will therefore have been a difficult and time consuming task (Newmark, 1988: 176). In the
preface to Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the editors acknowledge the problem of understanding
Lawrence’s dialect, stating that it can act as a barrier to understanding ‘especially to the many
readers who are not native speakers of British English’ (LCL: viii).
3.4.2. Extra-linguistic connotations
While the comprehension of the dialect can pose a challenge for the translator, the central
problem lies in the extra-linguistic connotations of the dialect. As we have observed in the
previous chapter, a dialect can add meaning to a text which reaches far beyond the linguistic
level (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 291). Therefore, the translator not only needs to understand the
linguistic aspects of the dialect, but also its pragmatic functions. When using a literary dialect to
distinguish characters, authors often make use of language ideologies. They frequently rely on
certain sociolinguistic stereotypes that the majority of readers will be familiar with, in order to
evoke a particular image in the reader’s imagination and aid the characterisation process. The
translator not only needs to have a good knowledge of sociolinguistic stereotypes in both the
source language and the target language, he or she needs to be able to recreate the stereotypes
for the target text reader. It can be extremely difficult to find a linguistic variety that arouses
exactly the same connotations as the source text variety. Ramos Pinto (2009: 289) confirms this,
stating that the translator faces an ‘impossibility’ when searching for a formal correspondence or
equivalence for the linguistic variety. In rare cases where the translator is able to find a linguistic
variety with a similar status, the use of this linguistic variety can often be regarded as unrealistic,
as a particular linguistic variety has a very localised meaning, and is intrinsically linked to a
particular time and space (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 289). It would be rather unconvincing for readers
of a Dutch target text to come across characters who speak in a regional Dutch dialect in cases
where the spatial coordinates of a novel set in a typically English town have been preserved. The
translator therefore firstly needs to decide whether or not to preserve the linguistic variation in the
target text, before selecting a suitable translation strategy.
3.5 Strategies for translating non-standard dialect
3.5.1. Normalisation
The most pervasive strategy for translation of a non-standard linguistic variety is the normalising
strategy (Assis Rosa, 2012: 87). In this strategy, non-standard linguistic varieties, which are often
associated with low prestige, are translated using the standard variety of the target text, which
tends to be the most prestigious variety. To illustrate this strategy by means of an example, the
source text dialect question, ‘Art commin’ Tom, or art for stoppin’?’ (TR: 23) would be translated
as something similar to, ‘Kom je, Tom, of blijf je hier?’. The application of this strategy is
extremely widespread in the translation of fictional literature. So much so that it has led some
scholars, including House (1973: 167, qtd. in Assis Rosa, 2012: 87) to deem non-standard
linguistic varieties untranslatable. Toury (1995: 267-274) acknowledges the normalisation trend
in his ‘law of growing standardisation’. The law states that in translation, source text patterns are
often modified, and in some cases even ignored, to favour the more habitual patterns of the
target language (Toury, 1995: 268). The non-standard linguistic varieties of an English source
text would therefore be normalised during translation into Dutch, as non-standard varieties are
not habitually portrayed in Dutch literature. This corresponds to the point that was raised in the
introduction: that the translator’s choice of strategy is often restricted by target culture constraints
and explicit guidelines set by the publishing company.
Although it is widely employed, this strategy is far from ideal, and has received a lot of criticism.
Langeveld (1988: 212) describes this technique as a ‘wezenlijke verarming’, a substantial
diminishment, of the text. The strategy results in a number of translation losses, and can have a
significant effect on the quality of the text. By allowing all the characters to speak the standard
variety of the target language, the discourse loses its characterising function (Assis Rosa, 2012:
88), as characters are no longer defined by the way they speak. The difference between
characters’ social status can also no longer be perceived, as all characters speak the same
variety. Furthermore, the text becomes monoglossic (Assis Rosa, 2012: 93), meaning that both
the aesthetic value of the linguistic variation, and any attempts made by the source text author to
portray the state of a relationship between characters using different language varieties are
erased in the target text. The strategy can, however, be viewed as a safe strategy that can be
employed if the translator is having difficulty finding a suitable equivalent non-standard variety in
the target text, due to either a lack of such variety or a lack of time (Assis Rosa, 2012: 93).
Moreover, the translator can be certain that the standard variety will not have any unintended
effects on the readership, as can sometimes be the case when an existing non-standard target
language variety is used.
3.5.2. The use of an existing target-language dialect
If the translator wishes to preserve the linguistic variation, he or she may choose to translate the
non-standard linguistic variety using an existing non-standard variety of the target language. In
doing so, the translator ensures that any differences in the socio-cultural status of characters that
the author wished to portray are retained in the target text. However, finding a suitable target
language can pose a challenge. Catford (1965: 87) states that selecting an equivalent dialect is
concerned with more than topography and spatial co-ordinates. Thus, when translating the nonstandard variety in Lawrence’s novels, the dialect of the East Midlands of England, the translator
should not simply choose an existing dialect from the eastern midlands of the Netherlands. He or
she needs to pay more attention to human geography (Catford, 1965: 87), and select a linguistic
variety that is spoken by a community with a similar socio-cultural prestige. A possible solution
for the translation of the dialect in Lawrence’s novels would therefore be to use the dialect
spoken in Heerlen, a town in the south-east of the Netherlands. One may question why this
variety would be a suitable equivalent to the East Midlands dialect. At the time the source text
was written, Heerlen too was a mining town: there were eleven coalmines in operation between
1899 and 1976 (Cornips, 2003: 33). During this period, the dialect of Heerlen also enjoyed a
similar social status to the dialect of the East Midlands: it was spoken by the vast majority of the
locals, and just a small proportion of the town’s population was able to speak the standard variety
of Dutch, which is referred to in Dutch as Standaardnederlands. These people belonged to the
town’s elite, and included clergymen, schoolteachers and notaries (Cornips, 2003: 42). In
Lawrence’s novels, we also observe that the majority of the working class characters speak
dialect, whereas those who are well educated or belong to the upper classes speak Standard
Should a translator choose to use this dialect, he or she may translate the following phrases
spoken by the housekeeper Tilly in The Rainbow, ‘I couldn’t tell you. She’s got a little girl with
her,’ (TR: 31) and ‘Of three or four, with a head like a fuzz-ball’ (TR: 31) as ‘Ich weit ut neet. Zie
het un kleen meadje bie zich’ and ‘Van un joar of drei, veer, mit unne kop wie unne pluuzebol’.
Similarly, he or she may translate Mr Morel’s phrase ‘It’s ma as brings th’ money whoam, not
thee. It’s my house, not thine,’ (SAL: 33), as ‘Ich bring hiej het broeëd op de plank, neet doe. Het
is mien hoes, neet dat van dich’. Speakers of Dutch will immediately notice that this dialect differs
rather drastically from Standard Dutch. If a translator chooses this approach, he or she needs to
consider whether the dialect will limit the readability of the dialogue, as too much accuracy can
actually compromise the reader’s understanding of the dialect speech (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 290).
We observed in the source text that Lawrence did not always adapt the orthography to reflect the
pronunciation of words, as he did not want to hinder the comprehension of the text. The
translator should therefore not feel obliged to render the characters’ speech completely in a nonstandard variety. As Newmark (1988: 195) stated, the potential target text reader needs to be at
home in the dialect that is chosen. A translator may therefore choose to select just a few features
of this dialect to be represented in the target text, whilst writing the rest of the dialogue in
Standard Dutch. Ideally, the features chosen would be characteristic of other dialects in the
region, to increase the chance that the reader will be familiar with them, and to reduce the risk of
the characters becoming too associated with Heerlen, thus maintaining the credibility of the
English setting to some extent. The translator could choose features that are typical of both the
Heerlen dialects and other dialects in Limburg, where Heerlen is situated. A typical lexical feature
that the translator may therefore choose to include is the formation of the diminutive with the
suffix ‘-ke’ instead of the standard Dutch suffix ‘-je’ (Cornips, 2003: 55), while a potential
morphological feature could be the use of the pronoun ‘geej’ instead of ‘u’ as a second person
singular pronoun. The translator may translate the phrase ‘Yer non want ter make a wench on
‘im‘ (SAL: 24), in which the word ‘wench’ is used to mean ‘girl’, as ‘Geej wilt toch geen meiske
van ‘m make’?’. Target text readers will be aware that the character is speaking in dialect, but the
dialogue will still be comprehensible for the majority of readers.
Although one can make the dialect comprehensible to the reader by mixing it with features of the
standard language, creating a stylised dialect termed by Langeveld (1988: 212) as
vertalersdialect, ‘translator’s dialect’, there are still a number of problems associated with
translating the non-standard dialect using an existing target-language dialect. Firstly, the target
text dialect may have an unintended effect on the readership (Hatim and Mason, 1990: 41). An
unintended effect can arise, for instance, if non-standard varieties are only spoken by those with
a low socio-cultural status in the source culture, but by all layers of society in the target culture.
Readers of the target text may therefore perceive the characters to have a higher socio-cultural
status than the source text author intended. Similarly, the variety of the target text may have
slightly different connotations than the variety used in the source text. The connotations of a
particular dialect are often extremely unique, meaning that the employment of this strategy could
have controversial consequences. Furthermore, incongruity could be an issue, as the spatial
values evoked by the linguistic variety employed in the target text often differ significantly from
the references to a specific space which are included in the text (Assis Rosa, 2012: 90). For
example, if the translator chooses to use the dialect of Heerlen for the non-standard speech, the
characters’ speech may be rather unconvincing if the reader also comes across actual English
place names, such as Kensington (LCL: 13), Derbyshire (LCL: 145) and Nottingham (SAL: 109).
An option that would reduce this incongruity would be the alteration of the spatial coordinates of
the target text: the target text would therefore be set in the Netherlands. However, this
significantly changes a text, and some may therefore consider the target text to be an adaptation
rather than a translation.
3.5.3. The use of general non-standard language
Brodovich (1997: 29) states that the translator should aim to portray characters with a specific
socio-cultural status effectively, without making his or her speech appear to be too nationspecific. An alternative translation strategy would therefore be to translate the dialect using
general non-standard language, defined by Brodovich (1997: 26) as ‘forms which are outside the
accepted literary standard but do not belong to any particular local dialect’. A translator
translating a source text into Dutch may choose to show general non-standard speech by
demonstrating the deletion of the ‘t’ at the end of a word. This pronunciation characteristic is not
specific to one particular dialect, as it can be observed in at least six of the twelve provinces of
the Netherlands (Cornips, 2003: 50). The dialect phrase ‘Sugar’s in th’ cupboard,’ (LCL: 166)
could therefore be translated as ‘Suiker staat in de kas’’. The reader would therefore be aware
that the character speaks a non-standard variety, but the variety is not region specific, nor is the
readability of the dialect hindered. A morphological feature that the translator could include is the
use of ‘hun’, the dative case of the third-person pronoun, where ‘zij’, the third-person nominative
plural pronoun is used in Standard Dutch. The translator could therefore translate the phrase:
‘They ta’ein ‘im ter th’ ospital’ (SAL: 108) as ‘Hun brengen ‘m naar ‘t ziekenhuis’. This
phenomenon originated in the south of the Netherlands, but can now be heard across the whole
of the Netherlands (Cornips 2003: 63). It is a characteristic of non-standard language that all
Dutch readers will be familiar with, and as it is no longer region-specific, the incongruence
experienced by the reader will be limited. Nevertheless, a loss may still occur, as it is highly likely
that this general non-standard language will not evoke the same stereotype as the source text
Brodovich’s strategy bears a close resemblance to the strategy proposed by Newmark (1988:
195). Newmark declared that translators should aim to produce naturally slangy speech in
moderation, processing only a small proportion of the source language dialect. In other words,
the translator should aim to produce a form of informal speech which is considered to be
somewhat colloquial, but still fully comprehensible for the target text reader. When a translator
employs this strategy, the non-standard dialect is diluted, yet not completely normalised. Assis
Rosa (2012: 81) also deals with this strategy. She presents different linguistic varieties in a
diagram of concentric circles, based on their socio-semiotic value and prestige. The centre is
occupied by the most prestigious variety, the standard variety, while the outer circles represent a
continuum from orality to the least prestigious substandard varieties. Translating a regional nonstandard dialect using general non-standard language would be what Assis Rosa (2012: 85)
classes as a centralisation strategy, a ‘change of a more peripheral substandard towards a less
peripheral variety’, (i.e., a normalisation shift).
Assis Rosa (2012: 87) comments on the extensive use of the normalisation shift, yet Ramos
Pinto (2009: 293) claims that cases of complete normalisation are rare. This suggests that
although the variety used in target texts is usually more similar to the standard variety (i.e. more
centralised), translators do tend to retain some form of linguistic variation in the target text. It is
therefore probable that many translators rely on general non-standard language to translate a
non-standard linguistic variety. Evidence of general non-standard language can be found in
Westerdijk’s Dutch translation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, in which the translator has
translated the dialect using ‘as’ instead of ‘als’ and ‘hunnie’ instead of ‘hun’ (qtd. in Langeveld,
1988), and in Van Iddekinge-van Thiel’s Dutch translation of Agatha Christie’s novel The
Mysterious Affair at Styles, in which the maid uses colloquial phrases such as ‘In de regel heb ik
‘t niet op buitenlanders’ (qtd. in Storm, 2016: 179).
3.5.4. Ramos Pinto’s model
Ramos Pinto (2009) realised that although different strategies such as those discussed above
have been put forward, no comprehensive typology existed for the translation strategies. She
therefore devised a model aimed to aid future research on the topic. The model includes the
three aforementioned strategies, and introduces various other strategies. Although it was
intended for use by researchers, the model could also be consulted by translators who find
themselves confronted with non-standard discourse in a source text. According to Ramos Pinto
(2009: 292), the first decision a translator faces is whether or not to preserve the non-standard
linguistic variety in the target text. Should the translator choose to preserve linguistic variation, he
or she then faces several further options. The next decision involves whether or not to preserve
the spatial and temporal coordinates of the variety (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 294). Let us take for
example, the translation of the novel The Rainbow into Dutch. The four options the translator has
for the temporal and spatial coordinates of the target text are as follows:
To preserve both the spatial and temporal coordinates (producing a target text set in the
East Midlands of England in 1915)
To preserve the spatial coordinates but not the temporal coordinates (producing a target
text set in the East Midlands of England at the time of translation)
To preserve the temporal coordinates but not the spatial coordinates (producing a target
text set in the Netherlands in 1915)
To alter both the temporal and space coordinates (producing a target text set in the
Netherlands at the time of translation)
A motivation for the translator to alter the spatial coordinates of the text may be if he or she
intends to use an existing non-standard variety of the target text language (Ramos Pinto, 2009:
294). For example, if the translator wanted to use the dialect of Heerlen to translate the
Nottinghamshire dialect spoken in The Rainbow, the characters’ speech would be much more
convincing to the reader if the plot was also set in Heerlen instead of in Nottinghamshire. A
motivation for the translator to alter the temporal coordinates of the text may be the relative ease
of writing in contemporary language rather than in an archaic variety (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 294);
this is particularly significant if the translation is produced much later than the source text.
However, the alteration of the spatial and/or temporal coordinates may come under criticism, as
many view the alteration of such significant aspects of the text to be an adaption, and not a
translation (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 294). It is therefore important that the translator first consults the
publisher before making any alterations of this kind.
Assuming that the translator decides to preserve the spatial coordinates of the source text, he or
she has a range of strategies to choose from. Ramos Pinto (2009: 295) presents these strategies
on the following continuum, ranging from more to less normalised discourse. It is important to
mention here that the target text sentences used in the explanation of the strategies are my own,
and have not been taken from the existing target texts. The source text examples have been
taken from the source texts included in the corpus of this research.
Use of the standard variety in direct discourse, with written indications informing the
reader that the character was speaking a non-standard variety.
This is a compensation strategy used to compensate the loss caused by the omission of
linguistic variation. If the translator of D.H. Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow were to make
use of this strategy, he or she may translate the dialect utterance, ‘Why Lizzie—a24
Monday—we seed her goin’ past’ (TR: 31), as ‘ “Lizzie en ik hebben haar maandag zien
langs lopen”, zei ze in het dialect’. Although the reader is subsequently aware that the
speaker is speaking a non-standard variety, the translator does not give the reader an
indication of which dialect is being spoken; readers are expected to imagine the dialect,
and therefore also its connotations, themselves.
Reduction of the linguistic variation to forms of address and honorifics
Although the linguistic variation is removed from the target text, the reader will still be
able to understand the power relations between the characters. The effectiveness of this
technique depends on how the target language uses honorifics in speech. In Dutch, the
formal pronoun ‘u’ is used to address somebody who is older, somebody who is
perceived to be superior or somebody the speaker is not well acquainted with (Vismans
2013: 166-167). The informal second person pronoun ‘je’, on the other hand, is used to
address someone younger or perceived to be less prestigious, or in an informal setting.
In the source text dialect sentence ‘Your mester’s got hurt’ (SAL: 108), a young boy from
the mining pit uses the formal second person possessive pronoun ‘your’ when
addressing, the older, more prestigious, Mrs Morel. When translating this sentence into
Dutch, a translator may use the informal Dutch second person possessive pronoun ‘je’:
‘Je man is gewond geraakt’. As Mrs Morel is older than the young boy, readers at the
time of the publication of the source text would expect the boy to address her using the
formal pronoun in Dutch. Using the informal possessive pronoun ‘je’ can therefore be
considered non-standard. In this way, the translator preserves some linguistic variation,
while translating the rest of the sentence into Standard Dutch.
Upgrading the level of standard discourse formality
The use of this strategy allows the translator to retain the linguistic variation in the target
text. The standard dialogue is made more formal in the target text than in the source text,
and the non-standard variety can be translated as a less formal standard variety. For
example, if the translator were to use this strategy, he or she may translate the following
standard language utterance: ‘My husband has no idea where I am. He’ll be wondering
all kinds of things,’ (LCL: 131) spoken by Lady Chatterley, in the following way: ‘Mijn man
is niet op de hoogte van waar ik ben. Hij zal zich waarschijnlijk ongerust maken’. When
using this strategy, the difference in social status is still suggested to some extent in the
different characters’ dialogue. However, the difference is likely to be more subtle than in
the source text, where it is expressed by means of a different variety rather than simply a
different register of the same variety. Moreover, the linguistic stereotypes intended by the
source text author are likely to be weakened, and perhaps even lost altogether.
Use of oral discourse features
As oral discourse is less prestigious than written discourse, the translator may use
features of oral discourse in order to portray the speech as non-standard. This may
include features of spontaneous speech such as exclamations, tags, reformulation, false
starts, and fillers (Assis Rosa 2015: 211). In instances where these features are used in
the source text, such as Oliver Mellor’s utterance, ‘Eh well! This wor’t best,’ (LCL: 177),
the use of the same features in the target text seems logical. However, if the source text
dialogue does not contain any features that are typical of oral disourse, such as the
sentence ‘Tha loved me just now, wider than iver tha thout tha would,’ (LCL: 176), the
addition of a feature such as a reformulation or a filler in the translation may alter the
meaning of the utterance, making the speaker seem more hesitant than in the source
Use of features from different non-standard varieties
This strategy resembles the strategy put forward by Brodovich (1997: 26) and Catford
(1988: 195). The translator may make use of phonological, lexical and morphosyntactic
features that occur in various non-standard varieties of the target language. The target
text reader is made aware that the character is speaking a non-standard variety, yet the
variety is not specific to one particular region, meaning that there is less incongruence
between the setting of the novel and the non-standard variety spoken by the characters.
The stereotypes that this speech evokes may however not be entirely equivalent to those
evoked by the dialect speech in the source text.
Use of features of a specific non-standard variety
As already discussed, this strategy makes use of a dialect with a similar status to the one
used in the source text. If this strategy is employed, the difference in social class
between the characters who speak the non-standard variety and the characters who
speak the standard variety is likely to be retained. However, in cultures where nonstandard varieties are not usually a feature of fictional literature, it can be deemed
unconvincing, and furthermore, there is often an incongruence between the setting of the
novel, which is usually in a country where the source language is spoken, and the target
language variety chosen, making the characters’ speech rather implausible for the
Ramos Pinto (2009: 296) states explicitly that the strategies cannot be seen as generally better
or worse than each other; the circumstances of each individual translation and its translator will
determine which of the strategies is most appropriate. She also states that in many cases, a
combination of different strategies can be found in the same target text, as translators work with
a number of features that are easily recognised by the target text readership (Ramos Pinto,
2009: 296). In the following chapters, the analysis of the strategies that have been utilised by the
Dutch translators of D.H. Lawrence’s novels will be based on Ramos Pinto’s model.
4. Analysis
4.1. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
4.1.1. Linguistic varieties in the source text
Lady Chatterley’s Lover focuses on the life of Sir Clifford Chatterley, an ‘expensively tailored’
(LCL: 6) member of aristocracy who was paralysed from the waist down while fighting in the First
World War, and his wife Lady Constance Chatterley, a ‘well-to-do intelligentsia’ (LCL: 10) who is
the daughter of a well-known Royal Academian. The couple live at Wragby Hall, a large estate
on the outskirts of Tevershall village in the Midlands of England. We are informed early in the
novel that the Chatterleys live isolated from the village: ‘There was no communication between
Wragby Hall and Tevershall village – none. […] It was not that she and Clifford were unpopular –
they merely belonged to a different species altogether from the colliers’ (LCL: 14). The couple
are not only socially isolated from the rest of the village, they are also linguistically isolated. Both
the couple and their family and acquaintances speak Standard English, which is referred to by
Lawrence and his characters as ‘correct English’ (LCL: 80), ‘good English’ (LCL: 167) and ‘pure
English’ (LCL: 201). The positive adjectives ‘correct’, ‘pure’ and ‘good’ indicate that this variety of
English is regarded as the most prestigious in this language community. Those who live in the
mining village, on the other hand, speak the local dialect: ‘there was something in their deepmouthed slurring of the dialect’ (LCL: 14). This dialect is associated with a low level of education:
‘How could they make him an officer, when he speaks broad Derbyshire?’ (LCL: 92) and is
accredited with low prestige: ‘And talking broad Derbyshire again like the worst’ (LCL: 145). The
different language varieties are used by Lawrence to emphasise the difference between the
social classes in the novel.
This difference becomes an important theme in the novel when Lady Chatterley, somewhat
frustrated by the lack of physical affection from her husband, begins an affair with their
gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, the son of a local blacksmith. Mellors is undoubtedly the most
interesting character in the novel when discussing language varieties, due to his ability to codeswitch. He is shown to be able to speak both Standard English and the local Derbyshire dialect,
and sometimes switches between the two varieties within the same conversation. When he uses
the non-standard variety, Mellors’ speech contains a large number of the features of the
Derbyshire dialect that we have already described: phonological features such as the reduction
of the indefinite article to ‘t’’ (LCL: 166), morphological features such as the second person
singular pronoun ‘thee’ (LCL: 127), and lexical features such as the term of affection ‘duckie’
(LCL: 218). When he speaks Standard English, his speech wholly resembles Lady and Sir
Chatterley’s speech. The following exchange between Lady Chatterley and Mellors effectively
illustrates Mellors’ ability to code-switch. He answers Lady Chatterley’s first question in Standard
English, but code-switches to the Derbyshire dialect when responding to her second question:
“Do you lock up the hut when you’re not here?”
“Yes, your ladyship.”
“Do you think I could have a key too? So that I could sit sometimes! Are there two keys?”
“Not as Ah knowon, the’ isna.”
He had lapsed into the vernacular.
(LCL: 90)
Leith describes Mellors, referring to his bi-dialectalism, as ‘one of the most spectacular
exponents of this phenomenon in all literature’ (1980: 254). He labels Mellors’ code-switching
‘self-conscious’ and ‘occasionally bizarre’ (Leith, 1980: 254), as there seems to be no particular
trigger for the switch between the two. It is however possible to identify two types of instances in
which Mellors tends to adopt the Derbyshire dialect. The first is when he is attempting to distance
himself from Lady Chatterley. We witness this in chapter twelve, when Lady Chatterley declares
that she cannot love Mellors. Here, Mellors speaks the non-standard variety defensively, in an
attempt to create distance between himself and Lady Chatterley: ‘Canna ter! Well dunna thee
fret! There’s no law says as tha’s got to. Ta’e ‘t for what it is,’ (LCL: 172). The second instance in
which Mellors tends to use the non-standard variety is when he is experiencing intense feelings
(Leith, 1980: 256). The long monologue in which he expresses his strong opinions on the mining
industry is spoken completely in the local dialect, as is his speech whenever he and Lady
Chatterley are intimate with each other: ‘Tha’s got such a nice tail on thee!’ (LCL: 222). As a
result, readers of the source text associate the non-standard variety with defensiveness,
passionate opinions, and sexual tenderness. The character’s ability to speak both the standard
and a non-standard variety has a characterising function; Mellors is able to use the two varieties
to his advantage, making the reader aware that he is both intelligent and unpredictable. His use
of both the prestigious standard variety and the lowly local dialect also reflects his position in
society as ‘socially stranded’ (Leith, 1980: 254) between the people of Tevershall and the
The only other main character who speaks a non-standard form of English in the source text is
Mrs Bolton. Mrs Bolton, the former parish nurse, is hired by the Chatterleys to look after Clifford
Chatterley when the family decide that looking after her disabled husband is putting too much of
a strain on Lady Chatterley. By moving in with the Chatterleys, Mrs Bolton, described as ‘a new
voice in Wragby’ (LCL: 82), creates a bridge between the upper-class Chatterleys and the
working-class population in the village of Tevershall. Linguistically, too, Mrs Bolton forms a
middle ground. In the source text, we are told that Mrs Bolton speaks ‘with a bit of a broad slur,
like, but in heavily correct English’ (LCL: 80), where ‘correct English’ is used by Lawrence to refer
to the standard variety. Although many of the sentences uttered by Mrs Bolton, such as, ‘It’s a
mercy she had a sister to come and help her’ (LCL: 81) and ‘He’s the one man I never thought of’
(LCL: 146), resemble Standard English, she does make use of features of the local dialect, such
as the omission of the ‘th’ in them: ‘none of ‘em’ (LCL: 81), and the use of a plural pronoun with a
singular verb: ‘they was’ (LCL: 81). On the linguistic spectrum, the variety of English spoken by
Mrs Bolton lies between the standard variety spoken by the Chatterleys and the dialect spoken
by Mellors and the rest of the villagers.
4.1.2. Linguistic varieties in the target text
In the Dutch translation Lady Chatterley’s Minnaar, produced by J.A. Sandfort (1893-1959) and
published by Uitgeverij De Driehoek in 1928, Mellors’ non-standard speech has been normalised.
In other words, where Mellors is depicted speaking the Derbyshire dialect in the source text, this
dialogue has been translated into Standard Dutch. When comparing the two texts, we observe
that sentences such as ‘Nay, yo’ mun ax ‘er’ (LCL: 58) and ‘Ah ‘m getting’ th’ coops ready for th’
young bods’ (LCL: 88) have been translated into the Standard Dutch sentences ‘Nee, u moet het
haar niet vragen’ (LCM: 59) and ‘Ik ben de hokken aan het klaarmaken voor de jonge vogels’
(LCM: 88). As a result, there is no longer a distinction in the direct discourse between Mellors’
non-standard speech and his standard speech.
Despite this monoglossic direct discourse, the target text reader is still made aware of the fact
that Mellors speaks both a non-standard and standard variety of English. In the source text, the
authorial comment often remarks on which variety Mellors is speaking. This is sometimes done
by means of an adverbial phrase, such as, ‘he replied callously, in broad vernacular’ (LCL: 59)
and ‘he asked, with the curious naïveté of the dialect’ (LCL: 88). In other instances, the
information is embedded in the narrative: ‘He spoke cold, good English, and there was anger in
his voice’ (LCL: 167), or even indicated when the narrator wishes to divulge another character’s
opinion on the variety being spoken: ‘She hated the dialect: the thee and the tha and the thysen’
(LCL: 177) and ‘She never knew how to answer him when he was in this condition of the
vernacular’ (LCL: 229). There is some variation in the way in which the translator has dealt with
these written indications. In many instances, the indications have been retained and translated
rather literally in the target text. For example, the phrase ‘he said, using the intonation of the
dialect’ (LCL: 123) has been translated by Sandfort as ‘zei hij met de stembuiging van het dialect’
(LCM: 125), and Lady Chatterley’s view of the dialect, ‘She hated the excess of vernacular in his
speech’ (LCL: 94) has been translated as ‘Zij verfoeide de overmaat van dialect in zijn taal’
(LCM: 95). Similarly, the authorial comment ‘On the last words, his voice had fallen into the
heavy broad drag of the dialect’ (LCL: 48) has been translated as ‘Bij het laatste woord was zijn
stem neergezakt in de zware, brouwende keelklank van het dialect’ (LCM: 48). On a number of
occasions however, the translator has omitted the reference to linguistic variation. The source
text authorial comment, ‘he asked, with the curious naïveté of the dialect’ (LCL: 88) has been
translated simply as ‘vroeg hij’ (LCM: 88), and the comment on Mellors’ code-switching, ‘He had
lapsed into the vernacular,’ (LCL: 90) has been completely omitted in the target text. In instances
where the indication has been retained, the technique employed by the translator can be likened
to some extent to the translation technique described in Ramos Pinto’s (2009: 25) model, in
which the translator uses written indications to inform the reader that the character is speaking in
a non-standard variety. However, the strategy described by Ramos Pinto is a method of
compensation. As the indications in the target text have been translated from the source text,
and not added by Sandfort himself, they cannot be considered a means of compensation.
We have already touched on the fact that Mellors can consciously code-switch between the nonstandard and the standard variety of English. Lady Chatterley, however, does not possess this
ability. Readers of the source text are made aware of this when she attempts to imitate Mellors’
dialect in chapter twelve:
“Tha mun come one naight ter th’ cottage, afore tha goos - sholl ter?” he asked, lifting his
eyebrows as he looked at her, his hands dangling between his knees.
“Sholl ter?” she echoed, teasing.
He smiled.
“Ay, sholl ter?” he repeated.
“Ay!” she said, imitating the dialect sound.
“Yi!” he said.
“Yi!” she repeated.
“An slaip wi’ me,” he said. “It need that. When sholt come?”
“When sholl I?” she said.
“Nay,” he said, tha canna do ‘t. -- When sholt come?”
“’Appen Sunday,” she said.
“’Appen a’ Sunday! Ay!”
“Ay!” she said.
He laughed at her quickly.
“Nay, tha canna,” he protested.
“Why canna I?” she said.
He laughed. Her attempts at the dialect were so ludicrous, somehow.
(LCL: 177)
The passage continues, and in total, Lady Chatterley makes ten rather poor attempts to speak
the non-standard variety, with both Mellors and the narrator ridiculing her attempts. This
passage, despite adding humour to the novel, is also rather symbolic. While Mellors is socially
mobile and has the ability to belong, linguistically, to more than one social class, Lady Chatterley
will never be able to free herself from her upper class origins. Once again, the reader is exposed
to the difference in the characters’ social background. However, in the target text, a large portion
of the dialogue has been omitted by the translator, including both Mellors’ and the narrator’s
comments on her attempts. The target text passage reads:
‘Je moet een nacht in mijn huisje komen, voordat je weg gaat; zul je?’ vroeg hij, zijn
wenkbrauwen optrekkend, terwijl hij naar haar keek; en liet zijn handen tussen zijn
knieën bengelen.
‘Zul je?’ echode zij plagend.
Hij glimlachte en ging voort: ‘En bij me slapen. Dat is nodig. Wanneer kom je?’
‘Misschien zondag’, zei zij.
‘Kom dan, je moet gaan!’ zei hij.
(LCM: 181)
The portion of the dialogue that has been included in the translation has been completely
normalised, much like the dialect speech in the rest of the novel. The normalisation of the speech
is actually likely to be the reason for the omission; Lady Chatterley’s imitations would not have
had the same effect if she was attempting to imitate the variety that she also speaks herself. The
lack of linguistic variation, and the omission of the derogatory comments from both Mellors and
the narrator leave the reader unaware of Chatterley’s inability to code-switch, and consequently,
her inability to escape her upper class identity.
As Mellors’ dialect speech has been translated into Standard Dutch, one would expect the
translator to also have used a normalisation strategy when translating Mrs Bolton’s speech, as
her speech contains fewer features of the local dialect in the source text. However, rather
surprisingly, the translator has adopted a different strategy here. In the target text, Mrs Bolton’s
speech contains a number of phonological features of general non-standard Dutch. When
gossiping about the other villagers, she uses the enclitic form of the possessive pronoun ‘haar’,
‘d’r’: ‘Miss Allsop d’r trouwen’ (LCM: 102). She also pronounces the adjective ‘oude’ as ‘ouwe’:
‘Miss Allsop, de dochter van ouwe James’ (LCM: 102). At one point in the text, she recalls how
she used to speak dialect to her late husband. In the source text, she imitates herself speaking a
rather broad dialect: ‘I used to say to him: Oh, let thysen go, lad! - I’d talk broad to him
sometimes’ (LCL: 162). In the target text, Mrs Bolton states: ‘Ik zei dan wel tegen hem: ‘Toe, la je
nie kenne, jong!’ want soms spraak ik dialect tegen hem’ (LCM: 167). Again, the translator relies
on phonological features of non-standard Dutch, such as the deletion of the final ‘t’ in ‘laat’ and
‘niet’, and the final ‘n’ in the verb ‘kennen’. As these features are not specific to one particular
dialect of Dutch, we can conclude that this strategy is comparable to the strategy that Brodovich
(1997: 26) described as translation using general non-standard language.
4.1.3. Discussion
The normalisation technique chosen by Sandfort to translate Mellors’ non-standard dialogue has
far-reaching consequences. Firstly, as the level of the standard discourse formality remains
unchanged, the target text becomes monoglossic, leaving the target text reader a novel that is far
less linguistically diverse than its source text. Secondly, the lack of linguistic diversity means that
both the inhabitants of Tevershall and the Chatterleys speak the same variety, causing their
difference in social status to be less prominent in the target text than it is in the source text. The
written indications that have been retained by the translator ensure that the reader is aware of
the fact that Mellors speaks two varieties of English, despite this not being apparent in the direct
discourse of the target text. However, the translator has not translated all of the indications that
are included in the source text, and at no point in the target text has he added an indication by
means of compensation. On many occasions, the target text reader will therefore simply
presume that Mellors is speaking the standard variety, when he is in fact speaking the local
dialect in the source text. The sometimes rather unpredictable code-switches that characterise
Mellors’ speech are also consequently lost in the translation.
One may presume that the translator could not find a suitable non-standard variety of Dutch to
translate the non-standard direct speech. However, the translation of Mrs Bolton’s discourse
using general non-standard language proves that this is not the case. One can only speculate on
the reasons why Sandfort chose to preserve the non-standard speech in Mrs Bolton’s discourse,
yet normalise Mellors’ discourse. Mrs Bolton plays a considerably less prominent role in the
novel than Mellors, and she speaks on just a number of occasions. It is possible that the
translator or his publisher considered the translation of Mellors’ dialect speech into a nonstandard variety a hindrance to comprehension, whereas Mrs Bolton’s smattering of nonstandard language was considered sporadic enough not to pose a hindrance. Whatever the
motivation may have been, the decision made by Sandfort to apply different techniques when
translating the speech of these two characters certainly has an impact on the target text. By
allowing Mrs Bolton to speak general non-standard Dutch and Mellors to speak Standard Dutch,
the translator distorts their social backgrounds, giving the target text reader the impression that
Mellors enjoys a higher social status than Mrs Bolton.
4.2 The Rainbow
4.2.1. Linguistic varieties in the source text
In The Rainbow, Lawrence uses the non-standard variety to characterise the tightly-knit, rural
community of Cossethay, a fictional village in the Erewash Valley; the community is marked off
from the wider world by a distinctive way of speaking (Leith, 1980: 248). The non-standard
variety of English is primarily observed in the first third of the novel, when the plot focuses on life
at Marsh Farm. The main dialect-speaking character is the farmer Tom Brangwen whose
opening sentence is, ‘I’ve got a turnip on my shoulders, let me stick to th’ fallow,’ (TR: 19). In
other words, he enjoys farming, and wants his mother, who wants him to get a good education,
to let him continue working on the land. A number of minor characters also speak the dialect
characteristic of the Erewash Valley, including Tom’s housekeeper Tilly, his friends, the men he
meets when he attends the farmer’s market in Nottingham, the guests at his daughter’s wedding,
and some other locals the main characters engage in conversation with. Tom’s wife, Lydia, does
not speak the local dialect, as she is originally from Poland. We are told that Lydia speaks
English ‘in the curious detached way of one speaking a foreign language’ (TR: 34). His stepdaughter Anna does not speak the local dialect either, as both her mother and her late father
were Polish, and she lived in both Poland and London before moving to Cossethay. These two
characters are not linguistically isolated because of their socio-cultural status, as is the case with
the non-dialect speaking characters in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but due to the fact they were
born outside the community. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the different language
varieties do not give an indication of a character’s social class in this novel. As is the case in the
other novels, the narrator implies that the speakers of the local dialect enjoy a low level of
prestige, describing the dialect speech of the workmen as ‘vulgar’ (TR: 275) and stating that a
girl’s ‘common accent’ suggests that she is probably ‘a warehouse-lass’ (TR: 211). Tom
Brangwen’s grandchildren do not speak the local dialect, despite the fact they are born and
raised in Cossethay. Lawrence has assigned them Standard English speech to reflect their upper
class status, as we learn that the ‘Brangwens were rich’ and that even the ‘vicar spoke to them
on equal terms’ (TR: 244).
Lawrence’s representation of the local dialect is more economical and selective in The Rainbow
than in the other two source texts (Leith, 1980: 251). Although Tom Brangwen’s dialogue often
contains typical features of the Nottinghamshire dialect such as the reduction of the definite
article to ‘t’’: ‘Can’t ter find t’ road then?’ (TR: 69), he seldom uses the second person informal
pronoun ‘thee’, and his speech pays a stronger resemblance to Standard English than that of the
male dialect-speaking characters in the other two novels. It would appear that the non-standard
variety is used in this novel predominantly to characterise the traditional farming community and
to indicate the local cultural features of the area in which Lawrence grew up. The dialect is not
particularly foregrounded in the novel, nor is it referred to in the authorial comment (Leith, 1980:
4.2.2. Linguistic varieties in target text 1
The first Dutch translation, De Regenboog, was produced by H.J. Balfoort and J. de Jong and
published by Uitgeverij De Driehoek in 1947. When faced with the main character Tom
Brangwen’s dialect speech, the translators have opted for Standard Dutch: Tom’s phrases such
as ‘Ay, I’m commin,’ (TR: 23) and ‘I dunno why they have that side-saddle business, twistin’ a
woman in two’ (TR: 24) have been translated as ‘Ja, ik kom,’ (DRi: 21) and ‘Ik snap niet waarom
ze die dameszadels hebben uitgevonden. Ze wringen een vrouw in tweeën’ (DRi: 22). There is
just one occasion where Tom’s speech has been translated using elements of non-standard
Dutch. In the source text, Tom speaks dialect to his horse: ‘Tha’rt a rare old cock, Jacky-boy, wi’
a belly on thee as does credit to thy drink, if not to thy corn’ (TR: 226). The monologue continues,
and Tom uses terms of endearment that are typical of the Nottinghamshire dialect to address his
horse, including ‘feller’, ‘lass’ and ‘gel’ (TR: 226). In the target text, Tom speaks Standard Dutch
to the horse; however, he does use the diminutive terms of endearment ‘beessie’: ‘Vooruit
beessie’ (DRi: 246) and ‘juffie’: ‘Schiet op juffie’ (DRi: 246). These two diminutives stem from the
nouns ‘beest’, meaning ‘animal’, and ‘juffrouw’, which, at the time of translation, was used to refer
to a young lady. In Standard Dutch, the diminutive is usually formed by adding a variant of the
suffix ‘-je’ to the end of a word (Shetter, 1959: 77). The suffix ‘-ie’ originated from the dialects
spoken in the provinces of North and South Holland, and although it is now used in the spoken
language in other provinces too, it is still associated with non-standard speech (Shetter, 1959:
78). We can therefore conclude that the translators have employed Brodovich’s technique of
using general non-standard language when translating these terms of endearment.
In this translation, the dialect speech of the more minor characters contains more non-standard
features than the dialect speech of the main characters. However, it is important to note that their
non-standard speech has not been translated exclusively into non-standard Dutch; the
translators have primarily made use of Standard Dutch, and has included just a number of
features of non-standard Dutch. All but three of these non-standard features can be classified as
general, and not region-specific. They are also primarily phonological. One recurring feature of
the minor characters’ non-standard speech in the target text is the representation of the third
person masculine pronoun ‘hij’ as ‘ie’. It is used by the dialect-speaking guests at Anna
Brangwen’s wedding, in phrases such as ‘maar daar wou-ie niets van weten hoor’ (DRi: 141) and
‘dat toen onze Harold ziek was, dat-ie toen achterin de spiegel steeds maar een engel zag’ (DRi:
141). Another non-standard phonological feature that is observed repeatedly is the pronunciation
of a ‘d’ as a semi-vowel when it follows a vowel and precedes a schwa. In other words, in
qualifying adjectives such as ‘goede’, the ‘d’ is often pronounced as a ‘j’ in non-standard Dutch,
and in adjectives such as ‘oude’, the ‘d’ is often pronounced as a ‘w’ (De Vries, 2001: 42). The
translators have rendered this non-standard pronunciation in the spelling of the words.
Characters that speak non-standard English in the source text, are witnessed saying words such
as ‘goeienavond’ (DRi: 309) and ‘ouwewijvenpraatje’ (DRi: 30) in the target text. Occasionally,
non-standard morphosyntax is also observed in the target text speech of the more minor
characters. During the wedding, Tom Brangwen’s sister-in-law uses the possessive pronoun ‘d’r’.
In Standard Dutch ‘d’r’ is often used as a spoken variant of the third-person feminine singular
possessive pronoun ‘haar’ (De Vries, 2001: 18). However, Tom’s sister-in-law uses ‘d’r’ as an
alternative to the third-person plural possessive pronoun ‘hun’: ‘Het is gewoonweg niet te
gelooven wat kinderen soms in d’r neus stoppen’ (DRi: 141). This usage of the pronoun ‘d’r’ for a
plural noun is a morphological feature of non-standard Dutch (De Vries, 2001: 79). Another
example of non-standard morphosyntax in the target text dialogue is the use of the adverb ‘heel’,
used in combination with ‘geen’, to mean ‘none at all’. The source text statement ‘Theer isn’t no
angel’ (TR: 128) has been translated as ‘Maar d’r is heel geen engel’ (DRi: 141). In Standard
Dutch, the adverb ‘helemaal’ would have been used here. Incidentally, the word ‘d’r’ is used in
this example not as an alternative to the possessive pronoun ‘haar’ or ‘hun’, but as an spoken
alternative to the adverb ‘er’. This usage also constitutes general non-standard Dutch (De Vries
2001: 17).
In three instances, the translators make use of lexical items from a specific non-standard variety.
When a young Anna Brangwen travels to Nottingham with her father, two of the locals address
her as ‘lass’ (TR: 81). In the target text, the translators have translated ‘lass’ as ‘meideke’:
‘Morgen meideke’ (DRi: 85) and ‘Wel, m’n meideke’ (DRi: 89). The diminutive suffix ‘-ke’ is
characteristic of the southern parts of the Netherlands d Flanders (Shetter, 1959: 78), and the
word ‘meideke’ actually belongs to the dialect spoken in Maastricht (Weijenberg, 2015).
When an example is given of the workmen’s speech in the source text: ‘Workmen in heavy boots
walked grinding down the aisles, calling out in a vulgar accent, ‘Hi, mate, has them corner
mouldin’s come?’’ (TR: 275), the translators have included the non-standard words ‘maot’ and
‘benne’ in the target text, translating the non-standard speech as ‘Hei, maot, benne de kalklijsten
al gekomme?’ (DRi: 294). Research suggests that the word ‘maot’, which is used here instead of
the word ‘maat’, meaning ‘mate’, is used in various dialects in the province of Overijssel (Van der
Sijs, 2015). The dialect word ‘benne’ originates from the province of North Holland, and is used
here as the third-person plural form of the verb ‘zijn’, meaning ‘to be’ (Boekenoogen, 1897: 268).
On two occasions, the translators have used the first of the techniques described in Ramos
Pinto’s model (2009: 295): they have added a written indication to inform the readers that the
speaker is speaking a non-standard variety. These written indications were not present in the
source text. The source text sentence, ‘And soon it was the custom for the passer-by to sing out:
‘How are ter, Tom? Well, my lady!’’ (TR: 81) has been translated as ‘En spoedig werd het een
gewoonte van de voorbijgangers om met hun zangerig dialect als: ‘Alles wel, Tom? Zoozoo,
jonge dame!’ te zingen’, (DRi: 85). Here the adverbial phrase ‘met hun zangerig dialect,’ which
literally means ‘in a lilting dialect’ has been added as a compensation technique, as non-standard
discourse from the source text has been normalised in translation. Using the same technique, the
translators have translated the source text sentence ‘’Well ma little maid,’ Braithwaite would say
to her, ‘an’ how’s th’ lamb’s wool?’’ (TR: 85) as ‘Wel, m’n meideke,’ zei Braithwaite in zijn breede
dialect tegen haar, ‘en hoe staat ‘t met de lammetjeswol?’ (DRi: 89). The adverbial phrase ‘in
breede dialect’, which translates as ‘in broad dialect’, has been added to compensate for the loss
of linguistic variation in the discourse.
4.2.3. Discussion
The translators chose to adopt a normalisation strategy when translating Tom Brangwen’s nonstandard discourse, only deviating when translating the terms of endearment he uses to address
his horse. Although this technique is often criticised as it removes pragmatic and semiotic
meaning from the text, one could argue that normalisation is actually an appropriate strategy for
the translation of non-standard speech in this novel. In the other source texts, the non-standard
dialect is used to characterise the persons in the novel and emphasise differences in social
classes. However, this novel differs in that dialect is not particularly foregrounded, nor does it
play a significant role in distinguishing certain characters. The primary function of the nonstandard variety in this novel is to give readers an impression of local cultural features. As the
novel is translated into Dutch, the use of an existing Dutch dialect - or even general non-standard
Dutch - would not have the same effect on the reader, as it is impossible to indicate local cultural
features of the Erewash Valley in Dutch lexicon, morphosyntax and phonology. Due to the
relatively insignificant role the non-standard dialect plays in this source text, and with the
knowledge that a non-standard variety would not have the same function as it does in the target
text, it seems only logical for the translators to have employed the rather safe strategy of
normalisation. Not only is the standard variety considered the simplest to render, but the
translators could also be certain that this variety would not have any unintended effects on the
The non-standard speech of the more minor characters has also been normalised, but to a lesser
extent. The translators made use of a variety of strategies when translating these characters’
speech. Firstly, a number of sentences include characteristics of general non-standard
phonology and morphosyntax. This technique can be considered effective, as the reader
becomes aware that the characters are speaking a non-standard variety, but the comprehension
of the dialogue is unhindered. However, the effectiveness of this strategy is somewhat limited in
this novel as general non-standard Dutch does not contribute to the main function of the dialect:
it does not introduce readers to local cultural features of the region in which the novel is set. In
addition to the general non-standard Dutch, three items of region-specific lexicon have been
observed in this target text. The use of features of a specific non-standard variety of the target
language is often criticised, especially when the spatial coordinates of a text have been
preserved, as it renders the characters unrealistic (Ramos Pinto, 2009: 289). However, as the
translators’ use of dialect-specific lexemes is very sporadic, and the three lexemes all originate
from different regions of the Netherlands, readers of this target text are unlikely to associate the
characters with one particular region of the Netherlands. Here, the translators have successfully
indicated that these characters speak a sub-standard variety, whilst ensuring this variety is not
too region-specific. Although, once again, it is important to consider the limited extent to which
this strategy contributes towards giving readers a taste of the local culture. Finally, there are also
occasions on which the translators have added a written indication in the authorial comment to
inform readers that a non-standard variety is being spoken in order to compensate for the
normalisation of the dialogue. This compensation technique is effective, as the translators can be
certain that it will not have any unintended connotations. Readers are made aware of the fact
that a non-standard variety is being spoken, and comprehension of the dialogue remains
unimpeded. However, this strategy unfortunately decreases the aesthetic value of the text, and
the fact that readers are left to imagine the non-standard dialect themselves means that they are
not exposed to the local cultural features of the Erewash Valley.
4.2.4. Linguistic varieties in target text 2
Twenty-one years later, in 1968, J.A. Schalekamp (1926-2015) produced a second Dutch
translation of The Rainbow, also entitled De Regenboog. This second translation was published
by Uitgeverij Contact. The motivation for this retranslation has not been specified, although
possible motives for retranslation include the need to modernise the language of a translation,
the desire to produce a new interpretation of the source text, or a publishing house’s desire to
retranslate a text to generate sales (Tahir Gürçağlar, 2011: 234-235).
In this target text, as in the first Dutch translation of The Rainbow, Tom Brangwen’s speech has
been normalised. At points where Tom Brangwen speaks the local dialect in the source text,
such as, ‘An’ is that all as you’ve gathered, as she’s housekeeping at the vicarage?’ (TR: 30), he
is observed speaking Standard Dutch in the target text: ‘En is dat alles wat je te weten gekomen
bent, dat ze huishoudster op de pastorie is?’ (DRii: 32). At just one point in the target text does
Tom Brangwen speak non-standard Dutch: when he is drunk and is talking to his horse on the
way home from Nottingham. Incidentally, this is the same point at which the previous translators
used elements of non-standard Dutch in Tom’s speech. In this target text, says: ‘Kom op,
meissie, gaan we naar de ouwe hofstede toe’ (DRii: 252). His sentence contains three features
of non-standard Dutch: one lexical, one phonological, and one syntactic. The lexical item that
belongs to non-standard Dutch is the term of affection ‘meissie’. The Standard Dutch word for
‘girl’ is ‘meisje’, and in the word ‘meissie’ the Standard Dutch diminutive suffix ‘-je’ is replaced by
the diminutive suffix ‘-ie’, which, as discussed earlier, originated from the dialects spoken the
provinces of North and South Holland. As the suffix is now also used in other parts of the
Netherlands, the noun ‘meissie’ can be considered a feature of general non-standard lexis. The
phonological feature is the pronunciation of the ‘d’ in the adjective ‘oude’ as the semi-vowel ‘w’, a
feature of general non-standard language that was also seen at certain points in the other target
text of this novel. The syntactic feature is the non-standard syntax in the final clause of Tom’s
statement. In a Standard Dutch main clause, the verb takes second position. In the clause ‘gaan
we naar de ouwe hofstede toe’, however, the verb ‘gaan’, meaning ‘to go’, is in first position. It is
likely that the translator wanted to demonstrate non-standard speech, by omitting the conjunction
‘dan’, which means ‘then’ from before the verb in Tom Brangwen’s clause. As this syntax does
not belong to a specific non-standard variety of Dutch, this clause can be considered general
non-standard Dutch.
When translating the non-standard speech of the more minor characters, the translator also
applied a largely normalising technique. However, there are also a number of features of nonstandard Dutch observed in their speech. The following sentences, spoken by Tom Brangwen’s
non-standard dialect speaking housekeeper Tilly, are a prime example of the extent to which the
speech has been normalised. In the source text, Tilly states: ‘I tell you there’s what’s on t’ table,
there isn’t a morsel besides’ (TR: 35) and ‘Get summat an’ wrap that up for her’ (TR: 35). In the
target text, these two statements have been translated as ‘Ik zeg u toch wat er op de tafel ligt.
Behalve dat hebben we geen kriemel,’ (DRii: 37) and ‘Neem er wat van af en pak dat voor haar
in’ (DRii: 37). Just one example of non-standard speech is observed in these target text
sentences: the noun ‘kriemel’, which is used here instead of the Standard Dutch word ‘kruimel’.
The word ‘kriemel’ is a region-specific lexical item, as it is used in by dialect-speakers in
Maastricht (Woutersen et al. 1994: 471) and other local dialects in the south of the Netherlands.
Although the above example demonstrates a region-specific dialectal feature, most of the
elements of non-standard language used by the translator in the speech of the more minor
characters are general non-standard features that are used across the Netherlands and
Flanders. There are phonological, morphosyntactic and lexical features. For example, when
guests are speaking at the Brangwens’ wedding, we observe phonological features such as the
pronunciation of the adverb ‘even’ as ‘effe’: ‘Wacht effe’ (DRii: 142), and the contraction of ‘dat is’
to ‘da’s’: ‘Da’s een waar woord’ (DRii: 142), which are common features of non-standard spoken
Dutch in the majority of regions. Non-standard morphology is observed when the non-standard
source text sentence, ‘I can always remember, when our Harold was bad, he did nothink but see
an angel at th’ back o’ th’ lookin’ glass’ (TR: 129) is translated as ‘Ik weet nog goed, toen onze
Harold ziek was, toen zag ie niks anders as een engel aan de achterkant van de spiegel’ (DRii:
144). In the source text, the word ‘as’ is used to represent the non-standard pronunciation of the
word ‘als’ in the construction ‘niks anders as’, which means ‘nothing but’. In Standard Dutch, the
conjuction ‘dan’ is used instead of ‘als’, but the use of ‘als’ in this construction is a frequently
occurring phenomenon in general non-standard Dutch (De Vries, 2001: 290).
When discussing the linguistic variation in this target text, there are two minor characters that are
particularly worthy of discussion: a married couple who Ursula Brangwen meets while taking a
walk. In the target text, we immediately learn that the couple speak a non-standard variety, as
the man greets Ursula by saying ‘Goeienavond’ (DRii: 321) instead of the standard Dutch
pronunciation ‘Goedenavond’. In the source text, the man uses the Standard English greeting
‘Good-evening’ (TR: 289). Here, the translator has used a compensation technique; he has used
non-standard language in the target text where standard language is used in the source text.
This is presumably because the translator was unable to translate other elements of the nonstandard source text speech in a non-standard variety of Dutch. The translator has compensated
for the losses that occur later on in the dialogue, when dialect words such as ‘ay’ and ‘an’ (TR:
290) are translated as ‘ja’ and ‘en’ (DRii: 322). Despite these losses, the translator has managed
to include a relatively large amount of non-standard Dutch in these characters’ speech. Neither of
the characters pronounces the ‘n’ when it follows a schwa at the end of a word. Sentences such
as ‘’’Appen for them as is childt-nursin’ it’s none so rosy’ (TR: 289) and ‘You’ll mess your frock’
(TR: 290) have therefore been translated as ‘Voor lui die kindere groot motte brenge is het nou
net toevallig helemaal niet zo rooskleurig’ (DRii: 321) and ‘Je zal je jurk nog vuilmake’ (DRii:
322). This is a common phonological feature of spoken non-standard Dutch. Both the husband
and wife use the verb form ‘heb’ with third person pronouns, instead of the Standard Dutch thirdperson form ‘heeft’: ‘Ze heb nog geen naam’ (DRii: 323). This morphological feature originated in
the dialects spoken in the Randstad, a large conurbation in the central-western Netherlands, but
is now used by other speakers across the Netherlands (De Vries, 2001; Stroop, 2010). Other
elements of general non-standard Dutch include the use of the possessive pronoun ‘d’r’ as a
contraction of ‘haar’: ‘d’r salonnetje’ (DRii: 322), the contraction of ‘dat is’ to ‘da’s’: ‘da’s veel te
veel’ (DRii: 323), and the diminutive word for girl, ‘meissie’, which originated in the western
provinces, but is now used throughout the Netherlands: ‘Zo heet dat meissie hier’ (DRii: 324).
As well as general non-standard phenomena, features that are specific to certain regional
dialects have also been used by the translator when translating the couple’s speech. One of
these is the verb ‘benne’, which is an alternative to ‘zijn’ in the province of North Holland
(Boekenoogen, 1897: 268). It is used when the source text sentence ‘We’ve never took her to th’
registry office’ (TR: 291) is translated as ‘We benne nog niet met ‘r naar de burgelijke stand
geweest’ (DRii: 323). Another feature of an existing dialect is the contraction of a verb and the
second person pronoun ‘je’ in sentences such as ‘Wat zeggie nou?’ and ‘Hier hebbie ‘t terug’
(DRii: 325), which is a feature of dialects spoken in Rotterdam (Oudenaarden, 2015).
4.2.5. Discussion
This translator also decided to preserve some of the linguistic variation when translating the
dialect speech of the more minor characters. The translator’s use of a few phonological, lexical
and morphosyntactic features of general non-standard Dutch with the occasional lexical item
from an existing non-standard Dutch dialect – a technique Langeveld terms a ‘translator’s dialect’
(1980: 212) - suggests that he consulted the earlier target text when approaching the translation.
Concrete examples of this consultation include both translators’ use of the diminutive suffix ‘–ie’
(DRi: 246; DRii: 252), the rendering of the ‘d’ as a semi-vowel in adjectives such as ‘goeie’ (DRi:
309; DRii: 321), and the use of the regional dialect verb ‘benne’ (DRi: 294; DRii: 323). According
to Gambier (1994: 414) the first translators of a text are primarily concerned with maximising the
readability of the target text, which leads them to keep potential obstacles to comprehension,
such as non-standard language, to a minimum. There is evidence of this when examining these
two translations of The Rainbow. Although the translators of the first target text have retained the
linguistic variation to some extent, the translator of the retranslation appears to have been less
hesitant, and has included more non-standard linguistic features in his text. This increased use
non-standard linguistic features in this retranslation, compared to in the original translation,
supports Berman’s (1990: 1) so-called retranslation hypothesis. The hypothesis states that a
retranslation is more likely to be ‘closer’ to the source text than a first translation. This, he
claimed, increases the success of the translation. One could argue that this retranslation, too, is
more successful than its predecessor, as the more extensive use of non-standard linguistic
features means it bears more resemblance to Lawrence’s source text. However, this translator
seems to have used a particularly large proportion of non-standard Dutch when translating the
dialogue of two characters in particular – something that the source text author does not do. In
this target text, the couple who live on a barge, whom Ursula Brangwen meets while out walking,
have been assigned a particularly significant amount of general non-standard Dutch, as well as
lexicon from specific Dutch dialects. The translator has even used a compensation technique,
and translated Standard English dialogue into general non-standard Dutch. It would be
interesting to discover what the motivation was for assigning these two characters a particularly
‘broad’ dialect, despite their speech being relatively ‘typically’ non-standard in the source text.
This choice of translation technique has an effect on the target text, as it differentiates these
minor characters from the other dialect-speaking minor characters, which was not the case in the
source text.
At other points in the text, however, the translator has used a normalising strategy, for example,
when translating the non-standard dialogue of the main character, Tom Brangwen, It is likely that
this translator also consulted the first translation when considering how to render Tom’s speech
in Dutch, as the first translators have also used a normalisation strategy here. We can assume
that the translator has also opted for normalisation here to avoid hindering the readability of the
text. If Berman’s (1990: 1) retranslation hypothesis holds true, Tom Brangwen’s speech may be
translated into non-standard Dutch in any future retranslations of the novel.
4.3 Sons and Lovers
4.3.1. Linguistic varieties in the source text
‘There began a battle between husband and wife, a fearful, bloody battle that ended only with the
death of one’ (SAL: 22). A central theme in this novel about the Morel family, who live in the
fictional mining village of Bestwood in the Erewash Valley, is the tension between the married
couple, Mr and Mrs Morel. One of the ways in which Lawrence has demonstrated this theme is
by showing stark linguistic contrast in the two characters’ speech.
Mr Morel, a miner by profession, was born in the Erewash Valley. He is the most important
character in the novel from a linguistic point of view, as he is the main contributor to dialect
speech in the novel (Hillier, 2013: 25). The non-standard English variety that Mr Morel speaks is
also spoken by the other villagers in the novel, signifying that his speech is the ‘linguistic norm’
(Hiller, 2013: 24) for the social community that Lawrence represented. Almost every sentence of
Mr Morel’s dialogue contains at least one dialect feature, and his utterances often pay little
resemblance to the standard variety of English. Typical examples of his dialogue include ‘I’ll lay
my fist about thy y’ead, I’m tellin’ thee, if tha doesna stop that clatter. Dost hear!’ (SAL: 87) and ‘I
shonna ha’e my ribs blowed out o’ my sides wi that draught for nob’dy!’ (SAL: 57).
Mrs Morel is, in many respects, her husband’s polar opposite. In the first chapter of the novel, we
learn that she came from ‘a good burgher family’ (SAL: 15) and ‘was considered very intellectual’
(SAL: 17). Not surprisingly therefore, Mrs Morel speaks Standard English. Due to the ‘purity of
her English’ (SAL: 17) and her different social background, she is depicted as an outsider in the
mining community; her neighbours are ‘foreign to her’ (SAL: 19) and she often worries about
what ‘his people’ (SAL: 21) think of her.
The Morels’ children represent a linguistic bridge between their parents. Whilst primarily
speaking the standard variety, they occasionally use some non-standard dialect features, such
as the verb ‘was’ in combination with the second person singular: ‘You never said you was
coming’ (SAL: 12) and the omission of the initial ‘th’ in ‘them’: ‘Shall you carry ‘em, ‘cause I’m
frightened o’ breakin’ ‘em?’ (SAL: 12).
The non-standard dialect has multiple functions in this novel. Firstly, Lawrence has used it to
delineate the lower-class mining community as authentically as possible. The use of this existing
non-standard variety, characteristic of the Erewash Valley gives readers an excellent insight into
what life in these villages was like at the time, and how villagers communicated with each other
in this tightly-knit community. As Leith (1980: 248) states, these communities were often
secluded from the wider-world, both physically and socially, meaning that behaviour was
traditional and solidarity was fierce. This is particularly apparent in Mr Morel’s strong dialect
speech. At points in the novel, Mr Morel’s dialect differs so much from Standard English that it
would barely be comprehensible for those from ‘outside’ of the community. This helps
characterise him as a central figure in the community. The isolation of Mrs Morel as a Standard
English-speaking character also symbolises this feeling of solidarity that a particular linguistic
variety can create among its speakers. This leads us to the second function of the different
linguistic varieties in this novel: to emphasise the differences in the social background of
particular characters, namely Mrs Morel and, to some extent, her children, versus the rest of the
community. As non-standard English is stereotypically associated with a lower social prestige,
the reader is immediately aware of the low prestige the mining community enjoys. When reading
Mrs Morel’s speech, the reader immediately sees a contrast, as her Standard English indicates
that she comes from a more affluent background. Finally, Lawrence has used the different
language varieties to support his storyline. When Mr and Mrs Morel argue, for example, the
disparities in the way in which they speak tend to increase, with Mr Morel lapsing further into the
dialect, emphasising the marital discord. At one point in the novel, Mr Morel speaks the nonstandard dialect to the vicar, Mr Heaton, even addressing him with the informal pronoun ‘thee’
(SAL: 46), much to the embarrassment and disapproval of his wife. These wide-ranging functions
and the high frequency of non-standard speech prove the immense significance of the
Nottinghamshire dialect in this novel.
4.3.2. Linguistic varieties in the target text
Sons and Lovers was translated into Dutch by J.F. Kliphuis (1912-1972). The target text, Zonen
en minnaars, was first published in 1966 by Uitgeverij Contact. In this Dutch translation, Mr
Morel’s speech has been normalised to a great extent. The majority of sentences where we
observe Mr Morel speaking the broad non-standard dialect in the source text, such as when he
talks about the mice in the pit: ‘They’ll get in your pocket an’ eat your snap, if you’ll let ‘em—no
matter where yo’ hing your coat—the slivin’ little nuisances, for they are—‘ (SAL: 89), have been
translated into Standard, albeit informal, Dutch: ‘Als je niet oppast eten ze je brood uit je zak – al
hang je je jas ook nog zo hoog op – want het zijn lastige krengetjes die alles stukknagen’ (ZEM:
73). When recalling events that took place at work, Mr Morel uses sentences that contain a large
number of features of the local dialect, such as ‘I’ve niver fun out how much tha knows, Alfred’
(SAL: 25), yet sentences such as this have been completely normalised in Kliphuis’ Dutch
translation: ‘Ik heb nooit geweten hoe veel verstand jij hebt, Alfred’ (ZEM: 23).
On the odd occasion, the translator has made an attempt to preserve the linguistic variation in
the target text; we observe three phonological features of non-standard Dutch in Mr Morel’s
speech. The first feature is a feature that has also been observed in other target texts: the
pronunciation of the ‘d’ in the qualifying adjective ‘goede’ as the semi-vowel ‘j’, ‘goeie’: ‘’T is een
goeie, wees daar maar gerust op’ (ZEM: 11). De Vries (2001: 42) confirms that this is a common
phenomenon in general non-standard Dutch. The second feature we observe is found in the
target text sentence ‘En dus nam ik er een en ik bedankte-n-em’ (ZEM: 15), which is the
translation of the source text sentence: ‘An’ so I took one an’ thanked ‘im’ (SAL: 15). According to
De Vries (2001: 40) the additional ‘n’ in Mr Morel’s utterance is known as a ‘verbindings-n’, a
linking ‘n’, in Dutch. It is often added by speakers after a schwa sound and before an unstressed
vowel sound (in this case ‘em’ as Mr Morel does not pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘hem’) in order to
facilitate pronunciation. The final feature of general non-standard Dutch occurs when Mr Morel, in
a burst of rage, throws a drawer at his wife. He then approaches her to see how much damage
he has done, stating ‘Lemme – lemme look at it lass’ (SAL: 46). In the target text, Mr Morel says
‘La’ me – La’ me eens zien meid’ (ZEM: 46), reducing the imperative verb ‘laat’ to ‘la’. This
omission of the ‘t’ is a typical feature of spoken Dutch (De Vries, 2001: 44).
The normalisation of Mr Morel’s speech would not have had such major implications if the
translator had adopted the technique Ramos Pinto describes as ‘upgrading the level of standard
discourse formality’ (2009: 294) when translating Mrs Morel’s speech. However, Mrs Morel’s
speech has been translated with the same level of formality as in the source text. For example, in
the source text, when her future husband asks her to dance, she politely declines, adding: ‘But
you mustn’t miss your dance’ (SAL: 18). In the target text, the same level of formality has been
preserved, as Mrs Morel, also using the polite form of the second person pronoun, says ‘Maar u
mag deze dans niet missen’ (ZEM: 15).
The lack of difference between Mr and Mrs Morel’s speech results in a number of losses in the
target text, especially at points in the novel where Lawrence has used the difference in dialects to
add to the tension between the married couple. Let us consider, for example, the scene in the
novel where Mrs Morel catches Mr Morel cutting their son William’s golden curls. In the source
text, Mr Morel asks his wife ‘What dost think on ‘im?’ (SAL: 24), to which she replies ‘I could kill
you, I could’ (SAL: 24). He then tries to justify the haircut, stating ‘Yer non want ter make a
wench on ‘im’ (SAL: 24). In what is the first of a series of arguments between the two characters,
this difference in their linguistic varieties reflects their incompatibility and emphasises their
difference in opinion on the matter. In the target text, however, there appears to be very little
difference in the characters’ linguistic variety at this point in the novel. Mr Morel asks his wife:
‘Hoe vind je ‘m?’ (ZEM: 20), to which she replies ‘Ik zou je kunnen vermoorden!’ (ZEM: 20). He
then defends his actions, by stating, ‘Je wilt toch geen meid van ‘m maken’ (ZEM: 20). Mr Morel’s
speech has been completely normalised, except for the reduction of the pronoun ‘hem’ to ‘’m’. De
Vries (2001: 18) argues that this feature is rather typical of spoken Standard Dutch, yet it is not
observed in the written variant of standard language. One could therefore liken the technique
used here to Assis Rosa’s (2012: 85) centralisation strategy: there is a shift towards a more
prestigious variety, yet there is no complete normalisation. This centralisation strategy has a
significant effect on the target text. Although the context still makes target text readers aware of
the tension between the characters, they are deprived of the extra layer of meaning that the use
of different varieties adds to the source text.
The speech of the Morel’s children, who represent a linguistic bridge between their parents in the
source text, has, not surprisingly, also been normalised. In the source text, William uses the verb
‘was’ with the pronoun ‘you’ when talking to his mother ‘You never said you was coming’ (SAL:
12). Although this sentence is closer to the standard variety of English than his father’s speech,
readers are aware that his speech is influenced by the community in which he lives. In the Dutch
text, however, William speaks Standard Dutch, stating ‘U had helemaal niet gezegd dat u ook
kwam’ (ZEM: 7).
The speech of the more minor dialect-speaking characters, such as the Morels’ neighbours, has
also been normalised to a large extent. When their next-door neighbour tells Mrs Morel about the
dance classes in the village, the source text sentence ‘An’ it was thronged every Tuesday and
Thursday an’ Sat’day – an’ there was carryin’s on, accordin’ to all accounts’ (SAL: 22) is
translated as ‘Iedere dinsdag en donderdag en zaterdag werd er gedanst – en ze zeggen dat er
ook heel wat werd afgevrijd’ (ZEM: 18). When Mrs Anthony, another neighbour uses the nonstandard past tense ‘heered’ in the source text: ‘I’m sure I heered his bell’ (SAL: 40), the
translator has once again chosen to translate the sentence into Standard Dutch: ‘Ik weet zeker
dat ik zijn bel heb gehoord’ (ZEM: 35) Similarly, when Mr Morel is injured in the mine, the pitlad
that comes to inform Mrs Morel initially speaks Standard Dutch, telling her: ‘Uw baas is gewond’
(ZEM: 92) and ‘Ik weet het niet zeker, maar het is iets aan zijn been. Hij wordt naar het
ziekenhuis gebracht’ (ZEM: 93). In the source text, the pitlad speaks the local dialect, telling Mrs
Morel: ‘Your mester’s got hurt’ (SAL: 108) and ‘I don’t know for sure, but it’s ‘is leg somewhere.
They ta’ein ‘im ter th’ ospital’ (SAL: 108). Only later on in the dialogue does the pitboy start to use
features of non-standard Dutch in the target text, stating: ‘Hij zei dattie naar huis wou en ie zwoer
dattie niet naar het ziekenhuis ging’ (ZEM: 93), where he says ‘An’ said as ‘e wor goin’ to be
ta’en whoam—‘e worn’t goin’ ter th’ospital--!’ (SAL: 108) in the source text. Here, the translator
has used a feature of general non-standard Dutch: the pronoun ‘ie’ which is a common
alternative to ‘hij’ in spoken Dutch. The translator has also linked the pronoun to the preceding
conjunction ‘dat’, and has added a ‘t’ to facilitate pronunciation. This causes the pitlad’s speech
to appear more informal, as the speech is differentiated from the relatively standard form ‘dat ‘ie’.
4.3.3. Discussion
Although Mr Morel’s speech does include some general non-standard Dutch, the amount is
negligible considering the vast amount of his dialogue in the novel. The translator has relied
heavily on the normalisation strategy. Mr Morel’s speech therefore no longer characterises him
as a central figure in society and his speech is no longer associated with a low socio-cultural
status. As Mrs Morel’s dialogue has been translated with the same level of formality as her
source-text dialogue, the difference in social class between her and the other villagers is less
evident in the target text; she is no longer considered to be an outsider linguistically and readers
are only made aware of her different social background when she is introduced at the beginning
of the novel. As these two main characters now speak the same linguistic variety, there are also
implications for the plot. In the source text, there a number of points where dialect is used to
reflect the state of their relationship: Mr Morel’s dialect differs more from his wife’s Standard
English when there is a discrepancy between the two characters. Target texts readers miss out
on this extra layer of meaning, as the characters continue to speak the standard linguistic variety.
The normalisation of the non-standard speech of both the main and minor characters has serious
implications for this target text, as the Nottinghamshire dialect plays such a predominant role in
this novel. As the non-standard dialect is spoken frequently in the source text, there is a
significant decrease in the aesthetic value of the text; the target text, which is virtually
monoglossic, appears rather flat and plain in contrast. Furthermore, as all the characters speak
Standard Dutch, readers are less aware of the isolation of this close-knit mining community. The
village is no longer marked off from the wider world, and the lack of social mobility that existed in
the mining communities at the time is less evident. Considering the wide-ranging functions and
the high-frequency of the Nottinghamshire dialect in Lawrence’s source text, it is both surprising
and regrettable that this translator, or his publisher, decided not to preserve the linguistic
variation in this target text.
5. Conclusion
This research suggests that normalisation is the preferred strategy for translators when
translating a non-standard English dialect into Dutch, especially where the speech of main
characters is concerned. This is perhaps not surprising, given the limited use of non-standard
Dutch in Dutch novels and its association with the streekroman genre (Langeveld 1988: 217).
When dealing with the non-standard speech of more minor characters in the novels, the
translators tended to adapt a more varied approach. Although this speech has also been
centralised to a great extent in the target texts included in the corpus, all translators made some
use of what is described by Langeveld (1988: 212) as a translator’s dialect, as they also included
a smattering of general non-standard Dutch. The majority of the features of non-standard Dutch
were phonological, and a number were observed in more than one text, such as the
pronunciation of the ‘d’ as a semi-vowel in adjectives such as ‘goede’, and the pronunciation of
the third person masculine pronoun ‘hij’ as ‘ie’. There were also a couple of recurring lexical and
morphological features, including lexemes such as ‘meissie’ with the diminutive suffix ‘ie’, and
‘d’r’ as an alternative to the third-person plural possessive pronoun ‘hun’. It would appear that
these markers belong to a repertoire of non-standard features of Dutch, drawn upon by
translators when faced with non-standard language in their source text.
The reason for the different approach to the speech of the more minor characters is unknown,
although it is probably associated with the fact that their speech is less prevalent in the novel,
meaning that it is less likely to cause a hindrance to comprehension if rendered non-standard.
Furthermore, it is relatively easy for the translator to include a few sentences of non-standard
Dutch, but rendering a main character’s monologue in a non-standard variety can pose rather a
The translators of both editions of The Rainbow preserved the most linguistic variation in their
novels, which is both surprising and noteworthy because the non-standard variety is spoken only
sporadically in this novel and is not foregrounded as it is in the other two source texts. The
translators of this source text drew on a range of strategies to effectively render the characters’
speech convincing, yet non-standard. Their strategies included using lexical items from a range
of existing Dutch dialects, compensating by adding indications to the authorial comment to inform
readers that a non-standard is being spoken, and using a number of features of general nonstandard Dutch. This combination of strategies can be considered the most effective, as the text
remains heteroglossic and many of the functions of the dialect can be preserved, yet the
characters are not unconvincing for the readers as they do not speak an existing target text
language dialect. Of course, there is no exact equivalent for a particular linguistic variety, but this
combination of translation strategies appears to keep losses of meaning to a minimum.
When drawing conclusions on the translation of non-standard dialects into Dutch, it is important
to take into account that only one non-standard variety has been analysed in this research;
translators may well have taken a very different approach when faced with a different nonstandard variety of English. Furthermore, the translations that have been analysed were
produced between 1947 and 1968; nearly fifty years have passed since the final translation was
produced. Since the 1970s, there has been a clear resurgence of both urban and rural dialects of
Dutch has been observed, referred to by Cornips as a ‘dialect renaissance’ (2003: 9). Since this
renaissance, a number of Dutch bands have sung in dialect, comedians have performed in
dialect, and there have been a number of publications both in and about dialects (Cornips, 2003:
9). Literary publications such as Dimitri Verhulst’s Der Helaasheid der Dingen (2006), in which
the East Flanders dialect strengthens the coleur locale, and Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s Het Grote
Baggerboek (2004), which features a non-standard sociolect, are the products of this
renaissance. Although this research suggests that normalisation is the most popular strategy for
the translation of English non-standard varieties, this recent resurgence of literature written in
non-standard Dutch may lead translators nowadays to rely more on features of general nonstandard language and specific non-standard dialects in order to preserve the linguistic variation
in their target text. A more comprehensive study, consisting of a wider variety of genres and
dialects and more recent translations, is required in order to produce specific guidelines for
current and future English-Dutch literary translators.
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