Transformations—Meaning-Preserving or Text-Destroying?

  • Erica C. García
Part of the Cognition and Language: A Series in Psycholinguistics book series (CALS)


When it comes to paying him suitable tribute, it is not easy to choose among Arthur J. Bronstein’s commitment to his discipline, his life-long devotion to the humanities, and his keen interest in education. And yet, the very dilemma facing us shows that the division, though commonly observed, is hardly a necessary one. A unified pursuit of the three goals actually appears as distinctly worth attempting.


Generative Grammarian Preceding Sentence Reference Scheme Individual Sentence Longe Stretch 
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  1. 1.
    This is a close, though not literal, translation of the Spanish original.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    It may be pointed out that the overall coherence of the passage explains Borges’s use of a passive (a fairly unusual construction in Spanish) in the very first sentence. By this means he draws attention to el primer término de la série (i.e., the first crime in the series of four); it will be noted that the whole passage is an elucidation of that first crime.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    If we give our rewrite to native speakers of Spanish to read they are certainly able to make out what happened; they report, however, that it is “not easy to understand.” It would appear that if this reaction could be quantified we would be close to a measure of internal coherence, at least to the extent that coherence is responsible for ease of understanding.Google Scholar


  1. Borges, J. L. Antología personal (2nd ed.). Buenos Aires: Editorial Sur, 1966.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica C. García
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Spanish and PortugueseUniversity of LeidenThe Netherlands

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