< Housed in a traditional style building> ... <opened in 2011> [adjectival phrases]

ayed

Senior Member
Arabic(Saudi)
Hello, folks.
I am translating a piece of Arabic text about description of a private museum. The first version is No. 1, but modified as to sound natural as much as possible(Version No.2)


The museum was opened in 2011, housed in a traditional style building, with an area estimates 1000 square meters. It features several heritage items: Arabian hospitality tools such as coffee and tea pots. In addition, there are agricultural implements, vintage coins and banknotes, electric devices and classic cars.


Housed in a traditional style building on an area of 1000 square meters, opened in 2011, the museum features several heritage items : Arabian hospitality tools such as coffee and tea pots. Also, showcased are agricultural implements, coins and banknotes, electric devices and cars.


Which versions is best to your ears?1 or 2?Any comments in terms of constructions ?

I am for 2.

Thank you in advance
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I also far prefer no.1 (in spite of certain grammar errors). The use of adjectival phrases at the start of a sentence "Housed in a traditional-style building..." sounds very French to me, not English; using two of them before you come to the subject is just too much.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The museum was opened in 2011, housed in a traditional style building, with an area...

    There's nothing to join the adjectival phrase to the main clause.

    The museum was opened in 2011 and is housed in a traditional style building...
    The museum, housed in a traditional style building, was opened in 2011 and has an area of

    (I'm not sure what the area of 1000 sq.m. applies to: the museum or the building, and whether they are one and the same.)
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    I also far prefer no.1 (in spite of certain grammar errors). The use of adjectival phrases at the start of a sentence "Housed in a traditional-style building..." sounds very French to me, not English; using two of them before you come to the subject is just too much.
    You are right but used when there is something more important than the fronted phrases. The focus is on the museum and what it contains.
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    The museum was opened in 2011, housed in a traditional style building, with an area...

    There's nothing to join the adjectival phrase to the main clause.

    The museum was opened in 2011 and is housed in a traditional style building...
    The museum, housed in a traditional style building, was opened in 2011 and has an area of

    (I'm not sure what the area of 1000 sq.m. applies to: the museum or the building, and whether they are one and the same.)
    The museum is.
    This 1000-square-meter museum, housed in a traditional style building, was opened in 2011...
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I disagree with Keith that the introductory participle phrase is out of place in English. It isn't unusual when we are describing a place. You may or may not like the style, but I agree that two of them is one too much.


    Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the village is ideal for a quiet holiday away from it all.

    If you are mentioning "the village" or its name several times, it's very monotonous to begin every sentence about it with "The village is..." or "Kolopeteinitsa is... The same goes for your museum.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    What has French got to do with it?

    The only objection I see is the presence of two adjectival phrases. I prefer the following version (or to start with Housed in a traditional style building):

    The museum is.
    This 1000-square-meter museum, housed in a traditional style building, was opened in 2011...
    (cross-posted with velisarius)
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    I disagree with Keith that the introductory participle phrase is out of place in English. It isn't unusual when we are describing a place. You may or may not like the style, but I agree that two of them is one too much.


    Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the village is ideal for a quiet holiday away from it all.

    If you are mentioning "the village" or its name several times, it's very monotonous to begin every sentence about it with "The village is..." or "Kolopeteinitsa is... The same goes for your museum.
    This is what I am for
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    What has French got to do with it?

    The only objection I see is the presence of two adjectival phrases. I prefer the following version (or to start with Housed in a traditional style building):

    (cross-posted with velisarius)
    Keith Bradford, Velisarius and e2efour, thanks a lot for your clarifications and discussions.

    Housed in a traditional style building, this 1000-square-meter museum was opened in 2011
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Just to explain my objection to this fronting of adjectival phrases that begin with a past or present participle:

    My everyday work is translating from French into English, and I find that some French writers front the adjectival phrase in almost every sentence, regardless of emphasis or even logic. I conclude that it's a tic that is taught in school (possibly for the reason that Velisarius gives in #9). What they don't realise is that this style itself becomes very monotonous and, to an English reader, frankly annoying. In English, very few sentences begin in this way - I have just read fifty sentences in a random selection of books from my shelves and only two began with an adjectival phrase of any kind.

    My conclusions: I am reluctant to adopt that word-order in my own writing; when translating, I systematically re-organise the sentence to bring either the subject or an adverb to the front; I advise foreign learners (especially French writers or those who, like Ayed, may have been influenced by French) to do likewise.
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    Just to explain my objection to this fronting of adjectival phrases that begin with a past or present participle:

    My everyday work is translating from French into English, and I find that some French writers front the adjectival phrase in almost every sentence, regardless of emphasis or even logic. I conclude that it's a tic that is taught in school (possibly for the reason that Velisarius gives in #9). What they don't realise is that this style itself becomes very monotonous and, to an English reader, frankly annoying. In English, very few sentences begin in this way - I have just read fifty sentences in a random selection of books from my shelves and only two began with an adjectival phrase of any kind.

    My conclusions: I am reluctant to adopt that word-order in my own writing; when translating, I systematically re-organise the sentence to bring either the subject or an adverb to the front; I advise foreign learners (especially French writers or those who, like Ayed, may have been influenced by French) to do likewise.
    I only fronted those phrases (area+date of opening, type of a building) because they are less important and to keep the subject(museum) very close to the adjunct elements or what come right after.

    As for the phrase-fronting, I often come across it here and there.

    Thanks for the piece of advice. Hope I have not bothered you with this "unacceptable style":)
     
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