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The English ‘and’ and its counterparts in Arabic

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Ahmed Qadoury Abed

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The English ‘and’ and its counterparts in Arabic

  1. 1. AHMED QADOURY ABED6/9/2013 1
  2. 2.  ‘AND’ and [WA] are the normal means ofcoordinating sentences in English and Arabic Arabic is a paratactic language. English is a combination of syndetic andasyndetic linkage DOES THIS DIFFERENCE REVEAL ANYDIFFERENCE IN FUNCTIONS AND USES OF‘AND’ and [WA]?6/9/2013 2
  3. 3.  The importance of ‘AND’ in English is veryclear in finding this word in all lists ofcommon words or lists of most frequentwords in English. Corpus of Contemporary American Englishpresents the following table indicating thecorpus of ‘AND’ with the five registers(spoken ,fiction, magazine, newspaper, andacademic) in five periods (1990-1994 , 1995-1999, 2000-2004, 2005-2009, 2010-2012).6/9/2013 3
  4. 4. ALL SPOKEN FICTION MAGAZINENEWSPAPERACADEMIC 1990-1994 1995-1999 2000-2004 2005-20092010-201212387818 2500143 2331970 2532064 2255598 2768043 2747342 2749727 2746511 2749387139485126,696.73 26,158.16 25,787.74 26,497.47 24,593.83 30,395.95 26,416.97 26,580.97 26,680.52 26,942.4826,869.17SPOKENFICTIONMAGAZINENEWSPAPERACADEMIC1990-19941995-19992000-20042005-20092010-20126/9/2013 4
  5. 5.  Fareh (1998:305)stated that ‘AND’ plays twodiscourse functions :- coordinating ‘idea units’ and- continuing a speaker’s action.Quirk, et al. (1985:46) stated that ‘AND’ and othercoordinators or coordinating conjunctions can beof three types:- coordinating of clauses,- coordinating of prepositional phrases , and -- coordinating of nouns, as in: It was a Christmas Day ,and the snow lay thickon the ground. You can go by air or by rail. His son and daughter live in Buenos Aires.6/9/2013 5
  6. 6.  Quirk ,et al.(1985:759ff) examined the use of‘AND’ in coordination and concord ,withparticular focus on issues like coordinating with a single subject , coordinative apposition , and quasi- coordinationas in the following examples ,respectively :- What I say and do is/are my own affair.- This temple of ugliness and memorial toVictorian bad taste was erected in the mainstreet of the city.- The captain, as well as the other players , wastired.6/9/2013 6
  7. 7.  Arab scholars and grammarians have investigated[WA] and other connectives from a structuralperspective; They have concentrated on classifying theseparticles into classes in accordance with theirsyntactic properties. Little attention was given to these particles’discoursal functions. Conjunctions are regarded as tools for text-building. Conjunctive particle [WA] is the most generally usedparticle in Arabic. Holes (1995: 217) note that: [WA] is the primitiveconjunctive particle: it is the most commonlyencountered sentence connective and has the widestvariety of uses, analogous in these aspects to English‘AND.6/9/2013 7
  8. 8.  [WA] is of “the highest frequency of all(almost 50 percent of all Arabic connectives)and occurs at all levels of text to signal anadditive relationship”(Al-Batal 1990, 245).6/9/2013 8
  9. 9.  Classical Arab rhetoricians have not offered adetailed account of these two semantically distinctconjuncts. These two conjunctive particles express a timesequence relationship between sentences, as in: – Zaid came in and then sat down. – Zaid came in and then sat down. There is a semantic distinction in Arabic between thetemporal conjunctive elements [FA] and [THAMME].The use of [FA] signifies an immediate action withoutdelay. The employment of [THAMME] signifies a delay inaction, i.e. a temporal gap between the actionsdenoted by the verbs in the sentence.6/9/2013 9
  10. 10. 6/9/2013 10
  11. 11.  The grammatical process of conjunction inEnglish and Arabic , at both word andsentence levels, does not take placehaphazardly but rather is semanticallyregulated. In other words, there is asemantic condition that needs to beobserved in order to achieve syntacticstructures that enjoy semantic acceptability.6/9/2013 12
  12. 12.  Normally there seems to be no Englishcorrespondent for [WA] when it occurs at thebeginning of a sentence: (And) the assistant minister of defense leftCairo yesterday . . . (And) the two presidents arrived yesterday .6/9/2013 13
  14. 14.  The relationship between the use and function of ‘AND’ and [WA] isnot always direct one-to-one. The English ‘AND’ can sometimes bereplaced by [WA] and other connectives , like [FA]and [THAMME], andvice versa. The problem is not a such easy task since twenty-six typesof [WA] are possibly identified. Both English and Arabic base their coordination, or the use of ‘AND’and [WA] on a semantic significance; otherwise this coordination willbe semantically unacceptable. Arabic has three conjunctions that overlap in function:[ WA], [FA]and[THAMME]. The three are used to link one item to another in aparticipatory relationship, but [FA]‘next’ is used when succession andimmediacy are in focus, [THAMME]‘then’ – when succession and non-immediacy are meant, and [WA] ‘AND’ – when general coordination isintended. Thus, there is a semantic distinction in Arabic between thetemporal conjunctive elements ‘AND’, [THAMME], and [FA]. Even when [WA] is explicit, the reader may still be unable to impose ameaning. Quranic particles, as cohesive and rhetorical devices, pose achallenge in many cases for even professional linguists (andtranslators), which challenge may only be resolved in relation to thecontext and familiarity with the background of each particular verse. Unlike ‘AND’,[WA] may recur several times within the same sentence/verse and conjoin several elements coupled with more than oneprinciple or antecedent.6/9/2013 15