Present perfect or simple past?
The function of qad in English-into-Arabic translation
The present study aims to examine the claim that the preverbal particle qad in the perfective is an aspectual marker of near past in Arabic, hence it corresponds to the present perfect in English. The authentic translational corpus drawn from two works (journalistic/scientific and literary discourse) clearly indicates that the preverbal qad is employed as a cohesive marker whose main function is to smooth and naturalize Arabic discourse. The study demonstrates that the translator’s choice between an Arabic simple past with or without qad is governed by the requirements of the flow of discourse rather than by aspectual marking. Failure to account for this discursive function of qad when translating from English into Arabic would in Arabic translations produce cohesion gaps which in English are usually taken care of by punctuation.
Keywords: Arabic, English, tense, aspect, near past, qad , cohesion
Keywords: arabe, anglais, temps, aspect, passé récent, qad , cohésion
Published online: 28 January 2019
Catford, J. C.
Eisele, John C.
Hassan, Hassan M.
Kerstens, Johan; Eddy Ruys; and Joost Zwarts