A methodology for Qur’anic lexical translation
Synergizing semantic preference, discourse prosody, and para/intertextuality
The present study propounds a methodology for the translation of Qur’anic lexis in a way that synergizes semantic preference, discourse prosody, and para/intertextuality. Towards the validation of this methodology, the Qur’anic lexical item آيـة (āyah) is investigated at two levels: (a) the intertextual level of the semantic preferences emerging in the various co-texts of āyah inside the Qurʼan and (b) the paratextual level of the overall discourse prosody underlying these semantic preferences in the exegetical contexts of āyah. The research finds firstly that there are four semantic preferences associated with āyah, viz. cosmological phenomena, miraculous tokens, conclusive evidence, and divine revelations/communications. Second, the discourse prosody underlying the Qurʼanic usages of āyah is divine visibility, which motivates the word’s generic English translation as “sign.” Third, in rendering the lexical item آيـة (āyah) into English, the well-known Qur’an translators in the Qurʼanic Arabic Corpus have opted either for “sign,” to maintain the positive discourse prosody associated with the Qur’anic usages of the item, or “token,” “portent,” “miracle(s),” or “verse/revelations/communications,” with a view to observing the semantic preferences associated with them.
Keywords: āyah (آيــة), discourse prosody, exegetical contexts, intertextuality, methodology for Qur’anic lexical translation, paratextuality, semantic preference, the Qurʼan
Published online: 31 August 2021
Al-ʼAlūsi, Shihabuldin M. bin Abdullah
n.d.). Rūh Al-Ma‛āni. 1–15 Volumes. Beirut: Dar Al-Kutub Al-llmiyyah.
2012 The Quranic Arabic Corpus, School of Computing, University of Leeds. Accessed 20 September, 2020. http://corpus.quran.com
Haywood, John A. and H. M. Nahmad
ibn Kathīr, Imad AI-Din abu Al-Fidaʼ Isma‛īl bin Amr
Kübler, Natalie and Alexandra Volanschi
2012 “Semantic prosody and specialised translation, or how a lexicogrammatical theory of language can help with specialised translation.” Corpus-Informed Research and Learning in ESP: Issues and Applications, edited by Alex Boulton, Shirley Carter-Thomas and Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet, 103–134. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Kübler, Natalie and Pierre-Yves Foucou
2007 “Teaching English verbs with bilingual corpora: Examples in the field of computer science.” Corpus-Based Approaches to Contrastive Linguistics and Translation Studies, edited by Sylviane Granger, Jacques Lerot and Stephanie Petch-Tyson, 185–206. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
Li, Xiaohong and Naixing Wei
2020 “Exploring the Roles of Semantic Prosody and Semantic Preference for Achieving Cross-Language Equivalence: A Corpus-based Contrastive Analysis of Translation Pairs in English and Chinese.” In Corpus-Based Translation and Interpreting Studies in Chinese Contexts: Present and Future, edited by Kaibao Hu and Kyung H. Kim, 115–154. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nkoonam, Ja‛afar and Fatemeh (Fatima) Sarvi
Parkinson, Dilworth B.
2012 arabiCorpus, Brigham Young University. Accessed 20 September, 2020. http://arabicorpus.byu.edu
Pickthall, Muhammad M.
Sahih International (ed)
Sardinha, Berber T.
Shakir, M. Habib
Al-Sofi, Kholood, Marlyna Maros and Kaseh Abu Bakr
Stahlberg, Lesleigh Cushing
Van Dijk, Teun
Williams, Ian A.
Xiao, Richard and Tony McEnery
Yüksel, Edip, Layth S. al-Shaiban and Martha Schulte-Nafeh