Publication details [#60876]

Shehab, Ekrema. 2016. Pragmatic failure in translating Arabic implicatures into English. Babel 62 (1) : 21–38.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it attempts to demonstrate that Arabic utterances involving euphemisms, tautologies and ironies (henceforth Arabic implicatures) lend themselves readily to a Gricean interpretation and, second, it shows how Arabic implicatures in their immediate, social context of use exhibit pragmatic failures when rendered into English. The study examines and analyzes ten Arabic utterances involving implicatures in their original contexts of situation taken from Mahfouz’s (1947) Ziqāqal-Midaq which was translated by LeGassick (1966) into ‘Midaq Alley’, and Ṭayib Ṣaleḥ’s (1966) Mawsimu al-Hijra ila ashShamāl, which was rendered by Davies (1969) into ‘the Season of Migration to the North’. The study argues that to avoid pragmatic failure when translating Arabic implicatures into English, emphasis should be placed on conveying the pragmatic import of these utterances by the employment of various translation strategies ranging from those capturing the form and/or function to those capturing the communicative sense independently.