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Pragmatic Interpretation and Translational Equivalence of Ironic Discourse in the Holy Qurʾan Based on SAT and EAT Theories: Arberry’s English Translation as a Case Study

In: Al-Bayan: Journal of Qur'an and Hadith Studies
Authors:
Shehda R.S Abuissac Department of English Language, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya Malaysia

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Ahmed Arifin Bin Sapar Department of Arabic Language, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya Malaysia

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Ali Gobaili Saged Department of Akidah and Islamic thought, Faculty of Islamic studies, University of Malaya Malaysia

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Abstract

This paper discusses and examines intercultural differences between the Arabic use of ironic language in the Quran and its English translation equivalents by Arberry. The data samples of the study are methodologically classified and interpreted in accordance with Haverkate’s “Speech Acts Theory of Irony” (SATI), the “Echoic Account Theory” by Sperber and Wilson, and Nida’s “Theory of Equivalence”. Throughout the application of pragmatic and translation theories, qualitative analysis is used. Analysis and interpretation led to the conclusion that Arabic traditional culture, semantically complex language concepts like polysemy, idiomatic multi-word expressions and, above all, emotive images play fundamental roles that are impeding the translations of ironic speech acts from the Qurʾan into adequate English equivalents. The study also shows how verbal irony intersects with other figures and tropes. Its interface produces a vast range of various functions and dissociative thoughts, while being open to many interpretations. Lastly, the study shows how translational techniques can mitigate, minimize and overcome the problems of corresponding equivalence. The study suggests future research into the role that discourse parameters play for the translational transfer of Qurʾanic ironic speech acts and for all other figurative language types that are interrelated with verbal irony.

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