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Translating Word Order Variations in the Qurʾan: A Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment

Ahmed Saleh Elimam
Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature , Volume 1, pp 1-12; doi:10.46809/jcsll.v1i4.37

Abstract: Marked, unconventional word order is one of the most pertinent stylistic features of the Qurʾan, and is employed to realise certain discursive functions. This article identifies the verses which foreground a lexical item to (or towards) sentence-initial position, resulting in a marked word order, as well as the functions realised thereby, drawing on classical commentaries on the Qurʾan. Two of the most important English translations of the Qurʾan by Abdel Haleem (2004/2005) and Arberry (1955/1998) are selected for closer examination of the strategies they use to deal with the corpus of verses. The discussion is carried out against the backdrop of the translators’ stated aims and reviews of their output. Furthermore, the potential influences of the translators’ motivations, target readers’ expectations, and the historical context of their work on their respective output are also discussed.
Keywords: commentaries / functions / English / foreground / word order / output / Translators / Item / Qurʾan

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