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Title: Euphemism in the Qur'an : corpus-based linguistic analysis and intratextual- and contextual-based translation
Author: Olimat, Sameer Naser Mnizel
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 910X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the phenomenon of euphemism in the Qur'an from corpus-based and translational perspectives. It aims to create a comprehensive corpus of euphemisms in the Qur'an through annotating and classifying all euphemistic expressions within contextual verses in the format of an Excel electronic table and in HTML format. The mechanism of the annotation and classification of Qur'anic euphemisms is based on: developing a set of linguistic guidelines, analysing each single verse in the Qur'an through using two well-known exegeses of the Qur'an and a comprehensive dictionary, revising scholarly works previously carried out by others on the concept of euphemism in the Qur'an, and consulting specialists and academics in the areas of translation, Arabic linguistics and Islamic studies. The corpus is verified through conducting an analytical review of the first Juzʾ of the Qur'an by two independent annotators. The findings show that the Qur'an has a high proportion of euphemisms dealing with sensitive and unspeakable matters, and that sex and death are the most common euphemistic topics in the Qur'an. The number of euphemisms and verses with euphemism varies sharply amongst the parts and surahs of the Qur'an. The Meccan surahs, which constitute almost three quarters of the Qur'an, have 518 euphemisms in 440 verses, while the Medinan surahs, which make up the remainder of the Qur'an, have 400 euphemisms in 263 verses. The Meccan surahs have 376 verses with a single euphemism, whereas the Medinan surahs have 188 verses with a single euphemism. Thus, there is a higher possibility of finding verses with more than one euphemism in the Medinan surahs than in the Meccan surahs, which can be interpreted as a higher degree of indirectness in the Medinan surahs that reflects the historical circumstances and the subject domains of the two parts of the Qur'an. It has been found that some euphemisms in the Qur'an extend beyond the levels of word, sentence or local context, which require a comprehensive understanding of textual coherence to be interpreted appropriately. Therefore, the thesis proposes a linguistic model focusing on the role of the contextual background, linguistic peculiarities, and intratextual and conceptual relationships of euphemism in critically evaluating six popular English translations of the Qur'an. A representative sample of euphemisms from different verses in the Qur'an annotated in the corpus, which have important intratextual and contextual aspects in their interpretations, have been analysed in detail, in light of modern translation theories including Newmark's model of translating culture-bound expressions (1988), formal and dynamic equivalence by Nida (1964a) and Nida and Taber (1969), and Skopos theory by Vermeer (1978), Vermeer and Reiss (1984) and Nord (1991, 1997). The thesis finds that the six translators often fail to capture either/both the intended meaning or/and the euphemistic style in English. It shows that there is no single translation approach for transferring Qur'anic euphemisms into English. Literal translation, free translation and metaphorical or idiomatic translation are commonly pursued by translators, while word-for-word translation, faithful translation, semantic translation and communicative translation are rarely used. It is concluded that excessive dependence on dictionaries, exegeses or local contexts only, without paying due attention to intratextual and contextual interrelations in the Qur'an, may cause misunderstanding and misinterpretation and, hence, mistranslation and misrepresentation of euphemism. The thesis calls for testing the annotation mechanism of euphemisms adopted in this work to identify other linguistic features in the Qur'an, such as metaphor or metonymy, or to identify euphemisms in other text types.
Supervisor: Babych, Bogdan ; Watson, Janet Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available