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Diversity in Language
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Diversity in Language
Contrastive Studies in Arabic and English Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Edited by Zeinab M. Ibrahim Sabiha T. Aydelott Nagwa Kassabgy
The American University in Cairo Press Cairo • New York
The American University in Cairo Press Cairo and New York
Copyright © 2000 by The American University in Cairo Press 113 Sharia Kasr el Aim Cairo, Egypt
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the American University in Cairo Press.
Dar el Kutub No. 17881/99 ISBN 977 424 578 4 Printed in Egypt
and Prophetic Typology Arabic and English: Comparative Studies 4 Nagwa Kassabgy and Mono Kamel Hassan Relativization in English and Arabic: A Bidirectional Study 5 Mohammad Al-Khawalda The Expression of Futurity in the Arabic and English Languages 6 Jehan Allam A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology in Egyptian Colloquial and Classical Arabic 1 5 31 49 70 77 . M. Summary in English 2 Huda M.Contents Foreword Contributors A Note on Transliteration and Transcription of Arabic Words Abbreviations v vii xi xiv Arabic Language: Distinctive Features 1 El-Said Badawi An Opinion on the Meanings of i'rab in Classical Arabic: The State of the Nominal Sentence. Ghali The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 3 Devin Stewart Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation. Form.
Hottel-Burkhart The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric: Their Place in Contrastive Arabic-English Studies Contents 93 Writing: Learning Style and Form 8 Maha El-Seidi Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing: A Cross-Linguistic Study of Texts Written by American and Egyptian University Students 9 Cynthia May Sheikholeslami and Nabila el-Taher Makhlouf The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 10 Loubna Abdel-Tawab Youssef Teaching "Form" in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 111 127 147 Language Acquisition: Attitudes and Comprehension 11 Christopher W. Kamel Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse: A Cross-Linguistic Study 162 179 193 Follows English section .iv 7 Nancy G. Horger Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes toward American and British Dialects 12 Abdel-Hakeem Kasem The Acquisition of the English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic: A Developmental Perspective 13 Salwa A.
the focus of the second section is on comparative studies. and colleagues in the field. Our thanks also go to those who willingly gave of their time to review the various manuscripts and provide us with valuable insights. and Mr. in February of 1999. We would like to thank all the authors who submitted manuscripts. The focus of the book. including those whose papers are not part of this volume. Ibrahim. Aydelnott. especially in terms of learners' attitudes and comprehension. but we believe that they will contribute toward opening the field for further research. Neil Hewison of the American University in Cairo Press. Zeinab M. The opinions and ideas expressed in the manuscripts do not necessarily reflect our own. Sabiha T. held at the American University in Cairo (AUC). and the focus of the fourth section is on language acquisition. Finally. We are particularly honored to include the contribution of Dr. The first section focuses on the Arabic language: its philosophy of tense. a distinguished scholar in the field of Arabic linguistics and sociolinguistics. we dedicate this volume to our families. which has been loosely organized into four sections. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to create a forum for an exchange of ideas.Foreword The need for creating a forum for an exchange of ideas and understanding in the fields of English and Arabic linguistics and teaching led to the First International Conference on Contrastive Rhetoric. friends. Pauline Wickham. This book includes manuscripts based on some of the presentations made at that conference as well as a number of papers by several other scholars. Mark Linz. and we hope this volume will inspire future development in the fields of Arabic and English applied and theoretical linguistics as well as sociolinguistics. is on English and Arabic linguistics and teaching. editors . the third section looks at writing. Ms. Nagwa Kassabgy. and the teaching of the Quran. The editors also appreciate the support received from Mr. El-Said Badawi. syntax.
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Contributors Jehan Allam ("A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology in Egyptian Colloquial and Classical Arabic") is a senior Arabic language teacher in the American University in Cairo (AUC). Her research interests are in reading assessment. Levels of Contemporary Arabic.D. She received her Ph. Turkey. Her research interests include issues related to teaching and sociolinguistics. University of London. She has a doctorate in education. Iran. Sabiha T. His book. and the United States. in theoretical linguistics from the School of Oriental and African Studies. diagnosis and remediation. She has taught in Pakistan. Huda M. El-Said Badawi ("An Opinion on the Meanings of i'rab in Classical Arabic: The State of the Nominal Sentence") is professor of Arabic linguistics at AUC. in 1988. Her dissertation was titled A Syntactic Study of the Nominal Piece and Its Temporals in dar'eyya Arabic Based on the Theory of Government and Binding. M. Ghaly ("The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs") is an associate professor in the Department of English of the Faculty of Arts at ' Ain Shams University in Cairo. He is the Director of the Arabic Language Institute and Codirector of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA). and reading and writing across the curriculum. from the University of Tennessee. comparative studies. Knoxville. She is currently involved in research on youngsters' effect on language. Mona Kamel Hassan ("Relativization in English and Arabic: A Bidirectional Study") is an Arabic language instructor in the Arabic Language Institute of the American University in Cairo and has done . with specialization in reading and writing. Aydelott (editor) teaches in the Freshmen Writing Program at AUC. is a landmark in the field of Arabic linguistics. She is the author of several articles that focus on linguistic issues.
D.viii Contributors research in the area of pragmatics and cross-cultural communication. She received her Ph. His field of interest is rhetoric and composition theory.A. an academic. including a stint at AUC in the M. She holds an M. Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (JAIMES). She has taught and researched second-language writing and rhetoric since 1974. TEFL Program from 1987-1991. and her other interests include stylistics and translation. His paper in this collection grew out of a research project for a sociolinguistics class. Christopher W. an assistant profesor in humanities and social sciences at al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane. Nancy Hottel-Burkhart ("The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric: Their Place in Contrastive Arabic-English Studies"). She is the editor of Cairo Studies in English and The Symposium on Comparative Literature Proceedings. in teaching Arabic as a foreign language from AUC. he is a recent graduate of the TEFL program at AUC. Abdel-Hakeem Kasem ("The Acquisition of the English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic: A Developmental Perspective") is a lecturer in Arabic language and culture studies in the School of Australian and International Studies at Deakin University. Morocco. teaches comparative rhetoric and orality/literacy in the M. Ibrahim (editor) is the Executive Director of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad.A. Salwa A. program in applied humanities. Her research is in the fields of sociolinguistics and comparative studies. Her area of specialization is syntax. in applied linguistics at La Trobe University in Melbourne. from Georgetown University. in applied linguistics is from the University of Texas at Austin. Kamel ("Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse: A Cross-Linguistic Study") is a professor of linguistics in the department of English at Cairo University.A. Abdel-Hakeem is also currently working toward his Ph. refereed journal published by the Faculty of Arts of Deakin University.D. He is the editor of the Journal of Arabic. Melbourne. . Horger ("Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes toward American and British Dialects") teaches in the Freshmen Writing Program at AUC.D. Zeinab M. Her Ph.
Contributors ix Nagwa Kassabgy ("Relativization in English and Arabic: A Bidi-rectional Study". Devin Stewart ("Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation. and Prophetic Typology") received his Ph. Currently he is n assistant professor at Mu'tah University in Amman. and received the Malcolm Kerr Award for the best dissertation in Middle East Studies in 1992. also in linguistics from Essex University in England in 1997. aspect.A. in Arabic and Islamic studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991.A. Jordan. in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) from the American University in Cairo.D. and temporal reference. in linguistics from Cairo University in 1996. Form. in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) from the American University in Cairo and is an English language instructor in the English Language Institute at AUC. Mohammed Al-Khwalda ("The Expression of Futurity in the Arabic and English Languages") earned his M..A.D. Egypt. She has taught English at a variety of levels.S.A. Currently she is an instructor in the Intensive English Program of the English Language Institute at AUC. He is currently an associate professor of Arabic and .A. in teaching English as a second language (MATESL) from the University of Washington. tense. an affiliate of the international organization of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Nabila el-Taher Makhlouf ("The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing") received her M. and Ph. Maha El-Seidi ("Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing: A Cross-Linguistic Study of Texts Written by American and Egyptian University Students") received her M. His primary interests are syntax. She is also involved in teacher training and has done research on EFL vocabulary acquisition and teaching grammar.D. from kindergarten. She is a founding member of EGYPTESOL. She studied contrastive rhetoric with Ulla Connor at the TESOL Summer Institute in Bratislava. in linguistics from the University of Jordan in 1990. in English Literature from Brown University and her M. He received his Ph. editor) received her M. Currently she is a lecturer in linguistics in the department of English at Minufiya University in Minufiya. as well as at 'Ain Shams University in Cairo. and secondary school. Cynthia May Sheikholeslami ("The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing") received her M. primary. She is currently an instructor in the English Language Institute at AUC.
New Mexico.D. from St. and articles on Shi'ite Islam. Islamic law. and her M. from the department of English at Cairo University. she teaches English literature and rhetoric. His published works include Islamic Legal Orthodoxy (1998). . Loubna Abdel-Tawab Youssef ("Teaching "Form" in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers") received her Ph. and travel writing.A. John's College in Santa Fe. where he teaches courses in Arabic and Islamic studies. Georgia.x Contributors Islamic studies in the Middle East Studies Department at Emory University in Atlanta. translates books for children and writes articles on literary criticism. poetry. Currently she is teaching at AUC. and Arabic dialectology. An assistant professor at Cairo University.
American phonemic transcription (marked by oblique slashes). and the second a simplified. in all other cases the former system of transliteration has been used. The latter system has been used in particular in cases that involve the representation of Egyptian colloquial Arabic (ECA) and in papers that treat the language from a phonemic perspective.A Note on Transliteration and Transcription of Arabic Words Because the papers in this volume encompass a broad swath of issues dealing with Arabic linguistics. Symbols used in transliteration Symbol ' (ordinary apostrophe) b t Arabic equivalent th J h kh d dh r z s sh ' (reversed apostrophe) gh . the editors have found it necessary to implement two distinct systems for representing Arabic: one a more or less standard transliteration (in italic type).
long vowels by a. and M. i. and aw. Short vowels are represented by a. Symbols used in transcription /Symbol/ ' b t th or s j or g H x d dh or z r z s sh S D T DH or Z Phonemic description/Arabic equivalent Voiceless glottal stop: fVoiced bilabial stop: M Voiceless alveolar stop: ° Voiceless interdental fricative: ° Voiced palato-alveolar fricative/voiced velar stop: £ Voiceless pharyngeal fricative: C Voiceless velar fricative: C Voiced dento-alveolar stop: j Voiced interdental/dento-alveolar fricative: J Voiced alveolar flap: J Voiced dento-alveolar fricative: -> Voiceles dento-alveolar fricative: o* Voiceless palato-alveolar fricative: o^ Velarized voiceless dento-alveolar fricative: o^ Velarized voiced dento-alveolar stop: o^ Velarized voiceless dento-alveolar stop: la Velarized voiced interdental/dento-alveolar fricative: . e.xii A Note on Transliteration and Transcription Geminated consonants are shown double. and a may also represent a final ya. i. and u. Tamarbuta is indicated by either a or at. diphthongs by ay.
.A Note on Transliteration and Transcription 9 gh f q k 1 m n h w y a a: u u: i i: Voiced pharyngeal fricative: Voiced velar fricative: Voiceless labio-dental fricative: Voiceless uvular stop: Voiceless velar stop: Voiced dento-alveolar lateral: Voiced bilabial nasal continuant: Voiceless dento-alveolar nasal continuant: Voiceless glottal fricative: Voiced labio-velar semivowel: Voiced palatal semivowel: Low front vowel: Low front long vowel High back vowel: High back long vowel High front vowel: High front long vowel xiii Geminated consonants are shown doubled.
nonnative Arabic NNS. nominative NP. English language teacher ESL. first language L2.e. before the common era (i. universal grammar . classical Arabic CE. common era (i. after the hijra (emigration of Prophet Muhammad to Medina) AUC. adjective.e. American University in Cairo BCE. Quran Rh.... English as a second language EoM. native speaker Qur. adjectival AFL.Abbreviations adj. noun or nominal phrase NS.. Egyptian colloquial Arabic EFL. English as a foreign language ELT. second language MSA. from birth of Christ) cop. Arabic as a foreign language AH.. before birth of Christ) CA.. Aristotle's Rhetoric UG. nonnative speaker nom. native Arabic NNA. focus on form L1. copula ECA. English-only movement FonF. modern standard Arabic MSJA. modern standard Jordanian Arabic NA..
argues that in fact there is a—hitherto untreated—sufficient structural and semantic basis for maintaining the distinction. Since the elements of verbality and nominality (thanks to the derivational system of Arabic) are present in varying measurements in each of . For their part. that the former denotes greater emphasis on the topic.. but mainly that the verbal sentence denotes that a process or event is taking place along a grammatically framed time axis. but verbal sentence. as Arab grammarians have maintained. They have argued that the semantic differences between a nominal sentence such as hamidun jalasa and a similar. Semantic Analysis Semantically. ongoing research project. nominal and verbal). whereas the nominal sentence denotes a static condition—an absoluteness.An Opinion on the Meanings of i'rab in Classical Arabic: The State of the Nominal Sentence Summary in English El-Said Badawi The classification of Arabic sentences by classical Arab grammarians into nominal and verbal types on the basis of the one beginning with a noun and the other with a verb has recently been met with resistance by Western Arabists. This paper. are so slight as to make such major structural differentiation between the two unjustifiable. the argument is based on the fact that the contrast between the nominal and verbal sentences is not merely.e. but they went so far in their differentiation between the two types that they not only assigned them to separate classes (i. but they also relegated different terms to each of their two basic constituents: the mubtadi' and khabar (subject and predicate) in the case of the nominal sentence and fi'l and fa'il) in the case of the verbal sentence. Arab grammarians not only made the distinction. which is a part of a larger. jalasa hamidun.
Relation of nominal and verbal features in sentence varieties of Arabic. it follows that it would be a semantic oversimplification to classify Arabic sentences into just verbal and nominal sentences.. noun of instrument. verb. Figure 1.) and because nouns (and indeed any of the other derivatives) are not limited to occurring in the initial position in the sentence or occurring in a certain number. active participle. there exist many sentence varieties. each of which is differentiated from the rest according to the particular mixture of verbal and nominal features that it exhibits. The opposite is also true of the verbal boundary line. concrete noun. each of which stands in semantic opposition to the other. These relations can be expressed schematically. Starting from the extreme nominal boundary (NB). verbal noun. based on evidence of actual language usage.g. It is argued here. all the sentence varieties can thus be arranged on a scale of gradually diminishing nominal features until they reach the verbal boundary line (VB).2 An Opinion on the Meanings of i'rab in Classical Arabic the morphological derivatives of the language (e. that nominal sentences versus verbal ones express two structural extremities. as in Figure 1. . etc. Between these two extreme boundary lines. where maximum verbal features are present.
which consists of noun + noun. but also (and for the first time.. Of the four cases (al-raf'. Each of these groups when associated with the noun + noun structure bring with it semantic and grammatical changes. inna and its sisters. Examination of various occurrences of these sentence types reveals that halat al-raf is associated with static. the absoluteness of the equational sentence is gradually eroded in a form parallel with the grammatical one above. subject + predicate). immovable. Kana and its . whereas the opposite is true of halat al-nasb. assured. al-nasb. and al-jazm). and zanna and its sisters. the paper points out the parallel and supporting features of the grammatical cases al-halat al-i'rabiya. al-jarr. according to the best of my knowledge) as regards the contribution they have been discovered to be making to the total semantic value of the sentence as sketched above. we present here only the case of the nominal sentence. designated by Western Arabists as the equational sentence. and absolute value in the sentence. reflecting in its totality a degree of absoluteness (or lack of it) commensurate with the totality of these interrelated grammatical and semantic features.An Opinion on the Meanings of i'rab in Classical Arabic Structural Analysis Structurally. not merely as regards their mere grammatical values. These are the following: 1) Pure nominal: noun (al-raf} + noun (al-raf) 2) Kana and its sisters: noun (al-raf) + noun (al-nasb) 3) 'Inna and its sisters: noun (al-nasb) + noun (al-raf) 4) Zanna and its sisters: noun (al-nasb) + noun (subjunctive) Semantically. The structural theme of noun + noun sentences is subjected to alterations by the association of one of three verbs/particles known as alnawasikh. This computation yields four unique structure types as regards the distribution of the indicative and subjunctive cases. These are kana and its sisters. The grammatical changes are the function of the computation of the two cases of al-raf and al-nasb over the two positions of the equational sentences (i. only al-raf and al-nasb operate within the two basic parts of the equational sentence.e. Because of the complexity of the total picture and because what is presented here is only one part of a larger research project.
Figure 2. in varying degrees. and finally.4 An Opinion on the Meanings of i'rab in Classical Arabic sisters bring in time qualification (with al-raf in first position). zanna and its sisters. through varying degrees of doubt. . the association between subject and predicate (with al-raf only in second position). 'inna and its sisters question. question the plausibility of the sentence altogether (with no raf in either position). Comparison of the nominal and verbal features of certain varieties of Arabic sentences.
the rheme. the head of the preIP position that determines whether the sentence is declarative or interrogative) of these declarative sentences. in turn. The former sentences always have the structure of a complement phrase (CP. This. there is always a phrasal or clausal category prior to the phrase with a finite verb or predicate. or theme). Theoretical Background and Review of Relevant Literature Chomsky's Minimalist Program According to Chomsky's Minimalist Program (MP).e. In accounting for this syntactic behavior within the framework of the Minimalist Program of Chomsky (1995). Since the proverbial declarative sentence requires a certain element of focus (i. the presence of this strong feature in the C of these declarative sentences activates a rhetorical operation that necessitates the overt insertion of a base-generated phrasal or clausal category in that position. In other words. this paper will show that the word order pertaining to these declarative sentences is not really free. enables us to distinguish syntactically between these proverbial declarative sentences from declarative sentences of the same dialect that are not proverbial. M.. i.e.. because it is motivated by syntactic and semantic considerations. information that is "new" and has the highest degree of communicative dynamism. there is a strong feature in the complement (C. as distinct from topic. but the latter declarative sentences may have the structure of either a CP or an IP. a declarative sentence that has an IP as a complement of its head and also a specifier to that head). Ghaly In the syntactic structure of the proverbs of Egyptian colloquial Arabic (ECA) as cited in Ahmad Taymur's book of Colloquial Proverbs (1986).The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs Huda M. because it has a strong feature in its C. operations of the computational system for human language (CHL) for constructing a sen- . or matrix IP.
which is the formation of operator-variable constructions driven by full interpretation (FI. 327). 229). is restricted to the special case of an adjunct position (A') movement that involves operators (p. 220). it is assumed by Chomsky (1995) that ordering applies to the output of morphology. "the distinction made in early transformational grammar between 'stylistic' rules and others" is still maintained by Chomsky (p. anywhere.. 324). PF) that leaves part of a trace intact at LF and deletes only its operator. which takes a pair of syntactic objects and replaces them with a new combined syntactic object so that it may be interpreted at the logical form (LF. the items in the lexicon) and introduces it into the derivation (the set of operations performed on the lexical items to produce the relevant structure). the constituents have overt phonetic form). full reconstruction. but prephonetic" (p.g. This in turn demonstrates that on strictly minimalist assumptions the only possibilities for adjunction are word formation and that the order assumed in the adjunction of a head to another head "seems rather obscure and may have no general answer" (p. 335). In other words. The first operation of this computation.6 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs tence recursively construct syntactic objects that are rearrangements of properties of the lexical items. i. Accordingly. which assigns a linear (temporal. Chomsky still maintains that the CHL has move a (an operation that allows movement of anything. Since "there is no clear evidence that order plays a role at LF or in the computation from N to LF" (p. all of which are words or morphemes (X° categories) though not necessarily lexical items (p. there is an operation spellout. which strips away elements that are not relevant to LF. those elements that belong to the phonological component (Chomsky. left-to-right) order to the elements (p. 340). This process of derivation involves the operation merge. 1995. the computation to LF after spellout is covert. p. 334). 324)... The reason is that "reconstruction in the A-chains does not take place. is a procedure that takes a lexical item from the numeration (N. external to the major syntactic structure. 326). so it appears" (p. e. This is indicated by the fact that the "output conditions reveal that items commonly appear 'displaced' from the position in which the interpretation they receive is . [and] associated with an internal position that determines its semantic interpretation" (p. At some point in the computation to LF. the semantic component of the string) interface. LF plus phonetic form.e. Whereas pre-spellout is overt (i. and he feels that they "seem to involve some additional level or levels internal to the phonological component" that is "postmorphology. a word or phrase. select. he regards ordering as "surface effects" on interpretation. 335). he maintains that the scrambled element (the word or phrase that has been reordered and moved further to the front of the clause) is "a kind of adjunct. As a result. provided the movement is not prevented by other constraints).e. Furthermore.
where it must receive some interpretation. such as when we have a case of "full reconstruction at LF. where the two-segment category. the structure "[YP XP [yp-t. "an adverb in pre-IP position cannot be interpreted as if raised from some lower position" (p. The reason for this restriction on a-adjunction is that this framework is concerned with last resort movement driven by feature checking within the computation (p. In other words. formed by adjunction.e. Unlike the "adjunction of YP to XP" (p. 323).. he now also holds the view that any displacement in language is basically reducible to morphology-driven movement and that the problems related to variable phrase (XP) adjunction do not really belong to the minimalist framework. in which a is incorporated without raising since it "appears in some higher position" (Chomsky." there is no empirical evidence that adverbs form chains by XP-adjunctions (p. satisfying FI" (p. In the lexicon. However. projecting from X. which does not fit easily into this general approach. 319). p. He feels that apart from the fact that "adverbs seem to have no morphological properties that require XP-adjunction. leaving just one term" (p. 323). 330) and "the problem of optional raising" of the adverb can be solved by the Larsonian solution. is barred when an XP is an adjective phrase (AP) or verb phrase (VP) (p. However. such a structure is permissible only "if a is an adjunct that is deleted at LF. . But for Chomsky. features in words or morphemes] or (if the operation is overt) an X°" (p. 329).. a a feature [i. "scrambling [is] interpreted by reconstruction" (p. It follows then for Chomsky that "adverbials cannot be adjoined by merge to phrases that are 0-related [i. verbs. there are two terms but only one LF role. 330). since "each of these is a category that is visible at the interface. 323)..]]] (i.e..e.. It follows that "the primary and perhaps only case is a-adjunction" (the process by which any word is adjoined to any other.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 7 otherwise represented at the LF interface" (p. it may be the case that by the strict merger of two elements or by the raising of an element. 331)." Accordingly. 329). 322).e.. there are substantive elements such as nouns. arguments or predicates]" (p. the notion of a strong feature (a feature that can trigger movement) plays an important role in the Minimalist Program. This is why Chomsky believes that adverbs can "be 'base-adjoined' only to X or phrases headed by v (i. a-adjunction) is only interpreted at the trace" (p. will be interpreted as a word by morphology. forming a chain with both elements then merging (p. 322). 1995. because the adjunction of an adverbial to an XP that has a 6-role at LF to form the two-segment category [XP. larger word) "to X . 323). 322). In such a case. eliminating the adjunct entirely. 316). The strong features are nonsubstantives that call for a category in their checking domains.XP]. 330). a verb form that has had affixes adjoined to it) or functional categories" (p.
The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs
etc., with their idiosyncratic properties and some of the functional categories, such as the "complementizer (C)" (p. 240). Other functional categories that have semantic properties include tense (T) and determiner (D). When the functional category C is questions (Q; for interrogative sentences), it is interpretable (i.e., it has semantic content at the level of LF), in which case it need not be checked unless it is strong. And when it is strong, it must be checked by merge or by move by substitution or adjunction before spellout. If, on the other hand, a language has weak Q, it will remain in situ at phonetic form (PF). In referring to the discourse properties of English, Chomsky (1995) says that there is a null variant of the declarative C that must have been introduced covertly and must be weak since strength is motivated only by PF manifestation. However, despite the fact that "covert insertion of strong features is indeed barred," he still maintains that it "is not barred" if this "covert insertion of complementizers has an LF effect" (p. 294).
Other relevant literature
Arguing against the assumption that word order in languages such as Japanese is strictly optional, Miyagawa (1997) provides evidence that its apparently flexible word order of indirect object-direct object (IO-DO) and DO-IO is base-generated (i.e., a lexical analysis), rather than involving optional VP-adjunction scrambling, since scrambling is a strictly optional movement operation. He also provides evidence that these two word orders involve argument positions (A-positions; e.g., a subject position or that of the complement of a verb, adjective, or noun), since they have properties such as binding, which can take place only in an A-position. As for the IP adjunction in Japanese, Miyagawa says that it involves A movement and PC movement. In the A movement, VP-internal materials such as the object appears to the left of the subject for case-agreement features. But the A' movement is motivated by focus. Concentrating on the PC movement, Miyagawa says that the accusative case, which is inflected for agreement (I), is licensed by the same functional category. Following Chomsky, Miyagawa assumes that languages like Japanese allow multiple specifier positions for a single head. Accordingly, he assumes that the functional head Agro (that is, the head in which there is object-verb agreement) incorporates in Agrs (that is, the head in which there is subject-verb agreement). Due to this fusion, we have a unitary functional head that checks both the nominative subject, in the lower IP, and the accusative object, in the higher IP node creadted by adjunction, forming [IPObj-acc [IPSubj-nom...Agro-Agrs]]. The notions of focus and topic have an acknowledged status in Universal Grammar (UG). Focus may be analyzed by analogy with quantifier phrases in the sense that it operates a quantification, effecting a partition of the uni-
The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs
verse (May, 1985), and it can occur either in overt syntax or in LF. Accordingly, focus can be realized both fronted and in situ. Phonologically, a focus constituent has always been associated with a prominence-leading accent (Chomsky, 1971). On the other hand, a topic is deaccented and separated from the sentence by an intonational break, i.e., in slow rates of speech speakers generally make a short pause between the topic and the phrase adjacent to it. As far as the syntactic analysis of the topic is concerned, Frascarelli (1997) maintains that there is no general agreement among authors whether a topic is extracted by movement from its argumentposition (Rochemont, 1989) or base-generated as an extrasentential constituent, coindexed with a predicate internal gap or clitic (Cinque, 1990). Frascarelli (1997) adds that one point that is generally agreed on makes a critical distinction between a topic and a focus: a topic in extraposed position is either an adjunct or a base-generated construction, while a focus is neither. Moreover, there can be only one focus while multiple topics are allowed. A focus cannot be resumed by a pronominal clitic, and cannot enter into coreference relations. A focus can only bind a pronominal provided it c-commands it, because in this case it is a syntactic operator. Another consideration from theoretical work that relates to the complementizers seen in proverbial declarative sentences in ECA has to do with the so-called CP hypothesis. This theory assumes that finite subordinate clauses in English that lack an overt complementizer (that-less clauses) should be analyzed as CPs with a null head, whether by adopting a rule of "that deletion" or through the lexical insertion of a null C° (a complementizer on a word, rather than a phrasal level; Chomsky and Lasnik, 1977). This hypothesis that finite subordinate clauses (with or without complementizers) share a common syntactic structure has been refuted by Doherty (1997), who has shown that there are significant differences between that and that-less clauses with respect to adjunction possibilities. He has provided evidence from adverbial adjunction, analyzing finite subordinate clauses in English without an overt C as finite IP complements, rather than as CPs with a null head.
Description of the Data
There are basically six types of proverbial declarative sentences in ECA. The first type has a CP that has an embedded IP that is introduced by a subordinator such as /'in/ or /ba9dima/ generated prior to the matrix IP. The second type has a CP that has an embedded IP that is introduced by an NP operator such as the relative pronominal /'illi/ or the interrogative pronominal /min/ generated prior to the matrix IP. The third type has an
The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs
CP that has an embedded IP that has an imperative verb generated prior to the matrix IP. The fourth type consists of three subclasses of these proverbial declarative sentences, but all have a CP with an NP that is generated prior to the matrix IP. The first subclass has an NP that may have overt case and it is also in an embedded IP generated prior to the matrix IP. The second subclass of type four has an NP that is a nominal construct generated prior to the matrix IP. The third subclass of type four has an NP with a strong pronominal form that does not have deictic function generated prior to the matrix IP. The fifth type of these proverbial declarative sentences has a CP with an NP that is introduced by the vocative particle generated prior to the matrix IP. The sixth type of these proverbial declarative sentences has a CP with a PP generated prior to the matrix IP. Type 1: CP with an embedded IP introduced by a subordinator The first type of these proverbial declarative sentences has a CP with an embedded IP that is introduced by a subordinator, such as /'in/ or /ba9dima/, generated prior to the matrix IP (see sentences and their respective trees below). It should be noted that in these proposed syntactic configurations that have been designated in the light of the Minimalist Program, the "Larsonian solution" has been used, i.e., the elements of the internal domain (whether as arguments or not) appear in some higher position (Chomsky, 1995, p. 331). This is due to the fact that "there should be no adjunction to a 6-related phrase (a 0-role assigner or an argument, a predicate or the XP of which it is predicated)" (p. 323). These configurations have also made use of the simple transitive verb construction of Chomsky (1995) before tense (T) is added to form TP. Introduced by /'in/: (1) /'in fa:tak il-mi:ri 'itmarragh fi Tura:buh/ conditional + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + perfective verb + pron. infl. (2rd per., masc., sing.) + def. art. + noun + pron. infl (2nd per., masc., sing.) + imperative verb + prep. + noun + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) Lit., "If the governmental job leaves you behind, roll yourself in its dust," meaning there is nothing better than a job in the public sector. Introduced by /ba9dima/: (2) /ba9dima sha:b waddu: il-kutta:b/ temporal + pron. + pron. infl. (3rd per., sing., masc.) + perfective verb + pron. infl. (3rd per., pi.) + perfective verb + pron. infl. (3rd per., sing., masc.) + def. art. + noun + pron. infl. (pi.) Lit., "After his hair became gray, they sent him to school," i.e., he has been asked to do something that is inappropriate for him.
The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs
The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs
Type 2: CP with an embedded IP introduced by an NP operator The second type has a CP that has an embedded IP that is introduced by an NP operator such as the relative pronominal /'illi/ or the interrogative pronominal /min/ generated prior to the matrix IP. This proverbial structure is shown in the sentences and their respective trees below. Introduced by the relative pronominal /'illi/ (3) /'illi yistoro rabbu ma yifDaHu:sh maxlu:'/ relative pron. + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + imperfective verb + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + noun + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + negative particle + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + imperfective verb + cont. of the negative particle + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + noun Lit., "Whosoever God shelters, nobody can expose (him)." Introduced by the interrogative pronominal /min/ (4) /min tarak 'adi:mu ta:h/ interrogative pron. + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + perfective verb + noun + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + pron. infl. (3rd per., masc., sing.) + perfective verb Lit., "Whosoever leaves his old (friend) is lost." Type 2: labeled tree diagrams With /'illi/ (proverb 3)
masc... (2nd per.) + imperfective verb + noun + pron.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 13 Type 3: CP with an embedded IP that has an imperative verb The third type has a CP that has an embedded IP that has an imperative verb generated prior to the matrix IP. (2nd per. This is exemplified by the sentence and its tree below. sing. infl. (2nd per. (3rd per. masc.. + pron.) + imperative verb + adv." Type 3: labeled tree diagram . sing. masc. sing.. sing.. infl. infl.) Lit.. + pron... "(If you) follow the straight path. infl. your enemy will not know how to attack you. (5) /'imshi dughri yiHta:r 9aduwwak fi:k / pron.) + prep.. masc.
pron. The third subclass is exemplified by sentences 11 and 12.. (masc. it is evident from her appearance.." that is." (8) /di:l 'il-kalb 9umru ma yin9idil/ noun + def. subclass 1: labeled tree diagram (proverb 6) (7) /xi:r 'ir-rigga:la yiba:n 9ashshabbah7 noun + def. (3rd per. sing. masc.) + imperfective verb + prep + def. sing... "When a woman's husband is rich.) + imperfective verb + noun + accusative case + nunation + pron.. in which there is a focused embedded CP that has itself a focused NP with overt case.. "Good (being) done. Type 4. + noun + adv. evil returned. masc. masc. infl (2nd per. instead of a reward for doing good.) + imperfective verb Lit.) + imperfective verb Lit. infl. art. art. "The tail of the dog. infl.. + noun Lit. in which there are focused NPs with different internal structures." That is. (6) /xayrin ti9mil sharran til'a / noun + genitive case + nunation + pron.. you get evil in return. + noun + pron. infl.) + . sing. art. it is never upright..14 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs Type 4: CP with an NP operator : There are three basic subclasses of type four of these proverbial declarative sentences. masc. sing. (masc. (3rd per. + negative particle + pron. infl. sing) + noun + pron.) + pron. The first subclass is exemplified by sentence 6.. (2nd per. (2nd per. old habits die hard. infl... (9) /da waghak wala Dayyi 'il-'amar/ dem. masc... sing. in which the focused NPs have the internal structure of strong pronominal forms that have lost their deictic force. sing. The second subclass is exemplified by sentences 7-10.
. masc. "She-the kite throws away chicks (that she has caught to eat)?!" That is.) + def.. some people harm themselves.. (masc.. masc.. sing.. (3rd per. infl. (3rd per. sing. infl. masc. subclass 3: labeled tree diagram (proverb 11) (12) /huwwa 1-kalb yi9ud widn 'axu:h/ strong pron. + noun + pron. sing.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 15 conj. sing.) + perfective verb + prep.) + def..) + pron. + noun Lit.. sing. fern. sing. infl.) + imperfective verb + noun + pron. infl (3rd per. your face and not the glitter of the moon (is its equal).. + noun + noun + pron. infl.) Lit. (3rd per...) + imperfective verb + noun + noun + pron. "This. + noun + pron." That is. masc. (11) /hiyya l-Hidda:ya tirammi kataki:t/ strong pron. (3rd per.." This is a very cordial way of complimenting someone on his appearance.) + pron. art. infl. (10) /dabbu:r wi zan 9ala xara:b 9ishshu/ noun + conj. art. (pi) Lit. (3rd per. + pron. sing.) Lit. "He-the dog bites his nephew's ear?!" Is it possible that people would really hurt others of their own race or kind? .. masc.. fern. infl.. (fern. "A wasp.. + emphatic particle + noun + def.. sing.. sing. is it possible that the kite would throw away the chicks that she has caught for herself? Type 4.. and it kept on buzzing to destroy its nest. art. infl. (3rd per.
. "You earth.) + pron. + imperative verb + pron. Several examples are given below as well as a tree diagramming this type.) + conj.16 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs Type 5: CP with an NP operator introduced by a vocative particle The fifth type of these proverbial declarative sentences has a CP that has an NP that is introduced by the vocative particle generated prior to the matrix IP.) + prep. crack up and swallow me. infl.. infl (1st per. (15) /ya baxt min 'idir wi-9ifi/ vocative particle + noun + interrogative pron. fern. sing.. fern. "You earth..... no one is on you but myself.) Lit. . (1st per. fern. (2nd per.) Lit." A description of an arrogant and conceited person. sing.. sing. (3rd per. sing. infl. + pron. + strong pron. infl (2nd per. sing. I was so ashamed that I wished I could hide anywhere even it meant my being devoured by the earth. Type 5: labeled tree diagram (proverb 13) (14) /ya 'arD ma 9ali:ki 'illa-na/ vocative particle + noun + negative particle + prep.. infl (2nd per.." That is. (13) /ya 'arD 'insha:'i wi-bla9i:ni/ vocative particle + noun + imperative verb + pron. + pron.
+ noun + pron. infl. and do not forget me. + noun + pron. sing) + conj.. "On my tongue.. masc.) + conj. masc." that is. art. infl. art. + noun + noun + pron. infl. + noun + conj. who has the ability to punish his wrongdoer. my poor little heart is overcome with sadness. (pi. masc..) Lit.. masc. + def..) + imperfective verb + def. art.) Lit.. oh what is in you. God is the Provider. infl. . NP introduced by /ba9d/ (20) /ba9d il-9i:d ma yinfitilshi 1-kaHk/ temporal particle + def. (2nd per. (1st per. NP introduced by /9ala/ (19) /9ala lisaini wa-la tinsa:ni/ prep.) + perfective verb Lit." (16) /ya 'alb yakata:kit ya ma fi:k w-inta sa:kit/ vocative particle + noun + vocative particle + noun + vocative particle + relative pronoun + prep. infl.. [you are] misdeeds. and you are silent?" That is.. sing.. (3rd per. masc. infl. (1st per." God may provide for the seller and the buyer if they do not agree with one another to conclude the transaction. (17) /ya ma taHt 'is-sawa:hi dawa:hi/ vocative particle + relative pronominal + prep. sing. + noun + negative particle + pron.... "Between the seller and the buyer..) + imperfective verb + pron. Type 6: CP with an NP operator introduced by a preposition The sixth type of these proverbial declarative sentences has a CP that has a PP generated prior to the matrix IP.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 17 masc. (2nd per.. sing. sing. infl. "Oh whatever is underneath this inadvertence.. do not forget me as I have not forgotten you. NP introduced by /bi:n/ (18) /bi:n 'il-ba:yi9 wi-shsha:ri yiftaH 'allah/ prep. oh poor young chick. + def. and yet he forgives. + pron. (3rd per. + strong pron.) + active participial predicate Lit.. art.. + pron. "Oh lucky one. art.) + perfective verb + conj. sing. "Oh heart. + negative particle + pron. + noun Lit. sing. infl. sing. (2nd per." said of anyone whose behavior in reality is different from its appearance.. + def. This type of proverbial structure is demonstrated by the sentences and their respective trees below.
"(I am) in it (else) I will dispose of it. art. pi. (3rd per. NP introduced by /fi:/ (21) /fi:ha l('a)xfi:ha/ prep + pron.. infl..) + imperfective verb + def. infl. I will put an end to it. sing. sing.) + imperfective verb + discontinous negative particle + noun + pron. "As with crazy people. infl." Type 6: labeled tree diagram With /bi:n/ (proverb 18) . there is a time for everything. (23) /zayy 'il-marakbeyya ma yiftikiru:sh rabbina 'ilia wa't 'il-ghara'/ prep.. art.. he is very moody like a lunatic. infl...) + prep. they remember God only at the time of drowning. sing..e.) + emphatic particle + pron. fern.) Lit. infl. art. (1st per. NP introduced by /zayy/ (22) /zayy 'il-magazi:b kulli sa:9a f(i) Ha:l/ prep. the cookies are not made.) + negative particle + pron. "After the feast. if I am not part of it. + def. + noun Lit.." i.e. + def..) + prep.. "As with the sailors.. + noun Lit. + noun + pron. infl. masc. fern. (3rd per. + noun + pron. infl. (pi. (pi. (fern.. art.18 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs (3rd per.. sing. pi...) + universal quantifier + noun + pron. (3rd per. masc.. infl. each hour [they are] in a different condition." that is. (1st per." i. + noun + def. + noun Lit. sing..) + imperfective verb + pron.
If strength is motivated only by phonetic form (PF) manifestation (Chomsky.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 19 Analysis of Each Proverbial Structure Type 1. 1995). then it may be said that the strength of the C of the matrix CPs in sentences of type 1 is overtly manifested by the base-gen- .
1995. unlike those of type 1. We may. i. This is because adjunction of maximal projections headed by a word category (e. These embedded CPs are adjunct CPs: in the tree of proverb 1. But when the focused CP is an argument. it does require an internal element within its major syntactic structure for its semantic interpretation.e. the embedded CPs do not have coreferential small pros in their matrix CPs.20 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs eration of the embedded CPs as the focused element. in sentence 3.. they are not associated with internal elements within their major syntactic structures.. assume that the focused embedded CPs in proverbs like sentence 3 must be base-generated in an A-position in the C of their matrix CPs. YP and XP. accordingly. as represented in sentence 3. and this reminds us of Chomsky's (1995) assumption that in some languages "arguments [are] attached as adjuncts associated with internal elements" (p. Type 2. whereas the focused . which is introduced by the conditioner /'in/. the lexical analysis has been assumed here because there is no specific categorial feature involved in this operation. Furthermore.e. "adverbials cannot be adjoined by merge" to phrases that are 0-related. and that in type 1. Accordingly. the embedded CP is an adverbial of condition. 330). where Y and X represent variables) does not "fit easily into this general approach. this is indicated by the fact that it has a coreferential object small pro in its matrix CP.. as represented in sentence 1 arises from the fact that the focused CPs in the sentences of the latter type are adjuncts. whereas those of the former are arguments. When the focused CPs are adjuncts.e. i. But the embedded CPs in sentences of type 2. I have adopted the view that these embedded CPs are "baseadjoined" (Chomsky. have coreferential small pros (a small pro is a covert pronoun that is the subject or object of a finite clause) within their matrix CPs. making it the external argument of the matrix verb /ta:h/." (p. the strength of the C of the matrix CPs in the second type is overtly manifested by embedded CPs that are assumed to be base-generated in the C of their matrix CPs due to the strong feature in their C. the embedded CPs) base-generated in its checking domain. this embedded CP is the internal argument of the matrix verb /yifDaHu:/. those phrases that play a semantic role either as an argument or a predicate (p. p. this strong feature in the C of these matrix CPs is eliminated by having the focused element (i. which is introduced by the temporal /ba9dima/. 324). Moreover. 330) in the C of these matrix CPs due to the strong feature in the C of these matrix CPs. In sentence 4 the embedded CP generated in its C has a coreferential subject small pro in its matrix CP. The difference between the embedded CP like that in type 2. This is demonstrated by the respective trees of sentences 3 and 4. Stated another way.. the embedded CP is an adverbial of time. As with the sentences of type 1. rather than by overt movement. and in tree of sentence 2. 323).g.
this topic NP has been moved to the post-IP position.e. Another basic difference between the embedded CPs of type 2 and those of type 1 is that the former's embedded CPs are introduced by pronominals: a relative pronominal in sentence 3 (i.e. along with the subject small pro. It has been extraposed from its pre-IP position. as distinct from the focused argument. Type 3.e. it is only the topic NP that may extraposed..3 This indicates that the A-position for the base-generation of a topic NP is distinct from that A-position in which a focused argument is base-generated be it a CP or an NP. whether it is relative or interrogative. And in trying to account for this syntactic behavior of the topic NP without an overt complementizer. 1995. the pronominal in the embedded CP. This assumption is built on two premises: (1) this NP does not function as an operator in relation to the embedded IP it heads. we could maintain that this type of NP is base-generated as a multiple specifier of I.. rather than a focused NP in this embedded CP.. which also has A-properties such as binding. /mm/).The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 21 embedded CPs in proverbs like sentence 1 must be base-generated in an Apposition in the C of their matrix CPs. the topic NP and the subject small pro) are checked by a single head (i. within the framework of the Minimalist Program. /'illi/) and an interrogative pronominal in sentence 4 (i. The IP generated in the C of type 3 is similar to the embedded CPs of type 1 in that they are adjuncts. /'illi/) has Aproperties such as binding (i. Accordingly. 333) since it is a stylistic variation.e. we notice that it displays a flexibility of the movement that is not available to the focused NP. and (2) it displays a different syntactic behavior from that characterizing focused NPs. it may be regarded as the focused NP within these embedded CPs.. this demonstrates that in ECA there is also an A-position in the C of these embedded CPs.. In either case. But the noun /rabbu/ is a topic NP. producing a stylistic variation.. Since both specifiers (i. they may be regarded as multiple specifiers. as indicated by its subject small pro within the matrix CP. where it is assumed to be base-generated. it is the whole embedded CP that is the external argument of the matrix verb.e. This movement of the topic NP /rabbu/ may be described as "not belonging] at all within [this] framework of principles" (Chomsky. Their status as adjuncts is indicated by the fact that they do not have coreferential small .e. In sentence 4. rather than arguments. It binds the subject small pro in its major syntactic structure. Not being part of the focused element. I or T). in sentence 3 it binds the object small pro2 in its major syntactic structure). In sentence 3 we have the noun /rabbu/. which is not applicable to the focused NP. to a post-IP position. As the relative pronominal (i. functions as an operator in relation to the embedded IP it heads. Concentrating on the distinct syntactic behavior of the topic NP. p. accordingly.
and this in turn provides us with more evidence that there is an A-position in the C of these declarative sentences for the focused argument be it an CP or an NP. we find that there are overt case markers and the overt indefinite marker (i.. the basic difference between both types of proverbial sentences is that in those of type 3 the focused category is an IP.e. The strong feature in the C of this type of the ECA proverbs is overtly manifested in different ways. The first subtype is exemplified by sentence 6. However. It is to be noted that /xayrin/ is . as in sentences 9 and 10.e.22 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs pros. This subtype is composed of an embedded CP that itself has a focused NP. Despite the fact that both nouns in 6 (i. within their matrix CPs. The fourth type of these proverbial declarative sentences in this variety of Arabic is characterized by their having an NP generated in their C as illustrated by sentences 6-12. but one that has overt case manifested on its nouns. rather than a CP. the nunation) in the nouns /xayrin/ and /sharran/. The third subtype is exemplified by sentences 11 and 12. or complex NP structures. both features of which are marked phenomena because there are no overt case markers nor an overt indefinite marker associated with nouns in ECA. Analyzing sentence 6 first. leading to their subclassification into different subtypes.e. indicating that it differs in its base-generation from the noun /sharran/ and providing us with evidence that these two nouns cannot be base-generated in the same A-position. It is the presence of the overt case marker carried by the noun /xayrin/ and the fact that it is genitive that enables us to maintain that this noun is base-generated in a complementizer A-position. it is only the former noun that has genitive case. The second subtype is exemplified by sentences 7-10. as in sentences 7 and 8. Type 4. /xayrin/ and /sharran/) are the internal arguments of their respective verbs (i. in which the focused NP has the internal structure of a strong pronominal form that has lost its deictic force. The vowel /i/ in the noun /xayrin/ is the overt case marker of the genitive and the vowel /a/ in the noun /sharran/ is the overt case marker of the accusative with the final /n/ after the overt case markers in both nouns being the nunation marker. the strength of the C of the matrix CP in type 3 proverbs is overtly manifested by the requirement that this embedded IP have an imperative verb only.. The noun /xayrin/ acquires its genitive case as a specifier to the head C (the spec-head relation) of the matrix CP. /ti9mil/ and /til'a/). and that the strong feature found in the C of this type of proverbial structure is given overt manifestation by the obligatory presence of the imperative verb form in the embedded IP. In other words. rather than the imperfective or the perfective verb forms. rather than in an A-position within the IP.. These sentences have focused NPs that may be internally composed of nominal constructs.
The noun /sharran/. This extraposition is a kind of stylistic variation that makes the word order in the matrix CP apparently similar to that found in the focused CP. Not being part of the focused category. and the conjunction /wa/. this strong personal pronominal simply . focuses the noun /dabbu:r/. Sentences 7-10 differ from sentence 6 in that it is only the latter sentence that has overt case markers.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 23 generated in the focused CP.. The nominal predicate.. acquires its accusative case marker by being in a spec-head relation to the V of the matrix CP. there is no need for it to be associated with an internal element within the major syntactic structure. In other words. which has lost its coordinating function. nor does the NP with the noun /sharran/ have a coreferential small pro within its major syntactic structure. However. does not have inflections heavy enough for the local determination of a subject small pro A In sentence 11. in 8 there is also the adverbial particle /9umru / and the negative particle /ma/.e. is nonetheless given PF manifestation. It is only in sentence 9 that there is no internal element that determines the semantic interpretation of the NP that is base-generated in its C. the demonstrative pronominal in this sentence does not have a deictic function nor does the conjunction have a coordinating function. In sentence 9. In other words. the strong feature of its C is basically indicated by the base-generation of the strong personal pronominal (i. /hiyya/) in its C. Having lost its deictic force. in which case it is not possible to have a subject small pro. Sentence 6 also demonstrates that when the scrambled element is an argument whose semantic interpretation is determined by its overt case marker. which are also proverbial declarative sentences.e. in sentence 10. In sentences 7 and 8. the presence of the overt case marker alleviates the need for an internal element within the major syntactic structure of each of these nouns. Similarly. which is itself base-generated in the C of the matrix CP. It is to be noted that since the NPs generated in the C of sentences 7-10 do not have overt case markers they have coreferential small pros within their major syntactic structures. all of which are generated in order to focus the noun /waghak/. both of which provide further evidence that this nominal construct must be in a position external to the major syntactic structure. the presence of the conjunction /wi/. the strength of its C is indicated by the emphatic particle /la/. it may be said that the strength in the C of the former sentences. This is because sentence 9 is a nominal sentence. making the proverb more harmonious. the demonstrative pronominal /da/. /til'a/) as the result of "surface effects" mentioned above. This is probably why the NP with the noun /xayrin/ does not have a coreferential small pro within its major syntactic structure. there is a nominal construct base-generated in these sentences' Cs. on the other hand. the noun /sharran/ in sentence 6 has been extraposed to a position before its verb (i. unlike the verbal predicate in Arabic.
it is checked by a distinct head from that which checks the subject small pro. Sentence 14 illustrates an important characteristic of this type of proverbial declarative sentence: the fronting of the prepositional predicate. Type 5. Both NPs together rhetorically ask whether the proposition within its major syntactic structure is true. and this is indicated by the agreement in gender and number between them (i. As the vocative NP in ECA does not have an overt case marker. This fronting emphasizes that predicate. Despite the distinctness of these two pre-IP base-generated NPs in sentence 11. they constitute a syntactic operator analyzed by analogy with quantifier phrases. the strong feature in their C is given PF manifestation by the base-generation of a focused NP that is introduced by a vocative particle. 1985). i. forming one phonological unit associated with a prominence-leading accent (Chomsky. they nonetheless constitute one NP in relation to the remainder of the sentence. As with the tree of sentence 3. sentence 11 likewise provides evidence that in ECA there is not only an A-position in C for the base-generation of these focused NPs but also another A-position in a pre-IP position for the the base-generation of a topic NP without an overt complementizer.. and it has an operatorlike function. As for the focused NP. In sentence 13 (as shown by its tree) these internal elements are the coreferential subject small pros in both CPs.e.24 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs recasts the whole sentence so that it rhetorically questions the possibility of a kite ever letting go of its prey. 1997). In sentences of type 5 (13-17). placing it next to the vocative NP and changing the assumed underlying structure /'ana 9ali:ki/ ("I am on you") to /ma 9ali:ki 'illa-na/ ("Not on you except me"). I). together they constitute the focused element since there can be only one focus (Frascarelli. the pronominal /hiyya/ and the noun /l-Hidda:ya/). while in sentence 14. along with the subject small pro since both specifiers are checked by a single head (i. and by addressing the internal argument of the prepositional predicate and making it the . It is checked by a declarative C with a strong feature. effecting a partition of the universe (May. in which there is a prepositional predicate and an object small pro. But this NP may be regarded as a multiple specifier. This strong personal pronominal is base-generated prior to another noun that is also assumed to be base-generated in a pre-IP position: it is /l-Hidda:ya/. it is likewise associated with an internal element that determines its semantic interpretation within the major syntactic structure.. As both of them represent the contrastive element in this sentence. 1971).e.e. the vocative NP is the internal argument of the preposition /9ali:ki/ in the underlying nominal sentence /'ana 9ali:ki/ ("I am on you").
can only be regarded as falling within the domain of the rules that have been referred to by Chomsky (1995) as the "surface effects" (p. /min 'idir wi 9ifi/). Being the first vocative. the fronting of the prepositional predicate is obligatory. /ya ma fi:k/).e. But this obligatory fronting of the prepositional predicate. the second describes the size of that heart. it is base-generated prior to the other vocatives in this sentence's C.. which describes the object she is addressing. while in sentence 15 the proposition in its major syntactic structure is deleted."Oh.. The other focused element in this sentence is the compound verbal clauses (i. the first vocative addresses the heart. 220). The third vocative element is a nominal clause (i. then the vocative NP (i. the emphatic effect is even greater. you Earth"). It is to be noted that the proposition in this sentence's major syntactic structure is not deleted: it is /inta sa:kit/ ("you [masc. This provides an even more focalizing effect to the first vocative NP. /ya ma:/). in which /taHt 'issawa:hi/ is fronted due to the generation of the vocative NP (i. if we assume that this sentence is derived from the underlying structure /'illi 'idir wi 9afa baxtu kwayyis/ ("whoever has the ability to punish and yet forgives has good luck").e. Looking first at sentence 15 as an example. which describes the second vocative NP as full despite of its small size. which describes the qualifications of the one who is in possession of this good fortune..e. The proposition in the major syntactic structure of sentence 16 is not deleted because .e. /ya 'alb/). the vocative NP) in the C of this type of the nominal sentence (i. which is /yakata:kit/. Sentence 16 provides us with further evidence of this recursiveness of the focused element in ECA.e. sing.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 25 vocative NP (i.e. /ya baxt/) refers to the one who is in possession of this good fortune because he has the above qualities. with the base-generation of this focused element (i. which takes place in the nominal sentence with a vocative NP base-generated in its C. with a prepositional predicate). The second vocative NP.e. This obligatory fronting of the prepositional predicate in the nominal sentence with a vocative NP base-generated in its C is found not only in sentence 14 but also in sentence 17.. and the third vocative states the full capacity of that heart with the conjunction /wi-/..e. Another important characteristic of these proverbial sentences that have a vocative NP is demonstrated by sentences 15 and 16: it is the recursiveness of the focused element. In other words. focalizing these focused elements. It has three focused elements: the first vocative element is the NP (i. describing the heart as a little chick. is base-generated adjacent to the first vocative NP. and not on the presence of a strong feature in a nonsubstantive category..] are quiet and tolerant").. /ya 'arD/.. This is because this fronting is contingent only on the presence of a vocative NP in a sentence with a prepositional predicate. In other words.
along with the subject small pro.e. The prepositional phrases (PPs) in sentences of type 6 should also be regarded as being base-generated in the C of their sentences because adverbs do not form chains by XP-adjunction and because the adjunction of an adverbial to an XP that has a 6-role is barred when an XP is an adjectival phrase or a verbal phrase (see above. /'alla:h/) in sentence 18 and its tree is not part of the focused element. and this is indicated by the fact that they do not have coreferential small pros within their major syntactic structures. In other words. That the topic NP (i.. This pre-IP position has been regarded as a position in C because the focused element functions as a syntactic operator as regards the IP it heads. and this is probably why it has undergone a "surface effect" rule. Being a topic NP with no overt complementizer. these PPs of type 6 have been regarded as adjunct operators that are base-generated in the specifier position of CP when they modify that IP (Rizzi. As with the adjunct CPs in type 1 sentences. moving it from its base-generated preIP position to a post-IP position. it has been regarded as the multiple specifier of the I head.e. the noun /'alla:h/) has been moved from a pre-IP position is indicated by the fact that it is assigned an external thematic role and nominative case. rather than accusative case by the verb adjacent to it. It is to be noted that the topic NP (i. The former declarative sentence requires an obligatory focused element in a pre-IP position as a rhetorical device. /inta/) as the subject NP..26 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs it is emphasized. Accordingly.. rather than a strong feature. rather than a CP. Type 6. "Theoretical background and review of relevant literature"). because it has a weak feature in its C. the nonproverbial declarative sentence . the meaning of this sentence would not be complete had the proposition in its major syntactic structure been deleted. the lack of coindexation between the topic NP and the focused element in sentence 18 indicates that they do not constitute one unit. Moreover. 1990). it has been assumed that the proverbial declarative sentence in EGA is syntactically distinct from the nonproverbial declarative sentence.e.6 Conclusion In this study. which is the focus in this sentence. these PPs are generated in an A'-position in their C. as shown by its having the strong pronominal form (i. It follows that the nonproverbial declarative sentence that does not have an overt head with an overt complementizer in EGA may be regarded as having an IP structure. The PPs in these sentences are also similar to the embedded CPs in sentences of type 1 in that they are focused elements that are adjuncts. In other words.
and this is overtly manifested when there is an overt case marker carried by the focused NP. while the focused adjuncts are base-generated in an A'-position. the A-position for focused arguments and the A'-position for focused adjuncts) are external to the major syntactic structure. This distinctness of the focused NP and the topic NP is also indicated by the fact that each type of NP is assigned a different case. these are not associated with internal positions within their major syntactic structures for the determination of their semantic interpretations. it has the ability to subsume to rules at the phonological component. the notion that there are strong and weak features not only distinguishes between interrogative sentences and declarative sentences in English but also between the different types of declarative sentences in ECA. the focused NP is assigned genitive case. The focused elements in these proverbial declarative sentences have been divided into focused arguments and focused adjuncts. leading to its extraposition from its base-generated position. allowing it to be extraposed (i. The difference in the syntactic behavior between the focused NP and the topic NP also warrants the assumption that they are base-generated in different A-positions in the pre-IP position. it is assigned the nominative case . As for the topic NP that does not have an overt complementizer. but also the distinction between arguments and adjuncts. and in turn display some flexibility in the word order of these proverbial declarative sentences). Accordingly. Being the specifier of C. the focused arguments are base-generated in an A-position. in C.e.e. rather than nominative case.. IPs. It is in this respect that we may say that there are two types of declarative sentences in ECA: one for the nonproverbial declarative sentence that does not have an overt head with an overt complementizer.e. This not only highlights the importance of this pre-IP position in the syntactic configuration of these proverbial declarative sentences in ECA. As for the focused adjuncts (be they PPs. Accordingly. i. providing further evidence that they must be base-generated in two different A-positions. The focused arguments (be they CPs or NPs) are associated with internal positions within their major syntactic structures that determine their semantic interpretation. or CPs). In other words.. and another for the proverbial declarative sentence. It is the former type of declarative sentence that supports Chomsky's (1995) belief that there is a null variant of the declarative C and that this null variant of the declarative C is introduced covertly because it has a weak feature. the topic NP without an overt complementizer has been regarded as a multiple specifier of the head I or T..The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 27 that does not have an overt head with an overt complementizer in ECA does not require an obligatory focused element in a pre-IP position as a rhetorical device. But both positions (i.
it is only when the declarative C is strong that it has the capacity to assign a distinct case to the NP it holds a spec-head relation with. Likewise. unlike the topic NP. or prepositional predicates. the focused argument be it a CP or an NP is assigned a 0-role by its head. the topic NP without an overt complementizer is assigned a 0-role by its T because it is base-generated as its multiple specifier. it seems more exacting to refer to them as "temporals" rather than as simply adverbs. 6 Cf. see Ghaly (1988). It has enabled us to differentiate between the domain in which the focused argument is assigned a 0-role and that in which the topic NP is assigned a 0-role. it assigns genitive case to the focused element and not nominative case. /l-Hidda:ya/) and the focused element (i. the strong personal pronominal. 5 The feminine form of the third person.. with adjectival predicates. .. i. This includes sentences with nominal predicates. the lexical type of analysis has been maintained in this study of the proverbial declarative sentences because the word order of these focused elements is not really free: these proverbial declarative sentences do not involve strictly optional movement operations since the focused element must be in pre-IP position. But this is a separate study that would be interesting to pursue.28 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs because it is the multiple specifier of I or T of Chomsky (1995). See Ghaly (1988 ) for a discussion of the nominal sentences in one of the dialects of Arabic. For a more detailed discussion of the temporals in one of the Arabic dialects. /hiyya/) constitute one unit that is the focus in that sentence.. Being in a spec-head relation with its C in its base-generated position.e. Notes 1 As adverbials of time such as /ba9dima/) incorporate a relative pronominal (indicated by the boldface part of this temporal). Finally. Thus. sentence 11 in which both the topic NP (i. 3 Shigeru Miyagawa (1997) states in accordance with Chomsky (1995) that specifiers count as multiple specifiers if and only if elements in these specifiers are checked by the same head. The lexical type of analysis assumed for these focused elements is in keeping with Chomsky's (1995) assumption that 9-role assignment is the property of the base.e. singular pronoun is used here because the use of this proverbial sentence is found mostly in female speech.e. which has been defined as sentence with a nonverbal predicate. 2 Shigeru Miyagawa (1997) has stated that binding can take place only in an A-position. 4 Sentence 8 is a nominal sentence.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. J. Netherlands: Foris Publications. Coordination and VP-internal subjects.-M. Frascarelli. M. Laka and A. Cowan. A dictionary of Egyptian Arabic: Arabic-English. 1989. Journal of linguistic research. Modern literary Arabic. and H. 1986. Filters and control.). 1971. J. The linguistic review. Steinberg and L. D. . Press. 23:305-313. Mahajan (eds. N. 1982. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. G. Cambridge. Clauses without complementizers: finite IP-complementation in English. M. MA: MIT Press. 1992. M. 1982a. 1:33-54. . pp. 1995. Baker.. The linguistic review. Press. Beirut: Libraire du Liban. Barriers. and Grimshaw. Lasnik. The phonology of focus and topic in Italian. 1995. 1997. Chomsky. In I. Press. C. 1986a. Cambridge. origin. S. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The polysynthesis parameter. A. D. Doherty.. Greenberg. 10:43-75. 14:221-248. Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif. . surface structure and semantic interpretation. Knowledge of language: its nature. Linguistic inquiry. Linguistic inquiry. al-Said Muhammad. Some concepts and consequences of the theory of government and binding. Cambridge. Types of A'-dependencies.). 1990. S. . Iterated CPs and embedded topicalization.. Deep structure. Cambridge. Badawi. Dordrecht. 1986b. and its use. 183-216. The minimalist program. 14:197-220. Baker. In D. Burton. 8:425-504. Emonds. New York: Praeger. 1980. 1992. Mustawayat al-'arabiya al-mu'asira fi-misr. M. MA: MIT. working papers in linguistics. 1997. Some notes on economy of derivation and representation. Badawi. 23:329-336. . Semantics: an interdisciplinary reader. 1982b. 1977. MA: MIT. 1988. Word order in generative grammar. . MA: MIT. Incorporation: a theory of grammatical function changing. Jakobovitz (eds.The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs 29 References Authier. 1973. J. M. Cinque. Lectures on government and binding: the Pisa lectures. Some universals of grammar with particular reference . Functional heads and clause structure: MIT.1963. Linguistic inquiry. and Hinds.
1989. Linguistic inquiry. Takahashi. In J. MA: MIT Press. 1990. Cambridge. Cambridge. May. Move-F and null operator movement.1989.. MA: MIT Press. Universals of language. L. 1997. R. Rochemont. 28:1-25. 34:145-170. 20:365-424. Topic islands and the subjacency parameters. . Cambridge. Rizzi. Verb movement. and the structure of IP. S. D. S.-Y. 1997. Logical Form. Canadian journal of linguistics. M.). Miyagawa. The linguistic review. Pollock. 14:181-196.30 The Syntax of Colloquial Egyptian Proverbs to the order of meaningful elements. Linguistic inquiry. MA: MIT Press. universal grammar. 1985. Relativized minimality. J. Against optional scrambling. Greenberg (ed.
The following remarks touch on some representative problems of translation and examine prophetic typology. that they reside less in difficult grammatical constructions or recherche vocabulary than in issues of form. Such explanations would in fact help further an understanding of the Quranic text. 'Umar 'ibn alKhattab. What is it that makes the Quran so beautiful and that renders any translation a pale shadow of the original? Rhyme and rhythm are certainly the most outstanding elements lost in translation. Doctrinal restrictions—the idea that the Quran is miraculous and therefore should not be likened to human literary artifacts—often discourage Muslims from saying this directly. yet the repeated moratorium not only hinders an informed awareness of Islam and its scripture among non-Muslims. is not attended by any explanation why this might be the case.Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation. both Muslims and non-Muslims. or what elements one might miss when reading a translation. but also runs the risk of alienating nonArab Muslims from their sacred text. and Prophetic Typology Devin J. Form. later the second Caliph. vehemently opposed the Prophet's early preaching in Mecca but was so moved upon hearing Td Ha (sura 20) recited that he converted on the spot. and rhetoric. I have found. a crucial rhetorical strategy in the Quran. in recognition of its inimitable eloquence and doctrinal status as God's eternal speech and the primary miracle of the Prophet Muhammad's mission. Teaching the Quran in English translation to American students. I have struggled with the problems associated with producing and reading an English rendition of the Quran. The "Genre" of the Quran and the Problem of Accurate Translation It is widely agreed that the Quran is a beautiful text. genre. Stewart All too often the traditional dictum that the Quran cannot be translated. overall. but the Quran is a profoundly artistic .
1 Nevertheless. distinguishing it from the quantitative poetry of the classical qasida tradition.2 In recognition of this type of composition's poetic nature. even by atheists.. where word accents determine the number of feet or beats per line. among the main reasons this sura is renowned as especially beautiful: al-rahman 'allama al-qur'an khalaqa al-insan 'allamahu al-bayan al-shamsu wa-al-qamaru bi-husban wa-al-najmu wa-al-shajaru yasjudan. (55:1-6) This and other suras closely follow the compositional patterns of saj'—a type of writing in Arabic generally translated as "rhymed prose" or "rhymed and rhythmical prose. and often archaic language. Sura 55. and expectations are shaped largely by genre. The Quran is a sacred text and is approached on those terms not only by devout Muslims but also by non-Muslims and. One effect this has on translators is to make them use what they believe to be high. a somewhat smaller proportion of the text exhibits rhyming. the student of the Quran who knows no Arabic may develop a good understanding of many features of the Quran by concentrating on aspects that are less dependent on linguistic form.3 This and a number of other features having to do with verbal form are lost in translation. sometimes continuing throughout entire suras. a very large percentage (roughly 85%) of the verses in the Quran rhyme. Comparison with poetry or with the statements of pre-Islamic soothsayers is explicitly denied in the Quran itself. and thus it is generally seen as heretical to call the Quran poetry or claim that it contains poetry. for example. but by no means always. rhythmically parallel phrases. it is fair to label large sections of the Quran saj'. shied away from doing so. The Arabic text of the opening verses shows the strong rhyme and rhythmical pattern. where more strict combinations of short and long syllables make up each foot or beat." Though traditional Muslim exegetes have often. though a number of others are in print4— often uses an archaic English vaguely reminiscent of the King James . Many problems one faces in translating the Quran or in approaching it in translation have to do with expectations. perhaps surprisingly. one might even go so far as to define saj' as accent poetry.32 Understanding the Quran in English and indeed poetic text. contains 78 verses all rhyming in -an/-am that fall into groups of rhythmically parallel cola. The Beneficent. sacred.. but nonetheless. Pickthall's translation—the translation I use for class and one of the best available.
»Those who believe. exclamation points. thee vs..).. the regular use of the preposition "unto" for "to. which he renders regularly "lo!" This is simply a bad translation. to see how awkward and how unpoetic the results of such methods may be.Understanding the Quran in English 33 translation of the Bible. This serves to impart to the text a somewhat more holy ring. 'Inna generally lends a slight emphasis to the sentence it introduces: The question then becomes how to represent this emphasis idiomatically in English. The latter translation is a more accurate rendering of the Arabic and adequately brings out the intended contrast between the two groups mentioned. They are the worst of created beings. "truly. will abide in fire of hell. (98:6-7) This could better be translated as follows: »Those who disbelieve. Translators of sacred texts tend to stick more closely to the original than translators of other types of composition. because "lo!" indicates surprise whereas 'inna indicates emphasis. This phenomenon is of course not limited to the Quran but is clear in such texts as the Septuagint. one might use italics. thine.. One need only peruse Wycliffe's translation of the Vulgate. (And) lo! those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings. One glaring example is his translation of the Arabic particle 'inna. and the genre of sharh—Judaeo-Arabic translations or renditions of Biblical texts. etc. . the original syntax is reproduced in the target language at the expense of an idiomatic rendering. Pickthall's rendition of the Quran shows many examples of this types of translation.. In other contexts. contemporary language and renders comprehension slightly more difficult for the average student. even leaving aside the fact that "lo!" occurs very rarely in contemporary English and never in every third sentence. it seems best left untranslated. ye) and verb forms (thou thinkest. your. for example. but at the same time removes it from ordinary. the Latin Vulgate." and other similar features. Lo! those who disbelieve. you." or "indeed" to convey emphasis. This tendency is so strong in some cases as to result in translations where every word in the original is represented by a corresponding word in the target language." "verily. In many cases. with the archaic distinction between singular and plural second person pronouns (thou.. among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters..
And how many a community revolted against the ordinance of its Lord and His messengers. a series is listed as A and B and C.in particular should be left untranslated.. order. begin with "And" in Pickthall's translation..[We] cause the grain to grow therein And grapes and green fodder And olive-trees and palm-trees And garden-closes of thick foliage And fruits and grasses: Provisions for you and your cattle. indicating that the previous topic has ended and marking the beginning of a new topic. but Pickthall and other translators often leave it in. Many of these "ands" do not belong in an idiomatic rendering.."). (80:27-32) Only the last "and" here would appear in an idiomatic English rendition. The verb qala ("to say") presents similar problems. striving to stick as close to the original text as possible." or "command. although again its meaning is apparent in a general way.. whereas idiomatic English requires A. This feature is so common in the Quran that in the second sura. Just as one might describe a conversational exchange in colloquial English using the verb "go" ("He goes. wa. reply. . for example.then he goes.. (108:3) » Your insulter is the one without progeny! The particle wa. . the longest in the Quran.. response. (65:8) » How many a community. since it may be followed by a question.. Pickthall and others. usually preserve the extra "ands" in lists." "answer. This type of wa. Translating the verb with a more specific term according to context would improve the flow of the text and increase comprehension on the part of the reader. In addition. however. respond. B... or imperative. so she goes. While rendered regularly in translations as "say." the verb qala clearly means also "ask. the verb qala serves as an all-purpose speech introducer.is often used in Arabic to begin a sentence. or just under one third. 91 out of 286 verses...." depending on context.34 Understanding the Quran in English Lo! man is an ingrate unto his Lord (100:6) » Man is indeed ungrateful to his Lord! Lo! it is thy insulter (and not thou) who is without posterity. In Arabic.("and") presents similar problems in translation because of differences between Arabic and English style.. and C.
The command "say" seems to operate here as an equivalent of quotation marks.. (67:25-26) »They ask: When. Two elements are especially relevant here: immediate context of the revelation and the genre to which the passage belongs. setting off a particularly important passage the Prophet has been commanded to repeat.? »Answer:." Form and Content If a less slavish translation of elements like those discussed above helps the reader of the Quranic text in English understand the relationship of sentences to one another within a passage or follow the flow of the text more easily. however.. In order to convey this idea one might add in parentheses "Say (O Muhammad)" as Pickthall does on occasion elsewhere in his translation. in the last three suras in the Quran (112-114). knowledge of the context of entire passages often proves crucial for an understanding of the text. 35 More difficult to render and more disconcerting to the average reader are the uses of the command qul ("say") to introduce various passages in the Quran that do not represent a human conversational exchange but rather the transmission of revelation to the Prophet.Understanding the Quran in English When he said unto his father and his folk: What is it that ye worship? (37:85) » When he asked his father and his people: What do you worship? And they say: When (will) this promise (be fulfilled).. This occurs.. Translations often present brief notes at the beginning of suras that explain something about the original context. the most famous of which are those of al-Wahidi al-Nisaburi (d. might be represented by stating. Context has been treated extensively in the Islamic tradition. among many other passages. often in general exegeses but more particularly in works designated asbab al-nuzul ("the occasions of revelation"). and I am but a plain warner.. 468 AH/1075 CE) and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. drawing on material from the asbab alnuzul. 911 AH/1505 CE). which are clearly meant to be repeated or recited as prayers...." or "Recite (the following):. The functional sense behind the term. "Repeat (after Me):.. but not in these suras.. Pickthall explains in the short intro- . if ye are truthful? Say: The knowledge is with Allah only. The amount and specificity of the information provided varies and often leaves something to be desired.
" The introduction to sura 111. and therefore none to uphold his religion after him. it makes sense to understand sura 111 as a retort to the curse tabban laka. This in itself is not surprising. yet they could both be improved by a more close reliance on the material found in asbab al-nuzul. of course. . Recognition of the genre of the suras helps one understand the text better. was a first cousin of the Prophet's grandfather and was the only member of his own clan who bitterly opposed the Prophet. Abu Lahab (the Father of Flame). and his wife took a pleasure in carrying thorn bushes and strewing them in the sand where she knew that the Prophet was sure to walk barefooted. whose real name was Abdul 'Uzza. and he will perish" (111:1)." Then he said. is almost certainly wrong: "The power of Abu Lahab will perish. "Perdition to you (tabban laka)! Did you gather us together merely for this!"5 Given this background. They asked him. Palm Fibre. Translators generally fail to explain that both suras are essentially retorts. He made it his business to torment the Prophet. which has figured much less prominently in traditional exegeses. The other problem is one of genre. "Then I am warning you of a painful torment I see approaching. were I to inform you that the enemy was about to attack you in the morning or in the evening. Pickthall renders the verb here. It is the only passage in the whole Qur'an where an opponent of the Prophet is denounced by name. answers to specific insults directed at the Prophet that use linguistic forms based on the original insult. as future tense. in the perfect in the Arabic text. "Oh ill-fated morning!" so the Quraysh gathered around him. al-Wahidi reports: The Apostle of God ascended one day upon al-Safa and called out." Abu Lahab said. "The disbelievers used to taunt the Prophet with the fact that he had no son. for the perfect indicates future events in other passages of the Quran. "Do you not see. a curse responding directly to another curse. you would believe me?" They answered "Yes. Both of these statements provide some vital information for an understanding of the suras in question. reads in part. Abundance. Concerning sura 111. "What's the matter?" He asked. For this reason Pickthall's translation of the first verse of Palm Fibre.36 Understanding the Quran in English duction to sura 108. although it follows an interpretation commonly found in the traditional commentaries.
Knowledge of this background leads to a better understanding of sura 108. The insult was the term abtar. He is only a cut-off man (abtar) who has no progeny. the Prophet will have abundant progeny. with the Arabic perfect serving as an optative: "May the hands of Abu Lahab perish. al-Wahidi reports. meaning "devoid of progeny. whenever the Apostle of God was mentioned. mention of him would come to an end.'' and the sura was revealed. who died very young. When al-'As entered. If he were to die. Some of the notables of Quraysh were inside the mosque. which throws the same insult back at the man who uttered it. "To whom were you speaking?" He replied. It was revealed concerning al-'As. al-'As ibn Wa'il said. it is clear that the sura responds to a specific insult directed against the Prophet by al-'As ibn Wa'il al-Sahmi. and may he (himself) perish!" With regard to sura 108. would say. arguing that although he will have no progeny. Your insulter is the one with no progeny! (108:1-3) [my translation ] The sura is meant to console the Prophet by turning the table on al-'As. and you would be rid of him.6 Al-Wahidi provides another account: Al-'As ibn Wa'il al-Sahmi. they asked him. "Let him be. the verb is a cognate retort to a curse and thus should probably be rendered as a curse also.Understanding the Quran in English 37 but here."7 Al-Suyuti gives yet another version: "When the son of the Prophet died. There was a prevalent idea that having sons was the only."8 Despite the differences in the versions." In context. Given the nature of the insult and the fact that the sura as a . We have granted you abundance. and they met at the gate of the Banu Sahm clan and spoke. 'Muhammad has become cut off (abtar). but also because of the enormous importance attached to sons in Arab culture. He saw the Apostle of God coming out of the mosque when he was going in. sitting. Ibrahim. the insult was quite a grave one. so that mention of one's name— and with it praises of one's virtues and great deeds—should not die out. "That cut-off man (alabtar)" meaning the Prophet. or at least the surest means to carrying on one's legacy. So pray and sacrifice to your Lord. not only because the Prophet had no sons except one.
religious affiliation stands in place of blood relations. such as the statement that Noah's son. 57:26-29). concentrating on the presentation of stories and events and making little or no commentary outside the narrative itself. It seems most plausible that this progeny is the Muslims or the believers. many of the suras which contain this type of material belonging . including the prophets Hud and Salih. the invasion of Canaan. individual suras often include sections describing various periods. Lot. Elsewhere it does not keep to this order: Lot obviously comes before Moses and Solomon historically. Rather. the main exceptions being sura 12. occasional interruptions aside. postexilic history until ca. Its 114 suras or chapters are not presented in historical order. and Lot. is presented chronologically. for example—as in sura 54. including the books Genesis through Ezra and Nehemiah. The Ant. and. In addition. and the narrative flows. Often such material is presented in the order of Biblical history—or pseudoBiblical history. and sura 71. Other formal and rhetorical features act as a much greater stumbling block in the way of the average reader trying to understand the Quran in translation. In a way this is helpful. which includes sections on Moses. Very few suras are devoted to a single historical narrative. Salih. the period of the kingdoms up to the Babylonian captivity. either in terms of the stories they contain or in terms of their revelation. the pre-Islamic Arabian prophet Salih. kawthar ("abundance") must be interpreted as "abundant progeny" in particular. which presents sections on Noah. It may nonetheless lead to confusion with regard to form. God creates the world in the opening verses of the first book. an order that seems to be nearly completely arbitrary with regard to content. and Pharaoh. The Quran. A large portion of the Hebrew Bible. Arguments found elsewhere in the Quran corroborate this interpretation. because the Quran deals with a great deal of Biblical material. or the claim that the Jews and Christians are not true descendants of Abraham because they do not follow his religious legacy correctly (16:117-123. the English speaker's expectations are most likely to be shaped by knowledge—however limited—of the Bible. Solomon. though his story is presented after theirs in sura 27. Noah. is not actually part of Noah's family since he is a disbeliever (11:45-46). When approaching the Quran. and this includes the parts of the Bible read most often. The Moon. the age of the patriarchs. does not proceed chronologically. however. through antediluvian history. 400 BCE. with the exception of the short opening sura. who drowns in the flood. Joseph.38 Understanding the Quran in English whole is a retort. Hud. There too. Large parts of the text are couched in plain historical narrative. they are presented roughly in descending order of length. taking up the thread again after the return from Babylon. Moreover. who are in a sense tantamount to the Prophet's family. such as sura 27.
One example is the description of the apparitions of Gabriel to the Prophet (53:5-18). despite the fact that it is rather atypical. the protagonist of the Quran.9 The reader of the Quran is struck by the fact that Muhammad appears by name very seldom. exhortation. although it does include many references to events in the history of the prophetic mission and the early Muslim community. outside of the historical framework. that is. but it is worth noting that this passage is neither embedded in a general narrative of the Prophet's life nor situated temporally as having occurred before or after other specific events. 33:40. however superficial—of the New Testament. is surprised not to find an extensive or connected account of the Prophet Muhammad's mission. Instead. though it has since fallen out of usage. descriptions of the natural world. makes the Quran a difficult and confusing book to read for an audience conditioned by expectations to look at the Quran through the lens of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. whether expecting an Islamic counterpart to the Gospels or even conditioned by familiarity with the form of the modern novel. descriptions of heaven and hell. precisely because it fits these expectations more closely than any other sura of the Quran. The Quran does not describe major sections of Muhammad's life and works in plain narratives. over and above the lack of adherence to chronological order. It is altogether reasonable for a Christian reader to expect that just as the Gospels narrate the life and miracles of Jesus. 47:2. the recent past. the Quran should narrate the life and miracles of the Prophet Muhammad. as a relatively continuous narrative of sacred history. This leaves out the many suras and sections of suras that are devoid of narratives of sacred or prophetic history and focus instead on legal topics. All this variety. This goes along with the mistaken notion that Muhammad's status in Islam is equivalent to that of Jesus in Christianity. It is not surprising that one of the suras most often read by Western scholars and most widely used in Arabic chrestomathies is Joseph. used formerly to denote Islam. apocalyptic predictions. what can one . whose name appears 136 times. an idea responsible for the term Mohammedanism. the character mentioned far and away most often. The overall effect is that the reader. only four times in the entire sacred text (3:144. thereby engendering cognitive dissonance.Understanding the Quran in English 39 to sacred history also include additional material. Prophetic Typology in the Quran Given the fact that the Quran fails to conform to many of the English reader's expectations. referring to the present. is Moses. 48:49). and so on. Another expectation that Christians or readers in predominantly Christian societies may entertain when approaching the text of the Quran derives from their knowledge—again. or the future.
An understanding of this rhetorical strategy helps explain the form and content of many suras of the Quran. instead showing that elements were borrowed from Judaism and Christianity or comparing Quranic material with Biblical accounts. It makes sense. indeed." It would be more fitting to translate the term as "the people of the Bible. The term ahl al-kitab. Despite the fact that Allah was one of many gods in the pre-Islamic pantheon. they have not sufficiently stressed the point that Muhammad's prophecy was formulated in Biblical terms.10 Furthermore. translations of the Quran often fail to recognize this Biblical framework sufficiently. Christians. used many times in the Quran in reference to Jews. indeed. the same God who delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and gave wisdom and prosperity to King Solomon. to render "Allah" regularly as "God" in the English translation. Moses is the main character in the Quran. This is so for a simple reason: that he serves as a model.40 Understanding the Quran in English do to ease his or her introduction to this difficult text? One approach that has proved successful in classes and enabled students to grasp a significant portion of the texts included in the Quran is to explain what I believe to be one of the Quran's most important rhetorical strategies: the use of the pattern of Biblical prophecies in order to comment on or serve as a model for the prophecy of Muhammad. Allah in the Quran and in Islam in general is the Biblical God. apparently the main model." in order to stress the point that the book in question here is a specific one and not just any member of the category "scripture. therefore." This term glosses over the fact that Jews and . for Allah is simply Arabic for God. To retain Allah is like retaining Latin Deus or Greek theos in English translations of the Bible. The most obvious of these terms is. and. It was Biblical not in the sense that it appears in the Bible. familiar to analysts of the New Testament. for the Prophet Muhammad." Pickthall and others leave Arabic "Allah" untranslated. whereby characters from the Hebrew Bible are taken as models for or precursors of Christ or are used to make specific arguments concerning the nature of his life and works. but in the sense that Biblical history was the fundamental framework within which the Islamic revelation unfolded and according to which the Prophet interpreted events and undertook his mission. "God. This strategy is in fact a sort of typology. While scholars have long recognized the important connections between the Quran and the Bible. is used as such by Jewish and Christian speakers of Arabic as well as Muslims. of course. is usually rendered in English as "the people of the Book" or "the people of the Scripture. As mentioned above. translations of key terms in the Quran and early Islamic history should reflect the Biblical connections that the original terms were based on or meant to bring out. In order to render it transparent. particularly those containing series of stories of earlier prophets. or both. Essential for a grasp of this rhetorical strategy is the basic understanding that the prophecy of Muhammad was a Biblical prophecy.
should instead be translated "temple" (e. the Prophet's "emigration" or "flight" from Mecca to Medina. First is the recognition that the careers of prophets are similar to one another in their major. crucial for the history of the early Muslim community and of great importance in the Quran. (3:52) The term ansar. should be rendered "Exodus." which derives from al-Nasira. The hijra. are only two among many indications of the centrality of Biblical models in Muhammad's prophecy. is based on an analogy with the disciples of Jesus." designating the Medinan converts to Islam. important features. Forsake not Wadd. he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. intentionally puns here on nasara "Christians. nor Yaghuth and Ya'uq and Nasr" (71:23)." These two terms. the term bayt ("house"). which appears in several passages in reference to the Ka'ba. for example. the pagan enemies of the Biblical prophets are conflated with the pagan Arabs. between the early Muslims and the Hebrews. The pre-Islamic Arabian prophets Hud and Salih are likened in the Quran to Biblical prophets. nor Suwa'. The pre-Islamic shrine of the Ka'ba is thus reinterpreted as a Biblical temple built by Abraham. one which shapes the incorporation of various religious concepts and elements into the Quranic text and Islam in general. For this reason. worship preIslamic Arabian gods: "And they have said: Forsake not your gods. Elements of pre-Islamic Arabian religious tradition that were incorporated into Islam and appear in the Quran are legitimated by being presented in Biblical guise.g. unlike that of the hijra." " ally"). plural of nasir ("helper. Furthermore.Understanding the Quran in English 41 Christians have different ideas about what constitutes the Bible. and Lot as prophets even though they are not . by and large they follow the same pattern. between the tyrannical chiefs of Quraysh and Pharaoh. and bear thou witness that we have surrendered [are Muslims] (unto Him). but nonetheless serves to refer to it as a recognizable unit. The Quran provides many examples of these patterned prophetic careers. We believe in Allah." since. Biblical prophecy in the Quran involves two main ideas. is made explicitly in the Quran itself: But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief. An awareness of this Biblical framework is fundamental for an understanding of many aspects of the Quran. "Nazareth. hijra and ansar. in all probability. presenting a number of Biblical characters such as Noah. Biblical prophecy is a controlling idea or theme in the Quran. though they might differ in detail. 106:3). In sum.. Abraham. "helpers. This analogy. The term ansar. it reflects a comparison between Muhammad and Moses. Noah's opponents.
Muhammad. the text scolds the Prophet's wives for some transgression on their part involving a jealous plot or breach of confidence. provides a clear instance of such a comparison. Salih and the tribe of Thamud. despite their special connection with the Prophet himself. and Moses and the house of Pharaoh. The organization of the sura may be represented as follows: Introduction (1-8) Noah and his people (9-17) Hud and 'Ad (18-22) Salih and Thamud (23-32) Lot and his people (33—40) Moses and Pharaoh (41—42) Epilogue (43-51) . mundhir). it matters little whether these figures are termed "prophet" (nabi). the comparison between Muhammad's prophecy and that of earlier prophets is explicit. Hud and the tribe of 'Ad. The Banning. The Moon. should they persist in their misbehavior. the comparison is perhaps less obvious. apostle" (rasul. each dealing with one prophet and his audience: Noah and his people. Sura 66. Muhammad's wives will not escape divine punishment. As in many of the suras that contain stories about prophets. an early Meccan sura. The punishment in Biblical history implies that. "warner" (nadhir. For the purposes of typology. while in other instances it is merely understood. as a prophet. which stand outside the historical narrative. that it should always be present in the mind of the reader when interpreting Quranic accounts of Biblical figures.42 Understanding the Quran in English termed prophets or portrayed as such in Genesis. On occasion. is analogous to Noah and Lot. a series of accounts of various prophets occurs in the middle section of the sura (verses 9-42). The comparison is so pervasive. demonstrates how this rhetorical strategy works in many suras of the Quran. The Moon is of medium length as far as Quranic suras go: it is composed of 55 verses. mursaf). In other passages. The middle section contains five subsections. An analysis of sura 54. but nevertheless crucial. Here. all of which rhyme in -ar/-ir/-ur. mubashshir) in the Quranic text. The comparison and its implications are evident. sandwiched between an introductory section (1-8) and a final section (43-55). The marriage bond was not enough to save them from punishment. they all perform essentially the same functions and the terms describing them appear in nearly identical contexts. his wives are analogous to their wives.11 The wives of Noah and Lot are held up as examples of bad women who suffered damnation for their evil behavior despite their close connection with men of God. though. "messenger. Lot and his people. Second is that the prophecy of Muhammad follows the pattern evident in earlier prophetic missions. or "bearer of glad tidings" (bashir.
(41-2) The subsections end with two successive statements that serve as comments outside the narrative proper. 22.. (18) (The tribe of) Thamud rejected warnings (23) The folk of Lot rejected warnings (33) And warnings came in truth unto the house of Pharaoh Who denied Our revelations.. Then see how (dreadful) was My punishment after My warnings! (16) Then see how (dreadful) was My punishment after My warnings! (21) Then see how (dreadful) was My punishment after My warnings! (30) . but rather highly compact and stylized summaries of their events. "And in .. which Pickthall translates. 40) The key terms in these last verses are the words translated as "remember" and derived from the Arabic root dh-k-r: wa-la-qad yassarna alqur'ana li-dhikri fa-hal min muddakir.. denied or rejected (Ar. These passages do not present exhaustive narratives of the prophecies. but is there any that remembereth? (17.Understanding the Quran in English Deeds recorded in Scripture (52-53) Promise of heaven (54-55) 43 Perhaps the most striking feature of this sura is the strong parallelism between the individual prophet subsections.. stressing that these punishment stories are meant to serve as instructive examples for posterity: And verily We left it as a token. the audience of a particular prophet. kadhdhabai) the prophet or the warnings he conveyed.. the first of these stresses God's punishments of the earlier peoples. The five subsections all begin with a statement that a people of the past. The folk of Noah denied. 32. every one. as it were.. (9) (The tribe of) A'ad rejected warnings.Taste now My punishment after My warnings! (37) Now taste My punishment after My warnings! (39) The subsections end with a reference to the Quran itself.. presenting the moral of the story. but is there any that remembereth? (15) And in truth We have made the Qur'an easy to remember. Their parallelism is emphasized by the repetition of specific phrases.
" It is referred to as a sign or "portent" (ayd) in the next verse. Examination of the accounts in parallel shows that the prophecies all follow a predictable pattern. The punishment of Pharaoh and his people is described in vague terms: "We grasped them with the grasp of the Mighty. saving only prophet and believers The middle sections of the sura therefore serve mainly to present what may be called punishment stories. The following general steps emerge as belonging to the generic prophetic pattern: 1. 42). They reject the warnings 5. God annihilates the rejecters. the Powerful" (v. The prophet warns his people of God's wrath 4. 40. They reject these warnings and are punished accordingly. God selects a prophet (implied) 2. Thamud by a tremendous shout (= earthquake? eruption?). Both the introductory and the final sections are set in the present and relate the punishment stories to the contemporary situation. there is a reference to "warnings" in verse 5. The prophet addresses his people (implied) 3. 'Ad by a raging wind. Prophets have been sent to various communities throughout sacred history. These three parallel phrases. etc. 32. framing each of the subsections. Prophecy follows the predictable steps listed above. then deny the sign.) apparently meaning that God has made the Quran easy to memorize. stress the close parallelism between the prophecy accounts themselves.44 Understanding the Quran in English truth We have made the Qur'an easy to remember. that of the Prophet Muhammad." apparently the unbelievers in the Prophet Muhammad's audience. but is there any that remembereth?" These statements are in fact puns of a sort. Muhammad him- . and is parallel to the "warnings" (nudhuf) mentioned in the punishment stories. but the second clause asking whether anyone will take heed or learn from the punishments inflicted on past peoples. implying that the steps occurring in the earlier punishment stories also occur in the present career of the Prophet. the first clause of the English translation (in verses 17. The prophets warn them of God's impending punishment should they not heed the messages that the prophet relays. "They. annihilated by God through some cataclysmic event: Noah's people by the flood. The sura opens with a miraculous sign. and all prophetic careers follow this same pattern. The narratives are present not as mere histories but as didactic examples to serve as a warning to a contemporary audience. and Lot's people by a deluge of stones. Indeed. 22. The introduction shows parallelism with the prophet narratives. the splitting of the moon: "The hour drew nigh and the moon was rent in twain.
The problem comes with the last step." Thus far. 4. of course. 68:2. The prophet warns his people of God's wrath. directed at Muhammad (52:29. 81:22. but they are not identified as the disbelievers (of Quraysh) until verse 8: "Hastening toward the Summoner. The text aims to resolve this discrepancy. Hastening toward the Summoner.. the Prophet's withdrawal stands in place of the earlier prophets' actual escape from annihilation.Understanding the Quran in English 45 self is not mentioned directly. It does so by replacing the actual historical punishments of the past with a description of a future punishment awaiting contemporary disbelievers. They reject the warnings. (implied) 2. Similarly. preserving the tight parallelism of prophetic careers despite the fact that the Prophet Muhammad's career is still in progress and the annihilation of his enemies has not yet occurred. for the Prophet Muhammad's deniers. the introductory section follows the prophetic pattern: 1. (54:6-8) This punishment is not a typical annihilation but rather part of the apocalyptic events of the Resurrection and the Day of Judgment. obviously cannot have taken place yet. etc. The prophet addresses his people.. (implied) 3. they came forth from the graves as they were locusts spread abroad. the disbelievers say: This is a hard day. God selects a prophet. So withdraw from them (O Muhammad) on the day when the Summoner summoneth them unto a painful thing. God's punishment and annihilation of the disbelievers through a cataclysmic event that. 25). The same accusation was. 24). A number of elements within the punishment stories also call attention to the Prophet Muhammad." It is clear that "they" in verses 2-7 are contemporary with him. in the case of the Prophet Muhammad's mission. just as the Quraysh taunted Muhammad (38:4).. but is commanded in the imperative in verse 6: "So withdraw from them (O Muhammad). The tribe of Thamud balked at following Salih on the grounds that he was a mere mortal like themselves (v. the disbelievers say: This is a hard day. Noah is called a madman by his audience.). . The punishments meted out to earlier peoples who denied their prophets' warnings are replaced. With downcast eyes. In verse 9. with the threat of Judgment. Thamud called Salih a liar (v. Muhammad met with similar remonstrance from Quraysh (21:3).
again replacing an actual destruction with images of Judgment Day: On the day when they are dragged into the Fire upon their faces (it is said unto them): Feel the touch of hell. 43)." The pronoun "them" here refers to the disbelievers of Muhammad's time who appear in verses 2-7 and are defined in verse 8. The prophets then warned them. the epilogue section reverts to the present time. 22. This implied threat of annihilation is developed in the subsequent verses. and their peoples denied them. Likewise. yet they persisted in ignoring these warnings until God fulfilled his threat and punished them. It comments on the situation the Prophet Muhammad faces using characters from sacred history who are analogous to him and in whose place he stands in effect. a fact emphasized by the repetition of the closing phrase in verse 51: "And verily We have destroyed your fellows. just preceding this verse. the beginning of Noah's story. 17.. the disbelievers of Quraysh would still insist on their stubborn resistance to God's messages. The meaning of the text might be that even were this miraculous event to occur. one might interpret the sign of the split moon as referring not to the past but to a future event.. yet they continue to ignore these warnings even when they are as obvious as the splitting of the moon in the sky. "The folk of Noah denied before them. In either case. but is there any that remembereth?" The phrase "your fellows" refers back to the earlier destroyed people.?" (v. Earlier prophets preached to their peoples. and 40. while the possessive adjective "your" refers to Muhammad's audience: the tribe of Quraysh. (54:48) The epilogue section (verses 43-51) also parallels the punishment stories of the middle section. The fundamental rhetorical strategy of The Moon is typological. establishing the comparison between them and contemporary disbelievers explicitly yet again. comparing between the earlier peoples and Muhammad's contemporary audience: "Are your disbelievers better than those.. The phrase "but is there any that remembereth" of course recalls the same phrase that occurred in verses 15. Alternatively. Muhammad's audience is supposed to understand . The implication for the Quraysh is that they have been warned by Muhammad of God's impending wrath. Verse 9 shows that the punishment stories which follow are intended as commentaries on the present situation and didactic examples.. The demonstrative pronoun "those" here denotes the unbelievers annihilated in the punishment stories presented in verses 9-42.46 Understanding the Quran in English That the earlier stories are linked to the contemporary situation is made explicit in verse 9. inflicting destruction upon them but saving the prophets and the small groups of believers. 32.
they may yet avoid the terrible doom that the rest of the sura portrays so vividly. 37. 50. 40. Characters of Biblical or sacred history are defined as prophets whose careers follow a predictable pattern. and even to some extent predicted by analogy.Understanding the Quran in English 47 that continued denial will lead to their perdition. 32. 29. 22. 15. Rather than threatening punishment in this world. such as sura 91. but is rather quite prominent in the Quran as a whole. 23. a rhetorical strategy based on model and analogy. The threat is made all the more urgent through repeated mention of annihilation and emphasis on the stories' unassailable. so to speak. leaves the audience with a ray of hope. 14. this rhetorical strategy shapes the discourse of the Quran. And every thing they did is in the scriptures. And every small and great thing is recorded. accounts of former prophets are in all probability intended to be understood in the typological sense. Even in suras in which there is no explicit reference to the Prophet Muhammad. This type of ending. This explains the mention of the Quran itself in verses 17. using the stories of earlier prophets as a basis for comparison. Teaching this type of analysis helps students grasp the ideas behind a great . just before the end of the sura. Analysis of The Moon shows that while the Quran does not narrate the life and works of Muhammad directly. 21. 51. 66. just as it led to the perdition of earlier recalcitrant nations. The Sun. (54: 52-53) The sura closes with mention of the abode of the righteous in the gardens of heaven (verses 54-55). 38. and 40 and the mention of the Scripture in verses 52-53. the way the Gospels narrate the life and works of Jesus. and in somewhat more diffuse form in a number of other suras. This strategy is by no means limited to The Moon. 89. and the events of their prophetic missions are the same because neither human nature nor God's customary manner of dealing with humanity (sunnat Allah) has changed. reflecting the fact that they have all been sent by the one God and therefore represent the same boss. 26. it nevertheless speaks of his prophetic mission using typology. which presents a summary of the story of Salih and Thamud. The prophets' messages are essentially the same because God's truth is eternal. Should they change their ways. occurring quite clearly in suras 7. interpreted. 41. Perhaps more than any other single mode. 11. 10. his prophecy and his contemporaries' reactions to it can be explained. found elsewhere in the Quran. and 69. Since Muhammad is indeed a prophet. the sura stresses the impending punishment of Muhammad's opponents on Judgment Day: they will taste the torments of hellfire. authoritative source: scripture.
pp. 1933). "Saj' in the Qur'an: prosody and structure." Journal of Arabic literature. 1973. Asbab al-nuzul (Cairo: Matba'a Hindiya. 306. Rudolph. see alBaqillani. p. I'jaz al-qur'an. 21 (1990): 101-139. A recent exception that takes a typological approach is David Marshall's God. The meaning of the glorious Qur'an. 1926). Fock. M. p. J. defining the Quranic relationship between Judaism. 343. A. Beitrdge zur Erklarung des Koran (Leipzig: O. 8 Al-Suyuti. pp. 2 For a statement that the Quran does not contain saj' per se. 1978). Qur'an and Bible: studies in interpretation and dialogue (London: Croom Helm. Asbab al-nuzul. 1922). 11 See al-Wahidi. Arbez (New York: Desclee. Scale. R. 9 See. Beirut: Dar al-kitab Allubnani. Muhammad and the unbelievers: a Quranic study (Surrey. Gibb. elucidating the ways in which much Biblical material is used in the Quran. Asbab al-nuzul (Cairo: Maktabat Nusayr. 344. pp. 308. Hirschfeld. p. S. 1886). 1964). Baaden. 7 Al-Wahidi. 1316 AH). Margoliouth. and Islam. P.. p. all Quranic quotations in the following essay are from Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall's translation. Horovitz.g. . W. 1835). 6 Al-Wahidi. 343.48 Understanding the Quran in English deal of the Quranic text. England: Curzon. Asbab al-nuzul. D. Mohammedanism (London: Williams and Norgate. Christianity. 1961). Die Biblischen Erzdhlungen im Qoran (Hildesheim: Georg Olms. al-Suyuti. Geiger. Die Abhdngigkeit des Qorans von Judentum und Christentum (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Was hat Mohammed aus den Judentums aufgenommen? (Bonn: F. edited by Muhammad 'Abd al-Mun'im al-Khafaji (Beirut: Dar al-Jil. Die haggadischen Elemente im erzdhlenden Teile des Korans (Leipzig: G. 4 Unless otherwise noted. The Bible and the Koran. Koranische Untersuchungen (Berlin: Gruyter. Schapiro. Schulze. Mohammedanism (London: Oxford University Press. 10 See G. trans. 3 See Devin J. 1991). e. p. 1907). S. Asbab al-nuzul. 110-119. Stewart. 1983). The Jewish foundation of Islam (New York: Jewish Institute of Religion Press. 403 AH/1013 CE). I'jaz al-qur'an. Torrey. Notes 1 A classic statement of this position is given by Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Tayyib al-Baqillani (d. 1999). 1949). and bringing into relief the Quran's portrayal of Muhammad's prophetic mission. I. Heinrich Speyer. Jacques Jomier. Asbab al-nuzul. 325-327. 103-109. Ch. 1911) and H. H. 5 Al-Wahidi.
Another significant and at the same time controversial factor identified by research is the impact of cross-linguistic differences and the role of language transfer. of both positive and negative transfer. in particular. Keenan and Conmrie's (1977) cross-linguistic survey of 50 languages indicates that there is considerable variation in relative clause structures. specifically pronoun retention. age. 1983) also found that the native language does influence pronoun-retention errors in relative clauses. and input are among those factors (Larsen-Freeman and Long. suggests that transfer plays a role in the use of these pronouns. Considerable research has been done on the acquisition of relative clauses. but will also better understand what may be difficult or easy for that group of learners. Research on the acquisition of English and Swedish. which may lead to language transfer. There are several reasons for language teachers to consider the problem of transfer. 1990). produced many more resumptive . "a learner's previous linguistic knowledge influences the acquisition of a new language in a principled. the most significant of which is that teaching may be more effective when teachers are aware of differences between languages and between cultures. attitude. Hyltenstam (1984) found that speakers of Greek and Farsi. and of the interaction of transfer with other factors in acquisition (Odlin. 1991). research has shown evidence of absence of transfer. According to Doughty and Williams (1998. contrastive way. p. Characteristics of relative clause structure. languages that do not use resumptive pronouns. Gass (1979. aptitude. exposure." Syntactic transfer. 226). if not straightforward. An English teacher aware of Arabic-based transfer errors and an Arabic teacher aware of English-based transfer errors will not only be able to pinpoint learners' problems better. One of the problematic structures for most foreign-language learners identified by both researchers and teachers is relative clauses. which allow pronominal retention. Motivation.Relativization in English and Arabic: A Bidirectional Study Nagwa Kassabgy and Mona Kamel Hassan Research has established the impact of a number of factors on foreign-language learning. pose an interesting problem for both teachers and researchers. has long been controversial.
The first dimension relates to the position of the relative clause with respect to the head noun. 1984) provided evidence for universalist arguments that the erroneous use of resumptive pronouns does not indicate transfer.. and McMinn. whom for object-case human. English uses a relative pronoun that agrees with the noun it replaces. To the knowledge of the authors of this paper. to universalist explanations. i. the syntactic pattern of word order of English and Arabic is similar. since learners of foreign languages that do not use resumptive pronouns often considered acceptable sentences that contained resumptive pronouns. Birdsong.e. Relative Clauses in English and Arabic Schachter (1974. The second dimension relates to how relative clauses are marked. 1991) discussed the work of Keenan and Comrie (1972) and identified three main dimensions in which relative clauses can differ and that may pose problems for L2 learners. He identified 14 types of errors. therefore. Another point Kharma made was that all the errors were errors of form rather than use and did not affect communication. concluding that most of the errors can be attributed to negative interference from Arabic. According to Odlin (1990). Johnson. Relative clauses in English and Arabic— Egyptian colloquial Arabic (ECA) as well as modern standard Arabic (MSA)—follow the head noun. 1983. Tarallo and Myhill. no bidirectional study that compares difficulties in the acquisition of relative clauses by Arabic speakers of English as a foreign language (EFL) and English speakers of Arabic as a foreign language (AFL) has so far been done. A universalist explanation. which for non- . as such comparisons could provide a better understanding of the general structural principles that affect transfer. there is a need for more bidirectional research. Kharma (1987) investigated Arabic speakers' problems in the acquisition of English relative clauses. Gass (1986. Comparing the difficulties encountered by both groups of learners could shed light on whether errors can be attributed to interference. 1990) compared difficulties encountered by Italian speakers learning English with those of English speakers learning Italian. or to a combination of factors. i. seems plausible since all speakers of foreign languages—regardless of the use or nonuse of pronoun retention in their LI—produce or accept sentences with resumptive pronouns in their L2.50 Relativization in English and Arabic pronoun errors than did speakers of Finnish and Spanish.e. who for subject-case human. some researchers (loup and Kruse. 1977. cited in Larsen-Freeman and Long. On the other hand. cited by Odlin. which do not allow pronoun retention..
.Relativization in English and Arabic 51 human. Both ECA and MSA retain the object noun in the relative clause in a pronominal form and a pronominal reflex as object of a preposition. English differs from EGA and MSA in this dimension. /allatayn/.e. sing. ECA uses one relative pronoun (/illi/) for the different structures.: /hiyya di il-mudarrisa illi shuftaha imba:riH/ (ECA) /hadhihi hiya al-mudarrisa allati ra'aytuha 'ams/ (MSA) (lit. e. 13 subjects were at the beginner's level. The study included 86 subjects. MSA uses relative pronouns that need to agree with the head noun in case. "This is the teacher whom you [masc. /allata:n/ vs. i. Of the 39 Arabic speakers. English and both EC]A and MSA differ in this dimension. feminine or masculine.. In other words.g. /allati/... /alladhi/.g. 17 were at the inter- . The third dimension identified by Schachter relates to the presence or absence of a pronominal reflex. and whose for human and nonhuman possessive determiner. "This is the book that I gave it to him yesterday") Again. singular.g.e.. The Current Study Research Questions. /alladhirn/. dual. e. nominative. or plural. i. who were all enrolled in intensive English as a foreign language (EFL) programs in the English Language Institute and in the Center for Adult and Continuing Education of the American University in Cairo (AUC).g. English does not allow pronoun retention as an object noun or as object of a preposition.. gender.e. e. e. The current study attempted to answer the following questions: • What errors in the acquisition of English relatives by Arabic speakers and Arabic relatives by English speakers may be attributed to L1 interference? • What errors may be explained as developmental or universal? Subjects..] saw her yesterday") /huwwa da il-kita:b illi iddaitu lu imba:riH/ (ECA) /hadha huwa al-kita:b alladhi 'a9Taytuhu lahu 'ams/ (MSA) (lit. genitive. and number. that for both human and nonhuman. 39 of whom were native speakers of Arabic and 47 of whom were native speakers of English. i. or accusative. /alladha:n/. /alladhi/..
listening. According to the AUC catalog.. i. writing. through the reading and analysis of selected texts. using expressions of quantity in the relative clause as in sentences 9 and 10. which included a variety of relative clause structures and one relative structure not included in the accessibility hierarchy. within a framework of the essentials of syntax and morphology. The same items were translated into Arabic (Please see Appendix 1 for the English version. In other words. while reviewing the major topics of grammar." AFL intermediate students are students "who emphasize the acquisition of vocabulary and increase the command of grammatical and syntactical structures and further develop reading. The students were instructed to combine the sentences. and 12 were advanced. using the second sentence as an adjective/relative clause. The test was administered to the EFL students after they had received instruction and practice in the use of relative clauses in English and to the AFL students also after they had received instruction and practice in the use of relative clauses in both ECA and MSA. and nine were at the advanced level." AFL advanced students are students "who. The study did not examine Keenan and Connie's accessibility hierarchy with regard to the ease or difficulty of the acquisition of relativization of various types of relatives. 17 were intermediate. namely. Appendix 2 for the ECA version. the vocabulary. and style. and speaking skills. The instrument designed for this study was a sentencecombining task in English'that contained 10 items.e. who were enrolled in intensive Arabic as a foreign language (AFL) programs in the Arabic Language Institute at AUC. the study investigated relative clause production errors made by the same AFL learners in both ECA and MSA. for both ECA and MSA at three different levels. Of the 47 Englishspeaking subjects. The students were familiar with all the words. 18 were beginners. used in the sentences. AFL beginners are students "who work to develop the fundamentals of language through reading drills.52 Relativization in English and Arabic mediate level. Each table is followed by a discussion. Tables 1-8 illustrate the type and number of errors made by both EFL and AFL learners on each item. and Appendix 3 for the MSA version). it sought to investigate production errors on the sentence-combining task. giving examples of errors made by EFL and AFL students at the three levels of proficiency. Data Analysis Following is an item-by-item presentation of the results. idiom. Results were not converted into percentages because this was a small-scale error analysis study ." Study instrument. Rather. are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary.
Type of error AFL EFL B I n=13 n=17 RP 3 9 A n=9 B n=18 14 ECA I A n=17 n=12 2 MSA B I n=18 n=17 13 1 A n=12 3 RPAg. = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. = avoidance (producing a correct sentence but avoiding the relative construction). Ag. this type of relative seems to be the easiest to acquire. = resumptive pronoun agreement (in ECA and MSA the pronoun is retained and agrees with the noun). B = beginners. B = beginners. and number). Ungrammatical sentences are marked with an asterisk (*) and. 1 1 3 RP = resumptive pronoun/pronoun retention. A = advanced students. For both EFL and AFL learners. AgAv. whenever a specific error (based on the above list) was identified. N/Rel. it was underlined.Relativization in English and Arabic 53 that attempted to investigate and analyze errors in the production of relative clauses. N/Rel. gender. I = intermediate-level students.pr.pr. EFL/AFL (Item 1) The student is from China. RPAg. WO = word order. Av. I = intermediate-level students. Table 1: Comparative error analysis of Item 1. which agrees with Keenan and Comrie's hierarchy. Type of error B Cop WO EFL ECA I 2 1 A n=9 B I A B AFL MSA I A n=13 n=17 n=18 n=17 n=12 n=18 n=17 n=12 Cop = omission of copula. Table 2: Comparative error analysis of Item 2. She sits next to me. A = advanced students .
e. 'ana 'abilt is-sitt fi-1-Hafla imba:riH. I met her at the party yesterday.. The 14 beginners and two intermediate students produced: * /'ana kunt 9a:rif is-sitt illi 'abilt fi-1-Hafla imba:riH/ Similarly./ (EGA) /kunt 'a9rif al-mar'a. WO 10 14 3 4 N/Rel. the error made by 13 beginners and one intermediate student was RP. which could mean it is developmental. and errors of avoidance. which may indicate transfer only at the lower level of proficiency. B = beginners. which may be attributed to L1 transfer. AFL (Item 2) /'ana kunt 9a:rif is-sitt.e. the RP error. i. Ag.pr. Av. Other errors relate to the use of the wrong relative pronoun. I met the woman at the party yesterday. The use of the wrong relative pronoun can also be attributed to Arabic since in ECA. = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. avoiding the relative and producing a correct sentence: / met the woman at the party yesterday.e. which instead of whom. improved across levels. and number)./ (MSA) ("I knew the woman.pr. a developmental error: * /'ana kunt 9a:rif al-mar'a allati qa:balt fi-1-Hafla 'ams/ Table 3: Gomparative error analysis of Item 3. i. A = advanced students. qarbalt al-mar'a fi-l-Hafla 'ams.. gender.54 Relativization in English and Arabic EFL (Item 2) I knew the woman. = avoidance (producing a correct sentence but avoiding the relative construction). This can indicate transfer from L1 since Arabic is a language that retains the pronoun. Ag. Type of error EFL B I 5 2 4 1 2 AFL B A n=9 n=18 n=17 ECA I A n=12 B n=18 MSA I n=17 A n=12 n=13 n=17 N/Rel. . 8 16 9 6 4 Av. The persistent error was retention of the pronoun (RP). only one relative pronoun (/illi/) is used for the different structures. I = intermediate-level students.") Unlike the EFL learners. i. WO = word order.. in MSA.
. students used *who his. His wallet is new. N/Rel. Instead of whose. The relative whose is problematic. RP Ag. Type of error EFL B I 6 1 A n=9 B n=18 AFL ECA I n=17 A 1 5 B MSA I 6 A n=12 n=13 n=17 n=12 n=18 n=17 RP RPAg. MSA differs only in pronunciation) It is significant that none of the beginners got this item correct. A = advanced students.Relativization in English and Arabic 55 EFL (Item 3) The man is Japanese. Table 4: Comparative error analysis of Item 4. AFL (Item 3) /ir-ra:gil yabatni. *which his. = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. there is evidence of transfer in this item since the errors are a direct translation from Arabic. Errors here seem to indicate that the possessive structure is one of the most difficult to acquire. as in Arabic the equivalent is the relative pronoun with a pronominal suffix attached to the noun. WO = word order. and number). N/Rel. Word order seems to pose problems for both beginners and advanced MSA learners. Again./ (ECA.pr. All the errors made by both the beginners and intermediate students relate to the relative whose. = resumptive pronoun agreement (in ECA and MSA the pronoun is retained and agrees with the noun). B = beginners. There is evidence of the use of avoidance strategies by intermediate and advanced learners. avoiding the possessive: The man who has a new wallet is Japanese. Ag. maHfaDHit ir-ra:gil gidirda. the student produced a correct relative clause. which compares with the EFL learners.pr. which compares with the EFL learners. gender. and *whose his. 7 13 6 14 14 5 7 5 1 WO RP = resumptive pronoun/pronoun retention. The error made by the advanced learner was an error of avoidance. *who's. I = intermediate-level students. There is evidence of the use of coping strategies and avoidance at the higher levels.
there is evidence of L1 transfer since the students were translating the Arabic equivalent: * She read the two lessons which the teacher explained them. Errors made by both beginners and intermediate students were pronoun retention and use of the wrong relative pronoun. Other errors were use of the wrong relative pronoun (by beginners). i. translating the L1 equivalent and dropping the pronoun: * /'arit id-darsain illi il-mudarris sharaH/ The errors made by five advanced learners indicated fewer problems with pronoun retention but difficulty with appropriate suffixes: * /'arit id-darsain illi sharaHha il-mudarris/ /qara'at ad-darsayn. * The doctor who spoke to them examined the two patients.. use of inappropriate pronominal suffixes and pronoun retention. five at the intermediate./ (ECA) Errors made by 13 beginners and six intermediate students provided evidence of L1 transfer. We spoke to them. il-mudarris sharaH id-darsain./ (MSA) Errors made here relate to case. and two at the advanced level. EFL (Item 5) The doctor examined the two patients.56 Relativization in English and Arabic EFL (Item 4) She read the two lessons. AFL (Item 4) /'arit id-darsain. Again. Fourteen beginners and six intermediate students produced the direct translation from English: * /qara'at ad-darsayn alladhaan al-mudarris sharaH/ Five advanced learners produced: * /qara'at ad-darsayn alladhi:n sharaHha al-mudarris/ * /sharaH al-mudarris ad-darsayn allata:n qara'athuma/ Error analysis of Item 5.e. . there is evidence of improvement across levels. al-mudarris sharaH ad-darsayn. The only error made by an advanced student was noun-relative pronoun agreement. RP errors persisted across the three levels: four at the beginner's. * The doctor examined the two patients which we spoke. word order and preposition omission (by intermediate students): * The two patients we spoke to them the doctor examined them. The teacher explained the two lessons. Unlike item 2.
"examined (the patients)" requires a preposition in ECA (/kashaf 9ala il-mari:D/) but not in MSA (/faHaS al-mari:D/) or in English. Ag. = resumptive pronoun agreement (in ECA and MSA the pronoun is retained and agrees with the noun).Prep.pr. this could pose problems for learners.Prep Av. the preposition after "speak (to)" is optional in ECA and MSA. WO = word order. iHna itkallimna ma9a il9ayyantain. 6. For example. 1 1 RP = resumptive pronoun/pronoun retention. and number). but required in English. RP Ag. Av. * /iHna itkallimna ma9a il-9ayyantain illi kashafhum id-duktu:r/ Five intermediate students wrote the English equivalent: * /iHna itkallimna ma9a il-9ayyantain illi id-duktu:r kashaf/ It is interesting to note that whether or not a verb requires a preposition is different not only in both languages but also in ECA and MSA. Type of error EFL B n=13 AFL ECA A n=9 2 2 B n=18 I n=17 I n=17 A 2 B MSA I 5 5 A n=12 n=12 n=18 n=17 RP RPAg. Thus. B = beginners. = avoidance (producing a correct sentence but avoiding the relative construction). = omission of preposition. and 8 provide evidence that prepositions in relative clauses are problematic for learners.pr. Om. I = intermediate-level students. N/Rel. Ag- 4 2 2 5 3 1 12 5 16 3 3 WO Om.Relativization in English and Arabic 57 Table 5: Comparative error analysis of Item 5. AFL (Item 5) /id-duktu:r kashaf 9ala il-9ayyantain. N/Rel. ./ (ECA) Problems here relate to the difficulty of attaching the pronominal suffix to the preposition rather than to the verb. = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. the verb "go (to)" requires a preposition in English and in both ECA and MSA. gender. Items 5. A = advanced students.
dropping the RP with the pronominal suffix./ (MSA) This item posed a bigger problem for beginners. N/Rel.e.Prep Av. Ag. and number). and making a noun-relative pronoun agreement error: * /naHnu takallamna ma9a al-mari:Datayn alla:ti faHaS aT-Tabi:b/ Errors made by the intermediate and advanced students relate to use of the inappropriate relative pronoun. = omission of preposition. I = intermediate-level students. Av.pr. Om. = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. Ag.58 Relativization in English and Arabic /aT-Tabi:b faHaS al-mari:Datayn. naHnu takallamna ma9a almari:Datayn. the verb followed by the subject. Only one student got it correct. they used the correct word order in the relative clause. gender.. Table 6: Comparative error analysis of Item 6.Prep. A = advanced students. 12 3 4 RP = resumptive pronoun/pronoun retention. = avoidance (producing a correct sentence but avoiding the relative construction). dropping the pronominal suffix and making a noun-relative pronoun agreement error as seen in the underlined words: * /naHnu takallamna ma9a al-mari:Datayn alla:ti faHaS aT-Tabi:b/ * /naHnu takallamna ma9a al-mari:Datayn allata:n faHaS aT-Tabi:b * /naHnu takallamna ma9a al-mari:Datayn alladhi:n faHaS aT-Tabi:b/ * /naHnu takallamna ma9a al-mari:Datayn alladha:n faHaShuma aTTabi:b/ It is very interesting to note here that in spite of the erroneous sentences produced by the advanced MSA learners. . i.pr. Type of error EFL B I n=13 n=17 7 A n=9 1 AFL ECA MSA A B A B I I n=18 n=17 n=12 n=18 n=17 n=12 8 11 2 5 4 1 2 2 4 RP N/Rel. Sixteen students produced the English direct translation. Om. B = beginners.
Surprisingly. gender./ (MSA) Unlike the EFL learners. RP Ag. and avoidance. hiyya bitbuSS 9ala iS-Su:ray (ECA) /aS-Su:ra jamkla. She is looking at it. n=17 3 N/Rel.Relativization in English and Arabic 59 EFL (Item 6) The picture is beautiful. such as attaching the pronominal suffix to the verb instead of the preposition. Ag- RP = resumptive pronoun/pronoun retention. B = beginners. AFL (Item 6) /iS-Su:ra gamiila. and several students avoided the relative clause entirely. this item seemed to pose a bigger problem for beginners. Type of error B n=13 4 EFL I n=17 10 A n=9 B n=18 8 AFL ECA I A n=12 2 B n=18 3 9 MSA I A n=17 n=12 1 3 3 RP RP.Ag. * /aS-Su:ra jami:la allati tanDHurha/ * /hiya tanDHur 'ila aS-Su:ra al-jami:la/ Four intermediate ECA students avoided the relative clause and produced correct sentences: /bitbuSS 9ala iS-Su:ra il-gami:l/ Comparative error analysis of item 7. word order. = resumptive pronoun agreement (in ECA and MSA the pronoun is retained and agrees with the noun). = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. N/Rel. Problems relate to dropping the preposition with the pronominal suffix and separating the relative clause from the head noun: * /iS-Su:ra gami:la illi hiyya bitbuSS/ * /iS-Su:ra gami:la illi hiyya bitbuSSaha/ * /iS-Su:ra gami:la illi hiyya bitbuSS 9alaiha/ MSA students produced similar errors. hiya tanDHur 'ila aS-Su:ra. and number). .pr. A = advanced students. I = intermediate-level students. no RP errors were made by the beginners. Ag. Other errors were omission of the preposition. whereas seven errors were made by the intermediate students and one by an advanced student.pr.
AFL (Item 7) /du:l humma ig-gurna:lain.pr. more intermediate students than beginners made the error.Prep./ (EGA) /hata:n huma: al-jari:data:n./ (MSA) This item was problematic for beginners. and inappropriate suffixes (MSA): * /ig-gurna:lain illi ishtarait du:l/ * /'ana ishtrait ig-gurna:lain illi du:l humma/ * /du:l ig-gurna:lain illi ishtaraitha/ * /'ana ishtarayt al-jari:data:n allatarn huma/ * /hata:n huma al-jari:data:n allata:n ishtarayt/ * /hata:n huma al-jari:dattan allahdi:n ishtaraytaha/ Table 8: Comparative error analysis of Item 8. All of the errors made by the beginners and intermediate students involved pronoun retention. = avoidance (producing a correct sentence but avoiding the relative construction). 'ana ishtarayt al-jaridatayn. Errors related to dropping the pronominal suffix. = omission of preposition. four errors by the beginners and 10 by the intermediate group. Om. I = intermediate-level students. Type of error EFL B n=13 AFL ECA A n=9 B 9 7 1 1 I A B 2 7 n=18 n=17 n=12 n=18 MSA I 2 6 1 A n=17 n=12 I n=17 RP Om. = noun-relative pronoun agreement (in MSA the relative pronoun agrees with the noun in case. gender.Prep. N/Rel. B = beginners. Ag- 3 4 2 1 6 2 1 2 RP = resumptive pronoun/pronoun retention. Av. . and number). seven of whom did not answer. Av. N/Rel.pr. Ag. word order. It is interesting that although RP improved at the advanced level as indicated by this item. A = advanced students. 'ana ishtarait ig-gurna:lain.60 Relativization in English and Arabic EFL (Item 7) These are the two newspapers. I bought them.
'ana ruHt l-igtima:9. AFL /il-igtima:9 ka:n mumti9.. This item shows some improvement across levels. Seven beginners left it blank./ (MSA) Similarly. 'ana dhahabt 'ila al-ijtima:9. six intermediate students./ (ECA) This was another problematic item. i. I went to it. None of the 13 beginners. RP errors were made by beginners and intermediate students. Results here obviously indicate that this is the most difficult relative structure to acquire. and only one of the advanced students got this item correct.Relativization in English and Arabic Item 8 61 EFL The meeting was interesting. The majority of them were amateurs. However. . Other errors included use of the wrong relative pronoun and avoidance of the relative. none of the intermediate students. seven beginners. two beginners and two intermediate students attached the suffix to the verb instead of the preposition which was dropped: */ka:n il-ijtima:9 mumti9an alladhi dhahabtu/ Item 9 EFL The members of the band came from all parts of the city. Some of the errors were a direct translation from the Arabic equivalent: * The members of the band whom the majority of them were amateurs came from all parts of the city. and one advanced student avoided a structure that requires a pronominal suffix and produced a correct relative clause: /'ana dhahabt 'ila al-ijtima:9 alladhi ka:n mumti9an/ It is interesting to note that although the verb "go" requires a preposition in both English and Arabic. eight beginners left this item blank. evidence of the use of coping strategies: * /ruHt l-igtima:9 illi ka:n mumti9/ /ka:n al-igtima:9 mumti9an.e. Nine students made a pronominal suffix and word order error: * /il-igtima:9 ka:n mumti9 illi ruHt/ Seven intermediate students and one advanced student changed the word order to avoid using the pronominal suffix and produced a correct relative clause.
.. Other errors were pronoun retention and wrong relative pronoun: * . Item 10 EFL The residents were given help. Nine beginners dropped the pronominal suffix: * /il-9a:zifi:n fi-1-fir'a il-musiqiyya illi gum min kull maka:n fi-1madi:na ka:nu mu9DHam huwa:/ Interestingly. None of the students in any of the three levels got this item correct../ Again only one advanced student produced an accurate sentence and many students in all levels left the item blank.. used a coping strategy and produced: /mu9DHam 'a9Da:' il-fir'a il-musiqiyya illi gum min kull maka:n ka:nu huwa:/ /mu9DHam 9a:zifi:n il-fir'a illi gum min kull maka:n ka:nu huwa:/ MSA /ja:' 'a9Da:' al-firqa al-musiqiyya min kull 'anHa:' al-madi:na. ka:n mu9DHam 'a9Da:' al-firqa al-musiqiyya huwa:.. Beginners produced correct sentences like: The residents whose homes had been damaged were given help. mu9DHam 9a:zifi:n il-fir'a il-musiqiyya karnu huwa:..which the majority of them. All of their homes had been damaged by the flood. and only one of the advanced students got this item correct. i. none of the beginners. * . AFL /il-9a:zafi:n fi-1-fir'a il-musiqiyya gum min kull makarn fi-1madi:na. The residents were given help because their homes had been damaged by the flood../ (ECA) Like the EFL students. However. none of the intermediate...e. there is evidence of the use of coping strategies. Errors relate to word order and relative pronoun agreement.who the majority of them. .62 Relativization in English and Arabic * The members of the band who came from all parts of the city the majority of them were amateurs. nine intermediate and two advanced students changed the word order to avoid attaching the pronominal suffix to the expression of quantity. Almost half of the students in the three levels left this item blank.
. kull biyu:t is-sukka:n iddammarit bisabab il-fayaDa:n.Relativization in English and Arabic 63 The residents were given help when all of their homes had been damaged by the flood. * .... * . and 11 of 12 advanced learners) left the item blank.... Errors that persisted across the three different levels for both EFL and AFL learners involved mostly pronoun retention.whose their homes.... AFL /ka:n fi: musa:9da li-s-sukka:n./ (MSA) Only one advanced student produced a correct sentence. and 13 of 17 intermediate....who their homes..whose all homes. * ..which all of their homes. * The residents were given help. Most of the students (17 of 18 beginners... Errors made by intermediate students were: * . Fourteen beginners wrote: * /ka:n fii musa:9da is-sukka:n illi iddammarit bi-sabab il-fayaDa:n/ Three intermediate students wrote: * /iddammarit kull biyu:t is-sukka:n illi fi: musa:9da bi-sabab ilfayaDa:n/ One advanced student wrote: * /ka:n fii musa:9da li-kull il-biyu:t illi iddammarit/ /laqad tamma musa:9adat as-sukka:n. Obviously this is the most difficult relative structure to acquire. Discussion Results of this small-scale study cannot be conclusive. * ./ (ECA) This item was as problematic for the AFL learners as it was for the EFL learners. and problems with structures with expressions of quantity. Errors made by the advanced students were: * .. This agrees with .. omission of prepositions. use of the wrong relative pronoun. incorrect use of the possessive whose.. all of whose homes had been damaged by the flood..that all of their homes. even for advanced learners.... dummirat kull biyurt assukka:n bi-sabab al-fayaDa:n.whom all their homes.
. ECA relative clauses did not seem to pose as many problems as MSA for the AFL learners. and grammar problem-solving activities have been suggested as effective techniques in the grammar class (Fotos.. for some forms. e. "Consciousness-raising tasks suggest that learners should be deliberately directed to attend to form. there is evidence of transfer errors. p. of developmental errors. If students are made consciously aware of differences between their L1 and the L2 they are learning. cited by Long and Robinson. This structure seems to be the most difficult to acquire. /alladha:n/. Ellis. for some students.g. This is probably due to the fact that only one relative pronoun (/illi/) is used for the different structures.64 Relativization in English and Arabic Gass (1979. and of the use of coping strategies to overcome difficulties. /katabatha/. etc. 42). /allatayn/. rules. etc. Although with some items there is evidence of improvement with level.. with other items errors persisted. In MSA relative pronouns are more problematic for AFL learners. avoidance errors. and number. alladhi:n/. Conclusion and Suggestions for Teaching Findings of this study support DeKeyser's (1998) claim that "although the applied linguistics literature of the 1980s was characterized by a debate over whether or not second language instruction should make students attend to form. Teachers and materials writers seek to make students aware of new target language items.. or irregularities by highlighting them in the input" (Ellis. 17).e. yet learners made more errors in MSA. The findings of this study agree with Kharma's (1983) conclusion that the errors made by Arabic-speaking EFL learners are errors of form that do not affect communication. Relative structures with expressions of quantity (items 9 and 10) were obviously the most problematic for both EFL and AFL learners. /naDHarat 'ilayha/. Error-identification tasks and grammaticality-judgment tasks . 1994. the vast majority of publications since the early 1990s support the idea that some kind of form is useful to some extent. posed problems for the learners in both ECA and MSA. gender. i. For both groups of learners. There is evidence of L1 transfer in the errors both EFL and AFL learners in this study made.g. Pronoun suffixes that are attached to verbs and prepositions. consciousness-raising tasks. as they need to agree with nouns in case. Communicative focus-on-form (FonF) activities. 1983) and Hyltenstam (1984) who found that speakers of languages that allow pronominal retention produce more resumptive pronoun errors. they may be able to avoid transfer errors. 1998. Research has established the role of "consciousness" and "noticing" in foreign-language learning. 1991. at some point in the learning process" (p. e. 1991).
g. This also serves as a visual aid. To sum up. Example sentences: This is the man This is the restaurant /dhahabt 'ila al-maTa:9im/ /sharibt ash-sha:y/ qara'na al-garidatayn/ /ishtarayt al-qalamayn/ whose car I bought. Students are divided into two groups. . /allati 'akal fiiha yu:suf/ /allahdi ishtara:hu li/ /allatayn Talabahuma al-mudarris/ /alladhayn ba:9ahuma al-9a:mil/ Activity 2: Students are given structures with relative clauses of different types. teachers need to become familiar with both the language and the culture of their foreign-language learners. Given the existence of that influence.Relativization in English and Arabic 65 can also help learners notice differences between the two languages. The cooperative (within groups) and competitive (between groups) nature of this activity is stimulating and enhances communication. Activity 4: General knowledge/vocabulary quiz. a card game with incomplete sentences on cards. e. In groups. the findings of this study support the claim that transfer is an important factor in second language acquisition. they are asked to stick the cards on the blackboard for peer correction. students identify the errors and correct them. The students are asked to find the person who has the card with the part of the sentence that begins with the correct relative pronoun to complete their sentence.. students are asked to figure out the rules and to provide more example sentences. In pairs or groups. This awareness should help not only in pinpointing learners' problems. This can be done in both English and Arabic since both groups of learners have problems with relative pronouns. but also in being better able to work on them. where we had lunch yesterday. The teacher asks each group a general knowledge/vocabulary question. Activity 3: Students are given a list of sentences containing correct and incorrect relative clauses. Following are examples of communicative FonF activities that students can do in class: Activity 1: Matching. What do we call a person who rules with absolute power? /man huwa ar-ra'i:s al-miSriyy alladhi ughti:1 fi-9a:m 'alf tus9uma:'a wa:Hid wathama:ni:n/ A group gets one point for identifying the relative clause and one point for answering the question. When students have found the correct completion and formed a complete sentence.
These are the two newspapers. I went to it. 10. All of their homes had been damaged by the flood. The picture is beautiful.66 Relativization in English and Arabic Appendix 1: ESL Combine the sentences. . 7. The teacher explained the two lessons. The majority of them were amateurs.1 knew the woman. I bought them. 4. The members of the band came from all parts of the city. The meeting was interesting. She read the two lessons. 6. The doctor examined the two patients. 9. 5. She sits next to me. The man is Japanese. I met her at the party yesterday. The student is from China. 8. using the second sentence as an adjective clause: 1. 3. The residents were given help. She is looking at it. His wallet is new. 2. We spoke to them.
/ 4. /'arit id-darsain. /ka:n fi: musa:9da li-s-sukka:n. /aT-Ta:liba min aS-Si:n. maHfaDHit ir-ra:gil gidi:da. /id-duktu:r kashaf 9ala il-9ayyantain./ 6. 'ana dhahabt 'ila al-ijtima:9./ 9. qa:balt al-mar'a fi-1-Hafla 'ams. /ar-rajul yaba:ni./ 10. /'ana kunt 9a:rif is-sitt. ka:n mu9Dham 'a9Da:' al-firqa al-musiqiyya huwa:. /ka:n al-ijtima:9 mumti9an./ ./ 7. /il-igtima:9 ka:n mumti9. kull biyu:t is-sukka:n iddammarit bi-sabab il-fayaDa:n./ 8. aT-Ta:liba tajlis bi-ja:nibi. iT-Ta:liba 'a:9da gambi./ Appendix 3: MSA /urbuT kull jumlatayn bi-stixdaan ism al-mawSu:l al-muna:sib ma9a taghirr al-la:zim7 1. dummirat kull biyu:t as-sukka:n bisabab al-fayaDa:n./ 3./ 5. /iT-Ta:liba min issi:n. 'ana ishtarayt al-jari:datayn./ 10. /iS-Su:ra gami:la. /hata:n huma: al-jari:data:n./ 9./ 7./ 8. naHnu takallamna ma9a al-mari:Datayn. /qara'at ad-darsayn. al-mudarris sharaH ad-darsayn./ 6.Relativization in English and Arabic 67 Appendix 2: ECA /urbuT kull gumlitain bistixda:m ism al-mawSu:l al-muna:sib ma9a taghyi:r alla:zim/ 1. hiyya bitbuSS 9ala iS-Su:ra./ 4. /ja:' 'a9Da:' al-firqa al-musiqiyya min kull 'anHa:' il-madi:na./ 2./ 5. il-mudarris sharaH id-darsain. /il-9a:zifi:n fi-1-fir'a il-musiqiyya gum min kull maka:n fi-l-madi:na. 'ana ishtarait ig-gurna:lain. /laqad tamma musa:9adat as-sukka:n. /du:l humma ig-gurna:lain. /aS-Su:ra jami:la. /aT-Tabi:b faHaS al-mari:Datayn. hiya tanDHur 'ila aS-Su:ra. /kunt 'a9rif al-mar'a. maHfaDHat ar-rajul jadi:da./ 3. mu9DHam 9a:zifi:n il-fir'a il-musiqiyya ka:nu huwa:. 'ana ruHt l-igtima:9. /ir-ra:gil yabarni. 'ana 'arbilt is-sitt fi-1-Hafla imba:riH./ 2. iHna itkallimna ma9a il-9ayyantain.
Rowley. and Kruse.. and Comrie. Rowley. Universals versus transfer revisited. Henning (ed. Frawley. R. In C. Beyond focus on form: cognitive perspectives on learning and practicing second language grammar. S. Linguistic Inquiry. Williams (eds. Delaware: University of Delaware Press. International review of applied linguistics. 1984. 8:63-99. TESOL quarterly. A. 28:323-351. Ellis (ed. Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. Wedel (eds. R. University of California at Los Angeles. 1992. Arab students' problems with the English relative clauses. N. 1977. E. and Larsen-Freeman. 1987. Language Learning. Keenan. The grammar book: an ESL/EFL teacher's course. Kharma. Language transfer and universal grammatical relations. Grammar teaching practice or consciousness-raising? In R. 29:327-344. In C.. PA: Multilingual Matters.). 1984. . C. In C..). Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. Philadelphia. Gass. loup. Fotos. J. and McMinn. 1983. Newark. and Williams. Doughty. . B. Williams (eds. Doughty and J. Celce-Murcia. DeKeyser. 1998. Pedagogical choices in focus on form. Ellis. Noun phrase accessibility and universal grammar. In R. MA: Newbury House.. In R. 232-241. and A. Second languages: a cross-linguistic perspective. S. Doughty and J.). Second language universals. Anderson (ed. MA: Newbury House.. (1979). Johnson. 1983. C. 1977. Hyltenstam. Integrating grammar instruction and communicative language use through grammar consciousness-raising tasks. D. 1994. Los Angeles: Department of English. Paper presented at the 9th Boston University Language Development Conference. W. 25:257-266.). 1998. D. J.). M. G. K. Interference and structural complexity as a predictor of second language relative clause acquisition. The first Delaware symposium on language studies. The use of typological markedness conditions as predictors in second language acquisition.68 Relativization in English and Arabic References Birdsong.). Proceedings of the Los Angeles second language acquisition research forum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Di Pietro. Second language acquisition and second language pedagogy.
T. Tarallo. 1990. An introduction to second language acquisition research. 33:55-76. M. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1983.Relativization in English and Arabic 69 Larsen-Freeman. London: Longman. R. and Long. Odlin. and Myhill.. Language learning. 1991. D. Interference and natural language in second language acquisition. . J. Language transfer: cross-linguistic influence in language learning.
1985. 1985. Even when authorities accept the existence of tense in Arabic. it has been accepted as such by many grammarians (e.. The reason the researcher selected this text was that such statements frequently include a large number of promises.The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages Mohammad Al-Khawalda From a linguistic point of view. Because the aim . 1990. Palmer. the Quran was scanned. The second source was the Arabic translation of an English television series. 1991. the language of official matters in Jordan. Maslove. Many grammarians (Leech. two sources were used. Expressions of futurity in the series were examined in both English and Arabic. Declerck. the future tense is a controversial issue. 1972. 1991). 1990. The first was the Jordanian Prime Minister's policy statement to the lower House of Parliament on September 18. was used as a reference point for this paper. 1988. Although CA is not the focus. Data for the Study The data base for this study was collected from three sources.. the situation is more complicated. 1985. Pennington. 1993). Many scholars. which means intensive usages of futurity. Because opinion on the definition of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is not universal. claim that the present form /'af9alu/ ("I do") is used to express futurity (Hassan. Quirk et al. following the traditional analysis of English.g. 1971. It has been claimed that tense itself does not exist in Arabic (see AlKhawalda. 1988) have argued that the future is not a true tense. 1997). Comrie. Acapulco Bay (recording was made of four episodes for a total of three hours). the aim of investigating the use of futurity in the Quran was for comparative purposes. although the author believes there is no difference between the MSA and MSJA. 1999. Modern Standard Jordanian Arabic (MSJA). For the Arabic language. To investigate the use of futurity in MSJA. Comrie. Dahl. Hornstein. Fehri. futurity and the future form /sayaf9alu/ ("he will do") are ignored. although more recently. 1985. To investigate the use of futurity in classical Arabic (CA). 1989.
when used to express future time.) will know"). it must be noted that 12 of these occurrences appear in compound structures coordinated by /wa/ and/or /thumma/ ("then") in which /sayaf9alu/ or /sawfa yaf9alu/. /fa9ala/ for the past form. Distribution of futurity expressions in the Quran. In other words. representing about 20% of the total. 1997) and to avoid complex statistical computations. Analysis of the Data It must be noted that the use of the negative particles such as /lan/ and /la:/. sawfa yaf9alu yaf9alu sayaf9alu TOTAL 42 53 114 209 20. is . The present form /yaf9alu/ ("he does") is used 53 times to express the future ("he is going to do". which represent 20% of total occurrences. "he will do"). and /sayaf9alu/ for the future form. and the use of modal verbs such as /'ara:da/ ("he wanted") were excluded from the data. /yaf9alu/ for the present form. the use of the prefix /sa-/ with the present form /sayaf9alu/ ("he will do").1% 25. Out of the total 209. e. the data were left as simple totals and percentages .4%) of /sawfa/ are with the verb /ta91amu:n/ ("you (pl. Seventeen of the occurrences (40.) know"): /sawfa ta91amu:n/ ("you (pl. three expressions used to express futurity were taken into consideration: the use of the present form /yaf9alu/ ("he does/is doing") to refer to the future. /yaf9alu/ in separate structures is used 41 times.5% 100% As the table shows. the number of occurrences of futurity is around 209 times.The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages 71 of this study was to test the hypothesis that the future in Arabic is a true tense and that /sayaf9alu/ is basically a future form (Al-Khawalda. ("he will do") is used in the coordinate clause.3% of total occurrences. Futurity in the Quran Table 1 tabulates the distribution of expressions of futurity in the Quran.4% 54. Table 1. In this paper.g. appropriate forms of/fa9ala/ will refer to the verbs in Arabic. In general. /sawfa yaf9alu/ ("he will do") is used 42 times. However. and the use of the particle /sawfa/ with the present form /sawfa yaf9alu/ ("he will do"). The other important issue is that /yaf9alu/ ("he does").. which represents 25.
/ saya91amu:na/ ("they will know") /sata91amu:na/ ("you (pl. or 5. /sayaf9alu/ ("he will do") accounts for 114 future expressions.7% of the total.4% of the total. /sawfa yaf9alu/ appears interchangeably with /sayaf9alu/ ("he will do") for example. al-janna ("paradise").) will know"). with /sawfa yaf9alu/ ("he will do") occurring four times. sawfa yaf9alu yaf9alu sayaf9alu TOTAL 4 2 67 73 5. al-naar ("hellfire"). without a future temporal adverb.) will know") is repeated 17 times. In other words.. the total number of occurrences of futurity is 73. It seems that the use of /sawfa yaf9alu/ ("he will do") and /yaf9alu/ ("he does") to express futurity is accidental. 20:135. at the same time the verb /ya91amu:n/ ("they know") is used with /sa/ in different places to express the same idea. For example. It seems to this researcher that the difference between /sayaf9alu/ and /sawfa yaf9alu/ is not significant. the most frequent construction of the total: 54. does not express futurity. etc. Qur. Again.. The two cases in which /yaf9alu/ is used to express futurity are found in result clauses in the same sentence: /min xhila:li hadha al-nahj tata9amaq al-musharaka'al-ka:mila fi:T'iTa:r mumara:sat alHurriya:t wifqa mabad' seya:dat 'l-qa:nu:n mimma: yakfalu 'ija:d altawazun al-maTlu:b/ ("Through this way [of democracy] full participation is strengthened within the framework of freedom according to the principle of the sovereignty of the law. /sawfa yakuunu/ ("he will be") alongside /sayaku:nu/ ("he will be") and /sawfa nuwa:Sl/ ("we will continue") as well as /sanuwa:Sl/ ("we will continue").72 The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages generally accompanied by a future temporal adverb. such as yawm alqiyama ("the day of resurrection"). /yaf9alu/ appears twice. That is.. for 2. Distribution of futurity expressions in the Prime Minister's speech. 67:17. /yaf9alu/ in itself. When we compare the num- . al-Hashr ("the gathering day"). which guarantees the required balance").7% 91.5% 2. it is difficult to identify any syntactic or semantic reason why either of them is used since they are used interchangeably in several situations. Table 2.8% 100% As the table indicates. e.g. Futurity in the speech of the Jordanian Prime Minister Table 2 summarizes the occurrences of futurity in the speech of the Prime Minister.g.29). e. (see. etc. it is mentioned above that /sawfa ta91amu:n/ ("you (pl.5%.
9% 22.. where it is a structure coordinated by /'aw/ ("or.The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages 73 her of their occurrences with the number of the occurrences of /sayaf9alu/ ("he will do"). /sawfa yaf9alu/ ("he will do") is used twice (1. a total of 134 expressions of futurity occur.0% 12.7% 100% As the table indicates. Distribution of futurity expressions in an Arabic translation of an American TV series. the use of /sawfa yaf9alu/ and the present form /yaf9alu/ to express futurity is very low in comparison with the use of /sayaf9alu/. Table 4.8% 97.g. or 91. of the total. which appears 131 times. As can be noted.7%. of the total expressions of futurity are /sayaf9alu/. It seems that /sawfa yaf9alu/ is used randomly and there is no explanation why it is selected rather than /sayaf9alu/ ("he will do").").. a three-hour recorded videotape from the Englishlanguage series Acapulco Bay is used to analyze how futurity is expressed in English. The present form /yaf9alu/ ("he does") is used once (0.8% of the total). /'aw 'aqtuluka/ ("or I kill you").. Futurity in English As mentioned above. sawfa yaf9alu yaf9alu sayaf9alu TOTAL 2 1 131 134 1. Table 3. Table 4 summarizes the ways in which futurity is expressed in Acapulco Bay.5% 0.. e.5% 100% 136 . The translation of Acapulco Bay Table 3 summarizes the usage of futurity in the Arabic translation of the English-language television series. Distribution of futurity expressions in an American TV series.4%). or 97.9% 14.7%.8% 19. "Will" present from "be going to" present progressive form modals TOTAL 42 31 27 19 17 30. Of this total. we find that 67.
Discussion and Conclusions The difference between the two languages. five ways are used to express futurity in English. be going to is used 27 times.5% of the total.. The present progressive/from_appears 19 times. it truly expresses future temporal reference. the present progressive form. Of 136 cases. or 22. Table 4 shows the five general ways to express futurity in English. and none of them could be considered marginal. have to. Another argument against treating the future as a tense and that will is the future morpheme is that there are many ways to express futurity in English. which are used 17 times. the arguments that are used to show that English lacks a future tense are not applicable to Arabic. sayaf9alu/. for 14% of the total.7% in the translation of Acapulco Bay.g. /sayaf9alu/. of the total usage of futurity. is different. will appears 42 times. or 12. which is the focus of this paper. "Boys will be boys" (Pennington. or 30..74 The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages As can be noted. The data indicate that futurity in MSJA is expressed basically by the future verb form /sayaf9alu/. In other words.8%. mentioned above. the differences among them is significant.7% in the speech of the Jordanian Prime Minister and 97. or 19. It scores 91. are classified under modals. it is contended that will indicates a general tendency. or modals is not arbitrary. whereas /sawfa yaf9alu/ and /yaf9alu/ are used marginally in both. probability. etc. Each of them has its own semantic meaning in addition to futurity. or /sawfa yaf9alu/). p. The dispute over whether the future is a tense in English. willingness. Arabic and English.7%. For instance. The data support this argument. In other words.8%. rather than future time.. For example: •It will rain (general future) •It is going to rain (there is an evidence for that) •*It is raining (ungrammatical for expressing the future since the progressive indicates arrangement) •I will visit him (sudden decision) . The rest. unlike Arabic in which futurity is expressed in three ways (/yaf9alu. The present form is used to express futurity 31 times. cannot be applied to Arabic. 1988. etc. The data demonstrate that such usages typical of English (the nontemporal reference of the future morpheme) are not found either in CA or MSJA. Furthermore. 71). e. which is the highest percentage. The other important argument is that the use of "will" "be going to" the present form. such as the use of would. The situation in Arabic and in particular MSJA. in expressing futurity is significant. ("he will do") has one and only one usage: locating the situation sometime after the moment of speech. That is.
/sayaf9alu/) in Arabic is not periphrastic. and it is possible for will to express modal meaning in addition to the temporal one (for the discussion of this issue and why will is treated as a future morpheme. B. 1985. 1985. Time and the verb: a guide to tense and aspect. future in English is expressed in a periphrastic way. Tense and aspect system. 1991. It is clear that the number of occurrences of /sawfa yaf9alu/ ("he will do") and the present form /yaf9alu/ ("he does") to express futurity is higher in CA than in MSJA. 97:1-36. R. the future in Arabic is a true tense that is expressed primarily by the verb form /sayaf9alu/. 1991). Perspectives on Arabic linguistics. On the importance of Arabic to the general linguistic theory. see Al-Khawalda. that is. many scholars argue that the future in English is a tense and that will is the future morpheme. according to our data and the above discussion. this cannot be taken as an argument against an Arabic future tense since nowadays we are talking about MSA and that the use of the present form to express futurity is a universal phenomenon (Comrie. F. . 1988) The future (i. Declerck. Comrie. It seems that the selection of/sawfa yaf9alu/ and /sayaf9alu/ is arbitrary. Some observations on the expression of temporal relation in future-time relative clauses. I. Dahl. Issues in the structure of Arabic clauses and words. 1991. R. 1985. Depraeteve. Declerck. Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell. since as mentioned above it is difficult to find any semantic or syntactic reason for selecting one expression over the other to express futurity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. R. Tense. It is an orthographic whole and must be considered a morphological whole. Declerck. 44-45. Declerck. They state that it is possible for a given morpheme to have more than one reading. London: Routledge. 1993.The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages •I am going to visit him (the decision has already been made ) •I am visiting him tomorrow (arrangement) 75 In Arabic. Moreover. will is not an inflection (Quirk el al. 1998). Palmer.e. . O. Hornstein. p. 1994. New York: Oxford University Press. 10. for further discussion. pp. Fassi. 32:459-473. 3:3-30. 1991. 1991. 1991. 1985. unlike the simple present and past forms.. 1995. there is no reason to explain why futurity in Arabic is ignored. To sum up. see Comrie. Consequently. Nevertheless. I. 1985. In spite of these arguments against treating the future as a tense. such distinctions are not found. References Binnk.. Is there a relative past tense in English? Lingua. Tense in English: its structure and use in discourse.
S. Contrastive studies in verbal aspect. Leech. M. RELC journal.G.. G.) London: Longman. aspect and temporal reference.D. A contrastive study of tense and aspect in English and Arabic with special reference to translation. Heidelberg: Julius Groos.. 1971. 1998. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. In Y. 1985. R. 1994.. Greenbaum. and Translation. London: Longman. 1988. 1988.76 The Expression of Futurity In the Arabic and English Languages Dordrecht: Kluwer. A university grammar of English. S. 19:49-74. Palmer. London: Longman. M. 1990. Are "fa9ala" and "yaf9alu" temporal or aspectual forms? Paper presented at the 14th International Conference on Language and Linguistics. Leech. Irbid. Maslov. H. N. Outline of contrastive aspectuality. F. Essex University. Maslov (ed.. Al-Khawalda. The English verb (2nd ed.. Cambridge. . Literature. Tense. (1972). Context and meaning of English simple tenses. 1997.). MA: MIT Press. J. Ph. Meaning and the English verb. London: Routledge. diss. 1985. 1998. UK. diss. As time goes by. M. Quirk. Pennington. . W. Time in language. 1990. April 28-30. Ph. Jordan. Y.D. . Hassan. and Svatvik. Klein. London: Longman. Hornstein. University of Bath. Yarmouk University. UK.
1982. /'allawn/ ("the color") is also used in CA to denote a "palm tree. which denotes a state such as blackness or redness. p. this is not necessarily the case. Thus. Languages seem to differ in how they treat colors. respect. In other societies. red. The focus of this paper is on the sociolinguistic aspects of/'al-lawn/ as used in the Arabic language. it is important to recognize the connotations of various color words as they are used in each language." on the grounds that dates grow through a series of colors (green. green. and blue) belong to the physical domain and can be defined and measured in terms of their wavelengths and their relative heat intensity (Omar. to become "white-faced" means to "become ill" in English. a person is described as /mutalawwin/ ("changing his color") if he is not of a strong or steady character. p.A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology in Egyptian Colloquial and Classical Arabic Jehan Allam The six basic color categories (white. In some societies. Historically in the . Thus. black or brown) similar to the colors that appear during sunset to darkness. For example. are colors of mourning. black. yellow. 57). the Arabic words /lawn/ ("color") and /'alwa:n/ ("colors") are from the root /1/w/n/. 1952. The color of anything is what distinguishes it from other things. Therefore. but to be "pleased or proud" or to "emerge as victorious" in ECA and in classical Arabic (CA). yellow or red. It is known that green and white. for instance. Black and blue. Psychological aspects will also be included to examine color usage in the language. are optimistic colors for Egyptians in general. 91). on the other hand. Due to the psychological effects of colors. and elegance. black is a color of happiness. people tend to associate them with different aspects of their lives. According to the dictionary Lisan al-Arab. /'alwa:n/ ("colors") also can refer to personality types. but in English it suggests one is "lying" or "cowardly". Colors have their place in many customs and traditions. the idea of "turning yellow" indicates one is "becoming ill" in Egyptian colloquial Arabic (ECA). pessimism. and sadness (Amin. Green is a sign of prosperity and white is a sign of happiness.
yellow. /'abyaD/ is emotionally connected with purity and goodness. passion. sinfulness. and cheerfulness. with the definite article /'al/ may be a noun or an adjective. and human relations. green with the countryside. it is a symbol of optimism and happiness. which is related to evil. Aside from the psychological associations of colors. and fire. /'abyaD/ is the color mentioned most often (10 times). the sense of /'abyaD/ usually revolves around purity and light. and coolness. when referring to skin color." the range of which is similarly extended to cover various shades of dark brown (Crawford. In CA.78 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology West. white with cleanliness and purity (Danger. various languages tend to treat colors in differently. red..g. /'abyaD/ ("white") /'abyaD/ is derived from the root /b/y/D/ ("to become whitened"). green. On the other hand. 1968. red with warmth. "Royal" purple is just as ancient. 29). A brief study of the use of color terminology in the Holy Quran found that the six basic colors (white. summer. blue was associated with law and the king's court. "white" in the expression "white coffee" refers to a deep shade of brown. Therefore. p. In general. e. probably because of its psychological connotation to goodness. an Arabic speaker may use /'abyaD/ ("white") as a euphemism for /'aswad/ ("black"). for color is part of nature. spring. blue) were mentioned 32 times. as a result. 339). prefects wore blue cloaks. because in Roman times. 1982. However. 1982. . "The color traditionally and universally used for wedding celebrations and brides is /'abyaD/" (Omar. purity. in opposition to the rest of the members of the color spectrum. 166). black. and a "white" (person) may be anything from an off-pink color (natural pigmentation) to golden brown (sun-tanned). there is the exceptional negative impact of white in the Quranic story of Joseph: there. life. and hell. "white" contrasts with "black. and coolness. a range that goes beyond what they normally possess.. Many of these connections have a more rational basis: blue with the sea. a sociolinguistic study of colors should show similarities or differences. /al-'abyaD/. since the vocabulary of color analysis is psychological and metaphorical rather than rigorously physical. color terms often acquire. In the latter example. various societies and. 12:84). yellow with sunlight. and heaven and its distinctive contrast with /'aswad/ ("black"). As a noun it denotes the color itself generically. /'aswad/ ("black") is the color for celebrations. /'abyaD/ occurs in connection with Jacob's eyes to describe his blindness (Qur. /'abyaD/ represents one end of the color spectrum: in psychological terms it generates positive rather than negative feelings. in certain fixed allocations. heat. /bayDa:'/ is its feminine form. although in some societies. p. excitement. p.
"white Christmas". "white smith" (tin smith). allegation. fortunate. a black woman is not referred to as /bayDa:'/. but /'abyaD/ does not apply to the male parallel. /yaddun bayDa:'/ ("white hand. and "white space" (Random House Dictionary. A project still "in the white" is in an unfinished state or condition.A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology 79 Hence. To "bleed white" means to be or cause to be deprived of all one's resources. Other senses of white as used in Arabic include: /yadun bayDa:'/ ("white hand"). The opposite again is not true. The Arabic term /'al-abyaDa:ni7 "the two whites" (said of milk and water) is a sign of beauty and seems to contrast in this sense with English. bleached clothes. Other senses of white as used in English include that characterized by snow. reference to /'abyaD/ appears in both CA and ECA extensively. harmless motives). auspicious.e. a "white alert" of military defense is signal that danger no longer exists. For example. Common CA metaphors likewise are often retained in ECA: /bayyaDa wajhuhu/ (literally. which means proof (whether by argument. as from fear or other strong emotion. since milk and water are not referred to as the two whites and "white" denotes paleness. "white wing" is one who wears a white uniform. "daylight"). /baya:Du-'al-bi:D/ ("egg white"). masculine /abyaD/ and its feminine /bayDa:'/ is used. generous).." as in English).g. Magic that harms no one is "white. a "white list" is a list of individuals or organizations with security clearance from government officials. white race." i." whereas coffee that is "white" contains milk. clear or free from spots. A survey of the meanings of /'abyaD/ in CA and ECA show that it is used in similar senses. or evidence) as well as a favor or benefit for which one is not reproached and .e. and household items such as bed sheets and towels. Common expressions with "white" include: "white lie" (a minor lie uttered from polite." i. "white trash" is a slur on poor whites collectively. to denote among other things. in both languages the words are applied as adjectives to mean: honest and dependable. it is used euphemistically to refer to a black man. silver or gray color. "made his face white" and metaphorically "made him proud"). innocent. especially a public street cleaner. and harmless. in fact. or fortunate. a beautiful woman. morally pure.. Common expressions in ECA are frequently carried over from CA and may have metaphorical as well as literal meanings: /baya:Du-'al-naha:r/ ("the whiteness of the day. 1956). All these expressions have been carried over from CA to ECA. /kidhbun 'abyaD/ ("white lie. white is used to describe something radically conservative. Figurative meanings may vary with different derivatives of the root.. blank space. someone who is "white livered" lacks courage or vitality. A "white beard" refers to an old man. Arabic /'abyaD/ and English "white" more or less agree in invoking the following meanings: sunlight. in a political sense. e. /baya:Du'al-9ayn/ ("white part of the eye").
e. it is also the favorite color for beautiful eyes. Poetic expressions to describe the eyes underscore that fine appreciation: /9aynun barja:'/ (i. and 15th nights of an Islamic month." i.e.. milk and water). Other common metamorphic expressions include: /'il-'irsh'il-'abyaD yinfa9 fi-l-yu:m-'il-'iswid/ ("a white piaster is useful on a black day. /'al-Hawar/. It is a sign of generosity and good will. /'aswad/ ("black") is associated with charcoal.e. For Egyptians and many others.. It is the color used in funerals and dresses of women in mourning. and night (Berlin and Kay. suppression. which is deep black contrasted with the clear white of the eye. Metaphorically." i. This is probably because most Arabs have relatively dark complexions with which black eyes and black hair are the most suitable (Amin. ranking it third after /'abyaD/ ("white") and /'axDar/ ("green"). and /sha:y 9ala mayya bi:Da/ ("tea on white water. when there is a full moon). bad luck. /'aswad/ is used as a verb. /'aswad/ ("black") is the symbol for grief. /'aswad/ ("black") Emotionally. p. In CA the following expressions occur: /'al-'ayyamu-l-bi:D/ ("the white days. In the Holy Quran.e. black magic. /'aswad/ is the color of mourning and death. /'aswad/ ("black". 1898. It is the color that prevails after fires. the unknown. it colors the walls of old buildings in cities that have suffered great fires. Similarly. and /'al-'abyaDa:n/ ("the two whites. the root is /s/w/d/) is the color of evil. 58).. and night opposed to day.." i. the 13th. darkness. pp." i. and destruction. he made them proud of him as a result of his success or achievement) and /naharak 'abyaD/ ("your day is white..80 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology which is conferred without being asked.e. /ma9andu:sh la:-abyaD wa-la:swid/ ("he has neither white nor black. 98-99).e. A large vocabulary describes black eyes. i.." i.. /bayyaD wishshuhum/ ("whitened their face. It contrasts with /'abyaD/: it is hell opposed to heaven. a little money saved helps when times are bad). 1969). he is penniless). and it is associated with racial discrimination and slavery. nonexistence. pain. 1963.e. a waste of uncultivated land). /taswwadu/ ("to become black") and /'iswaddat/ ("became black"). which shows Arab's appreciation of the beauty seen in the /sawa:d/ ("blackness") of the eyes. and /9aynun da9ja:V. tea made without being boiled). we find in ECA. and death..e. Although it is the color of pessimism. /'al-'arDu-l-bayDa:V ("the white land.." i.e." that is. misery opposed to happiness." i. 14th. /'aswad/ is mentioned seven times. In many languages. eyes that have very clear white and very clear black). misery. mourning opposed to celebration. very dark black eyes (Ibn Sidah. it is a good day). It represents darkness. and poverty. it has been used to mean gloominess or misery: /'iswaddat wuju:hahum/ ("their faces became black") meaning became sad or dis- .
grief. 1865). disgrace. sullen (e. Lane." euphemistically for "what a black day") or /ya-xabar abyaD/ ("white news. wicked (e. People's pessimism from /'aswad/ is obvious both in CA and in ECA when they call a black man /ya-'abyaD/ and when they say in ECA/ya-ssmar/ ("tanned") in describing a black man to avoid saying /'iswid/.Zubaydi. dark complexion.g. Metaphoric expressions used in CA to indicate different meanings of /'aswad/ include /'idha: kathura-l-baya:D qalla 'assawa:d/ (lit. as well as nighttime. In CA. Both refer to night as /'aswad/ and both appreciate black eyes: in ECA /9asha:n sawa:d 9uyu:nak/ ("for the sake of your black eyes") and /'il-9uyu:n-is-su:d/ ("the black eyes") and their beauty are commonly mentioned in songs as well as in poems in CA. In both languages. when it passes in front of someone. /'aswad/ is pronounced /'iswid/.. it developed to mean "in secrecy. or liability to punishment.g. Arabic /'aswad/ and English "black" more or less invoke the same following senses: pertaining or belonging to an ethnic group characterized by dark skin pigmentation. gloomy. /'uTTa su:da/ (a "black cat"). In ECA. is believed to be a bad omen. /waT'atun sawda:'/ (lit. /ya-nha:r 'abyaD/ ("what a white day.. e. Some of the Arabs' common expressions include: /kaththartu sawa:da-l-qawmi bi- . "black hearted"). darkness. servants. or an inferior race. such as the dark-skinned peoples of Africa. and it is used to describe clothing for mourning. and the beauty of the eyes.A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology 81 appointed. "black looks"). "when whiteness increases. it is the color of pessimism... "black night"). "made him black") is to meet someone in the blackness of the night.g. Comparing /'aswad/ in CA and ECA reveals similarities.. /sawwad/ (lit. "black" indicates censure. pessimistic. and /sa:wadahu/ (lit. 1888). dismal. without any moral right of goodness. blackness decreases") where whiteness signifies milk and blackness dates (Al. As in CA. "a black footstep") denotes a recent footprint." which is used when hearing bad news). and usually other words are used for that purpose. characterized by the absence of light (e. and /'al-xayTu-l-'aswad/ ("the black thread") representing the end of the night from the beginning of the day.. The only positive use of /'aswad/ is when describing the eyes.. and deliberately harmful. "to cause blackness") is to write something in a rough or draft copy (Lane. Finally. From this sense. Another common meaning shared in both CA and ECA is the use of /'aswad/ to mean a rough copy /miswadda/ or /taswi:da/ in ECA and /sawwadda/ in CA. the sense of /'aswad/ revolved around the meaning of pessimism." as in /sawwadtuhu/ ("I spoke secretly with him") and /sa:wada/ ("a secret speech". that is why certain expressions use /'abyaD/ instead. sinfulness. 1865). Just pronouncing the word is sometimes objectionable. evil. /'iswid/ is also associated with black magic and evil. the expressions "black gold" (for "petroleum"') and "black market" are found in both English and Arabic. It also used to be associated with slavery.g.
and strong animals. /'aswad-al-qalb/ ("black heart") refers to an unforgiving person. literally. It is associated with sunshine. or villages and cultivated lands of Iraq.. /wa'9itak su:da/ and /naharak 'iswid/ both can be used as a threat. healthy. hope. p. literally. particularly when referring to black camels. /Sufra/ is defined as "yellowness" and "blackness" (Lane." with /'asa:wid/. It is also used to express common physical examples of the color: dry plants and leaves are /Sufr/ ("yellow").82 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology sawa:di/ ("I increased the number of the collective body of people by my person"). and summer. "your black doing. 1968. The Arabs. /'al-dhahab al-'aswad/ ("black gold"). bright yellow describes good. In ECA we find: /yu:m 'iswid/ ("black day'") for a bad day and /xabar'iswid/ ("black news") for bad news." that is. From this sense developed the expressions /Sifru 1-yaddayni/ and /ma li-fula:n la: Safra:' wa-la: bayDa:'/ to mean "penniless or empty handed. /'axDar/ ("green"). heat. and /'aswad/ ("black") in the number of times it occurs." which means that debt causes one misery and shame (Taymour. the sun is /'al-Safraa'/. "the two yellows"). "the liar gets only the blackness of his face" and /'il-di:n sawa:d-il-xaddi:n/. 1865). /sawa:du-l-9ira:q/ ("the blackness of Iraq") to refer to the districts. and activity. /'aSfar/ means a search for a way out of troubles. 235). so called because of the greenness and near-blackness of its trees and produce (Lane. it is a sign of happiness. towns. 27). and /saHa:ba su:da/ ("black cloud") signifies a problem. It is used in the sense of the basic color yellow. in which Arabs took pride and considered part of their wealth. presum- . 1865). in which /sawaad/ means "myself. /maza:g sawdawi/ refers to a melancholic temperament.. "your shameful deed. People who prefer yellow are said to have an intellectual bent (Danger. According to Max Lusher's psychological color test. "yellow"). In EGA the associations of black with the meaning of shameful or disgraceful is apparent in expressions such as: /9amlitak is-su:da/. /'aSfar/ is mentioned five times in the Holy Quran and ranks fourth after /'abyaD/ (white"). and good expectations. meaning "persons" (Lane. It is a brilliant and cheerful color. meaning "petroleum. In CA. it resembles /'abyaD/ ("white") and daylight." /'aSfar/ then is a synonym for wealth because it means gold and wealth. and progress and innovation." is an introduced term. and is associated with energy. "to become yellow") was used to mean "to become yellow and also black")." Common proverbs that give this meaning include /ma yinu:b il-kaddab 'ilia sawa:d wishshu/. "being in debt means black cheeks. the plural form. /'aSfar/ ("yellow") /'aSfar/ is the color of the sun. cheerfulness. If chosen number one. /'iSfarra/ (MSA. /'aSfar/ in CA revolved around gold and wealth—even good camels. p. and gold and saffron are referred to as /al-'aSfara:n/ (lit. 1865). are /Sufr/ (pi. 1956. readiness.
By contrast. red cross for hospitals.. in addition to the basic sense. or poisoning (Omar. anemia. it is used for safety measures. ECA /'aSfar/ signifies distress and illness. revenge and desire for attacking." i. whereas in CA it signifies wealth and richness. /'iS-Sara:ya-iS-Safra/ ("the yellow palace") is slang for a mental hospital. "mental hospital"). English use of yellow signifies cowardice.e. hence the mixing of the two terms.g.e. Therefore. pp.. /DiHka Safra/ (a cunning or deceitful smile).e.. There is a common belief that yellow stones prevent misery or upsets. In general. In short. Comparing Arabic /'aSfar/ with "yellow" in English shows a similarity in the two languages' use of the color to denote or describe jealousy and envy. his face is pale either from fear or bad health).e. red fire extinguishers. 1982. Metaphorically. and /'iS-Sara:ya-iSSafra/ (slang... /9i:nha Safra/ (lit. any yellow metal (naval brass. It has a positive and lively effect on people. "her eye is yellow.. It causes muscle tension and increases body temperature. and race (of persons). jaundice.g. after Birren. tension. 1982. "the yellow." i. /wishshu 'aSfar zayy-il-lamu:na/ ("his face is as yellow as a lemon. sallow complexion. and /'iS-Safra/ is jaundice." i. 1986). red in food. she is envious). p. pale either of fear or bad health).A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology 83 ably.. indicates a sign of illness. Badawi and Hinds.e. /'aSfar/. 154). jaundice). The color is also used frequently to denote sickness: /wishshu 'aSfar zayy-il-lamu:na/ (lit. the origin of this name could not be determined for certain. It is the color that attracts the eye. In ECA.. It also denotes something old: /waraq-ilkita:b 'iSfarr/ ("the pages of the book became yellow") and /waraq-ish-shagar 'iSfarr/ ("the leaves of the trees became yellow"). gold). as expressed by the proverb /'illi yilbis 9aqi:q 9umru mayshu:f Di:q/ ("he who wears carnelian is always happy"). is the most appetizing and tempting color (Omar. conceived of black camels as yellow and/or black. the yolk of an egg. fire and alertness. danger. This sense is not apparent in ECA. The sense of wealth as mentioned in CA does not exist in ECA in relation to /'aSfar/.. /'aHmar/ ("red") is the color of blood. "his face is as yellow as a lemon. 110-113). e. /'aSfar/ revolves around sickness. red light of traffic . but it might be related to the original color of the building.. ECA uses /'aSfar/ in the following expressions to denote spite: /fula:n da Safra:wi/ ("this person is yellow. /'iS-Safra:/ (lit. e. and /maza:gu Safraawi/ ("he has a choleric temperament". 1950. it arouses feelings of anxiety. when it describes a complexion. courage. fear and illness. studies have proved." i. /'aHmar/ ("red") Psychological studies proved that red has an evocative effect. he is spiteful)." i. while yellowness of the face could indicate a disease in the liver.
be severe with him.e. According to Lisan al-'Arab (Ibn Manzur.84 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology light for stop signal.. /'al-'aHmar/ ("the red") in CA is strongly associated with white complexion and beauty." /'aHmar/ in both CA and ECA is associated with death. the sense of /'aHmar/ denoting fair complexion occurs in the proverb /min barra Hamra Hamra wi min guwwa halla halla/. and /'il-bijama:1-Hamra/ ("red pyjamas. previously to sewing with it. 1865)." i. i. he burned with anger and rage against me). 35). /Hammarlu 9i:nak/ ("make your eye red to him. intimidating manner toward someone). /sanatun Hamraa'/ ("a red year") is a year of severe drought because in such years the tracts of horizon are reddish. p. an apparent contradiction. that is. he who loves must bear difficulty or distress. apparently because this operation makes it to appear red or reddish color" (Lane. it is also a metaphor indicating that beauty is attended by difficulty." i. 1865).e." i.e. meaning "beautifully made up from the outside but rotten inside.. In ECA. /'al-'aHmar/ ("the red") is also a metaphor referring to a sort of dates that are red in color.") denotes every single one. and violence. the death penalty). /'aHmar/ is mentioned only once as an adjective denoting brown color describing mountains. as well as blood and violence.e. the Prophet's wife. behaved in a severe." i. In CA. or "the lover experiences from beauty what is experienced in war" (Lane.e. In the Holy Quran. brown in color. 1865). /'al-Husnu 'aHmar/ (lit. /Hamira/ is removal of soft hair or fur and wool and /'iHamara ma 9ala 1-jild/ means "what was upon the skin became . blood." i. It is universally associated with danger and alertness. /'al-'aHmar wa-l-'abyaD/ ("the red and the white") denotes gold and silver. The colors of the expression /'ata:ni kull 'aswad minhum wa-'aHmar/ ("every black and red of them came to me. due to the heat and dryness (Al-Numayri. slaughter ) and /Hamira 9ala:yya/ ("he became red on me.e.. we find the following expressions: /'al-mawtu l-'aHmar/ ("red death. etc. "beauty is red") means that beauty is in fair complexion. 1865). /Hammara/ ("he caused to become red") means either to dye a thing red or to write with red ink. In the first sense. so that it became easy to sew with. /'aHmar/ is used instead of/'abyaD/ ("white") because /'abyaD/ has another significance when related to complexion—it denotes illness. Badawi and Hinds. 1976. /Hamira/ ("to become red") in the context of leatherworking means "he pared a thong. stripped it of its superficial part or he (a sewer of leather or of skin) pared a thong by removing its inner superficial part and then oiled it. The color is found in ECA in several metaphoric expressions: /warra:lu-l-9i:n-ilHamra/ ("showed him the red eye." This sense occurred in the sunna: /HumayraaV was applied to Aisha. 1982) "red and white are antonyms. 1986). In CA... for both impressions are at two extremes if put on a single scale. /Hamira/ ("became red") also applies to a horse that is out of control (Lane. and one should not use /'abyaD/ ("white") in this sense (Lane..
/'axDar/ ("green") is from the root /x/D/r/ ("to become green"). with children. /'aHmar/ in this sense is not accounted for in ECA. greenery.e.e. 1956). especially by making a round of stops at bars and nightclubs" (Random House Dictionary. which represented a major source of their economy. /'axDar/ is a precious color because of its scarcity amid the vast yellow desert lands. 1865).. /'axDar/ is the second most frequently mentioned color in the Holy Quran (eight times). the more green is produced. French fries). In ECA. and heaven. /'aHmar/ in ECA. It is associated with crops. p. /laHma miHammara/ ("browned meat"). the more prosperous is their year. It is notable that /'aHmar/ is used in food rather not /bumuV ("brown")." i. In the Egyptian culture. which is used to praise ripe watermelons. It is associated with the color of plants and agriculture. as in CA. The metaphor /sahra Hamra:'/ ("red evening") is probably borrowed from the English expression "painting the town red." Other expressions include: /Hammarahu bi-1-SawT/ ("he excoriated him with the whip") and /waT'atun Hamra:'/ ("a red footstep.e. prosperity.. and youth.. decoration. prosperity. The sword is very important to the Arab and for one to be without his weapon or sword is comparable to removing an important part of himself. agriculture represented a main occupation for the Egyptians. It is strongly connected with . "redness and sweetness"). celebrating "boisterously. blood." i. /Humrann/ is an adverb used metaphorically in the sense of having a weapon on oneself.. 1953. /'aHmar/ is also a color of youth. from sitting in the sun").e. trees. Ever since the pharaohs. became red").. young girls. As for the Arabs in general. profit. since it is not acceptable to visit a person in mourning when wearing red or even red make-up. and brides. It seems that /'aHmar/ is opposed to /'iswid/. Further support can be seen in the phrase /Hama:r wi Hala:wa/ (lit. /'axDar/ ("green") Egyptians consider /'axDar/ ("green") a color of optimism and a sign of prosperity (Amin. It is used to refer to plants and greenery as well as to signal richness." i. psychologically or socially.." i. /'itHammar/ or /'iHmmar/ ("browned or fried. this supports the concept that red is a favorite color in food. Next to /'abyaD/ ("white"). and glamour. common expressions include: /Hammar/ ("to make red. elderly ladies are strongly criticized if wearing /'aHmar/. is associated with death. It is connected with make-up.e. /'axDar/ in CA embraces several senses. a new of recent footstep or foot print. /'iHmarri:t min ish-shams/ ("my skin became red. 58). burned. "potatoes made red. i. Lane. and violence. cheerfulness.A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology 85 removed (said of hair and of wool). and immodesty. to fry in oil. /baTaaTis miHammara/ (lit..
From this sense developed connotations such as fresh (as opposed to dry) and unripe. which is a metaphor for prosperity (Lane. "the young man has become green.e." i.e." i." said when wishing someone a happy and prosperous year). Lane." i. "the land of blackness. 1865) and /xuDDira/ (lit. Similarly.. i.. The interchanging of colors. In ECA. he has a lucky touch or he brings profit to whatever he involves himself in. the night became green. "his skin became green" from carrying the produce of the land). yet it seems to follow a certain logic: from a distance dark green indeed seems black (as in /'arD-assawa:d/. /'axDar/ denotes /'aswaoV ("black") when referring to complexion: /'inna-1-Harith 'ibn-al-Hakam tazawwaja 'imra'atan fa-ra'a:ha xaDra:' ('ay sawda:') fa-Tallaqaha:/ (lit.e.. 1986). he died in his youth). became dark and black)." meaning our affection is recent or fresh) and /'ixtuDira sh-shaab/ (lit. because its fertile lands and richness in greenery and trees appear black to someone coming from far away in the desert. "a green year if God wills.e. "his feet are green. /'axDar/ is sometimes used to mean /'azraq/ ("blue") in CA: /ma taHta l-khaDra:'t 'akrahu minh/ (lit." i. /'ixDarra-1-layl/ (lit. "there is not under the sky more hateful than he". /'adamuh xaDra 9ali:na/ (lit.. and pleasant. or a means or subsistence] let him stick to it". /xuDra/ ("greenery") describes trees and landscape as well as pot herbs and green vegetables. 1865). "the green regiment." a euphemism for Iraq. Lane. it is used to describe the color of the sky instead of/'azraq/. Other expressions include: /9i:shatun xaDra:'/ (lit.e. "affection between us is green. a group of soldiers with black shields). "his hand is green. which has bad associations and is disliked (see below). Badawi and Hinds. he brings us good luck). a mode of life soft and delicate... 1865). we find /man xuDDira lahu fi shay'in fa-liyalzamahu/ ("whosoever is blessed in a thing [meaning an art or a trade. "made green") as a metaphor for blessing. /'axDar/ ("green") for /'azraq/ ("blue") and /'aswad/ ("black") in CA is interesting.. "green life. /'axDar/ also denotes prosperity as evidenced by expressions such as: /sana xaDra bi-'idhn-i-llah/ (lit. 1865) and /'ixDDara jilduhu/ (lit. 1865). In CA.. black.e.e.. "the land of blackness") and since /'axDar/ is the optimistic color that stands for prosperity. we find /ma:'un 'axDar/ (lit. plentiful. which are extended metaphorically in expressions such as: /'al-mawadatu baynana xaDra:'/ (lit." i. and /'i:du: xaDra/ (lit. blackness is understood when /'axDar/ is applied to a variety of objects: /'al-katu:ba 'al-xaDra:' (lit.. and /'arD-as-sawa:d/ (lit. 1982)... so he divorced her". "al-Harith ibn al-Hakam married a woman and discovered her to be green. In the sunna... Lane.86 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology agriculture and plants.. "green water") for crystal-clear water and /xuDara/ ("greenery") for the sea (Ibn Manzur.." i. .. 1865).. Lane. Metaphorically. Lane..
It represents responsibility. Yet /'azraq/ is a pessimistic color for Egyptians. night. /zurqun/ denotes arrows. they seek an organized environment free of disturbance and trouble. enemies. 1953. 1865). people who chose blue as number one are in need of either emotional stability and a feeling of security or need physical rest and relaxation. 1982. Metaphorically. it is associated with coolness. seriousness. youth. /'al-zurqa/ ("the blue"). arrows. 12:84). embraces in actual usage a wide range of colors.e. "the ground is green. /'azraq/ has been associated with purity and faith. and rest. it was named after a palace of the princess in this area and its entrance was /'azraq/ (Amin. and war." i. As a noun with the definite article /'al/ it denotes the color itself as opposed to the rest of the members of the color spectrum.. wet). It has been the color of loyalty. confidence.. pp. . obedience.. p. It seems that /'azraq/ in CA conveys similar pessimistic impressions as /'aswad/ ("black").. laziness. such as /'al-baya:D/ ("whiteness") and /'al-xuDra/ ("greenery"). as well as other connotations." i. and innocence. For example. "the clothes are still green. According to Max Lucher's color test. and this explains the superstition of people who pin a blue stone on a baby for protection from envy and evil eyes. which is said of a gray horse. and faith in one's aims (Danger. "the green threshold. /'al'azraq/ ("the blue") is used to mean an arrow. tranquillity. Life goes smoothly in its normal directions and they have good relations with people (Omar. /'azraq/ is mentioned only once in the Holy Quran where it denotes blindness (Qur. a verbal noun. 30).A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology 87 ECA seems to conform to the general impressions of/'axDar/ in all the senses of CA. they often call it /'axDar/ for this is their optimistic color." which is a district in Cairo).. /'azraq/ is from the root /z/r/q/ ("to become blue").. damp) and /'il-'arD xaDra/ (lit. On the other hand. except that in ECA another sense has developed—/'axDar/ in the sense of wet and damp: /'il-hudu:m lissa xaDra/ (lit. /'azraq/ seems to be an indefinite color in Arabic. Consideration of the use of/'azraq/ in CA shows that the word may refer to several colors. 1968). men. This is why they call /'al-9ataba-al-zar'a:/ ("the blue threshold") /'al-9ataba-al-xaDra:/ (lit. which may have meant a greenness or gray color intermixed with blackness or deep ash color (Lane. /zurqa/ is used to denote /xuDra/ ("green") in reference to the iris of the eye. In the Egyptian culture. water.e. Those who prefer blue in general like tranquillity and quietness. /'azraq/ ("blue") Blue in Western societies stands as the color of the sky and the sea. In ECA /'azraq/ is used in this sense only in the expression /HuSa:n 'azraq/ ("blue horse"). respect and meditation. 61-63). It is associated with blue eyes. dark blue reflects darkness.
he is furious).88 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology /zarqa:' 'al-yama:ma/ in Arab tradition." According to Ibn Yaqub (1911) an enemy is /'azraq/ because his hatred is as clear as water. /hatishtaghalli fi l-'azraq/ (lit.." i. "blue bone") is used as an abusive epithet for a Copt (Badawi and Hinds. In CA this meaning appears in /zaraqat 9aynuhu naHwi/ (lit.e. 1865). /zarraq/ (the intensive form) means a deceitful man or a great deceiver. between whom and the Arabs is a confirmed enmity.. 1911). "he became blue. you will play tricks on me).. In ECA. and in /'inzaraqa/ ("passed through and went forth on the other side") and /mizra:qan/. The color is also used to mean deceitful. It seems that /'azraq/ ("blue") is characterized by a wide range of contradictory ambiguous usages both in Arabic and English. /fula:n 'inzaraq/ (lit. e.e. will hide it well). /'azraq/ in the sense of the color is used more often and is a more defined color. 1986) and /'azraq zayy in-ni:la/ (lit. this sense is found in the expression /zaraq-il-musma:r fi 1-xashsab/ ("the nail passed through the wood"). e. which is an adjective for a deceiver. underscores the association between blue eyes and deceivers. denotes shrewd eyesight.. e." informally denoting something moving fast..... "his eye blued toward me").. vehement.g. blue sea. "you will work in blue.. Other expressions include: /HaTalla9 il-bala l-'azraq 9ala gittitu/ ("I will beat him black and blue or will give him hell") /'il-dibba:n 1-azraq mish hayi9raf makkanu/ (lit. 1977). /9i:nu mizriqqa/ ("he has a bruised eye") and /wishshu 'izraqq/ ("his face became blue" due to lack of oxygen). "blue flies will not know its place. One interesting similarity is in the extended meaning derived from /z/r/q/.. or interminable.g. he is a pure enemy. which is said of a camel delayed behind the rest of the caravan because it moved too slowly (Ibn Yacub. A comparison of Arabic /'azraq/ with English "blue" reveals similarities only in their use as adjectives. which means his eyes turned toward me so that the white thereof appeared (Lane.e. In ECA.e. the usage of/'azraq/ as a protection from the evil eye contradicts its usage to . All senses mentioning /'azraq/ in expressions or metaphorically show negative associations with the color. /ma ti'a:minsh li-'umm-9uyu:n zarqa/ (lit.. they are not trustworthy. an enemy "that is vehement in hostility" because of the /zurqa/ of the eyes is "prominent in the Greeks and Deylem. /9aDHma zarqa/ (lit. relating to /'inzaraq/. "as blue as indigo") is an expression to describe how ugly the shade is.. /'il-9afa:rit-iz-zurq bititnaTTaT fi 9i:nu/ (lit. "blue fangs"). Metaphorically.g. and /9aduwwun 'azraq/ ("blue enemy") is a fierce enemy (al-Tha'albi. "the blue devils are dancing crazily in his eyes. which also exists in English as "blue streak.. "they traveled like a blue streak through Italy" or something continuous." i. as in the phrase /na:bu 'azraq/ (lit. /'alzarqa:'/ ("the blue") refers to alcoholic drinks. "do not trust the blue-eyed girl"). blue sky." i. An Egyptian proverb. According to Lane (1865)." i. he went out or in quietly without anyone noticing him).. in Arabic..
'arabiya li-ghayr al-natiqin biha. 1984. Every color implies different meanings depending on the context. References Abboud. Ahmad Tahir. /xaDra: V. D. As vocabulary items. M. Al-lugha al..e. 1976. Cairo: Al-Markaz al-Qawmi li-1Buhuth al-Tarbawiya. /zarqa: V). Bahij.. Department of Near Eastern Studies. /Safra:'/. P. K. colors are comparatively easy to teach for they all have the same pattern (the masculine form: /'abyaD/. Ann Arbor. the student can learn more about the culture and beliefs. Cairo: Matabi' al-Sha'b. F. A. As societies advance. /sawda:'/. Altoma. Beirut: Khayats. that modern times bring with them more color sophistication. Abd al-Masih. and it is important for the learner to understand the social connotations of these colors. Abdel-Messih. Muhammad Fu'ad. . /'aHmar/. T. more colors are isolated and more hues of the same color are identified by separate names.. E. The use of colors in the Arabic language is interesting.. N. Conclusion A survey of the number of times colors are used in the books of teaching Arabic as a foreign language found no emphasis given to the category of color although it represents an important aspect of the language. This may be due to the phenomenon.A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology 89 designate evil spirits /'il-9afa:ri:t 'il-zurq/. eyes) are used to denote innocence side by side with the use of "blue movies" to denote pornography. It would be interesting to contrast the connotations of these colors in ECA to other Arabic dialects.. MI: University of Michigan. Hassanayn. observed by various sociolinguists. Abd al-Baqi. E. Badawi. /Hamra:'.. 1983. Bahth shamil fi al-lugha al-'arabiya al-misriya. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. In the English language. Abdu. /'aSfar/. that the lines of demarcation between the various colors are not as clear in CA as they are in the colloquial language. A course in modern standard Arabic. /'aswad/. the feminine form: /bayDa:'/. MI: University of Michigan. et al. S. "baby blues" (i. Abdu. among other things. Ann Arbor. /'axDar/ and /'azraq/. . This study revealed. 1967. Modern standard Arabic: intermediate level.. The living Arabic of Cairo.M. et al. S. Rashad. By studying colors.. Al-mu'jam al-mufahras al-'alfaz al-quran al-karim. 1958. et al. 1971.
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A. Kitab nuj'at al-ra'id wa shir'at al-waridfi almutaradifwa al-mutawarid. Al-'amthal al-'ammiya al-misriya mashruha wamurattaba 'ala al-harf al-awwal min al-mathal. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. Ibrahim. Egyptian colloquial Arabic. 'Umar. Al-Tha'alibi.92 A Sociolinguistic Study on the Use of Color Terminology Taymur. a structural review. Fiqh al-lugha wa sirr al-'arabiyya. 1923. Kuwait: Dar alBuhuth al-'Ilmiya. 1904. 1982. Abu Mansur Abd al-Malik Muhammad. Al-lugha wa al-lawn. . 1956. Cairo: Matbu'at al-Sa'ada. Ahmad Mukhtar. 1982. Al-Tonsi. Al-Yaziji. Cairo: Matabi' Dar alKitab al-'Arabi. Ahmad. Cairo: Tab'at al-Ma'arif.
rather. Aristotle. I intend neither to justify nor to challenge Aristotle's model of rhetoric: 23 centuries of subscription to it by the West and a somewhat shorter period of subscription-through-adaptation of it by the Arabic East1 have justified this model. despite historical connections to larger traditions. 1991.2. 1993. broaden.1.i 1. One's first duty in undertaking the tasks stated above is to define rhetoric. What I hope will be shown here.2 Nor is my goal in describing the canons of Aristotelian rhetoric to suggest a framework through which Arabic or English rhetorical practices ought always to be compared.. or disciplines. and put more clearly into the perspective of cultural studies as a whole the notion of "rhetoric" in the term contrastive rhetoric..the most tenacious" (Reynolds. Certainly the rhetorical tradition of each language and culture is sufficient unto itself and. although . so much so that John Frederick Reynolds." In either case. 36). however. Since his Rhetoric as a whole makes it clear that one not only sees the available means but also uses them and since over time explanatory as well as persuasive discourse has come to be included in rhetoric. p. at least a dozen variations of new rhetorics today provide them. of Aristotelian rhetoric..The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric: Their Place in Contrastive Arabic-English Studies Nancy G. Aristotle defined it as "an ability to see the available means of persuasion" (Rh.' then certainly. In describing these canons. one of classical rhetoric's modern proponents has characterized it as "if not the 'most complete system. the revised definition attributed to Aristotle has been understood as "the ability to choose the best from the means available in order to accomplish one's discourse goals. if taken as new directions for research. p. Hottel-Burkhart My purpose in this paper is to describe the five canons of classical rhetoric taught by Aristotle in order to illustrate the usefulness of these canons as a heuristic for contrastive studies in rhetoric.l.for the analysis and production of discourse. italics his). and anthologies already exist. would deepen. is quite simply that the five canons of classical rhetoric as described by Aristotle in his Rhetoric treat questions that are largely ignored in comparative rhetorical studies to date but which. neither tradition need be subsumed under another. As for challenges..
since in fact invention is linked to memory—the best ideas or propositions on which to base any of . translated into English as invention. it is claimed. 296) and exists for maintaining social harmony. best described as a speaker's identification with and credibility in the eyes of the audience due to shared cultural values. Invention Known in Greek as heuresis. In invention. acknowledges "an organic universe" (Foss et al. Aristotle classified approaches to persuasion into three well-known types: logos. what knowledge can be brought to bear on a subject and in what logical form. or the appeal to reason. This includes lines of thought. 1990. it is easy to lose one's bearings from the outset. the first canon of classical rhetoric is "discovery of what is to be said" in a discourse (Corbett. Its goal as a discipline is finding something relevant and important to say on a chosen subject. one can proceed to claims: what are the practices and values peculiar to the rhetorical tradition inherited from Aristotle? And what do they suggest for research directions in contrastive rhetoric? For Aristotle. the practices comprised five canons. 287). Chinese rhetoric.94 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric the definition is succinct and adequate for rhetoric within the history of a single-language culture. (2) arrangement. This definition places rhetoric more squarely in the center of contrastive studies and renders a more revealing starting point for a cross-cultural discussion of rhetorical disciplines. Having settled on terms. and (5) delivery. p. for example. and basic propositions from which arguments can be developed. 32). or disciplines. in short. 1991. for the first problem that one encounters in studying the rhetorics of the world is that they differ in the purposes for which they exist. for the purposes of the present discussion. I propose a definition of rhetoric that is faithful to Aristotle's original description and that at the same time captures the commonalities of it and other rhetorics: rhetoric is an intellectual tradition of practices and values associated with public. Thus. and I will take up each in turn: (1) invention. one sought to discover—or recover. p. The rhetoric of various African societies. With such apparently divergent starting points. pathos. and verbal communication—spoken or written—and it is peculiar to the broad linguistic culture in which one encounters it. it requires some elaboration if it is to be useful in crosscultural studies. p. arguments that can be used. Invention treats. 1999). 1991. in Latin as inventio. or the appeal to human needs and desires.. (3) stylistics. values expression as action and perforce involve the participation of the entire audience in the rhetorical act (Foss et al. and ethos.. Aristotelian rhetoric has been said to be unique in focusing on conflict (Al-Wali. (4) memory. interpersonal.
" which can be of sever- . it would seem that a contrastive study of rhetorics lies within the very nature of the discipline of invention. the writer—learned through daily practice to employ all of these beginning points. as modern students of rhetoric have illustrated. has actually provided rhetoric with a new form of argument called "the reasoned social scientific fact. The orator—and over time in this tradition.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 95 these three kinds appeals for the rhetorical task at hand. in this case) what parts of knowledge could be brought to bear on a subject in question and in what logical relation to one another other. and as new realms of knowledge have developed over the centuries since Aristotle. Thus. but all agreed that invention involved discovering (remembering. The common topoi of his system are summarized in Table 1. 23 centuries later in more complicated intellectual times. the system of topoi could discover arguments since in either case all knowledge was presumed to be housed in memory. Note both the flexibility of this system within a single language tradition and also the implications of it for a cross-rhetorical study. according to Cushman and Kovacic (1994). and the examples accompanying this list illustrate how the topoi could be used in a systematic fashion to discover propositions to use in lines of reasoning. p. is one such discipline. the framework of the topoi for discovering arguments has accommodated the knowledge of these new disciplines. discover the best way to develop arguments. while Aristotle himself held that rhetoric had no subject matter and others in the tradition (primary among them Cicero) held that "the perfect orator had to be conversant with many subjects" (Corbett. in order to discover what was to be said in a discourse. bringing up knowledge in the form of arguments through the topoi may seem to us. Yet. I have mentioned the relationship of invention to knowledge: those in the classical tradition differed among themselves as to the exact relationship between invention and knowledge. from Corbett's Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. to have been a simpler matter than today. The relative strengths of the various resulting lines of argument as well as the best approach or the best two or three approaches to the discourse under the circumstances were considered before a final choice was made. In the time of Aristotle. Aristotle taught that through a system of beginning points. History. Aristotle taught "we must not expect to find a single line of inquiry which will apply universally to all" intellectual situations (p. called the topoi. As Struever (1992) has pointed out in showing the relationship of classical rhetoric to modern historical texts. for any given rhetorical occasion. The development of the social sciences. Thus. 1990. From this citation alone. an orator could. 546). knowledge was considered to be finite. 341). with their relationships to logic and to the structure of knowledge. as Struever (1990) points out.
Table 1. the invention exercises used in current English composition pedagogy. the science of probability.. which seem on the face of it to bear little resemblance to the list of Aristotle's common topics. brainstorming conforms to the general description of invention as discovering what knowledge can be brought to bear in discussion of a subject. Likewise. has provided rhetoric with complex mathematical versions of topics such as "similarity. What are the types of heroes? A hero is like a . actually provide one more instance of the flexibility of invention as a discipline over time and intellectual space: for example. The difference between a hero and a leader is How many heroes can one nation have? What factors play a role in modern hero worship? At what point does a soldier become a hero? Would you rather live the life of the hero or the life of the common wo/man? What is the contradiction of a hero? (Yielding the thesis: A hero is not a coward. the field of statistics." "cause and effect." as well as "possible and impossible.) Contradictions . In this way." "difference." Finally. The Common Topics* TOPICS EXAMPLES of Invention Questions for the Subject "HERO" Definition Genus Division Comparison Similarity Difference Degree Relationship Cause and effect Antecedent and consequence Contraries What is a hero? A hero is. an invention exercise like brainstorming reflects the current intellectual culture in which knowledge is so vast and emanates from so many starting points that only free recall can draw it all forth.96 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric al kinds and thus reside at several points in the topoi..." "degree. to take this discussion more directly into the professional lives of some of us.
The average number of persons who visit the Vietnam War Memorial every day is. but also over time within one rhetorical tradition..) General question: What does (authority/maxim/ law. Cowards die many times before their deaths/ The valiant never taste of death but once. General George Patton once said that heroes. As knowledge . (once authority.. The culture in which the rhetoric is embedded will assign this value... For our purpose in contrastive studies. the relative value of what counts to any given rhetoric may vary.. Since this is so...... p." Antar / Ulysses / Hadrat Ali / George Washington Past fact and future fact Testimony Authority Testimonial Statistics (noninferential) Maxims Law Precedents (Examples) *The list of common topics is taken from Corbett.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric Circumstance Possible and impossible 97 What are the requisite conditions for a hero to exist? (One answer: No hero exists without a nation.) Who were the heroes of Hiroshima? (The heroes of Hiroshima were the survivors.. 97. 1990.) bring to bear on the subject of heroes? Answers: The ink of the scholar is worthier than the blood of the martyr (a hadith). note an important assumption in the foregoing discussion: implicit in it is the notion of what counts as an argument. and this is true not only of rhetorical traditions of two different language cultures. Examples are mine. now maxim) "The Congressional Medal of Honor shall be awarded to the person who in the course of duty in service to his/her country.
the ayatollah saw his arguments dismissed as irrelevant. schooled in a different tradition of argument. such as the reasoned social scientific fact (p. To bring this discussion of invention one final step further and at last to our subject of contrastive Arabic-English rhetorics. preferences for what counts as argument occur: Struever (1990) points out that in certain views of history and historical argument. Even within one discipline. In turn. where the divergences. Quranic verses and hadith must be cited in careful fit to the context to which they are applied: this is one of the most important conditions for their being compelling arguments.3 Fallaci. definition was a frequently used common topic for lines of development of arguments. and in the eyes of many in this tradition. I turn now to a wellknown article by Johnstone (1986) on cross-cultural Muslim-European discourse. an interview that had degenerated into a shouting match over a mismatch in the expectations of the two interlocutors as to exactly what constituted a valid argument. Johnstone analyzed the interview of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. and this has influenced argumentation in general. Scientific arguments favor instead conclusions drawn from empirical observations. definitions no longer constitute a very large part of most lines of argument. which is as much as to say that the words of God and his Prophet are insignificant. expected the ayatollah to respond to her questions with general statements supportable by reference to observable facts about the Iran of the time. and rightly so in his view of Who the source of all knowledge and argument is.98 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric changes and as what is accepted as disciplines in the society develop. in European education from medieval to modern times. Yet with the development of modern science and its predilection for empirical proofs. the ayatollah's arguments were ironclad and clearly to the point of Fallaci's challenges. offered instead answers based on the words of God and his Prophet. 342). either classical or modern? What is valid in English? What are the common points. The ayatollah. so the relative rhetorical value of the arguments discovered by each topos may change. the first on the original list of common topics. narrative has been considered weak and to be nearly no argument at all because it does not compel the reader to a single conclusion as do other forms of argument. To take one example from within the classical framework itself. at the center of which lies the unspoken assumption of what constitutes an argument. Arguments revolving around definition. could be central to a well reasoned discourse even up into the twentieth century. He was therefore enraged. as characterized by Johnstone. This research article is the only one I know of that comes close to broaching the basic question in Arabic-English rhetorical studies that I have posed here: what counts as an argument? What is valid in Arabic argumentation. Yet Fallaci saw these "quotations" as hedging and was angered. and with what correspondences to the respective intellectual cultures in question? .
is translated into English as arrangement. 278). it should be noted that the structure of ideas discovered by invention and logic is not the same as the structure of a discourse that employs those ideas. According to Quintillian. and conclusion. and this difference constitutes the need for arrangement as a discrete discipline. confirmation or proof through argument. 280-281). 1990. and vice versa (Corbett. . I would suggest that what is involved in this canon encompasses vastly more of an intellectual culture than is presently captured in the description of the discipline. 1990. This implies first an identification of the elements themselves. pp. Comparative studies that would bring these issues to bear on discussions of rhetoric would profoundly enrich Arabic-English rhetorical studies. First. Arrangement Taxis in Greek. but the difference is beyond the limits of our discussion here). refutation of opposing arguments thorough counterarguments. Arrangement is the manner in which the arguments discovered in invention should be organized to achieve one's rhetorical ends.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 99 Although the Johnstone study can be framed within the Aristotelian context—"authority" being one of the topoi—it leads one to see that crosscultural studies of invention must exceed the Aristotelian context." to "what constitutes a valid intellectual activity and how the world is constructed" (p. "arrangement is to oratory what generalship is to war" (Corbett. It extends ultimately. independent of invention. and again it was Quintillian who focused on judgments and decisions about questions like these: •"When is an introduction necessary and when can it be dispensed with? •"What evidence or documents must be made use of and where in the discourse will they be most effective? •"Should we attempt to refute our opponents' arguments as a whole or deal with them in detail?" He also addressed more general questions on how to order proofs and refutations in the most persuasive order and when to order proofs from strongest to weakest. statement of fact (not the same as a thesis. in the words of Rashidi and Zhan (1996). and the elements of classical rhetoric as Aristotle identified them are: introduction. A listing of elements is by no means a strategy. Arrangement is the organization of elements of a discourse in order to place its ideas in the way most likely to move a particular audience or to achieve a particular persuasive end. dispositio in Latin. p. 389). in their analysis of "Chinese arguing in English.
"Make the connection to avoid the cliche. the student's ending was hackneyed." To the student. Published research as well as the observations of persons who are members of two rhetorical cultures confirm that the inventory of elements and subelements involved in arrangement may vary from one rhetorical tradition to another. and it must make reference to the weather and stage of nature of the time. To take an example that combines both. paradoxical. referring to the part of the young woman's story that told of her rescue by a man in a boat. Take. unnecessary. 283-287). Taking a historical perspective on one rhetorical tradition can provide examples. Jenkins and Hinds' example. an American professor. and narrative (Corbett. is "Facing the season of glorious cherry blossoms" (p. this ending had been a desirable conclusion in her rhetorical strategy. the element in ending a text in which the writer acknowledges her/his reliance on the Creator: wa min Allah al-tawfiq or wa Allahu 'a/am. as can considering differences between genres in one language. for example. consider in traditional Muslim-Arabic discourse. from an Anglo-American point of view of rhetorical strategy. This is distinctly required in Japanese and distinctly nonexistent in English or Arabic. 1990.4 A cross-cultural instance of the employment of this element as the ending of a text occurs in the English essay of the Moroccan student writing on a near-drowning experience when she writes as her final paragraph: "This event made me learn that we have to rely on God and only on Him and to be more wary next time" (italics mine). in a case where a genre has developed only recently. appropriate for the month of April. and disconnected from the rest of the text. preparatory. Our cross-linguistic contrastive interests in arrangement should and do go back as far as Kaplan (1966) to ask what the order of elements in a discourse of a rhetorical tradition may be. This instance becomes doubly interesting when we read the comment of the student's instructor. but one may also ask whether the elements to be arranged in a discourse are even the same in two traditions. who classified all introductions into one of five types: inquisitive. To take another example closer to our focus on Arabic-English rhetorical contrasts. pp. It must follow the first subelement. This subelement of the introduction is one of two necessary to every Japanese business letter. one need not look as far as two different language cultures to find contrasts. 337)." she penned. to her instructor. corrective. on the italicized portion of the ending: "People in boats come in handy too. . which is the salutation. if we compare introductions in Swales' (1990) Create A Research Space (CARS) framework for research articles. the seasonal greeting in Japanese business letters as studied by Jenkins and Hinds (1987).100 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric As with invention. we find a very different description of introductions than that of Whately (1828).
which can arguably be placed in "arrangement" and. not simply a description of the order of presumably universal elements. The sentence structure of English. In the classical framework. stylistics could be described in its largest part as the tendencies that the structure of the language imposes on the choices that the writer of that language has when creating a text. Some (e. marked or unusual sentences.e. To carry out serious comparative studies of stylistics. is needed in contrastive studies of rhetoric in Arabic and English. The few exceptions to this. I conquered." or putting words to arranged ideas. ways to tie words of the text together. By contrast. however. or the omission of coordinate conjunctions. may suffice to suggest that consideration of what each rhetorical tradition includes in the inventory of elements to be arranged. for example. The examples cited so far. will be discussed in the section on this discipline below.g. as cohesion). the stereotype of which is / came. "delivery" (see the next section)—of texts as well. Note as well in the Huxley example that the more memorable repetition of roots occurs across clause boundaries.. on the other hand.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 101 It is possible to cite other examples of elements that are necessary in the traditional Arabic construction of discourse of certain kinds. Vinay and Darbelnet. lengths of sentences. stylistics encompasses choice of words.5 The agglutinative property of Arabic. is referred to in English with the terms stylistics and style. lends itself to the possibility of asyndeton. ways of varying sentences. Stylistics The third canon. as well as the traditional figures of speech." in Latin elocutio.g. like emphasis or humor." are memorable because of other schemes in tandem with repetition of a single root and not because of such repetition alone. 1975. 1971) would include under the term stylistics the conventions of paragraphing. For contrastive purposes. in Greek lexis. and ways of making transitions between ideas in a text (what is referred to by Halliday and Hasan. while inflection-poor English cannot accomplish such repetition without making the writer sound dull-witted. intimate knowl- . in Arabic the requirement for wa in such a series mitigates against such an omission. "speaking the words. stylistics. not within them. schemes and tropes.. depending on the language involved. like Aldous Huxley's "Few are chosen because few choose to be chosen. e. between clauses in a set of clauses that are syntactically parallel and semantically related. kinds of sentences.. in the visual considerations—i. "word. or the repetition of words derived from the same root (such repetition in Arabic occurring often within one clause) for certain special effects. and one example relating to the intersection of arrangement and the third discipline of rhetoric. I saw. allows for polyptoton.
The relative presence or absence of the use of a certain trope in the language—the frequency with which a trope is used and the judgment assigned to its use—may also be due to a value in the rhetorical culture itself. which hearken not so much from language structure as from broader cultural notions. to my knowledge. meaning of and preferences for types. The humor in the reference by a member of the Royal Family of England to his life as work in the family firm is missed. personification. has been described. The classical exception to this characterization concerns certain kinds figures of speech called tropes. I should like now to note two exceptions to this generalization—one of which lies in the design of classical rhetoric itself. oxymoron. the other of which has grown out of a discussion at this conference. for English the full repertory of stylistic means is commonplace to those who study rhetoric. but what values of the culture underlie them? What realities of the "universe of discourse" (Lefevere. It is commonplace to note—although Lakoff and Johnson (1981) have done so in anything but a commonplace way—that the expressions of metaphors differ in culturally explainable ways. similes. occur frequently in Arabic. But the contrastive work that discusses how it is that the structures of the respective languages result in the English propensity for asyndeton and an Arabic impossibility for it and how it is that Arabic can repeat roots within one clause where English does so only rarely. 1992 a. . while not valued in English and in fact mostly disparaged as low forms of humor. or repetitions of words in two different senses. does not exist. and—especially as used in certain political discourses—are not always considered language play for the sake of mere humor.b) of each culture are reflected in these tendencies and preferences? A contrastive Arabic-English version of Metaphors [and other figures of speech] We Live By seems to be called for in fact. Likewise. In Arabic it does not merit expression. are valued as subtle and sophisticated plays with language. as well as figures of speech. as is the irony in referring to a $5 million house in Malibu as a hut on the beach. such as metaphors. from world view and how the world is organized. and hyperbole. Certainly for Arabic alone the canon in its full detail of lexical choice. Puns. sentence type. and when examples translated from English occur they are not particularly well understood. It is considered to be a particularly refined form of humor and irony in English. on the other hand. Take. for example litotes (understatement) in English. I have characterized stylistics in its largest part as the tendencies that the structure of the language imposes on the lexical and syntactic choices.102 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric edge of two languages and their stylistics traditions is necessary. Observations like the foregoing can be made easily enough if by those who know enough of both the Arabic and the English systems of stylistics.
The statements most often made in second-language studies about Arabic speakers writing in English are that Arabic writers use abundant coordinate. 1987) and that they repeat one idea at the same level of generality throughout a text (Kaplan. Furthermore. resolution. at least in the case of narrative. What was noteworthy in this was not the conflation itself but the sentence arrangement within the conflated section. they were making a choice in arrangement of texts—two lines of development together in one place rather than each separately its entirety and in canonical sequence. the section consisted of repetitions of the following pattern: sentence of orientation-wa-sentence of complication. According to Khalil. 1966). sentence of orientation -wa-sentence of complication.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 103 The second exception to the generalization that stylistics concerns structural tendencies and their repercussions for word choice and sentence type relates to the scope of stylistic choices. the younger writers in his study failed to construct narratives in the usual four expected segments (orientation. It suggests that in some languages. it shows clearly that the particle wa is not simply a coordinate conjunction for sentence-level choices and may be instead a crucial element in the production of a particular pattern of arrangement. while they constructed the resolution and coda of their stories in accordance with the assumed universal pattern of narrative arrangement. Khalil found that when writing in Arabic. The impetus for proposing this exception is a study by Aziz Khalil. what we consider lexical and syntactic tendencies may in fact relate not so much to stylistics as to the textually broader canon of arrangement. This seemingly small bit of information about Arabic writers' texts provides. coda). the use of wa and conjoined parallel sentences may be but two details in complex pat- . the object of which was the narrative structure of high school and university students writing in Arabic and in English. The above-cited detail of Khalil's study suggests the possibility that these widely referred-to Arabic abundance of coordination and parallelism are not merely governed by sentence-level decisions or even by a transfer of native-language syntactic preference. These young writers had not simply conflated orientation and complication: they had woven them together in a clearly discernible pattern. parallel sentence structure (Ostler. they conflated the orientation and complication. In effect. Employing the framework for narratives of Martin and Rotherby (1986) to analyze Arabic and English essays of Palestinian high school and university students. I believe. an extraordinary opening to our discussions of crosscultural Arabic-English rhetorical studies. complication. The fact that only the students with little exposure to English texts wrote in this way and the fact that they wrote this way only in Arabic point strongly to the influence of Arabic text structure and text-structuring processes on this choice of arrangement. It suggests that.
according to Aristotle. under the assumption that once writing became widespread. since almost any question posed is yet unbroached. because we have never imagined that arrangement could work this way. It includes familiarity with the styles of writers to whom one has been repeatedly exposed. and the recognition of these canons as indeed relevant to the production of written texts has engendered a renewal of research interest in them. with the notable exception of those trained in classics. citing Yates. Memory and Delivery The last two canons of classical rhetoric—memory and delivery—have been mostly neglected in recent centuries by nearly all scholars of classical rhetoric. it is not only the ear that seeks to be pleased: the eye also seeks pleasure. Yet note that almost any question we may pose about research on delivery and on memory as relates to rhetoric will apply equally to descriptive research on one single rhetoric and not only to contrastive rhetoric research. Considering these canons is in fact reasonable: one must employ memory in order to construct a piece of written discourse. Latin memoria. and as for delivery. Perhaps even lexically varied semantic repetitions and writing at one level of generality are related to the construction of prose in this pattern.6 It may point to a use of wa and parallel structures whose text significance we have missed in the English-centered view of discourse. I believe that this discovery by Khalil will allow us to begin to say something more significant about Arabic style and rhetoric than what their surface features are. 6. Memory is the place where knowledge resides. That this assumption was erroneous has been recently shown by Reynolds (1993b) and his colleagues in modern English composition studies. Memory. not to mention unanswered. 1993a. 1966). in fact. and thus aesthetic considerations of print are centrally relevant to rhetorical studies. and "knowledge" means all that is known from one's culture.104 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric tern of arrangement. as Connors (1993) has thoroughly illustrated. p. memory is "the key to invention" (Reynolds. a pattern that because of its very complexity needs parallel structures and the "coordinate conjunction" to demarcate two different lines of development that are interwoven in one time-ordered train of prose. . Greek mneme. It also includes the patterns of arrangements that text linguists call formal schemata. It includes the topoi used in invention. memory and delivery—both based originally on an oral model of rhetoric—were no longer relevant to rhetorical studies. and it includes (to look ahead to delivery) knowing the occasions for which a text must be written by hand and when rendered in print.
Imprinting on the memory and retrieving from memory are related to schema theory. most questions of concern to us in rhetoric today remain to be researched. delivering from memory.. or are remnants of it today. the final version of a written text.7 What skills are involved in memorizing and reciting of long texts like the Quran or the Psalms as recited in whole every 24 hours by monks in the Western Desert of Egypt? In either tradition. It consists not of a single skill nor even of several skills of the same type. retrieving from memory. Modern psychological studies of memory which conclude that storage of events differs from storage of facts are treating holding in memory. anything like Aristotle's? Were the same faculties assumed to be involved? Were the techniques similar? In reference to skills used in memorizing and reciting the Quran. according to Francis Yates (1966) as cited in Reynolds (1993a): improving the memory. according to them. the formal schema for writing a business letter—held and recalled in the same way as an event or as facts? Is there a phonological element involved in the skill of making memorable in the Arabic writers' composing processes? This question has been suggested by some of the students at my university who write in both languages and say that when they review what they have written in Arabic for editing. we easily see that what is encompassed today by mnemonics covers only a fraction of the techniques and kinds of techniques in the original Aristotelian system. Was the oldest Arabic system. delivery is the aesthetics of the finished product—the performance of a speech." by which point. We come finally to delivery. delivery traditionally has to do with voice qualities— . Called hypokrisis in Greek and pronunciatio in Latin. and preserving in memory (p. what have been the methods of teaching memory skills? Aristotle and his contemporaries devised an entire system for training the memory in all its composite skills. imprinting the memory. In an aurally received medium. is perhaps giving us an example of a phenomenon that encompasses the above memory skills in their entirety. Delivery. they are referring in part to rhythm. the aesthetics of the medium in which a message is presented.it must sound right. holding in memory. and if we read Yates (1966). "we literally read it aloud. Memory as treated in the classical tradition of rhetoric in fact contained all of the following faculties of memory.. in recognizing the ability to recite the entire Quran as a kind of intelligence distinct from all others. 5). does mastering these have an impact on composition processes in Arabic? This canon is more than asking for research: it is begging for it. memorizing in order. Gardner (1983).The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 105 Memory includes the storing and recalling of single facts as well as the reciting of long texts. Are schemata for arrangement—for example. However. making memorable.
pauses.106 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric pitch. . The fact that this term. he nevertheless has provided the canon with a term that gives the aesthetics of the written text its due. or green. and as well involves the instrument with which ink or another substance is impressed upon it. with eye contact. whether a text is memorized as in classical times or read aloud as in modern ones. with body stance. Despite an absence of contrastive studies of this canon of rhetoric per se. and what is important in them is not whether black ink or blue is used but what value is assigned to the choice. intensity. pp. for example. At any rate. when ballpoint pens were not acceptable for school essays. reported in Connor (1996). volume. 1993. It involves serifs and the effect which they have on readability of a text (Connors. or parchment—its size and thickness and weight. whether in Arabic or in French. when to type or print it. comes from an Arab scholar rather than from an American or an English one is noteworthy in a discussion of contrastive rhetoric and corroborates all anecdotal evidence I have found for an aesthetics in written Arabic rhetoric which seems to differ in degree if not in kind from its counterpart in English. and for what rhetorical occasions? It involves viscosity of ink: there was a time in the United States. red. rate of speaking. As for contrastive studies of delivery. one scholar has made an important contribution to it by the turn of a phrase. the values that such differences embody should interest us in contrastive rhetoric. and semantic features of one mode of Arabic from another rather than to discuss the canon of delivery. with gestures. or when to send it by e-mail. cotton rag. This is Sa'adeddin (1989). is written by hand. 68-69). Although Sa'adeddin makes use of the term to distinguish the syntactic. and only fountain pens would do. though reminiscent of the title of the journal Visible Language. intonation—and with patterns and variations in all of these. In Morocco. It involves when to write a letter or an essay by hand. Students in Moroccan schools must submit written work in black or blue ink. It involves the ink or other substance itself: is it black. delivery involves the material on which writing or printing takes place—rice. any letter of application for a job. It has to do with articulation. with naturalness and readiness. with the distance between the speaker and his/her audience. In what Sa'adeddin (1989) has called the "visual" medium. Such anecdotes are crucial at this stage. its color. whereas the curriculum vitae for the same application is always printed. I know of anecdotal data only. lexical. indigo. it relates to thickness of typefaces and the uniformity and spacing of letters in a given font. teachers correct in red. who as mentioned above has used the term "visual language" to refer to the language used in written texts. The aesthetics of the visual mode involves choices of typeface on a typewriter and of font on a word processor. blue.
I will answer each objection in turn. that Italian. First. and secondly from the claim that the reference to rhetorical arguments from Muslim discourse are not central to Arabic rhetoric. or in proposing a place for the forgotten canons of memory and delivery in contrastive rhetorical studies. to the objection that Persian and not Arabic is the language spoken by the ayatollah. Nevertheless. it not only uncovers new research fields ripe for investigation but also gives us the opportunity to attain a truly rhetorical perspective in contrastive rhetorical studies. In doing so. it might have been added. as defined at the beginning of this text. if one insists on reference to the secular language of the rhetorics involved (and here.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 107 Conclusion What I hope I have brought to light in this paper is that it is not at the level of narrow linguistic contrasts but rather in the purview of rhetoric as a whole that profound differences between Arabic and English rhetorics are to be found. first on the grounds that the language of the ayatollah was Persian. is the language of the secular tradition of Ms. by Sonya Foss. examination of Arabic-English rhetorical studies in the Aristotelian framework with its five canons can deepen our understanding of what constructs and values may indeed be involved in a culture's rhetoric. and Robert Trapp (1991). Fallaci). but not limited to the linguistic culture in which it is found. Thus. I restate that rhetoric. is an intellectual tradition associated with. for example. Karen Foss. the language in which a rhetoric is practiced need not be the only important language of that particular rhetorical tradition. Notes 1 The generally accepted European view of the Arab adoption of Aristotelian rhetoric is not unchallenged. in pointing to uncharted aspects of stylistics in Arabic-English studies. not English. in considering what elements of arrangement may not be common to all discourses. See al-Wali (1990) for the most radically stated view that Arabic rhetoric has always been its own independent (at least Eastern) tradition. 3 The choice of this discourse as being relevant to Arabic rhetoric has been questioned. Whether in questioning what counts as an argument under the canon of invention. the second edition of Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric. it must be understood that the original language of the current religion of Persia has always been Arabic and that as a religious leader the ayatollah most surely knew intimately the language and those of its rhetorical traditions related to religion. not Arabic. 2 See. nor need it be even the most distinctive element in that .
and the objections raised here to my choice of example are merely cases in point.108 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric rhetoric. In the English rhetorical tradition. passim. the discourse contrast in question has been first described as Muslim-European rather than as Arabic-English in recognition of the rhetorical traditions involved as cultural and intellectual phenomena and not as narrowly defined linguistic ones. is pervaded by all values of the society. 563-570 of Corbett's 1990. 1990).. At the same time.g. As to the point that the ayatollah's choice of Muslim argumentation should be removed from consideration in discussions of general Arabic rhetoric. in the rhetorical traditions of both English and Arabic. that the intellectual tradition of rhetoric. Martin Luther King) and indeed a large number of professors of rhetoric in the Scottish/American tradition in particular have been men of the cloth. Not to recognize this common heritage is to misunderstand the multilinguistic scope that a rhetoric as an intellectual tradition can have. 1991. al-Wali. . If the opposites of the above statements were true. many of the best orators and writers of their times have been ministers of the Church (e. In any case. including especially the religious ones. account of 18th-century English rhetoric. and rhetoric is known to be among the disciplines that has benefited from this common heritage (see. I would answer. first. King as representatives of their language's rhetoric.000-year-old rhetorical tradition in common with that of Europe and ancient Greece.) Neither the presence of religious values in the rhetoric of English nor the examples of religious leaders as English rhetoricians have ever been brought forth as reasons to question the appropriateness of persons such as Dr. while it is true that religious discourse is not the only or even the main type of discourse historically treated in Arabic rhetorical studies. one of the most widely understood facts about the Arab intellectual tradition is that it and the Persian tradition have a long and multifaceted history of exchange and mutual influence and borrowing. Thirdly. (See especially pp. Cardinal Newman. That this recognition is missed in contrastive studies is in fact the thesis from which the present chapter proceeds. among others.) In addition. I find it odd that the ayatollah or his Muslim discourse and arguments should be so challenged. the practices of the religious tradition as culturally acquired values are nevertheless of interest—or should be—in contrastive rhetorical studies. (See Garret. English would not today have a 2. for brief discussion of religious values and their impact on a rhetorical tradition as far removed from our focus as China. involving as it does both practices and values. religious discourse has exemplified the best of a culture's rhetoric rather than being peripheral to it. nor is a rhetoric subscribed to limited to the language in which its practices and values are originally found.
11:189-199. . Foss. R.. On rhetoric: a theory of civic discourse. Classical rhetoric for the modern student. 5 I am grateful to my colleague Abdeslam Khalafi of al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane for his assistance in confirming my nonnative intuitions about Arabic stylistics. A. and Hinds." at al-Akahawayn University in Ifrane. 6 Basil Hatim (1991) has argued as much for certain Arabic text types in his discussion of "through-argument.. Hillsdale. pp. and Japanese. Connor. 1996. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. S. B. Text. The pragmatics of argumentation in Arabic: the rise and fall of a text type. and Kovacic. R. graduate course "Contrastive Rhetoric and Translation Theory. Frames of mind: the theory of multiple intelligences. Rhetorical memory and delivery: classical concepts for contemporary composition and communication. Cohesion in English. (1991). 1991. K. S. K. Cushman. A. Reynolds (ed. 1983. D. and Trapp. J. P.. References Aristotle. B." 7 I am grateful to Alaaeddine El Koussaimi and Hind Benrhanem of the spring. K.) New York: Oxford University Press. the case that the overwhelming majority of native Arabic writers are Muslim and are thus. London: Longmans. Prospect Heights.The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric 109 4 The use of this example is not to suggest that all writing or rhetoric in Arabic is informed by Muslim ideals. The rhetoric of reasoned social scientific fact. and Hasan. pp. influenced by such cultural practices. Connors. New York: Basic Books. Gardner. 1993. P. Hatim. French. IL: Waveland Press. depending on the educational system in which they have learned to write and the writing tasks in which they are engaged. 65-77.1994. Contemporary perspectives on rhetoric. Actio: A rhetoric of written delivery (iteration two). New York: Oxford University Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1991. 8:33-47. nevertheless. Halliday. for their comments on their composing processes in Arabic. J. 1990. J. (G. R. 1999.). U. M. A. 1991. 1991.. 295-306 and 311-314. M. See also note 3 above. The Asian challenge. Jenkins. In J. Corbett. Contrastive rhetoric: cross-cultural aspects of second language writing. H. F. Kennedy. It is. Business letter writing: English. E. In Foss et al. trans. 1987. 1975.. Argumentation. Foss. Garrett. TESOL quarterly. 21:327-349.
1992b. The 22nd LACUS forum. 1990. J. . In B. February 19-20. B. Swales. February 19-20. In U. Classical rhetorical topics and contemporary historical discourse. MA: Addison-Wesley. Writing across languages: analysis of L2 text. 1999. Lefevere. Text.. M. Applied linguistics. E. Hoffer. Stylistique comparee dufranqais et de l'anglais: Methode de traduction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1992a. F.). 1993b. Chapel Hill. N. Arguments with Khomeni: rhetorical situation and persuasive style in cross-cultural perspective. 1999. Paris: Didier. Aziz. English in parallel: a comparison of English and Arabic prose. 1981. In J. held at the American University in Cairo. J. (ed. Al-sura al-ashi'riafi al-khitab al-bala'iy wa al-nathri.. 1992. Connor and R. 1996. Struever. Contrastive rhetoric in historical context. F. G. Lakoff. Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. 16:1-20. Chinese arguing in English. . . Kaplan. Translation. Text development and Arabic-English negative interference. 1971. Paper at the First International Conference on Contrastive Rhetoric. Reading. S. pp. May 12. 1989. Language learning. Khalil. Casablanca: Al-Markaz al-Thaqafi al-'Arabi. and Johnson. 6:337-347. 6:171-187. Rhetorical memory and delivery: classical concepts for contemporary composition and communication. held at the American University in Cairo. Rashidi. 1966. 1999. The art of memory.110 The Canons of Aristotelian Rhetoric Johnstone. Reynolds. and the manipulation of literary fame. Lecture. 1999. M. Kaplan. al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. A.-P. Vinay. M. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 1990. Muhammad. Ostler. S. M. and Zhan X. Yates. Paper at the First International Conference on Contrastive Rhetoric. 10:36-51. rewriting. and Darbelnet. London: Routledge. F. Translation/history/culture: a sourcebook. Memory issues in composition studies. London: Routledge. 1993a. 1966. 1986. 169-185. R. 1-15. Argumentation. NC: LACUS. Metaphors we live by. Al-Wali. pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rhetorical memory and delivery. L. Greek rhetoric and Arabic rhetoric. pp. Hillsdale. Schaub. 1999. . 389-395. Analysis of superstructure in Arabic and English narrative writing produced by Palestinian EFL students. J. Reynolds. Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education.). 1987. School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Sa'adeddin. J. (ed.
Of these. and relationship to the subject matter" (pp. Crismore et al. particularly function to signal the writer's credibility and attitude to the propositional content. Validity markers are used to indicate "how [writers] assess the probability or truth of the propositional content [they] express and to show how committed [they] are to that assessment" (Vande Kopple. metadiscourse devices do not add anything to the propositional content. By using hedges. 83). Vande Kopple's (1985) catalog. Validity markers include the subcategories of hedges and emphatics. Beauvais (1989) proposes that metadiscourse functions to indicate the "writer's communicative intent" in presenting the propositional content and how it is organized into a "purposeful text" (p. In other words. (1993) explicate that by using metadiscourse acts. 17). credibility. 39-4-0). is the most widely used.Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing: A Cross-Linguistic Study of Texts Written by American and Egyptian University Students Maha El-Seidi Writers of argumentative texts use metadiscourse expressions to demonstrate their assessment of and attitude toward the information and views they present about the subject matter. Brandt (1990) lists metadiscourse as one of the features of involvement interacting with features of literacy in essayist writing. validity markers and attitude markers. writers "signal a tentative or cautious assessment of referential information" . As defined by Vande Kopple (1985). A variety of taxonomies for metadiscourse classes has been proposed. Writers on metadiscourse have consistently emphasized that metadiscourse acts signal the writer's involvement in the text. which is primarily based on Williams (1981). namely. 1985. considerateness of the readers. Two classes of metadiscourse. but represent "discourse about discourse or communication about communication" (p. Hedges are expressions that indicate the probable truth of some generic statement. writers convey their personality. p. 84). "writers project themselves into text [to explain their] attitude toward the content and the readers.
as indeed). indicate cultural and gender variation in the frequency and types of metadiscourse. Consequently. They observed that students in both groups used all the categories and subcategories of metadiscourse listed in their catalog. Besides. (1993) and Mauranen (1993). and yabdu li ("it seems to me"). 631). Hasan points out that "it is rhetorically wrong to use them unless the predicate is subject to doubt or denial. (translated here.) As for attitude markers. the ascription of the predicate [khabar] to the subject [mubtada']. g." min al-mu'akadi. according to Chafe and Danielwicz (1987. According to Hasan (1995. Although scholars working on written language have been increasingly concerned with investigating metadiscourse." min al-khata'i. they reveal the writer's mental attitude toward the informational material. p. Their findings. 1988." ma'a al-'asaf." In identifying the various uses of 'anna. he indicates that 'anna can occur with words that denote probability." Examples of hedges in English are perhaps. (As will be shown by some of the examples below. On the other hand. in which case it may not be used emphatically. "surprisingly. Crismore et al. Emphatics. and it seems (to me). 'anna may occur in hedging expressions. and "certainly. And emphasis by them indicates that their predicate is certain and unquestionable for the speaker. An Arabic emphatic device that may not have an obvious English equivalent is the particle 'inna. which occurs initially in nominal clauses. cross-linguistic examination of its use has not received adequate attention. p. 185)." Concerning the appropriate use of these two particles." bi-la shakkin. min al-mumkini ("it is possible"). respectively. in the present study only clause-initial cases of 'inna are counted as emphatics. investigated culture and gender variation in the use of various classes of metadiscourse in the native persuasive writing of American and Finnish university students. hedges. Mauranen (1993) also . and "it is wrong. They include such expressions as "regrettably. "undoubtedly. p. on the other hand. These appear to have the following equivalents in Arabic: rubbama ("perhaps"). the emphatic meaning of 'inna (and some types of 'anna) consists in "emphasizing the ascription. generally. and eliminating doubt or denial of it.112 Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing (Crismore and Vande Kopple. signal the writer's strong commitment to the truth of the propositional content. Hasan points out that this particle functions emphatically only when it occurs with words that denote "positive cognizance and conviction" or ascertained "fear and caution" (p." min al-mudhishi. e. possibly. 'ammatan ("generally"). Chief among the few studies in this respect are Crismore et al. Expressions containing 'anna are assigned the emphatic function only if they contain words denoting certainty.. however. help writers "escape blame for instances which fail to correspond to [the] generalization. that is. 644). 109)." bial-tab'i. "of course. following Johnstone 1991.
and Kaplan (1997) point out the effect of instructional and/or developmental factors in this respect. Clyne. Grabe and Kaplan. The research addresses the following questions: 1. Which of the differences detected are due to L1 transfer and which call for alternative interpretations? Description of the Study The data base for this study consists of 160 argumentative essays. the use of metadiscourse. As pointed out above. has hardly received adequate attention. 1966. Some researchers. It also explores the variation in their use across the written argumentation by native and nonnative speakers in each language. The research is cross-linguistic on more than one level. What are the similarities and differences in the use of metadiscourse in native English and native Arabic argumentative essays? 2. The first set (40 essays) were written by NSs of each language. Care was taken to select participants with comparable educational background. with the former group showing the greater amount and larger variety of metadiscourse expressions. Building on this. 80 were written in English and 80 in Arabic. was the seminal work in this respect. particularly validity markers and attitude markers. The present study investigates the use of validity markers and attitude markers in English and Arabic argumentative writing. however. The English and Arabic groups consist of two sets each. Concerning English-Arabic contrastive rhetoric studies. Mohan and Lo (1985). Such differences have been usually ascribed to negative transfer of L1 discourse modes to L2 writing (Kaplan. have proposed alternative explanations for these differences. these particular categories are the ones that directly signal aspects of the writer's involvement in and interaction with the conventions of essayist prose for producing written argumentation. The native English data were elicited from NSs of American . The second set (40 essays) were produced by NNSs of the language. 1987.Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing 113 observed cultural differences in the amount and variety of metadiscourse in the English academic writing produced by Anglo-American and Finnish academics. 1987 and 1991). other works worthy of mention include Kaplan. In what ways are the texts of native speakers different from (or similar to) those written by nonnative speakers concerning the use of metadiscourse? 3. 1989. it is proposed here that the general level of proficiency and the amount of experience with the reading and writing in L2 may account for the discourse-level problems identified in texts produced by L2 writers. An attempt is made to interpret the differences detected between LI and L2 essays in each language. It is concerned with comparing the use of these two classes of metadiscourse in native English and native Arabic argumentative essays. Stalker and Stalker (1989).
As for the Arabic L2 essays.0 2. Since the two groups of participants belonged to different cultures.5 2.114 Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing English who were senior and graduate university students. Only a few of the graduate AFL students were paid to complete the tasks.e.. i. topics that refer to issues that may be interesting to or perceived by one cultural group rather than another.9 %* 8. 1996. The essays were written on four topics. All the participants were asked to mention their major and gender.7 3.4 .2 16. Additionally. Fourth-year Egyptian university students produced the Arabic L1 texts. they were written by upper-intermediate and advanced American students (mostly graduates) of Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL).7 12. it was necessary to avoid culturespecific topics. native Arabic texts The findings related to the frequency of validity markers (hedges and emphatics) and attitude markers in the two sets of essays written by native speakers are shown in Table 1. Most of the participants wrote the required essays as classroom tasks. 66 18 13 97 Native Arabic No.2 23. Categories and frequencies of metadiscourse in native English and native Arabic texts. The following topics were thought to be interesting to participants from the two cultural groups: •Arab-American relations •The major benefits as well as the challenges involved in learning a foreign language •Equality between men and women •A significant change in the writer's country during the past 10 years1 (For a more detailed description of the subjects and procedures. Table 1. 71 102 18 191 %* 11. Instructions for completing the writing tasks were provided in writing to each subject. see ElSeidi.) Findings Native English vs. the AFL students were asked to provide the number of years of studying Arabic. Native English Hedges Emphatics Attitude markers TOTAL No. The L2 English essays were written by Egyptian fourth-year English majors.
. %* Nonnative English No. The table shows that the overall frequency of metadiscourse acts in the NE essays is higher than that in the NNE ones.0 2. e. Hedges. and contexts of the (sub)-classes of validity markers and attitude markers as demonstrated in the two sets written by native speakers are presented in the following two sections. respectively. nonnative Arabic (NNA) texts. Finally. The following formal devices are used to code hedges in the English data: •Verbs of cognition with a first-person singular subject.2 16.5 * Percentage is to the total number of clauses. nonnative English texts Table 2 provides the findings for the frequencies of validity markers and attitude markers in English L1 and L2 essays. nonnative English (NNE) and native Arabic (NA) vs.3 1. Categories and frequencies of metadiscourse in native and nonnative English texts. I think. hedges are used more frequently in the English L1 essays than in the Arabic L1 texts.g. functions.4 Hedges Emphatics Attitude markers TOTAL 66 18 13 97 11. However. On the other hand. the difference in the frequency of hedges is not as significant as that of emphatics. In order to avoid repetition. 1985. while NNE writers use more emphatics. Emphatics score higher in the Arabic L1 essays.Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing 115 These findings indicate that the overall frequency of metadiscourse in the Arabic L1 essays is higher than it is in their English counterparts. and Crismore et al. Table 2. NE writers use more hedges.. I believe. The following subsections demonstrate the forms. I feel . emphatics and attitude markers is based mainly on the inventories of Vande Kopple. Native English vs.8 5. the findings concerning the forms. Attitude markers score almost similar low frequency in the two sets. 60 41 11 112 %* 7.7 3. subcategories and contexts of the individual classes of metadiscourse. (The classification of hedges. accounting for the overall larger amount of metadiscourse in this group. devoted to native English (NE) vs.9 14. Native English No. 1993). attitude markers are used with an equal low frequency in these two sets.
Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing •Modal auxiliaries, e.g., may, might •Adverbs of epistemic modality, e.g., probably, perhaps, possibly •Adverbs of frequency, e.g., sometimes, generally •Expressions such as in my opinion, it seems (to me) •Predications such as we can see, we can notice (only in the NNE data)
The underlying function of hedges, as pointed out above, is to indicate a tentative or cautious evaluation of the truth of the informational content. This underlying function of hedges seems to be related to the types of contexts in which they operate in the argumentative essays. In the present study, hedging devices are identified almost exclusively in clauses representing "key rhetorical points" (Barton, 1995), i.e., thesis statements, main arguments, and closing arguments. This is not surprising since it is these parts of the argumentative essay that convey the writer's interpretation and evaluation of the argued state of affairs. On the other hand, writers will not normally hedge the support points since they present them as observed facts to support their interpretations. Within these underlying contexts, various hedging devices are observed to perform subtly different functions, all of which again are drawn from the underlying function. The first of these subfunctions is to indicate the writer's direct involvement in the argumentation; in other words, hedges help the writer project him/herself into the text. This function is performed by verbs of cognition with an 7 subject and in my opinion expressions. Prefacing the argument with an / believe or in my view, the writer claims responsibility for the truth of its informational content, while delimiting its universality, or making it clear that it is not meant as a universal generalization. This is the most commonly used hedging technique in the two sets, accounting for 39% of the hedges in the NE texts and 53% in the NNE ones. In the essays of the two sets, the / believe and similar predications are detected mostly in thesis statements, the first main argument for the thesis, and closing arguments. NE writers use various verbs of cognition such as feel, see and think to form these hedges. On the other hand, NNE writers, seem to rely solely on / think in this respect. The following thesis statements from a NE and NNE texts, respectively, are hedged by this device (in all the examples emphasis is added to highlight the constructs being exemplified): (1) Though it is a challenge, / believe that learning a foreign language can be a very worthwhile and beneficial experience. (2) 7 think that equality between men and women has been achieved long ago but full equality will take long time to be achieved.2 The use of the first-person singular in these contexts seems to serve to limit the universality of the generalization while indicating the writer's direct responsibility for its truth. Writers may alternatively choose to alleviate the force of the argument, but avoid direct claim to its truth value.
Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing
The editorial we seems to be one of the devices of this self-effacement. Predications like we can say are used only by NNE writers for this purpose. Out of the 60 hedges in these essays, 11 cases fall under this subcategory, occurring mostly in closing arguments, e.g., (3) Finally, we can say that the sound and real democracy which began years ago began to gain results. The second subfunction served by hedges is to shed necessary doubt on the truth-value of the argument, providing room for disagreement (Salager-Meyer, 1994). The modal auxiliaries may, might, adverbs of epistemic modality, such as probably and perhaps, and the clauses it seems and it appears serve as signs of the writers' awareness of the tentativeness of their interpretations. This type of hedge is demonstrated much more frequently in the essays of the NE writers (representing 30% of the total number of hedges vs. 10% in the NNE essays). These "toning down" hedging devices are detected mostly in clauses expressing main arguments and, less frequently, closing arguments. The following examples illustrate these devices as used by NE and NNE writers, respectively: (4) Perhaps all of these relations will change due to the Arab-Israeli peace efforts, rise of fundamentalism and further disintegration of the former Soviet Union. (5) ...but may be it [the social role of women] is greater than that of man. An interesting subgroup of this last function of hedging devices, present only in NE essays, includes adverbials like most probably and more than likely. These seem to convey a stronger endorsement of the argument on the part of the writer than would be indicated by their unqualified counterparts, though not strong enough to be expressed by an unhedged assertion. The following instance illustrates: (6) Whether people direct their frustration and opposition is uncertain, but people would most probably draw connections with their situations and US-Arab relations. With the third class of hedging devices writers communicate necessary limitations on the range of applicability of the informational content of their arguments. Hedges serving this purpose mostly take the form of adverbs of frequency such as usually, sometimes, often. Also adverbs and phrases that denote that the argument content is not always true but primarily, largely, or for the most part true belong to the same class. The difference in frequency between the two groups for this subcategory is insignificant. (Devices of this sort account for 11.6% of the hedges in the NE group and 10.6% in the NNE set.) Similar to the other hedging devices, this class occurs almost exclusively in clauses denoting key rhetorical functions. The following two the-
Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing
sis statements illustrate this device in NE and NNE essays, respectively: (7) For the most part these bonds are a relatively recent phenomenon resulting from the rise of American hegemony in the wake of the second world war. (8) The Arab-American relations are based, generally, on the mutual interests of the two sides. Emphatics. Emphatics are functionally the counterparts of hedges since they indicate the writer's strong commitment to the truth-value of the propositional content of the argument. On the other hand, the underlying context of emphatics is the same as that of hedges, i.e., key rhetorical points of the argumentation. The two sets of essays show rather different types of the formal devices acting as emphatics. In the NE data emphatics mostly take the form of adverbs such as indeed, really, clearly, and of course (when it means naturally or certainly). In the NNE, although these forms can be identified, emphatics are mainly coded by predications like nobody can deny that, it is taken for granted that, and we know that. Despite the difference in the preferred forms of emphatics in the NNE essays, they occur in similar contexts to those in the NE essays. The following two examples demonstrate how NE and NNE writers, respectively, show strong commitment to the truth of the claimed state of affairs: (9) Thus, mutual feelings of superiority—cultural and religious from the Arab perspective versus political and technological from the American perspective—clearly shape the relations between Arabs and Americans. (10) No one can deny that learning a foreign language is very important in our life. Attitude markers. Attitude markers convey a different aspect of the writers' involvement with the written message, i.e., their mental attitude toward the propositional content. The two groups of essays differ with respect to the common formal devices of this metadiscourse act. NE writers mostly use adverbs such as hopefully, regrettably, and unfortunately. NNE writers prefer longer constructs such as it is a wonderful thing, it is a curious thing. The following examples from the NE and NNE texts, respectively, illustrate this subjective attitude toward the content of the arguments: (11) The words "Arab" and "terrorist" will regrettably be linked in the minds of Americans for some time to come as we witnessed last week in the bombing in Oklahoma City. (12) ...and it's a curious thing [that the Egypt-U.S.A. relation is a perfect one] if one tries to perceive perfectly because of the fundamental difference between the two countries.
Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing
Native Arabic vs. nonnative Arabic texts Table 3 shows the frequency of the three classes of metadiscourse in the Arabic data. Table 3. Categories and frequencies of metadiscourse in native and nonnative Arabic texts. Native Arabic Hedges Emphatics Attitude markers TOTAL
No. 71 102 18 191
No. 69 48 20 137
%* 8.7 12.5 2.2 23.4
6.5 2.7 18.6
* Percentage is to the total number of clauses. These findings indicate that the overall frequency of these classes of metadiscourse acts is higher in the NA group than that in the NNA set. Also, although the class of emphatics is considerably more frequent in the former group than the latter, accounting for the difference in the overall frequency, the difference in the frequency of hedges and attitude markers is insignificant. In the following subsections the subcategories, functions and contexts of these devices are demonstrated. Hedges. The formal devices used to code hedges in the Arabic essays can be categorized into the same classes identified in the English data (with the exception of the category of modal auxiliaries): •Verbs of cognition with a first-person singular subject, e.g., 'a'taqidu ("I think"); 'uminu ("I believe"), and 'azunnu ("I guess," "I think") •Particles of epistemic modality such as rubbama ("perhaps"); qad and la 'alla ("may" or "might"; qad has this meaning only with present tense verbs) •Adverbs of frequency like 'ahyanan ("sometimes"); 'adatan ("usually"); and 'ammatan ("generally") •Expressions like min wijhati nazari ("from my point of view"); yabdu (li) ("it seems (to me))"; min 'al-muhtamali ("it is likely"); and min almumkini ("it is possible") •Predications such as nara ("we see") and nastati'u 'an naqula ("we can say") As was the case in the English essays, hedges are mostly attached to clauses expressing leading rhetorical functions. In a further similarity to the
Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing
English essays, the hedging techniques can be classified into three subcategories that serve subtly different functions. First, using devices like 'a'taqidu ("I believe") or fi ra'yi ("in my opinion"), the writer declares direct responsibility for the content of the argument while indicating that the statement is not to be taken as universally true. This hedging function is the most frequently represented one in the essays of the two sets (30% of hedges in the NNA group and about 27% of these in the NA group belong to that category). Example (13) demonstrates a thesis statement hedged with 'a'taqidu ("I believe") in a NA essay, while example (14), taken from a NNA essay, is a main argument featured by 'azunnu ("I guess"): (13) 'a'taqidu 'anna 'al-musawata bayna 'al-rajuli wa 'al-mar'ati shayunyas'ubu 'al-wusulu 'ilayhi. bal 'a'taqidu 'annahumin 'al-mustahil 'al-wusulu 'ilyahi dunnama yahduth zulman li- 'al-rajuli 'aw li 'almar'ati. ("I believe that the equality between man and woman is something difficult to achieve—rather / believe that it is impossible to achieve it without injustice befalling the man or the woman.") (14) lakin 'azunnu 'anna kulla lughatin ta'kisu thaqafataha wa 'ab'ada mukhtalifatan min 'al-tafkiri 'al-'insaniyi. ("But / guess that every language reflects its culture and different dimensions of human thinking.") The second subfunction of hedges, indicating the tentative rather than absolute truth of the propositional content, is coded in the Arabic essays by means of particles like la 'alla and rubbama ("perhaps") and expressions like yabdu ("it seems"), and min 'al-muhtamal ("it is likely"). These devices account for about 29% of the hedges in the NNA essays and about 21% of these in the NA group. The following examples illustrate this toning down technique of arguments in Arabic L1 and L2 essays, respectively: (15) hatta 'al-'ashkhas 'al-qa'iminna 'anfusuhum 'ala ta'limi 'allughati 'al- 'ajnabiyati yumkinu 'an yumathilu 'aqabatan fi saili tahqiq 'al-ta'allumi bi-l-nisbati li-l-muta'allimina min haythu 'uslubi 'alia 'amuli 'aw tariqati 'al-tadris ('al-ta'allum). ("Even the people responsible for teaching foreign languages themselves may represent an obstacle in the way of achieving learning on the part of learners concerning the manner of treatment or the teaching [learning] method.") (16) wa 'akhiran wa rubbama 'aqyamu fa'idatin li-ta'limi lughatin jadidatin hiya tahsinu shakhsiyati 'al-talibi. ("And finally and perhaps the most valuable benefit of learning a new language is improving the personality of the student.") The third subfunction of hedges, communicating necessary limitations on the scope of applicability of the propositional content of the arguments, is expressed in the Arabic essays by adverbials like 'ahyanan ("sometimes"), 'adatan ("usually"), now'an ma ("somewhat"), and ghaliban ("mostly"). These devices are used more often by the NNA writers,
Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing 121 accounting for about 23% of the hedges in their essays vs. bi-wuduhin ("obviously") and bi. An example of other devices that show strong commitment to the argued views appears in the following from a NNA text: (19) ma min shakkin fi 'annata'allumi 'al-lughati ' al-'ajnabiyati yutihu bid'afawa'ida wa manafi'a li-l-talib ("There is no doubt that learning foreign languages offers some benefits and uses to the student"). . and less frequently. e. min 'al-khata 'i ("it is wrong") and ma'a 'al. The use of this device by NNA writers is illustrated in the following example: (17) wa hakadha qad yastakhlisu 'al-shakhu min hadhihi 'al-haqa'iqi wa 'al-'alaqati 'al-tarixiyati bi-shaklin 'amin 'anna 'al-tarafayni muttafiqani 'ala 'anna 'amrika mithla 'al-khali 'al-ghanyi. is the greater and more powerful side. Again. thesis statement. nearly 3% in the NNA texts). taken from a NA essay. Writers of the Arabic L1 and L2 essays mainly use similar formal constructs to indicate their mental attitude toward the propositional content of the written message. a relation of peace partners"). 'akbaru 'altarafayni wa 'aqwahuma.") Emphatics. Emphatics are used to a far greater extent by Arabic L1 writers (Table 3).'al-tab 'i ("of course") • clause-initial 'inna. Expressions like the following are common in the two sets: 'al-shay'u 'al-'akbaru 'ahamiyati ("the more important thing"). is prefaced by the emphatic 'inna ("indeed"): (18) 'inna 'alaqata misra bi-'al-wilayati 'al-muttahidati 'al-'amrikiyati hiya wahidatun min 'ahammi 'al-'alaqati ' al-dawliyati fi 'al-sharqi 'al-'awsati.'asaf ("regrettably"). Attitude markers. 'alaqatu shuraka'in fi 'al-salam ("Indeed the relation of Egypt and the United States of America is one of the most important international relations in the Middle East. The following formal devices are used to code emphatics in the Arabic essays: • expressions like bi la shakkin ("undoubtedly"). i. but with a lower frequency (nearly 7% of the clauses in NA essays are prefaced by 'inna vs. The following example. the underlying context of emphatics in the Arabic essays is key rhetorical points. about 9% in the NA essays. ("And thus one may conclude from these historical facts and relations generally that the two sides agree that America. the thesis statement in a NA essay.. This device also appears in the Arabic L2 essays. 'akbaru dalilin 'ala dhalika ("the most significant evidence for that"). main arguments and closing arguments. This considerable difference in frequency seems to be due to the more frequent use of the emphatic particle 'inna in the NA essays. In example 20 below. like the rich uncle.
First. NSs used the same categories and largely the same subcategories of the metadiscourse investigated here in mostly the same contexts. whereas the NNE set shows the least amount.122 Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing the writer voices her rejection of the pressure faced by female university graduates in her society by prefacing the argument with an attitude marker: (20) wa 'al-shay'u 'alladhi yufajjiru ghayzi huwa 'anna 'al-mar'ata taqifu 'amamaha mushkilatu 'al-zawaji ba'da 'al-takharruji haythu yabdu 'u 'al. Discussion It seems plausible to suggest that in all languages writers use metadiscourse expressions to convey their assessment of and mental attitude toward the communicated informational content. NNA texts demonstrate more frequent use of metadiscourse than the NE ones. when the countdown begins"). The most significant difference concerning the individual classes relates to emphatics. Concerning the comparison between English L1 and English L2 essays. Certain differences. The data of the present study show that in both their L1 and L2 writing. however.'addu 'al-tanazuli ("And the matter that explodes my anger is that the woman is hampered by the problem of marriage after graduating. the NA essays contain the largest amount of metadiscourse expressions. English and Arabic. which score the highest in the NA group. This device does not seem to have an obvious English equivalent. ("And yet the political and economic issues dominate the relations between the Arab world and America regrettably"). This overall higher frequency appears to result from the fact that writers of this group used a larger amount of emphatics. The use of attitude markers by NNA writers is illustrated in the following example by use of a closing argument that features by ma 'a 'al'asaf ("regrettably"): (21) wa lakina tusaytiri al-'umur al-siyasiyati wa al-'iqtisadiyati 'ala al-'alaqati bayna al-'alami al-'arabiyi wa 'amrika ma'a al-'asaf. metadiscourse scores higher in the NA texts than the NE ones. the findings relating to the fre- . The results presented above indicate the following significant observations. The frequency of attitude markers is almost similarly low in the four groups. NE essays contain more hedged arguments than any of the other groups. First. in the frequency and preferred forms of the three classes of metadiscourse are detected by the comparison of the two native sets as well as by the L1-L2 comparison in each language. Concerning hedges. The comparison between the two native sets reveals the following observations. but is the lowest in the NNE group. This in turn is due to the frequent use of the clause-initial 'inna by these writers.
the equivalents of the English ones. in their L1 and L2 writing. Holistic assessment of the NNA essays reveals that 'inna is mostly used by the most proficient writers in this group. In both sets hedges occur more frequently than emphatics. It has been shown that both English and Arabic NSs. First. It may be further suggested. English NSs used more hedges than emphatics in both their L1 and L2 essays. the English NSs used a larger amount of emphatics in the Arabic L2 essays than that identified in the English L1 essays. These results suggest some significant implications. This indicates that both groups of writers tend to sound modest with respect to their generalizations and attentive to the possibility of disagreement. which is again ascribed to the frequent use of 'inna. Validity markers and attitude markers have been shown to be attached to key rhetorical points of argumentation in the four sets of . use metadiscourse expressions to "project" themselves into texts. more or less. indicating the degree of commitment to the written message and their mental attitude toward it. It seems that their concern to mitigate their arguments is transferred to their L2 writing. the significant higher frequency of emphatics in NNE texts and. different as they may be from those of the native language. However.. This observation naturally needs to be consolidated by further research focusing on the correlation between L2 proficiency level and the use of metadiscourse. rhetorical conventions of the target language can be learned.Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing 123 quency of hedges and emphatics (the most frequent metadiscourse categories in the two sets of texts) suggest two important observations. Second. This device also seems to be the preferred one for Arabic L1 writers. 1993). That is. based on the data investigated in the present study. which are. the slightly higher frequency of hedges in the NE texts reflect that this tendency to tentativeness may be stronger on the part of English L1 writers. The interesting finding related to the Arabic L1-L2 comparison is the higher frequency of emphatics in the former group. g. This universality of metadiscourse is further evidenced by the comparison of the contexts of the various (sub)-categories of metadiscourse in the four sets. that metadiscourse as an involvement signal is a universal rhetorical device (Crismore et al. bi-wuduhin ("obviously") and bi.'al-tab 'i ("of course"). another result in this respect would present counterevidence to the transfer hypothesis. to a lesser extent. Conclusion It has been proposed that metadiscourse is one of the features of involvement in written texts. e. Nevertheless. It is suggested here that L2 writers try to abide by the norms of the target language. It is further suggested that. whereas Arabic L2 favored other devices.. it can also be assumed that the tendency on the part of Arabic NSs to use emphatics in their L1 writing persists in their L2 essays.
I am grateful to Dr. both between the NE and NA sets and across the L1-L2 texts of each language. I also wish to extend my thanks to members of my dissertation committee. it would be interesting to examine the frequency and contexts of metadiscourse in other genres of discourse. these expressions largely appear in the same contexts in the four sets. Finally.124 Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing essays. Dr. and encouragement. constructive criticism. Thus. There are a number of suggestions that might be taken to further the research offered here. James Stalker for their guidance. No attempt has been made to correct these errors.D. Zeinab Ibrahim for her helpful comments on an earlier draft of the paper. e. Furthermore. procedural. Acknowledgments This paper is based on a section of my Ph. the three functional subcategories of hedges have been demonstrated in the four sets of essays. 2 Some L2 and even at times L1 examples cited here show a few grammar or mechanical errors. They need to learn the various expressions of each class which are available in the target language. Students need to be acquainted with the concept and various classes of metadiscourse. I wish to express my gratitude to my thesis supervisors. Notes 1 This topic was used in Scarcella (1984). Hilmi Abul Fituh and Dr. Saad Gamal and Dr. Second. dissertation. It would be useful to examine the use of metadiscourse in texts produced by professional writers. whereas the frequency and the preferred forms of metadiscourse expressions vary. First. informative.g. My thanks also go to the American and Egyptian student-writers who provided me with the data. Guided reading of authentic texts which demonstrate the effective use of metadiscourse may prove useful in this respect. They should also learn the appropriate contexts of every class of metadiscourse. Dr. for their valuable comments and detailed evaluation of the study. it would be significant to conduct an experimental study to investigate the effect of formal instruction on the students' ability to use metadiscourse effectively. It is necessary to train the students in the purposeful use of metadiscourse as a rhetorical device.. . Paul Stevens. nor are they marked with the distracting sic. or descriptive discourse. The study suggests a number of applications in the field of teaching L2 writing. The concept of metadiscourse may prove useful in L2 writing classes. the approach adopted here can be extended to other kinds of written argumentation.
and texts. 1987. and the ecology of language.Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing 125 References Barton. Rhetorical structure in English and Arabic expository prose: a cross-linguistic study. pp. Washington DC: English Language Programs. 9-21. R. E. Crismore. . A. 1988. In T. 1990. Richness in writing: empowering ESL students. W. 1993. TESOL quarterly. 1989. Al-nahw al-wafi. Kaplan.. 16:1-20. A speech act theory of metadiscourse. 19(3):515-33. 83-113. Written communication. The sociocultural dimension: the dilemma of the German-speaking scholar. Samuels (eds. Comprehending oral and written language. 49-68. In D. 1995. M. Berlin: de Gruyter. Hedges and textual communicative function in . Abbaas. Cultural thought patterns revisited. pp. United States Information Agency. Hasan. MA: Addison-Wesley. W. Reader's learning from prose: the effects of hedges. 12:219-239. 1989. and Lo. Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. Mohan. 263-283. A. (1997). 1996. Metadiscourse in persuasive writing: a study of texts written by American and Finnish university students. Miller (ed. Functional approaches to written text: classroom applications. Chafe. Salager-Meyer. 1987. Written communication. Contrastive ESP rhetoric: metatext in Finnish-English economic texts. A. . Beauvais. IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Language learning. Contrastive and non-contrastive connectives: metadiscourse functions in argumentation. Reading. Markkanen. 1994. 1966. Repetition in Arabic discourse: paradigms. 1991. Properties of spoken and written language.). and Kaplan. readers. Written communication 6:11-30. El-Seidi.). Schroder (ed. Cultural differences in the organization of academic texts. and Danielewicz. Johnson and D. and Steffensen. Writing in a second language: contrastive rhetoric.. Subject-oriented texts: language for special purposes and text theory. B. 1995. 1985. Clyne. syntagms. English for specific purposes. pp. B. 5:184-202. and Vande Kopple. Kaplan (eds. M. New York: Academic Press.). Literacy as involvement: the acts of writers. Journal of pragmatics. Johnstone. Connor and R. J. 11:211-47. 1991. R. 12:3-22. 1993. . Roen (eds. Grabe.D.). In H. F. Amsterdam: Benjamins.). P. S. Contrastive rhetoric. diss. Written communication. . Writing across languages: analysis of L2 text. Mauranen. Academic writing and Chinese students: transfer and developmental factors. pp. Carbondale. R. New York: Longman. M. D. Ph. 10:39-71. Cairo: Dar al-ma'arif. Cairo University. W.. 18-32. In R. pp. W. In U. Brandt. Horowitz and J. 1987...
A comparison of pragmatic accommodation of nonnative and native speakers in English. . English for specific purposes.126 Metadiscourse in English and Arabic Argumentative Writing medical English written discourse. J. 36:82-93. J. World Englishes. Vande Kopple. Scarcella. IL: Scott. C. Some exploratory discourse on metadiscourse. 1988. Style: ten lessons in clarity and grace. College composition and communication. and Stalker. Foresman. How writers orient their readers in expository essays: a comparative study of native and non-native English writers. W. Stalker. Williams. J. Glenview. R. 1984. 13:149-170. 7:119-28. 18:671-688. W.. TESOL quarterly. 1985. (1981).
reflecting the logic of the thought patterns of English speakers. Arabic Rhetoric: Oral vs. we analyzed Kaplan's pioneering 1966 study. Written Genres Turning to previous literature on the contrastive rhetoric of Arabic and English." Kaplan argued that rhetorical expression in English. . We endeavor to pinpoint the source more precisely. and parallelism. she concluded that Arabic speakers make frequent use of parallel constructions and balanced and rhythmic coordination between related components. the Quran is an oral text that has been written down. instead of deletion and subordination. ELTs (English language teachers) who are familiar with the EFL writing of Arab students immediately detect that one major problem is due to the impact of a rhetorical style transferred from their native language writing. due to the excessive use of repetition. The use of repetition and ornate style. concluding that it reflects classical Arabic (CA) sentence structure.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing Cynthia May Sheikholeslami and Nabila el-Taher Makhlouf As teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) to students who are native speakers of Arabic. Her model of CA sentence structure is based on the Quran. Kaplan's analysis reflects oral rather than written discourse. is zigzag. After comparing the written English of Arabic speakers with that of English speakers. "Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. However. and thus has characteristics of oral texts. In 1987 Shirley Ostler analyzed the written English of Arabic speakers. Ostler states. However. coordination. as he has subsequently (1987) recognized. do not reflect the sentence structures found in expository prose written in CA (see sample text A in the Appendix). is linear." familiarly known as the "doodles article. we are very conscious that a student who has mastered English syntax and idiomatic usage still produces writing that sounds foreign. both Semitic languages. as well as the use of internal rhyme between two or three words or groups of words. but that the logical pattern of Arabic and Hebrew.
The "Middle Eastern" argument is exemplified by an interview conducted through an interpreter in 1979 by the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci with the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini. Previous work in the contrastive rhetoric of English and Arabic has compared oral genres of Arabic with written genres of English. There have been numerous studies on the rhetorical organization of both oral and written discourse in English. spoken and written discourse in English have different characteristics (pp. Although Kaplan (1987) claimed the same grammar and vocabulary are shared by the oral and written modes of any given language. As Brown and Yule pointed out in Discourse Analysis (1983). it was conducted through an interpreter. and. cites Johnstone's 1986 comparison of a nonlinear "Middle Eastern" argument with a linear "Western" tone. moreover. It is true that the grammar and vocabulary of CA are still taught. Khomeini was replying to questions in Persian. CA. studies of the differences between the grammar and lexicon of CA and the various colloquials. Ulla Connor. that Arab scholars. the comparisons have been on the intrasentential and intersentential levels. 14-19). originally written and published in Italian. and written modern standard Arabic (MSA). Furthermore. and have not dealt with the discourse level of whole . there is virtually no rhetorical instruction in writing classes. to the best of our knowledge. but not the rhetoric of an oral text for written exposition. Furthermore. the language of the Quran. an Indo-European language. which are in themselves inadequate. in Egyptian schools today. while discussing the rhetoric of Arabic in her textbook Contrastive Rhetoric (1996). one must distinguish the different genres of speaking and writing. prescriptively devised an elaborate science of CA grammar and lexicography. so the Iranian president avoided direct answers to the interviewer's questions as a defensive strategy. As Connor (1996) noted. However. the Arabic-speaking countries and Iran are lumped together as Middle Eastern with the implication that they share a common rhetoric of argumentation. the genre of the interview was an oral one. fearing diglossic dangers to Arabic. of course. and contemporary spoken Arabic. aside from the differences in the spoken/written discourse. the same grammar is taught in Arabic schools. despite frequent use of quotations from the Quran in written and spoken Arabic. and not even in Arabic! In Connor's discussion. which contrasts with "Western" written argumentative discourse. Again. there are differences between the grammar and vocabulary of Quranic.128 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing furthermore. The interviewer's style was aggressive. In fact. and 11 centuries later. no such comparison is available for the rhetorical organization of Arabic oral and written discourse. the work of Swales (1990) has demonstrated that in a given language. although there are.
with examples of anaphora and rhetorical questions as the author wonders about the causes of the phenomenon. and have been written by Arabs educated in the West. 1986. or incoherence disturb the Aristotelian logic of the treatise (see sample text A). then. (2) the model English school essay in Arabic schools in . have fallen to pieces. Muhammad Hassan Rasmy of Cairo University. and geographer Abu al-Fida Isma'il 'Ali (1273-1331 CE) discussing the use of lines of longitude and latitude to measure the globe's circumference is an example of linear logic. Furthermore. complains that the once-venerated forms of behavior of Egyptians. was directly influenced by Aristotelian rhetoric. "Fractures in the edifice of behavior" (Al-Ahram. A text by the medieval Arab historian. the writer. The introduction has a slightly ornate style. Clearly. January 25. for reflecting his agitation. Neither possible influence is reflected in the inappropriate rhetoric that appears in the ESL expository writing of Arab students. an important feature in both Arabic and English expository prose. in a strictly organized form. O'Donnell and Pavia. as is generally the case in modern literate societies. many textbooks that the students read in Arabic are either translations of English textbooks or might be claimed to reflect the conventions of English expository prose since they present western knowledge and ideas. Abu al-Fida describes the experiment conducted to verify the validity of the theory. The conclusion sums up the result of the collapse in two and one-half lines (see sample text B). the genre of English essay that we teach them is the school or examination five-paragraph essay (see. recognizing that the English genre that they are being asked to write is the school essay. mathematician. even in the Middle Ages. 13). deviation. We hypothesized that our students." developing each one as much as space allows. he enumerates the "fractures. After presenting a theory stated by Ptolemy (who lived and worked in Alexandria). Then. for example. they had learned to write both Arabic and English in school. the "nonnativeness" of the rhetoric of the EFL writing of Arab students is not due to transfer from the rhetoric of Arabic expository prose. we realized that. forms that were an integral part of their culture. ornateness. and draws the conclusion.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 129 texts. In the written discourse of Arabic. No repetition. Our study therefore compared the rhetoric of (1) the model school essay in Arabic. might be expected to transfer the rhetoric of the same genre in Arabic into their EFL/ESL writing. p. 1999). In a contemporary Arabic newspaper article. In thinking about the genre of written Arabic that could be expected to have the greatest influence on the English writing of our students. Moreover. and has characteristics similar to the rhetoric of modern English expository prose (see sample texts A [CA] and B [MSA] ). Dr. the rhetoric of expository prose.
This has also been pointed out by Sa'adeddin (1987). as the text has a narrative organization.130 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing Egypt. we can see that half of the examples of and in the student text are sentence-initial. 14-19). It may also be possible that in this sample— which is not even a complete text—the student was influenced by an oral genre. The topic. 9). 1998) that is very popular among Egyptian students is a typical example (see sample text D). To return for a moment to the intersentential level of analysis. In other words. We had Egyptian students write essays in both Arabic and English to enable us to see which features were common to both and thus might have been transferred from the students' first to their second language writing. Coordination is a characteristic feature of oral narration (see Brown and Yule. expressed in a very bombastic style. the writer speaks highly of the project and its benefits in very gen- . rather than employing a coordinating conjunction (a function wa can also perform in Arabic). Impact of the Model School Essay One type of Arabic writing that could be a source of negative impact on the English writing of Arabic-speaking students is the school essay. where this type of wa is underlined). the text may have been influenced by oral rather than written rhetoric from either Arabic or English. the study by al-Warraki and Hassanein on The Connectors in Modern Standard Arabic (1994) shows that one of the characteristic features of Arabic prose is the use of wa as a text-organizing feature that is not comparable to the English coordinating conjunction and (see sample text C. 1983. since there are no fixed punctuation or indentation rules in written Arabic. In the essay. A model essay in an examination-preparation book (Adb al-Wahhab and Awad Allah. story-telling. Equally possible as a source is the influence of the emphasis in recent decades on audiolingual and communicative approaches to the teaching of English in Arabic schools. pp. is the project to expand the inhabited land near the Nile. Since neither the topic the student was asked to write about nor a composing process protocol is available for this sample. methods that focus on oral rather than written genres of English. and (3) the five-paragraph model school essay commonly taught in EFL and ESL classrooms worldwide. The sentence-initial wa in Arabic merely serves to indicate that the writer is still developing the same main idea. raising the possibility that the student is merely transferring into English a text feature of Arabic. there is now no way to determine the source of a possible Arabic influence on this student's English writing. If we analyze the example of ESL writing by an Arabic-speaking student included in Kaplan's 1966 article (p.
This kind of writing caters to large classes (50-60 students) where teaching writing and following up a student's progress is almost an impossible task. This is the type of model that students may have in mind when they write in Arabic. poultry and cattle breeding. and industry. representative of expository prose in Arabic. but the benefits are never developed in any detail. The student moves on to the two major agricultural projects in the desert. Model essays in another examination-preparation book that is very popular among Egyptian students learning to write in English are another possible source of influence. These are repeated in other terms. However. As he sings its praises. The second paragraph sets up a . necessitating the building of housing complexes near and away from Cairo. although those built do not have the necessary facilities and services. so that. while in the same semantic field as overpopulation. cause and effect follow smoothly. however. Quotations from the Quran and Arabic poetry are used to commend the work of people who plan such rewarding projects. which is not. Lexical cohesion is largely limited to repetition of vocabulary. especially in Cairo. The writer concludes by stating the overall benefits and recommending that services and facilities be good enough to attract residents. The writer briefly mentions the problems of overpopulation. he mentions the expected returns—minerals. the use of the in quotation marks in the second sentence indicates that the writer does not believe overpopulation is even a problem. and little deviation or unnecessary statements obstruct the flow. The EFL writing of Arab students frequently displays features of this type of Arabic writing. after reading and discussing a newspaper article on the topic in class. naming them and mentioning specific details about them. whereas terms such as. tourism. it will not affect the flow of words in individual sentences. contradict the writer's stance that it is not a problem. The students wrote at home and had an opportunity to revise their texts. even if a student who has memorized it leaves out a part by mistake. The same topic was given to Arabic-speaking graduate students at the high intermediate level in the English Language Institute at the American University in Cairo before an intensive program in writing instruction in English began. family planning and birth control. The logic is linear. that further experience with written Arabic exposition during undergraduate studies in an Egyptian university has obliterated the influence of the school essay. however. agricultural crops. There is no overall organization or coherence. thus developing these points.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 131 eral terms without ever mentioning its name. A typical example (see sample text F) begins with reference to an external authority and the reader is led to expect a problem-solution-evaluation structure. An analysis of one sample (see sample text E) reveals.
The first exercise is to scramble the order of sentences from a paragraph and ask the students to rearrange them in what appears to them to be a normal order. however. An analysis of one sample (see sample text G) clearly showed the influence of the model essay on the same topic. However. p. The two sentences about food production apparently return us to the problem-solution mode. the student's schema) and is not a useful way to demonstrate the rhetoric of English expository prose. The students wrote 30-minute timed essays in class.132 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing contrast to the United Nations' claim and also moves into expression of personal opinion and generalizations. At the conclusion of his 1966 article. In short. which Kaplan defines as a logical though "artificial thought unit employed in the written language to suggest a cohesion which commonly may not exist in oral language" (Kaplan. "demonstrate the diversity of views or cultures represented in the classroom" (p. 1966. ELTs will recognize these as pervasive exercise types in writing courses. 16). finally claiming that overpopulation is itself a solution. indicates that this type of exercise is dependent on the background knowledge of the topic that the student has (i.e. although this is not made clear as the writer never relates this idea to the topic. again with no relationship to the problem of overpopulation indicated. Kaplan's second recommended type of exercise is for the instructor to provide a topic sentence with a partly completed outline of the remainder of the paragraph. The implication is that the students will thereby learn to recognize the contrasting rhetorics of their native language and English. Reference to the lack of fresh water is tacked to the end as a solution. and ask the students to fill in the remaining examples and . students more experienced with Arabic expository prose are able to write English expository prose in an acceptable rhetorical style. Kaplan recommended two types of exercises to teach students how to follow a linear rhetorical structure in their written discourse. A lack of logical organization and cohesion similar to that of the model essay is apparent. this essay lacks logical organization and cohesion. These examples support our claim that the model school essay is a likely source of transfer in the EFL writing of Arab students. which should be explained and justified by the instructor. and then compare it with the original order. The writer begins by denying that overpopulation is a problem. and gives the impression of a group of mostly unrelated sentences dropped onto the page. The results will. and then goes on to describe solutions to the problem.. The same topic was given to Arabic-speaking graduate students at the high intermediate level in the English Language Institute at the American University in Cairo before an intensive program in writing instruction in English commenced. Kaplan claims. Both exercises are restricted to the paragraph level. Our experience. 16).
The students who learn the school essay genre have not learned to control the rhetorics of written discourse that are accessible to the native writer of English. where students learn to write in the various academic genres when they are enrolled in courses in these disciplines... In his 1987 article "Cultural thought patterns revisited..[and] very little experience writing outside school. Kaplan states.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 133 illustrations to support the point. Egyptian students in our classes at the American University in Cairo frequently express the need for more help with invention..of these different forms" (pp. focusing on the writing process as well as the finished product.. the lack of which may be a contributing factor to the poor content development that is such a noticeable feature of their EFL writing... the instructor might provide the examples in scrambled order. 158f. These exercises.. It should be pointed out that the school essay is an artificial genre and that the actual rhetorics of the various genres of written English correlate only very slightly with this form. 150). if ESL writing teachers want their students to succeed at a variety of academic writing tasks.. The students do not develop a nativelike grasp of the rhetoric of expository prose in English. they must become aware. American ESL writing instruction has recently paid more attention to strategies of invention.[as] they had written mainly informative prose for. This lack of variety extend[ed] to the functions of their writing.. and thus their writing will continue to seem non-native outside the confines of the school environment. Their revision of . Both the Japanese and Arab students surveyed by Liebman "had few experiences writing for audiences other than the teacher.. "it is the responsibility of the second-language teacher to increase the size of the inventory" available to the nonnative writer.. Strategies for Improvement The response to this problem in the teaching of writing to native speakers of English in the United States in recent years has been the Writing Across the Curriculum movement. If the topic is difficult. will fulfill the limited aim of the EFL or ESL class of providing students with an acceptable form in which they can write English." Kaplan himself stated.. We might echo Liebman's 1992 plea "that. Liebman's results also support our claim that school writing is an important source of influence on EFL students' writing. Teachers will recognize that students are likely to produce rather formulaic writing as a result of the influence of this type of exercise.) Liebman goes on to urge that ESL writing instructors also be more aware of the differences in instructional backgrounds of their students to enable them to vary their approaches to instruction in written English.[as is the case with] their British and American counterparts.'the teacher-as-examiner'" (p.
and occasionally simple stories. The longitude and latitude lines measured from the meridian are parallel to those of the sky and are divided into 360°. 1930. as well as the fact that researchers in the contrastive rhetoric of Arabic and English have not had a sufficient knowledge of Arabic and written discourse in Arabic to draw valid conclusions. Appendix Sample Text A: Sample of CA expository prose (English translation and Arabic original) Abu al-Fida Isma'il 'Ali (1273-1331 CE).134 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing their writing. from Taqwim al-buldan ("Regional geography") Reproduced in Ahmad Fahmy Abu al-Khair. undisturbed by elevations and depressions. the students are not expected to attempt to write in most of these genres. These imaginary lines (longitude and latitude). other than postcards. The researchers involved in these studies should be bilingual or work in cooperation with native speakers of each language. which is convex. is parallel to the sky. an ability students are not thought to be aware of from their exposure to written Arabic. are straight. Such an approach betrays the continuing influence of Kaplan's 1966 article rather than his more recent analysis. rarely if ever extends beyond sentence-level grammar and vocabulary to discourse-level organization of the written text. the sphere measuring 360°. Its surface. 'Ulum al-'arab al-riyadiya ("Arab mathematical sciences"). This was the theory of ancient scientists such as Ptolemy who wrote al-Majest. since it is not a focus of revision. A number of learned men in the time of the Caliph al-Ma'amun studied the works to verify the validity of the theory and were summoned to the wilderness of Sanjar in . The focus of instruction continues to be the classic five-paragraph school essay and the development of the ability to arrange ideas in a linear fashion. More research in the written and oral discourses of Arabic. it is clear that at least one source of transfer from Arabic into English writing among our students is the genre of the school essay. the meridian being an imaginary line passing through the North and South poles. with a space between each of one degree. which is concave. letters. Thus. particularly employing composition protocols. equivalent to 66 2/3 miles. The earth is spherical and geocentric. however. is needed to come to a better understanding of the impact of Arabic on ESL writing. they tend not even to be aware of the text's rhetorical organization. as they start from the North Pole reaching the South Pole. Nevertheless. Whereas authentic ESL/EFL reading materials present a variety of both academic and nonacademic genres of written English to students.
as equivalent to one degree. the northward group had covered a distance of 65 l/3 miles. and the other southward. They agreed to take the lowest figure. which is 65 miles. . After measuring the pole's elevation (astronomically). while the other covered 65 only. the two groups met again. One group went northward.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 135 Iraq to do so.
then (2) generosity. and finally (7) forgiveness. (4) respect. followed by (3) commitment. The writer moves on to the supporting points of his argument: the first "fracture" is (1) love. (5) truth. forms that were a solid part of their culture. (6) good taste. 1999.136 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing Sample Text B: Sample of MSA expository prose (English synopsis and Arabic original) Muhammad Hassan Rasmy. . p. The writer concludes that man without refinement of feelings and proper behavior is only a living creature who needs thousands of years to become human. in a somewhat ornate style. have fallen to pieces. 10 The writer complains that the once venerated forms of behavior of Egyptians. laments the situation. Al-Ahram. January 25. The introduction. Thuqub fi jidar al-suluk ("Fractures in the edifice of behavior").
The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 137 .
138 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing .
At present. the text-organizing wa. Mahfouz is considered the most famous Arab novelist for he wrote a great number of novels and short stories. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. connectors are underlined. Then he turned to writing the short story and the novel. which gained fame whether in Egypt or in other Arab countries. boldfaced in the Arabic text. Naguib Mahfouz was born in al-Jammaliya. al-Akkad. Salama Musa. Mahfouz was an excellent reader for he read books by al-Manfaluti and translated some of his works. . Ibrahim al-Mazini. whether Arabic or Western. The connectors in modern standard Arabic. 1994. His father had been a civil servant and then later worked in business. one of the poorer (people's) quarters of Cairo. He began his literary activity at an early age by writing the essay and by translation. Tawfiq al-Hakim and others. which is situated near al-Husayn Mosque.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 139 Sample Text C: The use of wa as a text-organizing feature of Arabic (in the English translation. is not translated) Nariman Naili al-Warraki and Ahmed Taher Hassanein. Then he read from the works of Taha Hussein. and did not fail to read the classics.
1998. Cairo: AlMu'tamada. A. Abd al-Wahhab and M. pp.140 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing Sample Text D: Model essay from an examination-preparation book popular in Egypt today A. Awad Allah. 331-332. Al-mu 'allim fi-l-muraja' al'amrna wa-l-niha'iyya li-l-marhala al-thanawiya al-'amma. .
The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 141 .
The second is the Toshka project. to get out of the crowdedness of the narrow valley. Similarly. which will flow from the Nile to Sinai. As the increase in population also needs agricultural land. planning roads. thus making a new valley in southern Egypt. they still need many facilities to attract people. which will be irrigated from Lake Nasser. . new towns far away from Cairo have been built. All these projects will provide better housing and employment opportunities. However.142 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing Sample Text E: Sample of Arabic-speaking graduate student at high intermediate level (English synopsis and Arabic original) Overpopulation in the old valley has become a problem in Egypt and a hindrance in its road to progress and a better life. The first is the al-Salaam Canal. especially since during the day its population reaches ten million. facilities. and services must be well studied to vie with Cairo. housing compounds have been planned around Cairo. This is particularly evident in Cairo. However. For this reason. the government has planned two projects. which has the best in the country.
The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 143 .
Sweet water is no longer a problem. desert plantations. it should not be considered a problem in any sense. It holds conferences to deal with "the" problem. 1992. fish production and animal raising are rightfully easy activities. food could be produced in abundance and even from non-organic sources. International and local funds are raised to carry out family planning and birth control programmes. Saad. GEM English language special course. Do you think overpopulation is a problem? The United Nations Organization says that overpopulation is a serious problem. However. In short. With the highly advanced technology and with the introduction of computers in almost every field of activity. Floating farms. One of the overt reasons given by the Super Powers for space travel race is to "search for a solution" to the overpopulation problem. I believe that overpopulation is not a problem. "Population" or "manpower" is one of the factors of producton and therefore. third year secondary (sc & arts). Atomic and nuclear energy are being used for a wide spectrum of activities and with a great deal of safety. Cairo: Maged Printing Press. it is true that "Many hands make light work!" .144 Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing Sample Text F: Typical example of a model essay from an examination-preparation book A.
by dealing with the overpopulition as a solution not as a problem. can use overpopulation postively. as a consumer market. Both sides have a point of view. Huge projects like developing the desert and making big industries areas. is the way to get good results. This will become a reality by the government encourging to the investors to come and invest in our giant projects. And I think it isn't a problem if there are good planning. Turning our market into a productive one from its state. I think that good planning can give a good results. . Not only by making a large number of people works in the project of developing but also by employ them in the factorys and by finding them a place to live in.The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing 145 Sample Text G: 30-Minute essay written in an EFL class by an Egyptian student Do you think overpopulation is a problem? No doubt that there's an argument between people about Overpopulation Is it a problem or not. In conclusion.
1930. and Awad Allah. . and Kaplan. p. B. D. R. 1994. 16:1-20.. Reading. (eds. M. A. Three problem areas in teaching translating to native Arabic literates. Muhammad Hassan. 1987. Anthropological linguistics. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. Genre analysis: English in academic research settings. 169-185. T. Al-mu'allim fi-lmuraja' al-'amma wa-l-niha'iyya li-l-marhala al-thanawiya al'amma. pp. . E. B. Nariman Naili. 1992. . Connor. 1986. 10. Abu al-Khair. MA: Addison-Wesley. Kaplan. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cairo: Al-I'timad Press. The connectors in modern standard Arabic. Cairo: Al-Mu'tamada. J. 1996. M. Language learning. Writing across languages: analysis of L2 text. GEM English language special course. A. Independent writing. 'Ulum al-'arab al-riyadiya. Thuqub fi jidar al-suluk. U. (Jan. In Connor and Kaplan (1987). Ostler. Sa'adeddin. Rasmy. 1987. 1966. Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. Swales. 1997. Ahmed Taher. 1998. third year secondary (sc & arts). 1:141-165. R. 9-21. Inani. Brown. Cultural thought patterns revisited. L.. Contrastive rhetoric: cross-cultural aspects of secondlanguage writing. 1999. In Connor and Kaplan (1987). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. S. A. D. Fann al-tarjama. 1987. Ahmad Fahmy. Al-Ahram. 25). Cairo: Maged Printing Press. M. Liebman. pp. Cairo: Egyptian International Publishing Company-Longman.146 The Impact of Arabic on ESL Expository Writing References Abd al-Wahhab. English in parallels: a comparison of English and Arabic prose. A. and Hassanein. 1992.). Saad. Boston: Little. 1990. 29:181-193. Toward a new contrastive rhetoric: differences between Arabic and Japanese rhetorical instruction. J. Journal of second language writing. Al-Warraki. and Pavia. A. 1987. O'Donnell.
shapely. Helping them to overcome this difficulty is vital. each of which is divided into independent or interdependent hemistichs. but reading an English sonnet. in Arabic or in English. Egyptian students in the FWP are aware that poetry has been the predominant mode of literary expression in Arabic. They remember certain notions . What is imprinted on their minds and what affects the way they read a text in verse or in prose. However.Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers Loubna Abdel-Tawab Youssef Teaching freshman writing in English to Egyptian students. Several factors in the Egyptian students' education might account for their inability to grasp the concept of form. 1992. I observed that they have difficulty in understanding the idea of form. in concentrated form. which is "compact. cohesion. Admittedly. the focus here is on the effects of the way in which they studied Arabic poetry for at least six years at school. Their school textbooks have led them to believe that all Arabic poems are composed of lines. The purpose of this paper will be to shed light on what pupils learn about Arabic poetry and the consequences of this for the students and to show how reading an English sonnet can help them in understanding the idea of form in order to apply this understanding to structuring their own essays. since in the Freshman Writing Program (FWP) at the American University in Cairo (AUC). They must also learn that unity. p. these students will not be writing in verse. almost all that is human" (Spiller. one that is independent of the surrounding verses and is therefore the fundamental unit for literary analysis. raises their awareness of many of the challenges of writing The Impact of Egyptian School Anthologies Brought up on the tradition of Arabic poetry. and able to contain. 1). they must acquire the skill of structuring an essay and an academic paper with a plausible argument. highly finished. and organization contribute to the overall effect of the paragraph and the essay in general. is the concept of the line (a distich or a monostich) as a poetic unit.
all of whom were educated in the West. when Egyptian youngsters remember classical Arabic songs. starts with a description of the 'atlal (a deserted encampment) and proceeds to a traditional section about the journeys of the poet in the desert before even the real purpose of the poem is mentioned (praise of the' tribe. but whose poetry does not sound modern. 'Antara.. and pre. the accepted general genres being: the panegyric. "ode"). sometimes on separation. the praise poem that celebrates the glories of the individual poet or his tribe. 17). al-' A'sha. Ahmed Shauqi (1868-1932). Thus. the satire. The fact is. Enani (1986) succinctly sums up what the school textbooks focus on in the following statement: The traditional qasida usually opened with a few lines on the beauty of the beloved. the virtues of asceticism. sharing the same rhyme. or wine (p. then proceeded to the central subject usually of public interest. they read late 19thand early 20th-century poetry by Mahmud Sami al-Barudi (1838-1904 CE). a long poem composed of hemistichs and with both meter and rhyme. the extracts and even the selection of extracts from the modern period that Egyptian pupils study belong to the classical tradition or are written by poets who revive this tradition. Rereading some of the extracts and poems that Egyptian pupils study made me realize that although in the 20th century "the Arabic poem ceased to be an open-ended collection of lines of equal length.  "Men have stood watching me erect the house of glory all by myself . or the fostering of tribal pride and solidarity). qasa'id. the qasida (p1. 17). as well as others like these.148 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers about Arabic poetry from their school days: the Arabic "voices:" in poetry tend to be more public than private. Abu al-Qasim alShabbi (1909-34). Hafiz Ibrahim Muhammad (1872?-1932). praise of Prophet Muhammed. in addition to the pre-Islamic and early Islamic extracts cited below by al-Khansa' . Ibrahim Nagui (1898-1953).and post-Islamic Arabic poetry belong to an oral tradition and thus there can be differing versions of a poem depending on the transmission from the poet to the reciter (rawiri) who both have the ability to improvise. alNabigha. denigration of an enemy. with varying themes. 1986. Khalil Mutran (1872-1949). p. love. on the pangs of unrequited love. echoing in their minds and hearts is the voice of Om Kalthoum singing lines by Hafez Ibrahim. and became the record of an emotional experience" (Enani.
morphological and syntactic patterning. 35).Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 149  And. I love her with all my heart and soul. 15) . five. Van Gelder (1982) insisted that "Classical Arabic poems have been described as lacking 'unity' ever since Western critical standards were applied to them" (p. the land in my mind and on my mouth. Techniques of description and analysis differ. at times of challenge. and (c) the true extent of the segments of reality that are treated in poetry" (p. He says: In recent times a number of studies on the structure of classical Arabic poems have shed more light on this concept of 'molecularity' and have given ample attention to the ways in which poems hang together. while digging for archetypal and mythical bedrock. This enlightening remark is followed by Van Gelder 's reference to the recent reassessment of the corpus of classical Arabic poetry by the application of new ideas in analysis and theory. that they have set things right by revealing the hidden and hitherto neglected beauties of Arabic poetry. or overt. (b) developments. but all authors stress coherence and unity rather than disjunction and disunity. At this early stage of their education. other construe taxonomies of opposing thematic classes. on the assumption. In Beyond the Line. discusses in detail the idea that scholars of Arabic poetry and poetic theory must "distinguish three classes of deficiencies: the failure of the theorists to understand (a) complex structures." and others like these. the builders of the Pyramids spoke on my behalf * by Ahmed Ramy. 14). some look for symmetries at the levels of phonological. or a large number of poems. The status of the results varies according to whether they are based on the analysis of one. (p. "Egypt. for example. tacit. thus demonstrating the richness of the tradition available to us. pupils are not introduced to the controversy between critics who belong to the conservative critical tradition that expressed the view that the structure of the qasida is fragmented and others who have recently challenged this attitude in their analyses in order to show that the different sections of a qasida reflect the poet's purpose in dealing with a variety of subjects that interest his audience. Heinrichs (1973).
150 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers Reading a sonnet with my students. won't you grieve for the generous Sakhr?  Won't you grieve for the young master?  Of enormous height and estimable rank? Chief of his tribe. my eyes.. and that the couplet is the only form that Egyptian pupils are familiar with. (In no way are these meant to lead to a comparison between classical and modern Arabic poetry with its different schools. an evaluation of either. d. saying: . end 6th c. I was struck by an immediate response: they could not understand that the poem has an end.e. both confirmed my observations that for Arabic-speaking students "form" is a problem and helped me find solutions. So far as they are concerned. It may be helpful to quote a few lines by poets from the different phases of Arabic poetry from Egyptian school textbooks. Because what they have studied in this case pertains to their own culture and identity. though still a youth. who helped him while he was in exile in Ghasan. Glory would stretch its very arm toward him. a poem that advances more like a logical argument from beginning to end or from premise to conclusion.  If men stretch their arms toward glory. To start with. here are extracts that focus on different types of the theme of praise by poets from the pre-Islamic and early Islamic era. but not for the poem as a whole. flow with tears and never dry. i. It is grammatically complete and the idea is conveyed and can stand by itself. al-Khansa' (fl. Teaching them to read a sonnet. the only unit imaginable." Al-Nabigha al-Zubyani (Abu Imama ibn Mu'awiya. 604 CE) praises Amr ibn al-Harith el-Ghasani. or a survey or description of the different schools of Arabic poetry. CE) touches on the merits of this noble individual who died in tribal combat when she writes:  "Oh..) These examples show how there is "form" for the line. a line of verse is the unit. it is engraved in their minds and being exposed to a different concept from another culture is not easy at best. In a moving elegiac tribute to her brother Sakhr.
 The edge of my sword reaps lives. 629 C. 1993. scholars. that the classical Arabic poem consisted of single independent lines loosely strung together" (Badawi. 'Antara ibn Shaddad (fl. p. popularized by medieval Arabic literary critics.. and bright teeth. would it be easy to part?  A maiden with fair brow.  When the true men of Ghasan attack.) glorifies his beloved in the following lines:  "Bid Horaira farewell. CE). my heart cannot. And my lance is a deadly blow in the chest. 35). d. expresses pride in his own prowess.Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers  "I owe Amr many a favor rendered undiluted by his father. 6th c. ca." Finally. Egyptian . Though steel can be molded." Although poets.  How can I be oblivious to the fine men Who have raised me up in their plenty?  If ever they were threatened by an enemy They'd call me and I'd readily answer.  My heart was made tougher than steel. the caravan is parting! Man. and critics in the 20th century have attacked "the mistaken but commonly held belief. treading slowly like a delicate foot treading on mud. the illustrious warrior who was known for his love for his cousin 'Abla." 151 Al-A'sha (Maymun ibn Qays. I trust he will always be victorious. long hair.E. saying:  "My enemies were deceived by my silence And thought I had forgotten the glory of my people.
These lines are from a poem that secondary school pupils study about the agony of love and the suffering from sickness by Mutran who "systematically and deliberately sought to achieve unity of structure" (Badawi. commitment.  I live solitary with my longing." True. The idea of development is relevant. national causes) are dealt with. Pupils are encouraged to believe that the lines can be rearranged without any consequences for the meaning or the poetic significance of the work. Van Gelder. cure me. nationalism.and the 20th-century Arabic poetry that pupils study is regarded as similar in many ways to classical poetry. So pupils are introduced to schools of modern Arabic poetry and learn that new themes (e. and state that this is done for convenience).g. 1998) and the line is still the poetic unit. solitary with my suffering. In an exile that would. it is assumed by modern textbook authors that whether these lines are originally from the beginning. patriotism. however. Can ever fire be put off by air so fresh?  In vain do I traverse those lands. but they discuss the lines of the poem independently. not a recovery. revolution.. the middle. The selections pupils study show that modern Arabic poets adhere to monorhyme and monometer (Moreh. 108):  "In vain have I consoled myself with hopes. freedom. there is no significance to the ordering of the lines. although the syntactic and semantic links between the lines are obvious to any mature reader. Egyptian students are taught. independence. p. they said. the diction is classical and the shape of the poem is the same: the lines rhyme and . and others explain the danger of applying Western critical terms to Arabic poetry.152 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers school textbooks do not refer to the idea of structure or unity.  If this body can be cured by its fresh air. socialism. or the end of the poem. the compilers of the school anthologies do in fact point out that Mutran belongs to the Romantic school of modern Arabic poetry (critics like Badawi. Unfortunately. only in so far as the description and imagery are related to the theme. the late 19th. In the case of the examples of classical poetry cited above. And my exile is a double malady. solitary with my misery. 1985.
cliff of reunion. the shape of the line is the same. saying:  "My homeland—even if immortality lured me with its call. Seeking shelter in its unsurpassed beauty. And greed often turns against itself. even when in the springs of heaven. pp. who belongs to the Apollo school of Arabic poetry. ." Ibrahim Nagui. they chose extracts that demonstrate that although the themes dealt with in modern poetry might be different. Nevertheless. by its thirst for the suburbs of Ain Shams.  And my heart would be moved. who is "the true precursor" of the Arabic poetic revival by whom "Arabic poetry was brought once more to bear upon the serious business of life" (Badawi." These samples show that the compilers of the school textbooks know that Arabic poetry has been going through an era of transformation and experimentation since the beginning of the 20th century. Al-Barudi." While in exile in Spain poet laureate Ahmed Shauqi wrote about homesickness. Not knowing what God has disposed. indirectly attacks Khedive Ismail for being greedy and unjust:  "Man wishes to posses the whole earth. my soul would still drag me back to it. lead its owner to perdition. 25-26). writes about a personal experience when he sits on a rock and recalls a feeling:  "Oh. sometimes.Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 153 are divided into hemistichs. I ask you When will time bring together what it has sundered?  You are a cliff that has brought two souls together. 1993. Here are a few examples.  Wealth could.
whereas Shelley's "Ozymandias" has four sentences. the fact that item 5 of the dictionary definition of form (see note 3) directly and appropriately refers to "the sonnet form in poetry" proved helpful. (3) form as cohesion. proved more difficult than expected. to the characteristics that a text may share with others. and all the key words in each sonnet in a collegiate dictionary.. . at a third. Of course. variously interpreted. one of which is nine lines long and another is three words. In fact. (2) form as development. I distributed a photocopy of the entry on form and another on sonnet from Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. "Four..154 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers Form in the English Sonnet To explain to students with this background and training the literary term form. which is inclusive... and look up the terms form. the students of the two classes I teach (English 112 and 113 of the FWP) were assigned to read a sonnet by Shakespeare ("When in Disgrace with Fortune") and another by Shelley ("Ozymandias").. all of these levels can and should be noted in a thorough analysis of the form of the two sonnets in question. 76) and "the sum of these integers. and therefore ambiguous. They realized that at one level. at another. Four signifies this world" while "in the Platonic-Christian tradition.. ." he adds. this proportion becomes the relationship between four and three" (p. 77). Form as structure For my Arabic-speaking students. 73). sonnet.. of the four seasons that comprise the annual unit of time. seven. Initial questions that relate to structure and metrical patterns can be asked: why a "quatorzain"3? why 14 lines? why an octave and a sestet? Heninger (1994) has an interesting theory that the division into an octave and sestet "when reduced to its lowest ratio. to the orderly arrangement of ideas and words. form can refer to structure.. to metrical patterns. and (4) form viewed from the end.three signifies the deity" (p.the number of the four elements that comprise the macrocosm. the superficial structure of the sonnet was problematic: the basic difficulty was that the end of the line did not bring an end to the sentence or the idea: the Shakespearean sonnet is one long sentence.. four steps of analysis are taken to help students grasp these four levels of form: (1) form as structure (including metrical patterning). After a quick discussion about the different meanings of the word form. "is the mundane number. while the second required them to formulate a definition that they can use in discussing the sonnet by combining the relevant points.2 The first exercise was to have them exclude the meanings that are not relevant. In the experience with my two classes. For homework. represents the entire range of human experience from lowest to highest" (p. variable. and at a fourth.
Known for his "autobiographical impulse" (Clark. 1989." however. Featured like him. Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth. and sneer of cold command. p. Near them. With what I most enjoy contented least. For example. and curse my fate. Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising— Haply I think on thee: and then my state. a shattered visage lies. stamped on these lifeless things. And look upon myself. is one of four characters that speak in the sonnet: the narrator. the traveler. Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive. ye Mighty. Wishing me like to one more rich in hope. king of kings: Look on my works. like him with friends possest. Shakespeare's lover. and despair!' Nothing beside remains. And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. Half sunk. the "I" in the poem "When in Disgrace with Fortune. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck. Shelley's "I. Desiring this man's art and that man's scope. sings hymns at Heaven's gate. I all alone beweep my outcast state. and the sculptor each has a voice. Ozymandias. on the sand. boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away." is the central character who is transformed to a state of bliss when he remembers his beloved: When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. whose frown. And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias. The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. Shelley uses direct speech here to attract the attention of the reader and to stress that this is a personal experience of great value: I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with Kings. 7).Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 155 Both "When in Disgrace with Fortune" and "Ozymandias" have the octave-sestet pattern in which the poets convey different experiences that deal with a state of despair that they overcome in different ways leading to an image of the sublime. . And wrinkled lip.
The two first speakers fade in the background of the picture that Shelley portrays: the king and his sculptor take over. This itself may be difficult for a youngster to associate with a poem. The four main verbs in the four sentences that constitute the sonnet are static verbs that imply lack of movement. although it is necessitated by the sense. "when. So it may be easier to begin by establishing the idea that there is a starting point for every work of art that may be regarded as the basis. Shakespeare's two-part division invites the reader to an admirably unified octave that leads to a volte-face which is followed by a "turn" of thought and shift in feeling in the sestet. creates an atmosphere of mystery that pervades the sonnet." who tells his own enigmatic story. This may be an image." "trouble." "featured." "enjoy. who has three quatrains and a couplet that follow the regular rhyme scheme abab—cdcd— efef—gg. Shelley uses the narrative mode which at the superficial level seems simple and straightforward." This clause allows the suspension and resumption of syntax in which the poet uses grammar to deal with the plausible but unreal list of imaginary "miserable conditions" (conveyed in the words "beweep. The student thus can be made conscious of a central idea representing the foundation of the building. the conjunction "And" at the beginning of the sestet and the interlocking rhyme scheme. or an attitude. a feeling. At the outset." The form takes a line marked out by grammar until a climax comes almost as a surprise." "curse. but the poem starts in the past tense ("met") and proceeds and ends in the present with only three main verbs: "lies. pillars. but the exotic mood initiated by the encounter with "a traveler from an antique land." "desiring. Identifying this foundation in itself can be conducted as a sort of game for the students. building up to a climax that introduces the one real operative verb in the sonnet: "I think on thee." "look.156 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers More questions come to mind: How does this information about the two sonnets affect the study of the structure of the sonnet and how can "form" be interpreted as structure? Clearly. and so on." "despising"). the idea of structure is metaphoric. Shelley chooses to bind his quatrains together by using a rhyme scheme that suits his purpose. though we are never sure who makes the final remark. The accumulation of these words may be regarded as a specific poetic ruse. The octave and the sestet are bound together by means of three factors: the extended description of the remains of the statue of the king. because a poem consists of words and utterances—phonological units rather than bricks and mortar. ." "remains. For Shakespeare." Unlike Shakespeare. The idea of building requires the student to imagine a kind of edifice with a foundation." "wishing. the starting point is a deceptive conditional clause with the relative pronoun of time. support walls." and "stretch. a theme.
which leads not to self-pity but to more misery. hopelessness. dynamic versus static. and lack of selfrespect.Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 157 Form as development Another means of reaching the idea of form is through development. poverty. his idea in the first quatrain concerns hypothetical conditions of shame. he becomes envious. we take a few steps back for a full view of the "colossal wreck" in the "boundless" desert. The extended details with which Shelley describes the statue show that he has a zoom lens that initially brings us close to see the expression on the king's face and then even closer to read the words on the pedestal. The theme Shakespeare deals with is developed into an idea. the hand and the heart and the pedestal. etc. ill repute. and reading the words of the king. This is revealed through a series of juxtapositions: life versus death. The students will therefore be encouraged to make use of the analytical mechanisms used in other disciplines (entailment." The implication is that the mind and the heart can change this world from a living hell to a heavenly place. Form as cohesion Another means of driving home the idea of form is through relating the details to one another through what is commonly called cohesion and which ultimately is conducive to coherence. convey a sense of fragmentation that shows the destructive effect of time. they generally have internal ideational links that may help the student grasp the cohesion of the general framework. After hearing. "Ozymandias" demonstrates how exquisitely the theme of the transience of life vis-a-vis the survival and permanence of art and nature can be dealt with by engaging the reader in interpreting the sonnet. life versus art.) in following up the progress of the poem and in tracing out a certain line of development. an argument. and more. First. Finally. failure. present versus past. The particulars that are disclosed one by one. such as antitheses or contrasts. and a resolution. In the second quatrain. History tells the truth and the truth is that men live and die however great. the resolution is foreshadowed in the third quatrain with the use of the verb "think. when he compares himself to others who are more fortunate. art versus death. loneliness. Exercises in relating such images or clusters of images to one another will heighten the student's concept of . alienation. seeing. When groups of images are drawn from nature and center around a specific scene or landscape. The students may be taught that the poem advances from simple to complex ideas or from the particular to the general or from one idea to the next logically and gradually or through binary opposition. embedding. contempt. namely the legs. the visage.
After a slow-moving octave. he states that he suffers from lack of satisfaction in giving an impression that nothing can alleviate his suffering." "wealth". uses direct speech." "curse my fate. The sharp contrast between the sense of doom portrayed in the octave and the dynamic movement in the sestet is meant to show how one's mental state can have an exalting effect. poetry. "disgrace. which is a heap of broken stone in a pathetic state in the desert." "heaven. sound.158 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers form. is half-buried and although the king is not alive." "contented"). Shakespeare resorts to internal music that is achieved through the repetition of certain words ("state." "sullen earth. which brings about relief and joy. which is the "power mask" that exhibits a haughty." These conjure up an image of hell. harmony. which stands for joy." "bootless cries." "desiring." "outcast." "like"). the sestet." "possest. etc. a once powerful king who seeks immortality." "bootless cries. In the first quatrain of the Shakespearean sonnet. If more links are found or established within these clusters (color." "deaf heaven." "arising". and syntactic structures (adjectivenoun combinations: "outcast state." . This is an epiphanic moment in which the king.). the poet compares himself to a lark. the one portrayed in the octave. and divine inspiration. the visage. The transformation from the "outcast state" to a state in which he "sings hymns at heaven's gate" is a reference to the sublime." "curse". in which he is indirectly claiming that envy prevails on earth. The image of "sullen earth" alludes to the story of creation and directly refers to a chaotic state of existence. singing. This statue of Ozymandias shows the skill of the sculptor who captures the essence of life rather than the grandeur or the glory of the king. In a vibrant image that fills the sestet with an uplifting feeling. The closeup on the "visage" and the "pedestal" indicates that looking closely one understands the meaning of life. and past participle: "featured. Ironically. freedom. tyrannical expression. the students will realize that the texture itself has form and that the use of significant details is governed by an inner logic closely tied with the poet's vision or poetic intuition. ideas ("fortune. but is remembered on account of his statue. To establish a link between the octave and the sestet. who is now associated with Adam and represents man. his "words appear" on the pedestal. who stands for history. Yet the fact remains that he is being remembered because of the sculpture not because of his "works. The poet." "deaf heaven." "sweet love"." "despising. "alone. present participle: "wishing. At the end of the second quatrain." "rich. lists one simile after another to depict himself in various conditions in which he has feelings of discontent excited by the superiority or prosperity of others. the poet uses words that allude to Adam after the Fall: "disgrace. is set in heaven. Shelley's sonnet tells a highly ironic story of Ozymandias." "outcast").
Conclusion Discussing these four steps in focusing on form proved to be a rewarding experience for me and for the students. The experience happens in one minute: initially. is the one who really survives. however. The couplet is epigrammatic and inclusive in this Shakespearean sonnet." "wreck. the students will feel that there is an end. The idea that is comforting." but it is also a "wreck" in a state of "decay" because of time. which is what is awesome." With the allusion to Adam and the story of creation. Observing them struggle to identify the main subject and verb in the Shakespearean sonnet." The idea is that in the absence of "sweet love" he is in an "outcast state": he "trouble[s] deaf heaven" with his "bootless cries. "Sweet love" enables him to break the shackles of depression that chained him to "sullen earth. And when they feel an end. but is an inevitable consequence of all that has proceeded from stanza to stanza." The end thus takes us back to the beginning. it is now possible to infer that the "sweet love" could be a reference to the love of God. especially since this is where human beings are buried. Variations of the Aristotelian pattern may be given at later stages. When the end is not haphazard or a random line thrown in for good measure. and in so doing become aware that all 14 lines constitute one syntactic structure (that is not a run-on sentence!).. Aristotelian though this concept may be. but I believe they should be avoided at this early stage. lifeless. Just as with the foundation." This metaphor depicts a fearful picture of the sand that is "bare. the statue is "colossal. but in the end he is content and regrets and scorns his previous desires." i. and in Shelley's sonnet to compare the . is that the creator of this poem. [that] sings hymns at Heaven's gate. to the image of Adam. the poet. he is unhappy and wants what others have. there is no harm in utilizing it for the approximation of the idea of form at this initial stage. a clear ending gives shape to the whole.Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 159 Form viewed from the end Nothing can clinch the idea of form in a short poem more than the analysis of the end." and "breathless. True. The "sands" here are described with terms that generally refer to the sea: "sunk. Shelley's final statement is disturbing: art and nature remain. not man. The desert too is awesome: it is the master. they will sense that there must have been a beginning and a middle. Unlike Shakespeare. The reader experiences a sense of relief that the image of the "bootless cries" to "deaf heaven" is now transformed to that of "the lark at the break of day arising/ From sullen earth. with the statue representing only a spot.e.
apart from experiencing the vitality of a different culture's poetic tradition. opposed to matter. 11. Orderly arrangement. made me realize that this is an exercise that they will not easily forget. as. as. A set way of doing something. "Syn. configuration. gracefully) outlined. A printed document with blank spaces for insertion of required information. Confirmation and configuration denote form as dependent on disposition of parts. esp. a special manner of arrangement: also. as. in a schoolroom. figure. See CEREMONY. as. 2. he was at the top of his form. c manner of doing something. the sonnet form in poetry. as he was in the fourth form. Any of the changed spelling or pronunciations a word may take in declension or conjunction or compounding. that in a thing which it has in common with every other thing called by the same name. thus. the different forms of carbon. A long seat or bench. it often suggests form as given or acquired. Notes 1 Randa Abou-Bakr. 8. as of an athlete. translated all the Arabic verses in this essay. A rhymed poem of fourteen lines (usually iambic pentame- . also. shape. 5. 3. Kind. variety. as. type arranged and fastened in a chase. contour. Arabic-speaking students reached another goal: comprehending the two general principles that reading and appreciation of English poetry can lead to the improvement of one's own writing skills and that there is a bond between form and content. the form of a (or any) diamond is pure crystallized carbon. Profile is esp. outline. In general. Outline suggests the bounding line of a figure. species. A prescribed order of words or action: hence: a Conduct regulated by convention or custom. 6. To her. Cairo University. contour connotes rather body or mass as (esp. esp. hence. 9. Philosophy. lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature. Grammar. A body. of a human being. 1. The shape or structure of anything. Physical and mental condition. 7. a passive form. an income tax form. his form in diving is bad." "Sonnet. 4. form is the aspect under which a thing appear. a The essential nature of a thing as distinguished from the matter in which this nature is embodied. Form. merely a matter of form. b The pre-existing idea of which all actual things are copies. Moreover. 12 In printing. 2 "Form. as. also. empty ceremony. Shape is more colloquial than form. 10.160 Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers nine-line-long sentence with the one that is only three words. I am truly grateful. a class of students in a school. a mold for giving a desired shape to anything. profile. also. outline in side view. confirmation. figure is oftener form as defined by outline. b A social convention or manner of behaving.
G.Teaching 'Form' in English Verse to Arabic Poetry Readers 161 ters) expressing a single idea or sentiment. A short history of modern Arabic literature. J. Oxford: Clarendon Press. London: Oxford University Press. Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organization. or regular. 1575. Moreh. edited by G. G. Leiden: Brill. 1985. Smith. edc or ede. sonnet. G. . Heninger. The origin of the sonnet: form as optimism.G. M. sonnet. H. S. PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. London: Ithaca Press. K. Milton and Wordsworth wrote sonnets of this type. Certayne notes of instruction concerning the making of verse or ryme in English. W. The type of sonnet. . the Italian sonnet. or Shakespearean. composed of two tercets (commonly rhyming edc.. In The subtext of form in the English Renaissance. Heinrichs. ede}. Leiden: Brill. English sonnet. efef. M. gg). is quatrains (often rhyming abba. T. Gascoigne. or three quatrains and a couplet (commonly rhyming abab. 1989. S. cdcd. 1982. In Arabic poetry: theory and development. University Park. 1986. 1973. Another type. Modern Arabic literature and the West. Reprinted in Elizabethan critical essays (1904). Van Gelder. London: Routledge. An anthology of the new Arabic poetry in Egypt. Embodying revolution: the figure of the poet in Shelley. 1992. called also Petrarchan. Michael R. Literary theory: the problem of its efficiency. Beyond the line: classical Arabic literary critics on the coherence and unity of the poem. Studies in modern Arabic prose and poetry. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Convention and reward in modern Arabic poetry." 3 This is the Italian term that was used until Gascoigne coined the term sonnet to refer not to short poems in general but to poems "whiche are fourtene lynes. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 1994. 1993. but their division between parts is marked only by a change in the rhyme scheme. M. Spiller. Clark. and sestet. M. von Grunebaum. every line conteyning tenne syllables" (1. 1998. The study of the development of the sonnet. called also Elizabethan. abba). E. edited by G. Jr. has four stanzas. References Badawi. Enani.55).
including British phonology. Due in large part to U. and lexicon.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes toward American and British Dialects Christopher W. there seems something absurd about forcing on students a dialect (Received Pronunciation) that is spoken by a small minority within England. who see it as limiting in terms of the number of people they will ultimately be able to communicate with." and "unsophisticated." "vulgar. world dominance in mass culture." as opposed to American English.) English since World War II seems to threaten the once sacrosanct position of British English. Horger The 19th and 20th centuries have seen the spread and rapid global adoption of English as a lingua franca throughout the world. many people seem to want to talk like an American. and education." and "more pure. Indeed. communications. And while many L2 English learners seem desirous of adopting an American dialect. film. which is "lazy.S. the preeminence of American (U. This retention of the British standard is often met with great resistance from students. 70% of all native English speakers speak with an American dialect. particularly within business. But not everyone is rushing to adopt American standards of speech. The reason for such strict maintenance of this dialect in European language schools is tradition and the notion of prestige." Even Prince Charles is on record as attacking the American dialect as "corrupt" (Modiano. Much to the chagrin of many British speakers of English. Indeed. 1996). syntax. and music. Tradition maintains that British English is "better. To become fluent in English as a foreign language and still be frequently unintelligible to the majority of native English speakers does not sound like a very good bargain." "cleaner. Modiano (1996) claims that most language schools in Europe still cling to British linguistic forms in their curricula." "more intelligent. primarily in publishing.S. But these traditional attitudes toward dialects die hard. As Modiano points out. even some Americans see their own speech as inferior to British English. they too cling to .
The following study grew out of a desire to measure some of the attitudes the American University in Cairo (AUC) students hold toward the two different dialects. slightly more than 30 years old. many of them adopt the American dialect in the course of their brief years studying at AUC. and what are some of the reasons for this preference? Review of Literature Within sociolinguistics. although some notable exceptions exist. and Anglo/French Canadian. educated white south- . The three major focal points of attitudinal studies in North America were Black English. studies have expanded to include Japanese. American speech. and southern black) to evaluate six dialects of American English: television network. and class. Latino/American. and Israeli attitudes toward English. What is more noteworthy. the history of attitudes toward language is a relatively recent one. And although a considerable number clearly speak with a British accent. Some of the better-known landmark studies in language attitudes are summarized below. understandability. More recently. Whatever remnants of their British linguistic training are still intact on entering AUC seem to be almost wiped out by the time most are seniors. The questions guiding this study are as follows: • How linguistically aware are AUC students of the differences between British and American dialects? • Is there a positive correlation between proficiency in English and the ability to differentiate between British and American dialects? • What are some of the affective reactions to the two different dialects? • Which dialect do students prefer as a medium of instruction and to speak in general. Measurements of attitudes often included such things as perceived levels of intelligence.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 163 some of these traditional notions about dialectal superiority and inferiority when it comes to British vs. since most are products of the various private language schools in Cairo. Most of the studies were done within the English speaking world. Arabic. the majority uses the American dialect. Students at AUC represent particularly good subjects for study. where different dialects and languages come into frequent contact. education. particularly in North America. They used as their subjects three groups of college students (northern white. southern white. One of the earliest studies was conducted by Tucker and Lambert (1969) who set out to measure attitudes toward standard American English and Black English. the study of attitudes toward various dialects and whole languages has taken on many forms in many regions. Beginning in the 1960s and coming into full bloom in the 1970s and 1980s.
As expected. whereas the southern white group rated itself higher. and English. sociability. Kraemer and Birenbaum (1993) conducted a study in an Israeli context to discover correlations between ethnicity and gender and the three languages of Israel: Hebrew. ambition. etc. and socioeconomic status. education. southern whites and southern blacks exhibited an "us and them" attitude toward each other. Respondents on the whole rated the network speaker most favorably. Howard University. but that preferences toward English. and social stature. and the like. With the exception of the favorable attitudes toward network speech. educated black southern. however. the Hebrew-speaking students rated English more favorably than the Arab students. but when it came to ethnic and regional dialects. The general consensus favored the European French in terms of intelligence. trustworthiness. They found that ethnicity determined not only preferences toward Hebrew and Arabic. Conversely. as opposed to the Germanic version. and New York alumni. the speaker who used the . would find a correlation only in gender. They hypothesized that ethnicity would determine preferences toward Hebrew and Arabic. ambition. finding their own dialect more pleasant. Arabic. Using both Anglo and French speakers as judges. D'Anglejan and Tucker (1973) conducted a similar study in Quebec. but English as well. etc. the northern white and southern black groups all rated the educated southern black dialect more favorably. More recently Levin et al. More recently. The proffered interpretations for this finding were both economic and political.164 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes ern. since it is considered a neutral language in Israel. the researchers measured attitudes between European French and two dialects of French Canadian. and that females would favor it over males. (1994) conducted a study to measure attitudes toward levels of formality. attitudinal studies have diversified to include measurements of ethnic groups to whole languages. asking respondents to rate a speaker who read a passage with a proliferation of Latinate English words against a reader reading with a primarily Germanic lexicon. Mississippi peer. Similarly. the results showed that the highly Latinate version was measured positively in terms of intelligence. They also found that Mexican-Americans valued the Anglo dialect in terms of friendliness. Carranza and Ryan (1975) measured attitudes among Anglos and Mexican-Americans toward their own dialects and found that both groups favored the commonly accepted high-prestige form (AngloEnglish) over the low-prestige one (Latino) in terms of intelligence. but surprisingly also found them to rank higher than their Canadian counterparts in levels of friendliness and trustworthiness. which generally scored low on these constructs. They hypothesized that the prestige dialect (European French) would rate higher in status but not in things that mark solidarity: friendliness.
Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 165 more Germanic lexicon was valued for his sincerity. they hoped to discover whether L2 speakers shared some of the same attitudes and perceptions toward these dialectal differences as Lls did. The final two studies in this literature review have a direct bearing on the study reported here. (1995) took a different approach in studying attitudes toward Anglo. and attractiveness. friendliness. Furthermore. The personality constructs measured were levels of intelligence. and then evaluated personality characteristics on a seven-point Likert scale. The first. those who were against the EoM were not strongly affected by the anti-EoM argument when it was articulated by the accented recording. and extroversion. and midwestern (Illinois). confidence. The question that arises from these results is. patience. superiority. three males and three females.and Latino-accented speakers by adding the level of persuasiveness to the semantic differential scale. friendliness. the researchers recorded a bidialectal speaker to read two brief argumentative passages in each dialect. Six readers. the other against it. but rather the dialectal quality of the message that persuades people. Subjects who had originally been in favor of the EoM were largely convinced to alter their view after hearing the Anglo version against the EoM. one an argument in favor of the English-only Movement (EoM). ambition. The respondents listened to each recording. and indeed showed a slight movement toward altering their view after hearing the Anglo speaker. by Alford and Strother (1993). Mainstream dialects carry more intrinsic authority than do minority dialects. while the Latinate one was not. Using a matched guise technique. especially since many had been in the States for less than a year? Are they media influenced? Or do these perceptions come from immersion in the regional dialect? More studies need to be . whereas the Latino-accented version did not carry as much persuasive weight. southern (South Carolina). Often it is not so much the meaning in the message. education. family training. was an attempt to measure native English speakers' affective reactions toward regional American dialects against those of normative speakers. gentleness. Giles et al. how do L2s acquire these attitudes. The results confirmed the hypothesis. The findings clearly indicate that L2 English speakers are capable of detecting differences in dialects and ascribing to them the same characteristics as L1 speakers. and trustworthiness. professionalism. since they attempt to measure L2 English speakers' cognitive and affective attitudes toward various English dialects. sincerity. represented the three dialects: northern (New York). The researchers employed questionnaires that asked subjects to measure the recorded voice according to the level of dynamism. Curiously. trustworthiness. They wanted to know whether L2 speakers of English could detect regional dialects as most American L1 speakers can. The implications of this study are quite clear and frightening.
I drew on some of the better known stereotypes of BE and AE in putting together the semantic differential scale. often in a short period of time. Al-Kahtani found a positive correlation between proficiency and age. students at the American University in Cairo (AUC) are no exception to this phenomenon. and age and the dependent variables of character traits perceived in the various dialects. level of education and articulateness. and desirability of standard American English. Americans. are often thought to be less cultured and sophisticated. The second part of the questionnaire consisted . yet often arrogant. The final study reviewed most directly ties in with the present study and was the guiding inspiration for it. are that ESL students do establish dialectal preferences and attitudes similar to native mainstream speakers. the combined means suggest a marked preference for standard American English as a medium of instruction and in overall linguistic quality. and culture. He hypothesized that correlations exist between the independent variables of L2 English speakers' level of proficiency. social biases and prejudices permeate language at all levels of proficiency. tried to measure a more tangible trait. Six traits were affective (in the sense that students were asked to respond intuitively): level of intelligence. class. and Indian English consistently scored the lowest. In terms of the hypothesized correlations.g. For example. and Indian English. Furthermore. arrogance. this study incorporates this research design with minor modifications. The implications of this study. The general results indicated a positive preference for Standard American dialect. on the other hand. Each personality trait could be ranked on a five-point scale (e. The questionnaire distributed contained three parts (see the Appendix). Black English. according to Al-Kahtani. motivation for learning.166 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes conducted to shed light on such linguistic attitudes.. but more friendly. Since one of the purposes was to discover any traditional attitudes held toward British English (BE) and American English (AE). Hence. friendliness. from very intelligent to very unintelligent). The first part contained eight personality constructs to which subjects were asked to rate in response to the speaker's reading. Al-Kahtani (1995) conducted an attitudinal study among 14 Saudi Arabian students studying in the United States to measure perceptions toward three dialects: standard American English. Clearly. And as will be demonstrated. sophistication. a common stereotype of British speakers is that they are more sophisticated and cultured. Procedure All of the above studies employed some form of a semantic differential scale to measure both cognitive and affective reactions toward the various dialects and languages. two. Black English scored a bit lower.
thus. The two British speakers consisted of a standard British dialect (in this case. since they run the gamut of varying levels of proficiency. As such. Respondents were asked to choose the form they would most likely use.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 167 of personal data designed to elicit information about the subject's cognitive reactions to the two dialects. The average time duration for each speaker was roughly a minute and a half. Nevertheless. Regrettably. Below each sentence were four multiple-choice answers that contained at least one commonly used standard American lexical item and one British lexical item. I did play these two dialects after the questionnaires were complete and asked both groups to guess at the dialectal origin. The study was conducted at two different times: May of 1998 and February of 1999. The English 113 students are usually much better speakers and writers than English 112 students. The speakers were encouraged to read as naturally as possible in their own dialect. The total number of English 113 students was also 29. however. two sections of English 112 and two of English 113. Another virtue of this sample is that they already comprise two separate levels of English proficiency. The total number of English 112 students in this study was 29.. the Manchester and Wisconsin speakers were dropped from the study as a result of time and space constraints. many often exhibit poor English language skills. The third part was a lexical questionnaire designed to elicit either an American or British form. two British and two American. Methods The subjects for this study came from four of my own freshman writing classes at AUC. The two American speakers consisted of a standard American (TV network) dialect and a more highly marked Wisconsin dialect. more so in writing than in speaking. Most could not place the Manchester dialect within England and none guessed the Midwest for the Wisconsin dialect. English 112 is the entry level writing course required of all AUC students. the lexical questionnaire.B. . A portable cassette recorder was used to record four speakers.C. they do provide a somewhat heterogeneous sample. the sample is small. London-based British) and the other was a northern English (Manchester) dialect. B. apartment/flat.g. Students were given 10 sentences with a key word omitted. The first time did not include part three. by virtue of the fact that they have had to demonstrate a certain level of English proficiency to pass from 112 into 113.) The speakers all read the same short passage from a recent Cairo Times article about al-Horreya Cafe/bar. They were a sample of convenience and should in no way be considered representative of the larger AUC student body. (Out of curiosity. e.
65 77. their responses were pulled from the rest of the study. Dialect ability* % 65. Findings The first question to answer was how linguistically aware students were of the differences. Study Participants English 112 English 113 Total No. I played the two recorded speakers and asked them to respond to the first part (the semantic differential scale) before having them fill in the second part on personal attitudes toward the two dialects. are the differences between the two levels of English classes. Thus. only the 16 subjects who were able to accurately differentiate between British and American dialects were included in the rest of the data analysis. 45 out of a total 58 students (77. It seemed fruitless to include someone's reactions to the semantic differential scales. I carefully explained the questionnaire and asked them to respond as honestly as possible. They were not told who the speakers were or where they came from. I kept my own feelings quiet. On the day of the study. Clearly.51 89. After compiling all the data. someone who gave very low ratings to both speakers on most items. I explained to them the nature of the study. Table 1 shows these results. however. I first determined ability to discern between dialects. If we were to answer the first question according to the results in this table. All items were given a mean score based on a five-point scale. As we can see. Profile of study population. the English 113 classes were better able to dis- . Because there were surprisingly quite a few who could not discern between British and American dialects.58%) were able to discern between dialects. and who had no sense of linguistic differences. Could they distinguish between a British and American dialect? Table 1 shows the overall number of participants from both classes and the combined number and percentage of those who could distinguish between dialects. the answer would be "somewhat aware." Table 1. but to insure objectivity. and then claimed those very dialects would make excellent media for instruction.168 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes Students were prepared for the questionnaire/testing a week in advance to ensure a good turnout.58 29 29 58 19 26 45 *Dialect ability = the ability of students to distinguish between the British and American dialects. More revealing.
93 * INT = intelligent. whereas American English is more articulate. Table 2.88 CUL 3. This would seem to support the hypothesis that language proficiency correlates positively with linguistic and dialectal awareness. CUL = cultured + Based on a five-point scale. affective responses to personality traits were identified. friendly.06 4. In terms of some of the affective responses to personality traits. friendlier. Invariably. sophisticated. articulate. and less arrogant. In general students ranked the individual traits of the British dialect more favorably.73 4. and cultured. arrogance is seldom a highly valued social construct.04 SOPH 2. the findings are perhaps not surprising. In the English 112 class only 19 out of 29 students could place the speaker's country of origin (65. ART= articulate. UC = upper class. that high scores for the personality traits should not always be equated with a positive attribute.11 3. whereas 26 out of 29 students (89. educated. It is worth noting. For example. with the notable exceptions of friendliness and articulateness. I averaged all the personality data from Part I in the questionnaire into three major groups: the total population. and the English 113 population (tables 3 and 4. In effect then.80 Briti4.44 ART 4. students generally find British English to be more intelligent. Students were asked to characterize the speakers as intelligent.65%) could in the 113 class. To sum up the findings of Part I. SOPH = sophisticated. Judgment of personality traits of readers by entire study population (N = 45).84 FR 3.68 ARR 1. sophisticated. ARR = arrogant.51%). FR = friendly. Following al-Khatany (1995). Personality Traits* (meanst+) Dialect American INT 3. the English 112 population.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 169 tinguish between dialects. upper class and cultured. upper class. educated. the American dialect gets the higher score in these two categories.11 2. respectively). arrogant. American English sounds more friendly and is easier to understand. EDU = educated.77 EDU 4.64 3. that is. . however.71 3.26 4. Some modifications to al-Khatany's original series were made to account for perceived stereotypes of British and American dialects.73 UC 3. and to rate these traits on a five-point scale (see Table 2). the low scores for the American dialect under the category of arrogance speak more in its favor.
In terms of overall . friendliness.76 ART 4.10 ARR 1. SOPH = sophisticated.73 3. and arrogance where the most dramatic and statistically significant differences in mean scores appear.07 4.89 * INT = intelligent. This would seem to suggest that these three traditional stereotypes have the greatest influence on student's perceptions of dialectal differences. ARR = arrogant.63 3. FR = friendly.00 SOPH FR 2. EDU = educated. intelligence. Personality Trait* (meant) Dialect American British INT 3. Curiously. These findings are surprising and a bit ironic.80 3.80 3. and so on. EDU = educated. Judgment of personality traits of readers by English 112 students (n = 19).30 4.89 CUL 3.07 EDU 4.89 4. SOPH = sophisticated. UC = upper class.00 3. The other five personality traits show marginal differences in scores. Another explanation might be that both speakers were actually similar in their levels of education.05 EDU 4. ART= articulate.89 3.53 ART 4. articulateness.47 4. but sophistication. These questions asked students to rank both dialects in terms of appropriateness for educational instruction and overall linguistic quality.84 3. Table 5 shows the mean scores for the entire population of participants. and students were not able to perceive significant differences. Table 4). and 7. 6. Table 4.69 4. and arrogance consistently show more than a whole percentage point in difference (the exception being English 113 students' scoring of sophistication. it is under the three categories of sophistication.57 CUL 3.47 4.89 4. Personality Trait* (meant) Dialect American British INT 3.36 SOPH FR 2. ARR = arrogant.89 1.94 UC 3.50 UC 3. CUL = cultured + Based on a five-point scale. Judgment of personality traits of readers by English 113 students (n = 26). friendliness. ART= articulate.170 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes Table 3.61 2.96 * INT = intelligent.84 3. CUL = cultured + Based on a five-point scale.30 4.11 ARR 1. Questions 9 and 10 in Part I of the questionnaire provided the data for tables 5. UC = upper class. FR = friendly.
Table 7. on the other hand. Attitude of English 112 students (n = 19) toward educational and linguistic value of each dialect. Attitude of entire population (N = 45) toward educational and linguistic value of each dialect. whereas AE scored 4.06% out of a possible 5. Table 6.00%—a difference that is not significant. which represent the preferences of English 112 and 113 students respectively. Trait (meant) Appropriateness for education Dialect American British 4.63 + Based on a five-point scale. If we take a close look at tables 6 and 7. What is significant is the dialectal preference for educational instruction.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 171 linguistic quality.06 + Based on a five-point scale. After showing slight preference for the British dialect in overall linguistic quality.77 Linguistic quality 4. BE scored 4. Table 5.00%.00 4. .0 3. Table 6 shows English 112 students ranking AE higher in linguistic quality as well as educational appropriateness.0 2. They ranked BE marginally higher in both overall quality and appropriateness for instruction. students generally seemed to agree that the American dialect was more suitable for classroom instruction. shows a considerable reversal of this trend among 113 students.05 Linguistic quality 4. But their desire for AE as a medium of instruction over BE is dramatically significant: almost two points greater than BE on a five-point scale (roughly 40%).51 2. Trait (meant) Appropriateness for education Dialect American British 3. we find some striking differences.
and that almost everyone else is speaking it. After including the 1999 sample. the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. 1999.30 + Based on a five-point scale. The majority of respondents claimed that American English is easier to understand. The final findings in this study came from Part III. the lexical questionnaire. Since most students perceive AE as clearer and more understandable. which shows a high frequency of British forms.. Attitude of English 113 students (n = 26) toward educational and linguistic value of each dialect. As was stated earlier. To answer this question I returned to the open-answer segment from Part II of the questionnaire. however.15 3. the primary inclination among most students is toward American English for instruction and as a dialect to speak.172 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes Table 7. it stands to reason that less proficient students would cling to that which is more straightforward and comprehensible. Notably. The second explanation has to do with the sample size of this study. thus only 30 participants were included: 15 from the . How do we account for these discrepancies? At least two interpretations for these findings can be offered. Trait (meant) Appropriateness for education Dialect American British Linguistic quality 4. Only 26 English 113 students were included in this study. an unusually high concentration for one class. there was a unanimous preference for AE as a medium for instruction. interval and surgery were preferred over intermission and office. this was only administered to the spring." and that exposure to American film and music has a huge influence on their choice of dialects. 11 of the 15 students in the 1999 class have been to British schools. The first is that English 112 students are not yet confident in English and therefore have a low ambiguity tolerance. half from the spring 1998 class and half from the spring 1999 class. Evidence of this group's British preferences is reinforced by findings from the lexical questionnaire. e. that it will better prepare them for a career in the professional world. A few even said it just sounds "cool. Still.g. One wonders why students would favor a dialect that they generally considered inferior. groups.38 3.00 4. When this study was first conducted in 1998.
and traditions in Cairo (linguistic or otherwise) seldom fade quickly. In terms of how AUC students pick up some of the traditional notions and stereotypes about British and American English. one can not ignore the clear correlation between proficiency in English and the ability to recognize dialects. and rustic. Attitudes toward languages ultimately evolve like languages themselves. American (112/113)* Intermission 4/6 Office 7/6 French Fries 12/11 Eraser 10/9 Sidewalk 6/9 Trunk 11/11 Crosswalks 12/8 Apartment 14/11 Elevator 9/8 Great 13/10 British Interval Surgery Chips Rubber Pavement Boot Zebra crossings Flat Lift Smashing 6/8 5/8 2/2 4/6 9/6 1/2 1/5 1/4 4/5 2/4 Other 5/1 3/1 1/2 1/0 0/0 3/2 2/2 0/0 2/2 0/1 * Number of students from English 112/English 113 choosing the particular lexical item. Lexical choices of English 112 (n = 15) and English 113 (n = 15) study subgroups. The sample was too small to generalize to the larger AUC population. provincial. and zebra crossings were chosen at all suggests a stronger British influence than was anticipated. but it is revealing to see how frequently British items were chosen. American influence in Egypt is relatively recent and still on the rise. Clearly. surgery. language school training. British English is alive and thriving at AUC. A quick glance at Table 8 shows a general preference for American lexical items. This fondness for a glorious British past could certainly influence the way people regard the two dialects. it might just be the result of mass media. The fact that words such as interval. or even Egypt's British colonial past. Table 8. Besides. pavement. while . Conclusions and Recommendations The findings of this study need to be taken cautiously. Still.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 173 English 112 class and 15 from the English 113 class. rubber. A similar study conducted 20 years from now might find students claiming British English to be hopelessly archaic.
Do you think this5 form of English should be used as a medium of instruction? : : : : : Disagree Agree ? at 10. but not very intelligent. Sophisticated 5. Articulate : Inarticulate : Unsophisticated 4. Cultured : Uncultured 9. mark it as: Intelligent: : : : X : : Unintelligent Speaker #1: Do you think the speaker is ? 1. Friendly : Unfriendly : Lower Class 6. After hearing each reader. specify . Upper class 7. mark it as: Intelligent: : X : : : : Unintelligent If you thought he was somewhat unintelligent. and intelligence. Do you think that the speaker used : : Poor English Good English 11. Appendix: Questionnaire on Dialects Part I. For example. you should mark it as follows: : : : : Unintelligent Intelligent: X If you thought the speaker was very unintelligent. articulateness. Arrogant : Not arrogant 8. mark it as: Intelligent: : : : : X : Unintelligent If you had no opinion or could not tell. Future dialectal studies certainly promise to shed light on the complex issue of language attitudes. Educated : Uneducated 3. Do you know what kind of English the speaker was using? yes no 12. Feel free to silently read along with them from the handout. but not very unintelligent.174 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes American English may get high grades for cosmopolitanism. mark it as: Intelligent: : : X : : : Unintelligent If you thought he was somewhat intelligent. place an X in the appropriate blank. if you think the speaker is very intelligent. Instructions: Listen carefully to the different speakers. If yes. Intelligent: : : : : : Unintelligent 2.
2. specify Part II. Do you think that the speaker used ? Good English : : : : :_ : Poor English 11. Educated Uneducated 3. Sophisticated Unsophisticated 5. when shopping. Intelligent Unintelligent 2. Arrogant Modest Uncultured 8. If yes. Do you think this form of English should be used as a medium of instruction? Agree : : : : : : Disagree 10. etc. Years studying English:_ 4. Major: 5. Age:_ 3.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes Speaker #2: Do you think the speaker is 175 1. Upper class Lower Class 7. family.Name:. Do you use English for purposes other than school? Yes No 7. l. Instructions: Please read through the following questions and respond as honestly as possible. Articulate Inarticulate 4. If so. Do you know what kind of English the speaker was using? Yes No 12.) . work or business. Cultured 9. Friendly Unfriendly 6. what other purposes do you use English for? (examples: with your friends. What is your goal in learning English? 6.
The operation was minor and the doctor was able to take care of it in his a. I went to see the movie Titanic last week and during the I ran into an old friend. leaf . pomme frittes b. store c. fingers on mine is used up. 1. "May I borrow your pencil? The a. office 3. eraser b. a. button 4. rubber d. How aware are you of the differences between British and American English? Very aware Somewhat aware Not very aware 10. interval d. Which dialect do you think you come closest to using? American British Other 13. surgery d. State some reasons for this preference: Part III. intervention c. french fries d. introspection 2. cabinet b. Arabic English Other 9. intermission b. Which language do you use most frequently? Please rank in order of frequency with 1 being the most frequent and 3 being the least. chips with my cheeseburger and shake." c. Which dialect do you think is more prestigious? American British Neither 11. Which dialect of English would you prefer to use? American British Other_ 16. I ordered some a. How would you describe the differences between these dialects? 15. c. State some of your reasons: 12. Instructions: Circle the letter to the answer which you think best fits the blank.176 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 8. How did you acquire this dialect? 14.
compartment in Maadi... . glove compartment b.. 1995.. I think Braveheart was a a. H. The a.. A. My cousin lives in a beautiful a.and Hispanic-American-accented speakers: affect. sidewalk c. perfidious b. pad ' d.. trunk c. J. zebra crossings 8. Kraemer. 1994.. egregious References Alford. persuasion. tarmac of their car. elevator 9. R. and Ryan. smashing film. c. Giles. A. et al. 15:165-180. Attitudes of nonnative speakers toward selected regional accents of English. D. raiser b. d. 17:437-149. and the street is for cars. crosswalks c. boot 7. and Strother. Language and communication. Language attitudes and social group memberships. Carranza. Levin. a. 1975. Language and communication. P. 1993. International journal of intercultural relations.Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes 5. lift 10. Dialectic ethnographic "cleansing": ESL students' attitudes towards three varieties of English. M. 1995. and the English-only controversy. c. E. Williams. B. but many drivers barely slow down for them. Most people keep a spare tire in the a. great d. Mackie. ascensior c. b. and Birenbaum. H. She had to walk up ten flights of stairs because the wasn't working. B. 24:479-95. Evaluative reactions of bilingual Anglo and Mexican American adolescents towards speakers of English and Spanish. 6:8-104. identity. atlases b. M. L. H. and Garrett. 1993. TESOL quarterly. 15:107-120. Reactions to Anglo. Al-Kahtany. Giles. flat in her building d. Language and communication. apartment b. R. shoe 177 6. In Cairo are often painted onto streets at intersections. International journal of the sociology of language. hotels d. field is for pedestrians. The effects of lexical formality and accent on trait attributions. a. A.. 14:265-274. pavement d.
M. E.. Fasold (eds. Social forces. and R.W. . White and Negro listeners reactions to various American-English dialects.178 Dialectal Analysis of Freshman Writing Students' Attitudes Modiano. Washington. World Englishes. Shuy. Language attitudes: current trends and prospects. 15:207-215. R. and Lambert. G. R. W. The Americanization of Euro-English. 1996. DC: Georgetown University Press. 47:463-468.).. 1978. 1969. Tucker.
Most current theories of second-language acquisition assume that the learner's native language plays a role in the acquisition. such as modification and generalization.The Acquisition of the English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic: A Developmental Perspective Abdel-Hakeem Kasem One of the main objectives of theories of second-language (L2) acquisition is to account for the manner and order in which a second language is acquired and develop an explanation that is applicable across language-specific boundaries regardless of the learner's first language (L1).. however. or variations. more importantly. (1981). The main objectives of the present study are: (1) to investigate and establish the developmental sequences or patterns for the acquisition of English copula structure by native speakers of Lebanese Arabic in a classroom environment.g. BleyVroman's "fundamental difference hypothesis" of 1989). White's "transfer hypothesis" of 1987). Some researchers are of the view that speakers of L1 are initially transferred to the interlanguage grammar. but given the appropriate input will ultimately be adjusted to the correct L2 setting (e. According to Wode (1976) and Meisel et al. in a learner's language are the result of a number of operations. On the other hand. the term developmental sequences implies that language learners go through a number of steps before achieving a targetlike proficiency in any L2 structure. are not random but rather systematic. and (2) to establish what role LI plays in the acquisition of L2. what role the native language plays is something less certain and controversial. that learners apply to linguistic structures as they gradually move closer to mastery of the target language. The present study draws on the assumption that L1 and L2 are acquired in the same way (L1=L2) and that L2 learners' errors are similar to those made by L1 learners. other researchers believe that L1 serves as a "surrogate" Universal Grammar (UG) for the learner and that only those aspects of UG that are manifested in the native language will be acquired by the learner (e. This assumption is substantiated by longitudinal data of Lebanese young adult learners acquiring the English copula in a classroom environment.g. . These steps. The changes..
The dynamic nature of the learner's language is. can produce a wider variety of a particular structure than children learning the same language as their native language (Al-Buanain. 1981) employ the term developmental sequences to refer to these same transitional constructions and the order in which they occur. A number of other researchers (e.. The Sample As this was a longitudinal study over a period of six months. (1978). context. age. motivation. Wode. systematic. however. Variability could result from any of a number of factors. researchers in developmental studies argue that the similarities between first language and second language (L1 = L2) far outweigh the differences. The 10-student sample was selected on the basis of their age. 1991). and Meisel et al. found that errors observed in the transitional constructions produced by L2 learners bore no relation to their L1.. they are usually the result of the fact that adults are mentally more sophisticated and. nonetheless. which undergoes continual and constant change as learning unfolds and progresses toward target-language norms. Hatch. Meisel et al. 53). and Ellis (1994).g. (1981). rather than interlingual resulting from the learner's L1 interference. The sample for the present study involves a total of 10 newly arrived Lebanese-born students (five males and five females) randomly selected from Brunswick Language Centre in Melbourne. but must permit the use of variable rules. The learner's language is treated as a linguistic system in its own right. 1982). These errors are intralingual in nature. 1978. Furthermore. These forms are known as transformational forms (Dulay et al. therefore. The view taken by researchers working within the developmental approach is that while still learning the grammar of the target language. and it is possible to formulate rules and principles that account for its development from one stage to another. 185). resulting from a developing system. A dynamic linguistic system cannot be completely described in terms of categorical rules. it was not appropriate or feasible to deal with too many subjects. and input. and 1981. These variables have. including Wode (1978). Several researchers. rather than a distorted version of the target language system (cf. 1976..180 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic Developmental studies focus on the learning process and the learner's strategies rather than simply on the order of certain morphemes. to provide data for this investigation. an effect on the manner in which the learner's language evolves as we shall see below (see "Analysis of learners' errors. Australia. When differences exist. p. their .. The learner's language is also viewed as a dynamic system. 1987. second-language learners use forms that do not belong to either the second language or the native language. such as transfer." p. Larsen-Freemen and Long. in fact.
e. as we shall see in the data analysis. This observation seems to correlate with and confirm the findings of . eight were 13 to 15 years old. L1 was likewise used at home on most occasions. most of whom knew little or no English at that point. Of the 10 subjects. their motivation for learning English (i. The subjects were all native speakers of Lebanese Arabic. but when talking to each other during breaks and other recreational activities. which they attended for six hours per day. little or no exposure prior to beginning their intensive English course.. and through my own observations during my regular visits to the language center.. five days a week for a period of six months. English-language experience Information about the amount of exposure to English the subjects had since they arrived in Australia was obtained through direct questioning of the learners. All the subjects had arrived in Australia shortly before entry into the study (<6 months). The subjects tended to use English at the language center only when they spoke to their non-Lebanese friends and to thek teachers.The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic 181 ethnolinguistic background (i. 1997). This was quite evident in the number of errors produced and the accuracy rate achieved at the end of each stage. through a written questionnaire. The fact that the female group had very little exposure to English outside the classroom may explain. The remaining two subjects were 16 and 17 years old at the time when the study began (March. Subjects' (especially females') main exposure to English was confined to the classroom in the language center.e. they were very keen to improve their English-language skills as soon as possible so that they could join the Australian school system. L1 speakers of Arabic). They all had a very moderate knowledge of English at the time of data collection and they all spoke their L1 at home with their parents and other family members. and also be able to communicate more effectively with native speakers of English. Indeed. who had better exposure to L2. why the female subjects did not perform as well as the male group during the three stages of data collection. Data obtained from the subjects revealed that the female subjects' exposure to and use of use of the target language (English) outside the classroom was extremely Limited in comparison with the male group.e. The subjects were highly motivated and had very positive attitudes toward learning English. they used their L1 for the most part. academic purposes) as well as their previous experience with the language (i. During this period the subjects received formal instruction in the classroom. All learners were considered intermediate learners on the basis of their linguistic proficiency at the time of collecting the first set of data.. especially with parents and relatives.
Written data were collected on a bimonthly basis. characteristic of English: . age. 1997. both guided and unguided compositions. should minimize learners' linguistic awareness. This type of data is ideal for establishing developmental stages and acquisition of structures.182 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic McLaughlin (1987). At the time of the collection of the first set of data. it is hoped. it is desirable that the learners' performance occurs in a general context rather than in single sentences. and aptitude) are accounted for. collected three times over a six-month period beginning in March 1997 and ending on August 27. The main data-eliciting procedure was written compositions. Other researchers. Larsen-Freeman and Long (1991) argue that in the case of elicited data. the data reflect a continuum of developmental stages. a sentence can correctly be formed without a verb. The average length of each essay was 200 to 250 words. Data Collection The developmental nature of this study requires data that is produced in as natural and spontaneous a manner as possible. 2. As long as the learners are selected randomly and the main variables (such as previous exposure to the target language. A total of 30 compositions were collected and analyzed. such as Huntsbury (1972) and Ervin-Tripp (1974). and maximize naturalness of data. The benefit of using an essentially quasilongitudinal data set is that one is able to gain a full picture of the development process within a sixmonth period. which reflect the psycholinguistic realities of learning L2 syntax in a classroom environment. Copula Structure in Arabic and English The following is a brief description of the structures under investigation. The compositions selected for analysis reflected a sample of the learners' written production at three periods: stages 1. It is essential that the subjects are unaware of the structure under investigation so that their performance is as close to spontaneous as possible. In both colloquial and standard Arabic. on the other hand. on the one hand. This. the 10 subjects involved in this study had received approximately 240 hours of formal instruction in English. have reached similar conclusions. motivations. who reported on the importance and significance of contact with the target language in situations in which languages are learned in classroom settings and there is no daily contact with native speakers of the target language outside the classroom. The copula "to be" is not commonly used in sentences of the following patterns. and 3.
What is missing is a connective between the two words that brings them together as subject and predicate. some of which are not even verbs. 1975). The relationship expressed in English as "the man is tall" is indicated in Arabic by putting the two parts . In English the verb "to be" is usually the connective. If it is marked. If it is not marked. hadha kan bait-na this be (past) house our "This was our house" 3. and Abboud. 1. In a verbal sentence no special connection is needed to relate the verb and its subject. p. as illustrated in the following examples: (Hussein. this is not to say that the mere juxtaposition of "the man" and "tall" suffices to form a sentence. p. no form of "to be" is used. it is in the nominal sentence that one finds the most notable feature of Arabic syntax. a past or future form of "to be" is required. 83. grammatical sentence. which is the subject (mubtada'). The first is composed of a noun (ism). can be substituted and that no such words need to be used at all (Shehadi. 1971. Of course. 1969. But in Arabic the nominal sentence can occur without such a connective. Arabic linguists usually divide the categorical attributive sentences into nominal and verbal. However. and a predicate (khabar). hadha haykun bait-na this be (future) house our "This will be our house" In Arabic the verb kana may correctly be translated as "to be" and it has some of the linguistic functions of "to be" of some other languages.The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic + to be + noun noun + to be + adjective + to be + adverb 183 The optional use of (to be) in Arabic depends on whether the sentence is marked for time other than the present or not marked at all. In many languages the juxtaposition of the words "the man" and "tall" would not form a complete. It is necessary to consider certain features of Arabic syntax with regard to the use of the copula. both in the sense that words. The second one is composed of the verb (fi'l) and its subject (fai'l). hadha bait-na this house our "This is our house" 2. yet these functions can also be performed without a form of kana. 112).
learners' errors are usually divided into two main categories: developmental errors which can be related to the developmental stage and are typically explained in terms of a learner's proficiency or competence in the target language. can be said to have a copulative function. to have a word that. samples of naturally occurring learner language are collected. and since these two kinds of sentences constitute the class of assertoric sentences in which the connective is expected to appear. The basic procedure is as follows. However. First. pp.184 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic in the nominative case to form a complete sentence. 1982). it must be noted that it is possible. Generally. Shehadi. obligatory occasions for the use of specific target-language features are identified in the data. Third. Second. 1994). Data Analysis and Discussion Method of data analysis The method used in the present study for identifying and describing developmental patterns is obligatory occasion analysis . The widely held view that . 74-75). Usually the level is set at 80% to 90% to take account of the fact that even adult native speakers may not achieve complete accuracy (Ellis. and nondevelopmental errors usually accounted for from a performance viewpoint. and in some cases required. although they may not always supply the features in question. kana (cf. strictly speaking. the percentage of accurate uses of the feature is then calculated by establishing whether the feature in question has been supplied in all the contexts in which it is required. 112-125). In the course of using the L2. learners produce utterances.This has been widely used by L2 acquisition researchers and is clearly described in Brown (1973.) tall (nom.) "The man is tall. it would seem reasonable to assert that there is a complete absence of the copula in Arabic. A criterion level of accuracy can then be determined in order to provide an operational definition of whether a feature has been acquired. It is important to point out here that the description and explanation of L2 learners' errors have always been both difficult and problematic (Ellis. al-rajul-u tawil-un the man (nom. which create obligatory occasions for the use of specific target-language features. One would say in modern standard Arabic (MSA): 4. 1969." Since it is not necessary to use a connective between subject and predicate in the nominal and verbal sentence. 1994. for example. pp.
[cop] ..NP (error type 3). 16. Let us consider some illustrative examples: 13. There are a big tree near my class. 11. The boys names is. 8. My brother name Fadi.. There a big tree in my house.[cop] . • Np . 7...e. . 17. along with some illustrative examples of errors found in the learners' compositions during the three stages of data collection: Data collected at the end of stage 1 strongly indicate early development of the copula structure. lack of agreement) was found primarily during stage 2 (error type 4). L1 interference) is not supported in this study.e. 14. There is two Vietnamese students in my class.. The linguistic analysis of the data concerning the development of the copula structure is summarized in the tables below.. Analysis of learners' errors The following is a structural/linguistic analysis of the written data produced by the 10 learners during the three stages of data collection. rather than a distorted version of the target language.The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic 185 learners' errors are essentially a result of cross-linguistic influences1 (i. 6. Her husband name Anwar 12.adj (error type 2). Learners' errors in the use of copula in this stage were classified into two major categories: (1) copula omission and (2) incorrect use of copula or auxiliary. 9.1 have four teachers their names is. There four people in my family. In Brunswick there two language centres.. My brother a doctor. There are one Lebanese student in my class. The incorrect use of the copula or auxiliary errors (i.and she always sad and alone.. Examples: 5. 15. • NP . Copula omission errors in stage 1 occurred in three environments: • After "there" constructions (error type 1). 10. . The position taken in this paper treats learners' errors as key developmental signals that manifest an ever-evolving linguistic system in its own right. My brothers is going to school... My sister unhappy in Australia. All data were examined for the occurrence of copula constructions and analyzed from linguistic (structuralist) and communicative theoretical perspectives. 18.
2 Total *Errors were catalogued into three types during this stage: (1) after "there" constructions.4 64. Number of errors by type* Subject 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7 9 7 8 8 9 9 10 9 11 87 2 3 5 6 8 6 7 6 7 8 6 62 3 3 5 6 6 6 7 7 6 8 5 59 Total use Errors Errors rate (no. Typical errors observed in the learners' compositions may elucidate the relation between such "errors" and the overall interlanguage developmental process.4 59. that is. If one accepts these assumptions. t Total use refers to the number of times the copula was used correctly plus the number of times it was omitted. the further the learners are from attaining a particular stage.6 79. and (3) NP-cop-NP.) 13 19 19 22 20 23 22 23 25 22 208 (%of total use) 52.7 63.186 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic The following tables give types and percentage of copula errors per student.9 59. the succession of structures that are mastered constitute a developmental pattern. A brief look at the specific error types in Table 1 reveals that omission of the copula was the greatest problem to our learners. Stage 1: Copula omission errors. A careful analy- . a succession of phases of learning toward mastery of new structures. Table 1. Error rates ranged from 52% to 79%.0 55.3 66. and (2) the more frequent certain errors are. The methodology of this study rests largely on two assumptions relating to a learner's development of linguistic accuracy in the target language: (1) learners have reached a particular developmental stage if they make few or no errors of a given syntactical structure. (2) NP-cop-adj.5 55.) 25 34 32 37 36 29 33 33 36 34 329 (no.7 69.7 69. yielding accuracy rates of 21% to 48%. Errors of omission proved to be the most frequent (208 errors out of 329).
and other languages.9 53. For example. Chinese. second-language acquisition research (Huang and Hatch.6 63.. 1978. The pervasiveness of copula-omission errors has thus been among the most significant counterarguments against the importance of transfer. since all participants stopped omitting the copula at this stage. speakers of Spanish. Japanese. "That a kitchen" (Brown. Japanese. have copula verb forms frequently omit forms such as am and is. Despite the fact that examples 5-12 may be viewed as a direct translation of Arabic structures. Itoch and Hatch.) 18 16 24 23 19 17 13 19 19 17 Errors rate (%of total use) 27. Moreover. For example..8 41. the omission of the copula in cases such as "My sister unhappy in Australia" and ".1 52. Russian.0 25. but also by speakers of Spanish.2 58. Stage 2: Incorrect use of copula .The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic 187 sis of copula omission in examples 5-12 above may suggest that these errors result from cross-linguistic influences (L1 transfer) since these sentences mirror L1 structure. 1973). Subject 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number of errors of type 4 (incorrect use of copula)* 5 4 6 6 8 9 7 10 12 10 Total use (no.6 Total 77 185 * This figure tracks only errors of type 4 during stage 2. 1978) has shown that copula errors are common in the emerging second language of speakers of virtually any native language.8 25. the transfer explanation for such errors seem questionable in light of the fact that omission of the copula also occurs in the speech of children learning English as their native language. This view is not supported in this paper.my brother name Fadi" are errors made not only by Arabic speakers. like English. and other languages that.9 52. and accordingly this type of error is termed developmental. for example.1 42. This suggests that copula-omission errors are nothing more or less than indicators of developmental process found in both L1 and L2 acquisition. t Total use refers to the number of times the copula was used correctly as well as incorrectly.0 26. . Table 2.
188 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic Incorrect use of the copula was the second type of error found in the learners' interlanguage in the data collected in stage 2 (see Table 2).) 4 1 5 5 4 6 7 6 6 8 52 (%of total use) 14.3 26.5 15. Stage 3: Type and percentage of copula errors per student.6 29. and (4) the incorrect use of the copula or auxiliary errors. Number of errors by type* Subject 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 1 1 6 2 1 0 2 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 7 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 3 2 1 1 4 1 2 5 5 3 6 30 Total use Errors Errors rate (no.4 27.2 16. These were clearly developmental errors attributable to intra-English confusion. (3) NP-cop-NP.) 28 22 33 30 26 22 26 24 21 27 259 (no. . Although learners at this stage seem to be aware of the need to use the copula structure. tend to use the incorrect form of copula in the early stages of development.1 1 1 2 1 9 Total *Errors were catalogued into four types during this stage: (1) after "there" constructions.0 28. and as far as the structure of these sentences is concerned. these learners essentially followed a universal pattern of sentence development: language learners.6 20. regardless of their L1. such as those in sentences 13-18.3 4. with error rates ranging from 63% to 25% (for accuracy rates of 37% to 75%). (2) NP-cop-adj. Errors of this type were found in 77 cases out of 185. The argument one would present for type 4 errors (the incorrect use of copula). apparently they have not yet internalized the rule for it. t Total use refers to the number of times the copula was used correctly as well as incorrectly. Examples 13-18 illustrate how learners use the incorrect form of the copula.7 15.9 25. is that they result from the differences between the verb structures of the target language and the source language. Table 3.
Corder. on the basis of works by Haugen (1956). language competence. in comparison with 58% to 75% in stage 2. Furthermore. it is essential to account for variation in the evolving system of the learner's language as he/she progresses from zero competence to nativelike competence in the target language by defining the factors (sociolinguistic.The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic 189 Finally. 1994. play a central role in second-language acquisition. and motivation. psycholinguistic. in comparison with 40% to 48% for males in stage 1. L2 input. They propose a multidimensional model of second-language acquisition in which the kind of interlanguage system acquired by the learner depends on the learner's sociopsychological characteristics. and age. attitudes. A general deficiency of language input may well explain the variation in the accuracy rate between the two sexes. As stated earlier. Therefore. and should be incorporated into a model that specifies the exact role of such factors in the acquisition and use of a second language.. at least in terms of its ability to account for variation in a learner's interlanguage. and 70% to 75%. male learners (subjects-1-5) in particular successfully acquired the copula structure. calculated from the error rate. Ellis. It is interesting to note that the female learners (subjects 6—10) had a lower degree of accuracy. and Gardner and Lambert (1972). such as motivation. 1991). and Young. 1981. Meisel. by the end of stage 3 learners were using the copula with a much higher degree of accuracy (70%-95%. in comparison with 83% to 95% at the end of stage 3. Clashen. were accounted for. error rates of 5% to 30%). This is a very interesting finding given that all learners were selected at random and the main variables. Schumann (1975). 37% to 47%. This model is considered to be the most comprehensive. that sociopsychological factors. only 22 errors of copula omission (types 1-3) were found and 30 errors of type 4 (incorrect use of copula). which is strong indication of significant progress in the learners' competence. In this stage. . As the table shows. the female learners' exposure to English outside the classroom was limited in comparison with the male group. and Pienemann (1981) argued. attitude. throughout the three stages of data collection: Females achieved accuracy rates of 21% to 35%. and purely linguistic) that contribute to such variation so that every aspect of the morphosyntactic variation in the learner's system is accounted for in terms of specific factors (cf. such as social distance. it is interesting to note that omission errors found in stage 1 decreased significantly at the end of stage 2 and errors of type 4 almost disappeared at the end stage 3 as shown in Table 3 above. This finding supports Young's (1991) claim that the process of second-language acquisition is characterized by a high degree of systematicity and variation (Young. 1991).
Another important finding in this study is the reported lower accuracy rate achieved by female learners throughout the three stages of the study may be attributed to learners' restricted exposure to L2 outside the classroom. the result of a general process of language development similar to that observed in L1 acquisition). 1974a. 1994). Dulay . motivation. In fact.e. Dulay and Burt. and 1974b). McLaughlin. The important point to be made here is the fact that many errors are clearly not the result of L1 transfer. and Ellis. (cf. The presence of errors that mirrored LI structures was taken as evidence of cross-linguistic influences. 1973. and the learning environment. and therefore such errors are often termed developmental errors (see Dulay and Burt. or L1 transfer. 1981. such as attitude.and second-language acquisition. This fact has highlighted the significance of accounting for other factors. 1991. many researchers have argued that cross-linguistic influences. language input. 1982. 1973. The overall linguistic analysis and findings of this investigation seem to be consistent with the claim that the process of L2 acquisition is similar to that found in L1 acquisition and they further support the predictions concerning the development of learner's interlanguage—errors of a developmental type occur when the learner attempts to build up hypotheses about the target language on the basis of limited experience. Second-language acquisition research of the 1980s and 1990s strongly indicated that a substantial number of adult learners' errors are not attributable to L1 interference. such errors are nothing more or less than indicators of developmental processes found in both first. that affect the development of learner's interlanguage. Much of the second-language acquisition research on early learners' error focused on determining the extent to which L2 acquisition was the result of cross-linguistic influences (L1 transfer) or of creative construction (the construction of unique rules similar to those that children form in the course of acquiring their mother tongue).190 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic Conclusion The overall linguistic and acquisitional analysis of the data collected for this investigation support its two main objectives: (1) to establish and explain interlanguage development for the acquisition of English copula by native speakers of Arabic during the early stages of learners' interlanguage and (2) to establish to what extent errors are the result of crosslinguistic influence or are intralingual in nature (i. accounts for between 5% and 25% of grammatical errors. . and Krashen. LarsenFreemen and Long... For many researchers. whereas the presence of errors similar to those observed in L1 acquisition was indicative of creative construction. Meisel et al. Burt. 1987..
MA: Harvard University Press. and McCarus. Bley-Vroman. Schachter (eds.D. From topic to subject: dominance in interlanguage of Hmong speakers. Bilingualism in the Americas: a bibliography and research guide (publication no.. AL: University of Alabama Press. 1973. Brown. Rowley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1982. S. 8:129-136. C. Attitudes and motivation in second language acquisition. The study of second language acquisition. pp. R. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Linguistic perspectives on second language acquisition. Al-Buanain. Ph. 1981. (eds. Should we teach children syntax? Language learning.The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic 191 Notes 1. 1). 1978. Gardner. 24:253-278. Rowley. and Krashen. 1989. University of Hawaii. 1972. 1975. 8:111-127. The logical problem of second language acquisition. A first language: the early stages. In S. The term cross-linguistic influence. . 23: 245-258. S. W. E. A new perspective on creative construction process in child second language acquisition. E. and M. P. allowing one to subsume under one heading such phenomena as "transfer. A. 1989.. MA: Newbury House. 41-68.. Burt. Ervin-Tripp.). H. Gass and J. Ellis. R. M. Burt. S. p. 1973. . F. 1987.. Haugen. Dulay. F. 1974a. 1994. Error analysis and interlanguage. N. Elementary modern standard Arabic." and "borrowing" (Odlin. . University. R." "avoidance. which is also known as language transfer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.). MA: Newbury House. Errors and strategies in child second language acquisition. diss. R. E. Language learning. MI: University of Michigan. Second language acquisition. 1974b. Qatar: Dar al-Thakafa. is a theory-neutral term. Ann Arbor. 1956. 1982. . E. Hatch. H. TESOL quarterly. Language two. Is second language learner like the first? TESOL quarterly. 1974. and Lambert. Cambridge. . Corder. 28 of the American Dialect Society). Second language acquisition of Arabic: the development of negation and interrogation. New York: Oxford University Press. References Abboud.
H. T. J. . Dordrecht: Reidel. Odlin. B. 112-125. The verb "be" and its synonyms: philosophical and grammatical studies. Larsen-Freeman. R. Hussein. Studies in second language acquisition 3:109-135. J. 1991. and E. Ph.). New York: Peter Lang. pp. and Hatch.. 1969. Second language acquisition: the pidginization hypothesis. D. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. Huntsbury.192 The English Copula by Native Speakers of Lebanese Arabic Huang.. M. Markedness and second language acquisition: the question of transfer. Young. pp. Ph. A Chinese child's acquisition of English. 1978. . Meisel. Arabic "to be. 1981. Learning a second language 1: an integrated view of language acquisition. Part IV: Twi. 1981. 15:37-57. University of Texas.D. Schumann. E. Arabic (Foundations in lanugage supplement no. modern Chinese. H. F. 1978. A. The L1 vs L2 acquisition of English negation. University of Connecticut. 1972. diss. M. H.. 9:261-286. 9). pp. 11:1-13. McLaughlin. Language transfer. Wode. Shehadi. Variation in interlanguage morphology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Manuscript. London: Longman. 1987.. and Long. Working papers on bilingualism.." In J. Second language acquisition in childhood. In Hatch (ed.. In Hatch (1978). Clashen. . R. An introduction to second language classroom research. London: Edward Arnold. White. . M. Developmental sequences in naturalistic L2 acquisition. Theories of second language learning.D. 1987. Working papers on bilingulalism. Verhaar (ed. Hatch. (1975). 1989. 1987. 1989. Harvard University. Universal grammar and second language acquisition. Language acquisition laboratory. 1976. Remedial English for speakers of Arabic: a psycholinguistic approach. In Studies in second language acquisition. diss. 1978. L. H. Itoch. 1971. Tubingen: Gunter Narr. and Pienemann.. 1991.). On determining development stages in natural second language acquisition. 76-88. Second language acquisition: a case study.. 118-131.
narration. It then compares these categories to native Arabic ones that may be culturally embedded in the student's cognitive system. need special attention. Because of its reliance on global organization. "Categories of comprehension of argumentation"). Organization and methods of expression are dissimilar. thus. therefore. argumentative discourse poses extra difficulties compared with other types of discourse. advertisements. aims first at presenting categories of logical organization and rhetorical strategies characteristic of English argumentative discourse that may be inaccessible to Egyptian students of English. editorials. articles. what Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983) call microstructure. but the global organizational aspect of the text—its superstructure (see below. such as exposition. This paper. Graduating students of English. or description. This paper investigated the degree of proficiency acquired by a group of such students in understanding authentic argumentative texts in English. What was tested is not the formal grammatical aspect of the language. Comprehension as a major component in acquiring language skills demands special attention from a cross-cultural perspective.. pamphlets. Of particular concern in this study was whether their understanding is hampered by both cultural and rhetorical differences between the sender's encoding strategies and assumptions and the receiver's decoding strategies and expectations. who are expected to use English professionally and to understand discussions. Methods of signaling the topic and arranging the evidence in both languages are assumed to be different. falls within the broad area of contrastive rhetoric. There is a critical need for research on the source of problems that native Arabic speakers face in understanding discourse in a foreign language. The present study. The focus is on the comprehension1 of authentic English-language argumentation by native Arabic-speaking students at the Department of English. Kamel This paper deals with argumentative discourse in English and Arabic. Cairo University. Such a situation may require the develop- . etc.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse: A Cross-Linguistic Study Salwa A.
. Smith (1988) takes a more extreme view: "Comprehension cannot be measured at all. Absence of comprehension means not being able to predict or ask questions ranging from word meaning to style and point of view.. research on inference and comprehension remains difficult and somewhat questionable. pp.and of being able to find answers to at least some of these questions" (Smith. despite constant educational efforts to do so. However. p. more research has been done on production than on comprehension. Bernhardt (1993. is at a minimal level.. With the exception of Johnstone-Koch (1983) and Hatim (1997).. 1988. As a result. which assist students in making the correct inference. and Maria. as long as s/he is not made aware of the cultural differences. and drilling the student with more and more reading of arguments would not help. It is assumed that this may have affected the results in some way. motivation. Definition of Terms Comprehension. 158). Bernhardt..2 little attention has been paid to contrastive Arabic-English work in the area of argumentative discourse. because it is not a quantity of anything. Maria (1990) reports on a study by Harowitz (1985) in which a group that was given reading and writing instruction with text-structure patterns was found to do "significantly better than a group who received only reading instruction" ( p. the sample selected for this research limits its applicability: it is meant only to document the problem that graduates of English face rather than to provide solutions or answers. Production is generally more easily testable and quantifiable than comprehension: it is a matter of what one does as opposed to what one knows. (1987. The generally accepted theory of comprehension (see Smith. rather than leaving them to discover them by themselves. p. 1993. According to Brown and Yule (1983). 1990. "Comprehension of a text is a matter of having relevant questions to ask." (p. 1993. comprehension is a tool not an outcome of reading. A second limitation on this study is that when data-gathering tests are given out of context. p. as this one was.194 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse ment of an awareness of other categories in English. 53). 218-219): . the problem is more cultural than linguistic. According to Frank Smith (1988). no matter how aware they may be of the importance of the test for the purpose of the study. which according to Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983. In this respect. 1988. 107) is essential for optimal performance on behalf of the volunteer subjects. Renkema. 166). Limitations of this study. 120) quotes Grassner et al. among others) places great emphasis on background knowledge as a major element.
pp. whereas "unseen" texts are intended by the writer and carry "implicit sociocultural elements" (Bernhardt 1993. i. conventional implicature. They are used in filling in gaps or discontinuities in interpretation. De Beaugrande and Dressier (1983. and connotation (Renkema 1993). field. whereas coherence is an implicit pragmatic phenomenon. such connections among successive sentences are not apparent in text elements (Renkema 1993). 35). We also rely on some principle that.. whereas other nodes are inferences. than on lexical or grammatical categories in the process of comprehension. conversational implicature. scripts. including entailment. The comprehender needs to construct bridging inferences in order to establish conceptual connectivity between an incoming explicit statement and prior passage context. Unlike cohesive elements. although there may be no formal linguistic links connecting contiguous linguistic strings. p. The theory of knowledge places more emphasis on items of prior knowledge such as schemata. Some of these nodes are explicitly mentioned in the text. etc. We readily fill in any connections that are required. scenarios. Cohesion uses explicit linguistic ties. the fact of their contiguity leads us to interpret them as connected. namely knowledge assumed to be shared by speaker and hearer" (Renkema.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse We assume that the reader constructs a structure of propositional units (called nodes) during comprehension. This is inference: getting from the literal meaning to the intended meaning. The lack of such prior knowledge creates a good deal of problems for second/foreign language learners. Brown and Yule (1983. Inferences. 36) have found that "text utilization fails if unresolvable discrepancies persist and regulative integration of an occurrence into one's store of knowledge cannot be . p. Coherence is the "connection which is brought about by something outside the text. "Seen" texts appear in black and white.e. It is largely based on background knowledge. are derivable implicit information.. Prior knowledge is used to process new information. and topic familiarity. Unseen elements are implicitly held in the text and are relevant to processing the text coherently. 195 Such knowledge-driven operations are culture dependent. 223-224) comment that We certainly rely on the syntactic structure and lexical items used in a linguistic message to arrive at an interpretation. but it is a mistake to think that we operate only with this literal input to our understanding.. p. 72) assumed to be known to the reader... 1993. implicature. therefore.
or from syntactic obscurity or implicitness. therefore. p. music and so on. the rhetorical purpose. such as a committed Christian). e. whether of language or of the world in general. A reader may use the author's cultural background or his own. Smith (1988.e. such as conjunctions. narrating. Making sense of any text is a function of introducing some degree of coherence into it. The latter. such as argument). and analogy (in an experiment described in Connor. Exposition and argumentation share techniques.g. p.. 94) classifies types of knowledge as highly idiosyncratic. Text-type focus. are functions of background knowledge and the knowledge of text organization. "The basis of comprehension. both being highly cultural issues. which determines text structure and "regulates the way texts are organized as cohesive and coherent wholes" (p. knowledge shared by two or more people. pp. and therefore fails to understand. Hatim's (1997) model rests on three basic sociotextual units: the text (i. generalization. He defines "texttypes" as "global frameworks utilized in the processing of rhetorical purposes in discourse" (Hatim 1997. such as history. the argumentative text . Ricento (1987) sees that coherence is not a permanent and inherent property of a text.e. To share a culture. Such knowledge enables the reader to make predictions. for in the absence of a familiar cultural background." Bernhardt (1993. hybrid. the discourse (or the writer's attitude or orientation. 223) holds that each one of us has his/her own theory of the world that helps us in interpreting our interactions." infra) is systematically employed by skilled readers as a strategy to facilitate comprehension. such as rituals and aesthetic values. Meyer (1985) found that knowledge of text organization and superstructures (see "Categories of comprehension of argumentation. according to Van Dijk (1983). All these elements facilitate comprehension. Bernhardt (1993) and Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983) add one more element. and the genre (or the conventional type. 36). is the "predominant rhetorical purpose served by a given text" (p. i. Knowledge of text structure increases comprehension and helps in overcoming difficulties resulting from the lack of cohesive devices. thus making comprehension possible. classification. 55). domainspecific knowledge. in that one function is predominant while the others are subsidiary (p.3 Creating coherence and making inferences. or local. a reader is unable to provide answers or even ask questions. such as comparing-contrasting. 54-55)." Anything that cannot be related to the theory is bewildering. editorials).196 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse done. Argumentative text: type. definition. 1986. therefore. Texts are multifunctional. dominates the former. cause-effect. is to share similar categories for organizing experience and hence deriving meaning from language. namely text structure. and culture-specific knowledge. must be some internal organization of knowledge (or belief) about the world. 41).
challenging and unpredictable because of their zig-zag progressive diretionality into a world to be constructed. not the eloquence. in that it can use these three types as evidence or support. focuses on the formation of future behavior." and as such is relegated to a lower moral order. whereas argumentation uses the same methods to change the way a listener/reader thinks or acts (Kane 1983. 33). 457). and exposition. Exposition is nonevaluative: its purpose is to analyze concepts. 38) and continues from there. The global processing pattern is the plan of how events and states lead up to the attainment of a goal. 86) puts it. 33) adds another difference: exposition may have a "term" as the subject of discussion. it turns into an argument when s/he takes a definite stand. misleading people by fears. p. whereas argument "manages" it. sympathies. whereas argumentation is always built around a "proposition. 1896. But in written arguments. "Persuasion" is a term referring to a rhetorical act which makes the hearer or reader act as the speaker or writer's desires through exciting the emotions. material desires. whereas argument "focuses on the evaluation of relations between concepts"—it starts off with an evaluative thesis (Hatim.e. If a writer weighs the pros and cons. But rhetoricians distinguish them on the grounds that exposition seeks to inform through the use of such techniques. As such more weight falls on the reader." which is "an assertion in regard to a term or terms.. it is the structure. Baker (1896. i. But argumentative texts are difficult. Such techniques are today exploited in advertising and politics. narration.162) see that exposition "monitors" the situation. p. According to Fareh (1988) narration is interesting because it is chronological and person-oriented. Levin (1990) requires both types of texts to be clear. and with regressive directionality into an already constructed universe that is "uniform and familiar" as Hatim (1997. p. must be focused by a . with no time focus. but argument requires proof to justify a choice between two or more already well-understood issues. argument establishes equality between readers and writer. to narrate or to describe." He reserves the term "argument" for discourse that seeks to convince by means of intellectual and logical reasoning: "it is the art of producing in the mind of someone else a belief in the ideas which the speaker or writer wishes the hearer or reader to accept" (Baker. exposition requires explanation in order to make things clearer and understandable. Argumentation is more advanced than other text types. In other words. rather than by reason. when powerfully expressed in prose. The very act of writing involves "stepping back from emotion. whereas persuasion "manipulates. and even genuine feeling. this is comparison. while exposition is impersonal and is oriented to subject matter. or prejudices. it has been used mostly in public speaking since ancient times. that matters. but an argument must be also convincing. De Beaugrande and Dressier (1983.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 197 that used narration for support was rated highest by all judges). p. According to Kane (1983). p. such as description. 1997.
for differences between Arabic and English argumentation. Support is basically a means of winning over the audience by preventing them from suspecting deception. known as induction. reliable statistics. Thus.. and authority and expert testimony.. 5-7). known as deduction.198 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse guiding intelligence" (Kane 1983. McDonald (1983. pp. p. Kane (1983.. Aristotle judged argumentation amoral (Cooper. finding and selecting evidence." Whately (1969." below." and "proving" is the "establishment of [the truth] to the satisfaction of another. A change in audience means a change in the appearance of the argumentation" (Perelman 1969. Supporting evidence in argumentation is relevant to the type of audience and their biases and concerns which may affect their receptiveness. reasoning and logic are highly regarded and structure is considered essential to argument. diagrams and charts. Perelman (1969). factual information.. therefore." Thus. but with "adherence. . Baker (1896) enumerates the components of argument: analysis (which sorts out main and subordinate ideas and ensures their truthfulness). (See "The cultural nature of logic. p. 51) also suggests that the major premise of a deductive syllogism is usually derived by induction. and rhetorical structure. 5) similarly sees that reasoning in argumentation is applicable to two purposes: "inferring" is the ascertainment of the truth by investigation. as when the premises on which a deductive argument rests need supportive evidence. thus argumentation is not connected with truth as such. is expected to bear the cultural and social mark of the audience it addresses. 1932). the structure or schema of an argument is an integral part of it. also gives the audience priority on the scene: "it is in terms of an audience that an argument develops. but effectiveness is not a test of value because what may convince an incompetent gathering of hearers may fail to convince a highly qualified audience: truth and rhetorical effectiveness are different things.) Argumentative text: form. McDonald (1983) describes this structure in terms of a syllogistic schema in which the first paragraph usually contains the major premise and the last paragraph contains the conclusion. The audience in argumentation (in a purely Aristotelian tradition) demands attention. from a philosophical rather than a rhetorical point of view. Perelman (1969) holds that dialectic since ancient times concerns opinion. Evidence comes from experience or opinion. or it works from a generalized premise toward a specific conclusion. p. First and last positions are the strongest. The two types can be mixed. p. Similarly. 467) sees "the effect upon the reader" as the principal purpose.. Since organization creates strength in argumentation. An argument. 469). The logic by which arguments develop is of two types: either it uses specific facts (experience and observation) to support a generalized conclusion.
By contrast. it is often the basic purpose of arguing (Kane. which represents the most essential information in the text base. interpretation is based on previous knowledge derived from experience. "Local coherence strategies are mixed with global coherence strategies" controlling each other (Van Dijk and Kintsch. Thus. 152). they are supposed to support the conclusion conclusively because if premises are accepted [i. From such a base a "macrostructure" is constructed. 1969. If the premises are presumptions. when one is pointing out weaknesses in logic or evidence. They support the conclusion to a lesser degree. no rules that may lead to fallacies are broken]. Van Dijk and Kintsch sketch the way knowledge is used in discourse comprehension. the logical rules are inference rules.101-102)..e. 1989. The categories inferred for testing in this study are adopted from Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983) and Maccoun (1983). 104). Facts are universal agreements on things that require no justification for adherence: they are presupposed. . Categories of comprehension of argumentation. Stevens (1983) suggests that statements about beliefs or judgments beyond personal preference always need supporting before they are accepted. and goals play a role in the process of interpreting new information and integrating it into the already existent system of world knowledge that s/he has. The syllogism is valid only if the form is correct. 1983.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 199 The "body" presents the minor premise. it is not possible to reject the conclusion. Premises are "propositions [facts or truths] accepted by the hearers" (Perelman. p. Concession is temporarily admitting premises or evidence contrary to what one hopes to establish because it cannot be refuted in a bid to neutralize them or to turn them to positive account by showing that they are not important in light of the counterargument. they need reinforcement. verbal input is decomposed into atomic constituent propositions that are organized into larger units on the basis of some knowledge of structure to form a coherent text. This model is suitable for the purpose of the present study because it is more concerned with strategic processes on the higher-order discourse comprehension level than with lower-order perceptual processes or linguistic parsing processes. It is needed even when one is advancing a positive conclusion. evidence rules are used: these always lead to probability not proof because no comprehensive evidence can ever be presented. In this model. Refutation and concession are part of this structure. pp. and beliefs begin to change. Maturity of knowledge determines the quality of thinking. and it is sound only if the premises are true. hence the importance of memory. It is done by "showing that the 'assumptions' upon which the claim is based are 'untrue'"(Maccoun. beliefs. In a deduction. p. in induction.4 Refutation is attacking or disproving another argument. 1983). The comprehender's knowledge.
The conventional nature of language. this information is constantly available for strategic comprehension" (Van Dijk and Kintsch. . p. Meaningful organization also assists retention. "The more we can anticipate and employ the formal structure that an author uses.e.6 These are rhetorical strategies that. By allowing a reader to anticipate information. the more we can understand and remember what we read" (Smith. Van Dijk and Kintsch require that such schematic superstructures should be not only in the text but also in the mind of the reader.180). Their best position is the beginning or end of units. It is the schema5 that organizes the macropropositions. the reader activates a superstructure. They need not be directly expressed. Superstructure is another category that Van Dijk and Kintsch propose in their theory of comprehension. A reader need not wait till the end to infer what the text is globally about. therefore. (In the case of this study. Hatim (1997) adds that in top-down macroprocessing. the text user is concerned with the relation of context to text and to the text-type focus. units are easier to perceive when they are part of a meaningful larger unit. Once acquired.) From the first cue in the text. 1983. it is argumentation. 1983. as well as his tone of voice. Macrostrategies are used to infer macropropositions from the sequence of local propositions. It can be kept in short-term memory and is an important cue for the actualization and processing of (complex) knowledge. a schema that he uses as a powerful top-down processing device. 254-257). Macropropositions are inferred through a bottom-up process. Schematic organization aids comprehension. but can be inferred from semantic interpretation.. while in bottom-up microprocessing. This is known as "macrocontrol. such as the exponents of cohesion and coherence (see also Brown and Yule.. Even at the level of perception.. which are options controlled by the situation to monitor the degree of (in)formality to infer information about the speaker and his class membership." or top-down control. if effective. Levels of macropropositions form the macrostructure of a text: the topic of the text. facilitates understanding. These strategies have a heuristic character. a hierarchically structured macroproposition keeps order among semantic details. 1983. 234). p. 1988. users focus on the various elements of texture.the relevant macroproposition for an episode remains highly available during processing. such a schema facilitates comprehension (see supporting experiments in Van Dijk and Kintsch.g. i. p. Other stylistic strategies exist. realize the goal of comprehension and the success of the speech act (e. acceptance of the author's position). pp. they exercise top-down control: ". as distinguished from linear or sequential control.. A reader is led by thematic words or first sentences and other information from the text.200 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse In reading a text. macrounit. 41). and comprehension is partly finding an appropriate organization for a text.
strategies. What is missing is inferred by the reader. Such schemata vary according to culture. which facilitates comprehension. thus. pp. We often need bridging inferences to construct a coherent memorizable relationship. superstructures are macrosyntactic rhetorical conventions beyond grammar. Coherence is thematic continuity. Coherence. According to Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983." "furthermore. Meyer (1985) found that skilled readers approach texts with organizational knowledge and apply strategies that use the highest level structure. p.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 201 Context. Brown and Yule (1983. the opposition's argument... including metadiscourse markers (see Grismore. Superstructures. 251-252). 1979). therefore. or other units of language and culture.e." Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983. and part of comprehension is discovering these schemata. 1983. Bridging inferences are based on background knowledge and they usually take time to become acquainted with. his evidence. It is defined by Kaplan (1972. facilitates perception and controls hypothesis testing. In order to attain full comprehension. Maccoun (1983) relates this model to argumentation and finds that in order to understand argumentative discourse on a macrolevel the reader must be able to recover the author's position or logic. 120) as "an orderly flow of sentences marked by repetition of key ideas. 257) call them "missing links. absence of signaling in well-organized texts did not have much effect on good comprehension. both local and global (see below. p. the lowest level of macrostructure (Van Dijk and Kintsch. are culture specific. one should successfully infer relations of cohesion and coherence. and thus the focus is shifted from the linguistic to the conceptual level.e. resulting in a . and connectives. Added to this is the ability to infer the type of argument used. 1983. such as syllogisms. much like principles. p. and the author's refutation or skepticism about the opposition's argument. A good reader is less concerned with bottom-up processing. 43) assumed that coherence exists when two propositions share a common argument or a common referent and are related." Each link is activated by certain schemata or scenarios. the position of intensity (i. whether the best argument is placed first or last) and the tone (see note 6)." and "so"(Van Dijk 1977). pp. topic shift and its role in sequential relations7 infrequently marked by adverbial expressions of temporal sequence (Longacre. p. markers and their meanings. "Coherence"). categories. for example. The text is thus reduced to its essential components in successive steps. from the detailed text base. i. help reduce a text to its communicative message. as well as semantic gaps and implications. 52). rules. Such inferential processes produce macrostructures. such as "however. The relationship is not always explicit. These are learned by the language user as organizational patterns to aid understanding. 43-47).
and schemata may vary according to culture" (Van Dijk and Kintsch. p. according to Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983. entailment. assuming. which is a discourse function of sentences. Concreteness.202 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse hierarchical macrostructure." This last level covers the rhetorical relationships across complexes of paragraphs. but also involve speech acts of asserting. and drawing conclusions. which appeals to the senses. p. 447) that . but do not tell everything. similarly. Concise style. which are accounted for in terms of relations between propositions in subsequent sentences. "the cultural aspects of these very general and basic strategies of comprehension reside in the fact that the context types. "or overall organization of the entire text. This is strictly related to the summary section of the test designed for this study. which is the top-structure. level concerned with how ideas are organized within and across sentences. p. Ricento (1987. Premises and conclusions are schematic categories which not only are linked through a semantic chain of implication. Pragmatic information is also relevant. 43) sums up the above argument in the three levels of text identified by Meyer (1985): the sentence. which "is concerned with the issues of logical organization and argumentation". both local coherence strategies. are needed.. and the highest level. text types. or microproposition. etc. Local coherence also needs macrocontrol in the form of discourse topic. Coherence is a property of discourse that is underpinned by specific grammatical manifestations known as cohesion. This is a warning offered by Levin (1990. theme. the macropropositional level. Differences as a Source of Difficulty A comparative study of rhetorical conventions in the area of argumentative text types reveals fewer similarities than might be expected. which are characteristic of discourse as a whole including topic. Good writing is economical. upshot. but above all in pragmatic terms. According to Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983). and global coherence strategies. Argumentative discourse is a case in point. p. 238). 239): Some text types are not merely defined in terms of surface structure or semantic content and their schemata. it is boring. or practical inference. implicature. is a mark of good writing in English. Knowing the parameters of cultural and social conventions results in successful conversational interactions. 1983. as well as propositions derived from text understanding and those inferred from world knowledge.
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
reveals a very English-specific characteristic, by no means a universal requirement of style. Arabic, for example, is a language that favors both semantic and syntactic repetition as a mark of good style (see Johnstone 1991). English style, therefore, abounds with gappings and ellipses, and a good deal is thus left unsaid. Hatim (1997, p. 2) describes the intuitions and expectations of a native English reader concerning "effectiveness": if something is dramatized, it is "unsubtle" and inappropriate; it is also not persuasive if it is direct and means exactly what it says. Although in both Arabic and English, argumentation aims at convincing the reader, the onus in English falls on the reader, while in Arabic it falls on the writer. In English, a valid argument cannot be rejected unless a counterargument has been strongly presented. In Arabic, an argument is anchored into the reader/listener's awareness through repetition, another instance of what Kaplan (1983, p. 150) calls a "culture-bound preference." Hatim (1997, pp. 172-173), therefore warned that the Western reader ignores the
seemingly superficial features of the Arabic text [e.g. repetition, parallelism, paraphrase, solidarity, and warmth, etc.] at his peril. They are all there for a purpose and while the means of expressing the attitudinal meanings involved may differ from one language to another, the ends are universal values which are globally recognizable.
In other words, the Western reader may be too involved in his/her own expectations derived from his/her own culture to be able to judge objectively the effectiveness of other rhetorical styles which s/he may find awkward8 (see Hatim, 1997, ch. 14, for a detailed counterargument against accusations directed against the popular qualities of Arabic style). Surface formats and logical markers. Hatim (1997, p. 65) noted that Arabic marks "surface formats more explicitly than, say, English"; by contrast, Johnson (1983) asserted that explicit logical markers are not always present in English texts and most of the time one has to rely on context for interpreting a text's communicative value. These differences between English and Arabic make the comprehension especially of argumentative texts a demanding task for L2 readers. El-Shershabi (1988) described Arabic style as more explicit and cohesive, whereas English is more implicit and coherent. El-Shershabi notices that the rather imprecise usage of pronominal reference in Arabic reduces the degree of textual coherence for foreign readers,9 although a shift in the editorial discourse of Arabic "towards the distributional cohesive patterns of the Anglo-American discourse" (El-Shershabi, 1988, p. 255) is taking place.
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
Topic. Other types of difficulties are related to topic. For example, the topic sentence may not be explicit and the reader has to formulate it him/herself. Another case involves topic shift. Hatim (1997, p. 59) remarked that English suppresses signals of topic shift within and between paragraphs, and the shift is recognized intuitively by being aware of the writer's intentions. When rebuttal requires that claim and counterclaim be juxtaposed, unless the reader is aware of the superstructure of argumentation in English, one paragraph could be mistaken for two by Arabic-speaking students. Ellipsed ideas and coherence. Pragmatic gaps in English are also a source of problems in comprehension. Johnstone (1991) remarked that statements such as /huwwa rufayya9 mish tixi:n/ ("he is thin not fat") are pleonastic in English. Presupposition in English is part of the meaning, whereas Arabic tends to assert. The statement in English violates the default presupposition. Such "reverse paraphrase," saying what something is and then what it is not is typical of Arabic. Thus, it is the area of coherence that creates comprehension problems in English. Coherence and unity as such may be English concepts only; there is no such strict requirement in Arabic, Chinese, or even German, according to Kaplan (1986). Each language has its preferences and valued choices. If we accept Miller and Kintsch's (1981, p. 335) view that "readability can be viewed as an interaction between a text and the reader's prose-processing capabilities, rather than as some innate property of a text," such capabilities partly spring in culture. Halliday (1976, pp. 22-23) also asserted that register, and argumentation is one type, and is understood by a receiver in the context of a situation—in a culture. Cultural background and relevance. As Hatim (1997, p. 3) put it, reading is, in a sense, feeling one's way through a text. It is an epistemological and heuristic attempt at finding relevance, therefore background knowledge is used to fit the new information in and to help in making inferences. It is a cultural issue, of which the superstructures of texts is a part (Van Dijk and Kintsch 1983). If the writer and reader come from different backgrounds, difficulties result. Bernhardt (1993) holds that each cultural context will bring a different set of values into play; as such, texts are cultural artifacts. Presuppositions are about what everyone knows, but not a nonnative speaker (Kaplan, 1983). Presupposed information may be absent from the second-language reader's knowledge, his/her sociocultural skills may be deficient, and his comprehension will be based on linguistic data that are not adequate to recapture the implicit information carried by the text. The reader in this case uses inappropriate cognitive strategies to build an inappropriate model of the text, without being aware of the prob-
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
lem; as a result, inappropriate inferences are made (Johnson, 1983, p. 31). If speaker and hearer do not share knowledge about categories or if the speaker presupposes sociocultural events, actions, or situations that are not shared by the hearer, there is a break in comprehension. Culture is a shared system of knowledge and beliefs, a kind of a conceptual code, by which people order their perceptions and experience and make decisions, and by which they act, interpret themselves and the world, and formulate behavior (Vivelo, 1978). Superstructure. The difficulty in understanding argumentative discourse in English can result from the macrolevel alone. Sentences at the microlevel or even paragraphs can be understood separately, but this does not guarantee an understanding of the overall idea, i.e., the logical development of the text. Maccoun's (1983) experiment shows that macroissues are more problematic than local or micropoints. The overall organizational pattern resulting in coherence may escape the reader due to loss in cues. Superstructures facilitate the accessibility of cues and, when they are inaccessible, comprehension fails. Recall and summarization are good judges of such overall comprehension. In argumentative discourse in particular, where the meaning resides in the relationship of parts to the whole, i.e., the development of the argument from claim to refutation to evidence and then to conclusion, the knowledge of superstructure guides and controls comprehension at the same time. The absence of macrocontrol may result in making the wrong predictions or in preventing the student from locating the writer's bias (see "Categories of comprehension of argumentation" above and "Results and discussion," below). A student who is preoccupied with the local analysis of sentence-by-sentence (bottom-up) comprehension, unaware of top-down control in argumentative discourse, is bound to be confounded by the uncontrolled multiplicity of incoming information. Macrostrategies of comprehension, therefore, require much training to complement the inferencing of local properties by local coherence strategies. A common developmental error that Maccoun (1983) discovered in her case studies of nonnative comprehension of argumentative texts in English is to mistake the opposition's argument for the author's. The student gets an impression from reading the first paragraph, for example, and never changes it, even when the paragraph questions and does not assert (Maccoun, 1983, p. 44). This finding is highly corroborated by the present study: many students either totally lost sight of the opposition or mistook it for the writer's viewpoint (see "Results and discussion").10 Hatim also agreed that counterargument "for many Arab users of English...seems to be a blind spot" (1997, p. 50). They are unable to appreciate "the subtle rhetorical functions involved in counterargument in English" (p. 158). The concept of refutation in argu-
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
mentation seems to be a very difficult point to hammer home to Arabicspeaking students. It is a cultural issue and requires very special attention. That is why Kaplan (1983) insisted on confronting difficulties for nonEnglish speakers, not by more linguistic training, but by teaching a language in its cultural context, i.e., its communicative functions. How much is left out of a text and controlled by a wider cultural context is thus a serious problem (Kaplan, 1972, p. 121). Following the analysis of George Steiner, Kaplan (1983) called these types of difficulties "ontological." They are epistemological in nature and cannot be resolved by linguistic means. They occur when "the contact of intelligibility" between sender and receiver is broken (Kaplan, 1983, p. 141). Kaplan's example is that of discourse "focus" as opposed to "topic." It is a culturally bound syntactic strategy that marks prominence of information in a text. Fronting in Arabic, and clefting, passive voice, and subordination in English are examples. If the reader is not aware of these hierarchies of levels of information, s/he can never get to the gist of an argument. The cultural nature of logic. As stipulated by Raphael and Newman (1983, p. 314), the highest form of argument appeals to reason. Reason is what distinguishes argumentation from persuasion according to Baker (1896). Reason appeals to Aristotelian logic, which has always permeated Western argumentation. Kaplan (1966, p. 1) warned that "logic,...which is the basis of rhetoric, is evolved out of a culture, it is not universal." People interpret the world differently and so they express it differently. Kaplan saw the interpretation of the world rather in the reader. Mastering the logic of a language is part of learning it (see al-Khawli, 1931). English develops deductively or inductively, and the maturity of style depends on the degree of subordination. Arabic, on the other hand, works by coordination (Kaplan 1966, p. 8). Arab rhetoricians may have been aware of Western logic since the third century CE. They were among the earliest translators of the classics, particularly Aristotle. But although they were aware of Western logic and widely studied and practiced counterargumentation for a period of tune, they did not finally adopt the Western model. According to Hatim (1997, p. 160), "the sociocultural milieu of Arab Islamic society was quite different in negotiating texts." Al-Sharkawi (1986) confirms the fact that Islamic theology had been greatly influenced by the Greek method of reasoning; however, this trend had been greatly opposed by the Islamic mainstream of thought. The conviction was that any approach to reason or argumentation must not outgrow the limits for human thought laid by the Creator.11 Al-Khawli (1931) confirms the roots of Arab/Islamic philosophy, theology, and rhetoric in Western thought from the time of the translations of Greek texts in the third century. Poetry and logic were fused
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
together. But the development of Arabic rhetoric has been limited to lexical and sentential boundaries. The concept of paragraph as a unit of thought and logic and the autonomy of text structure does not exist in Arabic. What Johnstone-Koch (1983, p. 49) called presentation is a typically Arabic mode that does not depend on rigid organization but on stating and restating a claim, i.e., when "emphasis serves to uphold a conviction." It is convincing by repeating, "something English writers are taught to avoid." This is what Hatim (1997, p. 8) called through argument. Maccoun (1983) found that L2 learners scored better with a text that contained one point of view rather than two or three, although the vocabulary and the syntax of the single-viewpoint text were more difficult. In a patriarchal society, social order is imposed by authority that is always assumed to know more and, therefore, is fit to direct and to be used as a "persuasive" tool to change things. Compliance by group or individual in that case is a social virtue. In the Islamic tradition, the Quran is the ultimate authority, and strong adherence is a tribal trait (Daif, , pp. 18-19). Thus, an argumentative method is based on authority: the speaker is in no position to be refuted. Repetition drives the message home safely, hence the "presentational" method discussed by Johnstone (1987; 1991) in connection with Arabic, whose goal is "not to convince but to instill in the reader a sense of identification with its point of view" (1991, p. 105). In that case, fact and opinion, which must be differentiated in an English argument in order not to distort the message, often converge in an Arabic argument, while coordination is preferred to subordination. Johnstone-Koch presents a sociolinguistic explanation of argumentative rhetoric in Arabic. However, a historical one is also due. Argumentation in a large part of Arabic literature was directed toward the defense of i'jaz ("inimitability") of the Holy Quran, where denial or opposition had no place. Explaining i 'jaz became the ultimate aim of rhetoric. A good number of sciences were derived from the Quran. For one school, rhetoric was a philosophical issue aimed at establishing proof for the Muslim people. A second school, headed by Al-Sakkaki and his followers, opposed the possibility of explanation or proof. In this context, the initial statement or any claim at all had to be accepted as sincere. Johnstone-Koch (1983, pp. 53-54) remarked that an argument about a universal truth is presentation, whereas an argument about a doubtful truth is proof. Since Arabic arguments were mostly religious, they were of the first type. The audience was not skeptical. Counterargument is purposeful only in the case of a skeptical audience, where the initial statement cannot be taken at face value. The lip-service paid in concessions, for example, would appear to an Arabic-speaking reader as "devious" (Hatim 1997, p.170). The "truth" should be made available through direct means (see "Results and discussion" for findings concerning the present sample in this connection).
the general tendency is traditional: the writer "advocates or condemns a given stance. p. Such is the . p. p. The counterargument selects a summary of someone else's viewpoint and offers a rebuttal or an explicit concession. The typical commercial attempts to persuade by making the commodity actually present and not by building up a logically convincing situation. Hatim (1997. ideology. Although in modern standard Arabic. there is no recognition for the opposition. such as "saving face. As such. Western-educated writers use counterargument. 1997. Since most rhetoricians agree that in argumentation the focus is on the audience. and sociopolitical norms. p. 1997. 1997. glossing over beliefs entertained by an adversary" (Hatim. Hatim (1997) argues that such a mode is not necessarily less persuasive than a logical structure. freedom of speech. It is just another mode addressed to a different public with different expectations. p. In short. Whether this is symptomatic of the attitude toward persuasion in the culture is not the issue here: the issue is whether frequent exposure to such methods affects the expectations of the public. through-arguments are masked expositions (Hatim. 53). 1997. power. and so on (Hatim. However. Such a format is culture specific and is not available to all languages. the question that is of interest to the present research is not whether students of English in this part of the world are ready to adopt an English argumentative method in their writings or in advertising—the question is whether they can understand an English argument when they read one. social life. "It is therefore the speakers and not the languages which must be held countable" (Hatim." attitudes toward truth. 171) proposes the following rhetorical maxim to govern the relation between arguer and audience in Arabic: On a given occasion. 47). 47). He identifies two types of argument: through-argument and counterargument.208 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse Even a quick look at commercials on the Egyptian television confirms this situation. and political system. whereas the second is preferred in English. assume that the world is divided into those who vehemently oppose your views and those who wholeheartedly endorse them. The choice between one type and the other is motivated by matters such as politeness. Hatim (1997). Through-argument states a viewpoint to be extensively substantiated or argued through no reference to an adversary (thesis-substantiation-conclusion). The first is preferred in Arabic. but when it comes to whom your contribution is designed to address. talk only to your supporters and ignore the opposition. including students of English. or family role. however. 154). raises an issue in connection with Johnstone's analysis of the "presentation" method in Arabic argumentation.
Such a tendency highlights the topic not by factorizing it. bearing in mind the nature of the language we use. These tools are aided by a large system of connectives and an elaborate pronominal reference. creating a similar relation between the larger chunks. coordination of ideas. in which some elements enjoy a higher communicative value than others. p. The "body" of information is easier to grasp. 1983. creates an informationally accumulative effect without establishing relations among the parts. hence the frequent use of the term tawkidu al-ma'na ("emphasizing the meaning") in describing the function of such tools in Arabic rhetoric. but by underlining it. . is marked by a topic shift. is not present in Arabic. and the gestalt can be missed. pp. are confronted with problems because they are not trained in looking for the central idea. Thinking linearly through coordination. The structure of a paragraph in English is based on subordination: a number of ideas are subordinated to one central idea. the last of which is the main determinant. and the purpose. Accordingly. The thing that is present to the consciousness assumes an importance that the theory and practice of argumentation must take into consideration. 116-117) describes a theory of presence that may be a psychological phenomenon but also an essential factor in the rationalistic conceptions of reasoning. which is used in macrocontrol to facilitate comprehension (see "Categories of comprehension of argumentation"). which is the study of how to express oneself correctly and effectively. A paragraph.e. This is essentially a hierarchical structure. i. the subject we are speaking or writing about. therefore. Students trained to read in Arabic. Such a nuclear structure.. (See "Score results" for an example of how this can result in miscomprehending an English text.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 209 macrorhetorical organization of an Arabic argumentative text: support is taken for granted. by verbal magic alone. 249). one of the preoccupations of a speaker is to make present. Subordination vs. the kind of audience we have in view. where parallelism and repetition are established as a strong tendency (see the example in note 10).) Thinking hierarchically renders the gestalt clearer through creating prominence. the paragraphs. which is often signaled by topic markers (Brown and Yule. what is actually absent but which he considers important to his argument. which is the topic statement. therefore. which highlights the topic. The same structure is repeated in the larger text. Perelman (1969. there should be no absolute value attached to either approach to argumentation so long as each is suited to its purpose and its audience. If we take into consideration Grierson's (1945) definition of the Aristotelian view of rhetoric (quoted in Johnson. 1983).
Three judges were asked to provide answers to all the questions. For this purpose the budget expenditure topic seemed suitable in that it did not contain inaccessible knowledge which would obstruct comprehension.5%12 for reasons such as "it is puzzling. "we have to know who Adam Smith is and what he theorizes. the judges had no difficulties with the text. but has enough cultural information to test the importance of background knowledge in understanding a text. the judges' opinions were decisive." Three top-ranking students were given an extra question that asked them to rate the test as a final examination in reading comprehension in terms of difficulty as "fair. which seemed obscure to the British native speaker. They were also asked to provide opinion as to the suitability of the test in terms of the study's goal and the degree of difficulty and clarity of the text and questions." "complex and unfamiliar topic. with the exception of sentence 28. as he commented. very difficult. In fact. Selection of text used in study test The passage (Appendix 1) for this test was selected because it met the following requirements. it was • an authentic text written for native speakers of English in a native environment and for a practical purpose • of medium difficulty. The passage was found difficult and/or boring by 52. Cairo University. difficult. The three judges were teachers of writing." "not straightforward.5% found it enjoyable for reasons ranging from discussing a real. difficult. important." because. which guided the researcher in assessing the students' answers. or unfair. two American and one British. However. not just to answer questions." Two of them considered the test and the passage to be "difficult" and one "fair" • of reasonable length with familiar vocabulary. who were expected to graduate within five months of the test.210 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse Study Design This study is based on a test administered to 61 fourth-year students of English language and literature at the department of English. and new problems that were hard to four subjects. 47. and up-to-date topic to the fact that it was challenging because it posed indirect. in answering question 1 (whether the reader enjoyed the passage and why). touching on some foreign cultural idiosyncrasies to test the students' inference strategies • about a serious subject of universal interest to "involve" the students learning something new in the process of reading. For this purpose. all native speakers of English. It consisted of a passage of argumentative discourse and a number of questions designed to test the students' aptitude in comprehending the passage." . His comment was "sentence 28 is a bit obscure.
Students in the English department of Cairo University receive intensive instruction in reading different types of texts. 2. and 12) that were considered for discussion but received no score. In planning the test. they were then given another half hour to write the combined recall-summary exercise and answer the biographical questionnaire. 1. after which all papers including the text were collected. and also to disqualify from the study students who may have had . The students were given one and a half hours to read and answer the questions. including the first term of the fourth year. "having learnt this much. should ask. and the superstructure. i. 8). The questionnaire is meant to divide the students into two groups of Arabic. during the first year of their studies." p. what can the student do with it?" Each item of the ideal proficiency test should be designed to elicit an answer that will demonstrate the student's competence in relation to the three major areas of textual organization: the micropropositional level. The test included attitudinal/opinion questions (nos. A proficiency test to evaluate students' language abilities. it was a text that tended to be more implicit than explicit.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 211 and "too technical" (with one subject response for each).and English-medium background of at least secondary school education in a bid to compare the impact of a prolonged period of exposure to English on comprehension. 3. according to Harrison (1986. section B). 11. the macropropositional structure. section A) and multiple-choice questions (MCQs. Test: method and practicalities The study test (Appendix 1) was designed as a proficiency test for a specific purpose: to determine how students apply the reading skills they have developed through three and a half years of instruction. The text was then analyzed by the researcher into its units and their functions (see Appendix 2) in keeping with the adopted model (see "Categories of comprehension of argumentation. and "not interested in the topic" and "incoherent and no unity" (both of which were represented by two subject responses each) • a selection from a book on teaching reading skills to L1 English learners to ensure the passage's representative value as a comprehension text • characterized by a style of English more typical than that used in teaching passages in general. Questions asked while the text passage was available for review by the students (part I) were of two general types: open-ended (OEQs. p. 199).. and continue to attend combined courses in reading and writing throughout the three successive years.e. the explicit naming of categories was avoided in order not to lead students to interpretations. with few logical connectives—it was thus selected to encourage inference strategies and deducing of presuppositions for appropriate interpretation of the text. including argumentative texts.
and • the ability to tell fact from opinion (MCQ 9). Rationale for question types used It is commonplace knowledge that not all types of questions are relevant for every purpose. They may be coercive in the sense that they strain the student to find the answer. provided they are passage dependent and hold no grammatical clues (Bernhardt. and cohesion (OEQs 2. blanket criticism that multiple-choice questions are inadequate for determining a test taker's actual skill and comprehension. such as hedges. 14. 13. 12. The test starts with questions of a global nature. and therefore. knowing that the right one is there. Conversely.4. 17. 13. which are concerned with relationships rather than isolated facts.212 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse more exposure through foreign parents or by living for a long time in an English-speaking country. MCQs 3. these questions are suitable for testing particular information. which minimizes random guessing to one fourth. 11. . because they tend to test local information and grammatical structure within clause boundaries (Van Dijk and Kintsch. before moving on to details. 198). 5. the number of answer choices is four. 10. serve to free the reader's imagination. In the present case. 18. 1993. MCQs 1. the writer's bias. 7. It assumed that the student understands the passage if s/he recognizes the following components: • the nature/function of the passage as a whole as an argumentative text type (OEQ 8. open-ended questions. cloze tests are. 197). and their loci (OEQs 5. evidence. They encourage guessing. 6) • elements of local and global coherence. A number of criticisms are equally leveled against multiple-choice questions. an understanding of the passage is assumed if the student demonstrates: • the ability to use inference strategies (OEQs 7. In addition. 6). For example. 1983). summary) • elements of argumentative text type: major claim. p. opposition. 3. to find out about global organization in connected discourse cloze tests are irrelevant. 9. but it is suggested that this problem can be partly overcome by increasing the number of answer choices. 1993. related to the writer's tone and attitude toward the subject and audience (OEQs 3. 7. we should remember that comprehension is a subjective activity. both implicitly and explicitly marked. 16. MCQs 7. therefore dismissed as "inadequate" and "unfair" for second-language learners and function more as a vocabulary exercise than as an assessment of reading comprehension (Bernhardt. 8 ). 4. summary) • presence of discourse markers. 15. p. In spite of further.
remarked. making use of the positive aspects of each. tests the degree of macrocontrol exercised by the test takers. 11. Questions that received no scores (OEQs 1. Smith (1988. the latter includes as many details as possible. 2. The summary is a form of condensed paraphrase that is essentially a sign of comprehension. Bernhardt (1993). for example. a form of translation. For these reasons. According to Maria (1990). the present test combines both summary and recall in one exercise (see Appendix 1). as such. translation bridges the language barrier in expression. according to Maria (1990." Recall is a short-term memory activity. but avoids the negative effects of consulting the text. qualified by information from the passage analysis presented in Appendix 2. whereas the former contains only important and general ideas and. Concerning the diagnostic functions of recall techniques. noted Bernhardt (1993. the subjects were asked to write their summaries in Arabic. In order to avoid the pitfalls of rote memorization in direct recall. "you do not prove that you have understood anything by repeating it. Making summaries is among the best learning and reading strategies for comprehension. Scoring and evaluation Open-ended questions (OEQs) were assessed subjectively. Not all authorities concur.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 213 Summary and recall are two different activities of the test. The . the lack of linguistic knowledge is sometimes the principal component in comprehension failures. 43). It does not require lengthy repetition as in recall. 189). For that reason. so that by converting the message into a different code there is a guarantee that what is operating is a comprehension strategy. Model answers were obtained from the judges' responses. 187) especially when recall is performed in the native language. "Getting the main idea or summarizing is almost synonymous with comprehension"(p. p. since they are suitable for and helpful in a variety of texts. The present study combines the two. thought that recall helps focus on important text information: "it is the preferred method of investigating foreign-language readers' comprehension"(p. summarizing can be done only when the text is understood. 3. at the same time the requirement of a summary objectifies the structure and unity of the text. only what is committed to long-term memory is what is understood. the present research uses translation. p. because it allows gaps and misunderstandings to surface. Apart from the lack of appropriate cultural knowledge. p. 160). for example. The exercise combines the merits of both recall and summarizing. Writing in the reader's native language thus reduces the degree to which the message is deflected. 98). experts have divided opinions. and in Smith's opinion. Moreover. 12) were attitudinal and opinion questions.
with 90% between 20 and 22. with the exception of 8 and 9. as could be deduced from analysis of the relevant answers. who thought the writer "presents a hard to determine issue. the writer "sides" with the identifiable lives. The open-ended questions that received scores were uniformly assessed with scores ranging from zero to five. who performed fairly well. but the latter subject thought that the writer is "leaving the choice to the reader" . the two attitudes were different: the one who performed less well overall was intimidated while the other. Ages ranged between 19 and 28 years.214 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse summary was also assessed subjectively. Results and Discussion Opinion among the sample subjects as to whether the passage was enjoyable was almost equally divided. answers by two students were picked at random to represent each view: subject 16. were each represented by a single student—the rest were 23 or 24 years of age. who also said they enjoyed the passage. Answers to OEQ 2 about how clear the reader found the passage also show that opinion was equally divided. To exemplify. The students who came from Arabic secondary schools with fewer years of exposure to English. since no reliable method for scoring such an exercise is available. which was scored between zero and four. On the other hand. Most of those who considered it "boring" did not understand either the organization or the content or both. subject 46 scored 67 and found the passage interesting. Two subjects. Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) likewise scored between zero and four. Maria (1990) recommends this subjective approach. Only three mentioned English or French as a medium of instruction in the biographical questionnaire. 20 males) who had just finished the first-term examination (for graduation in June." Although both students had difficulty understanding the passage. was challenged. As such. because "I haven't understood it directly. 19 and 28. were 26." found that in paragraph 7. Subject 12. who found it "boring" had a general test score of 28 of a possible 113. were aware that the writer is arguing for and against. this student was unable to determine the writer's bias. the extremes of age. 35 students came from secondary schools that used the English language as a medium of instruction. Sample population Sixty-one randomly selected fourth-year students (41 females. which allows the researcher to spot misinterpretation or restructurings in retelling. It is somehow puzzling. 1999) took the test.
16." found that the writer was "not able to get what he wants to say. 31. • The difficult sentences are generally nos. occupational safety. • Other difficult issues are: the main idea (one subject). . whereas others found them confusing. 12 students suggested removing paragraphs 7. Medicaid. which leads to his bias (see Appendix 2). 34. while paragraphs 8 and 9 scored very high in difficulty: 21 subjects rated paragraph 8 and 10 rated paragraph 9 as difficult. political names. 23." Another student who enjoyed the passage. in other words. one subject found these paragraphs incoherent. this opinion was echoed by another subject who felt that the writer "goes in circles. the connection with the terrorist attacks. and 39. • One subject found the passage "all difficult." Another subject could not tell whether the writer is for or against open-heart surgery. and how welfare-state policies focus on identifiable lives. Adam Smith's opinion proved enigmatic." The answers by the remainder of the study population are summarized and listed below: • Difficult vocabulary includes "technical words. These proved to be the two most problematic paragraphs of the whole text. only five subjects answered "no" and one wrote "I don't know." • Four subjects found paragraph 7 difficult. the conservative account of the problem. several opinions are expressed explicitly but the writer's own is implied. 29. in answer to OEQ 2 (clarity of passage). These subjects among others probably lost track of the argument as the writer summed up his claims in preparation for the counterattack. One subject could not understand why." One subject who answered OEQ 1 negatively found that the writer "seems as if saying the opposite of what he wants" (italics mine). and 9 in answer to OEQ 11. 26. Yet another student who did not enjoy the passage wrote that the writer clearly "hesitates".Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 215 because he is arguing for and against "each side. In keeping with these judgments. and liberal. in paragraph 6. but he is in favor of neither. In other words. while in answer to OEQ 12. Paragraphs 1-4 also proved a little troublesome: a number of subjects found at least three of them dispensable. 8. the bias is not determined. difference between statistical lives and identifiable. "except paragraphs 8 and 9. commented that the writer talks about saving two types of lives. 20. 24. the writer says that "the resources are scarce and this is the reason why they cannot do both: helping those in need and preventing future needs." Concerning the answer to OEQ 3 about places of special difficulty in the passage." such as monetary theory. Most prominently. Another student who did not enjoy reading the passage.
Other answers varied among "capitalist. For example. 8. who was identified as a theorist in economy by another subject from the same subgroup. Answers to microlevel questions (e. 6. However. such as OEQ 7.216 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse Score results Tables 1 and 2 quantify the general scores for each question for 26 students who had an Arabic secondary school education and 35 from English secondary school education respectively. total points earned by the 26 students was 28. 14. In Table 3 the total percentage of scores drops lower as the questions increase in comprehension difficulty." "philosophy. The answer by two subjects of subgroup 2 included the title Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Questions on coherence connected with local prepositional issues.9% (28. 11. received no scores. therefore.g. and 18 and MCQs 3. there were only 22 valid answers. 5.5. or was part of an incomplete paper (so-called nonanswers). such as OEQs 13." "economist. summary) scored much lower. questions ranged in value from four to six points (for details. 14. OEQ's 1. i. OEQs 7. Macropropositional structure is higher and the micropropositional level is higher still. Column 4 quantifies all the questions that were answered." "politician.e. and 7. however. Since that question was scored from zero to four (five possible scores)." The response to this question is relevant to background information on the topic of discourse.. 15. below 50%. 3. as the categories became more abstract. 22 times 5." "conservative. This particular item as I found out later from the students themselves is covered in the civilization course required for English majors at Cairo University." was left blank.. scored much higher. The lowest scores for both groups is connected with the superstructure component. . the total percentage of the valid answers in this subpopulation is thus 25.5 divided by 110). MCQs 3. even knowing who Adam Smith was. in the case of OEQ 6 of Table 1. Column 5 tabulates the percentage of scores obtained by all valid answers in the subgroup collectively to the total scores calculated for each question. and 12. It is also noteworthy that of 23 questions. 7) scored very low in the case of coherence elements connected with the superstructure. 13. 5. as calculated in points. 10. The only remarkable score in the test is that of OEQ 14 in both tables 1 and 2. the scores of 15 questions are below 50%. since they concern opinion and attitude. Column 2 tabulates the total score on each question of each subpopulation. the total against which the percentage is calculated is. 18.") Column 3 marks the cases in which the answer was "I don't know. In this example." and "writer. see above "Scoring and evaluation. 6. the students revealed in their answers to OEQ 3 that his theory was not very clear to them. or 110. It is noticeable that all the percentages are. 2. OEQs connected with organizational issues on both propositional and superstructural levels (Qs 4. 6.
4 42.) Total Score (%) 12.1 29.5 18 51 44 44 39 72 0 44 33 61 46.8 MCQs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 55 75 70 50 55 50 55 41 10 38 1 2 3 9 1 4 22 26 25 26 26 25 24 23 17 26 50.2 36.8 44.5 16.0 42.6 32.0 0 28.8 93.0 57. MCQs = multiple-choice questions .3 38.3 56.) Valid answers (no.2 Summary OEQs = open-ended questions.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 217 Table 1.5 38.5 72.0 45.3 40.6 56.6 15.0 38. Score percentages per question attained by students (n = 26) from Arabic-medium secondary schools: open-ended questions.8 25. Subject OEQs 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 13 14 15 16 17 18 16 71 1 4 2 2 2 2 2 6 8 7 9 13 26 25 22 24 24 24 24 24 20 18 19 17 13 Total Score (points) Nonanswers (no.
5 6 67 44 76 51.7 29.2 12. MCQs = multiple-choice questions .0 21.) Valid answers (no.1 58.0 4.4 45.) Total Score (%) 32.8 11.5 30.0 MCQs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 60 100 115 75 20 50 70 62 14 21 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 34 34 35 34 34 34 35 34 34 33 35.3 1.0 101.3 76. Subject OEQs 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 13 14 15 16 17 18 5 52 23 3 41 60 31 37 1 3 3 4 3 3 4 34 32 32 31 32 32 31 35 35 5 9 6 15 30 26 29 20 2. Score percentages per question attained by students (n = 35) from English-medium secondary schools.4 40.9 25.5 20.6 37.9 Total Score (points) Nonanswers (no.2 58.8 65.7 42.5 10.3 Summary OEQs = open-ended questions.5 14.218 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse Table 2.
." The most popular answer here was "to assert a fact" or "to emphasize his idea.." "how to.1% 28.." In answering OEQ 10 (identify one word and one sentence as the most important in the passage)... The concessive function of the item "true" completely escaped the test takers' comprehension. subgroup 2 = 35 students with an English-medium secondary school background.6% 38..." This is the closest that anyone got to the topic of the argument. very few got both word and sentence right. despite the misunderstanding about "saving money. responses ranged from getting the right answer to completely missing the point." "state a fact." Other curious answers include one that considered one of the views expounded in the passage to be that of Adam Smith.. another student from the subgroup 1 explained that "the writer wants to solve the conflict or the dilemma of saving souls and saving money. and another that indicated that the "writer's view is the whole text." Equally disconcerting is the answer to OEQ 6: all forms of hedging in the article were not recognized. The . for an answer by a single subject from subgroup 1 that only hinted at the idea of an argument." Equally important is that in answering OEQ 9. Only two subjects from subgroup 1 hinted at "discussing two opposite views" while a third. with descriptors such as: "to expose both sides of the issue. Micropropositional level Subgroup 1 Subgroup 2 Macropropositional level Superstructure Subgroup 1 Subgroup 2 Subgroup 1 Subgroup 2 49." "a fact and its opposite. and 9 nor the modal verbs and hypothetical start (sentence 1) and finish (sentences 36 and 37)." as well as "to expose opposite opinion.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 219 Table 3. The answers to OEQ 8 were expected to elicit a response containing the word "argue" or any of its derivatives or synonyms. neither the concessions in paragraphs 1-6. from subgroup 2. Answers.. The highest score recorded for this question was one (of five)." etc.2% 52. Many mistook the writer's position for either the side of saving identifiable lives or being able to do both or "don't have to choose." "show." Finally. Total score percentages classified according to the categories of comprehension used in this study. instead.7% Subgroup 1 = 26 students with an Arabic-medium secondary school background.." "explain..1% 35.. OEQ 4 scored very low.. The conflict is between helping identifiable lives and saving statistical lives..5% 29. varied among "wanted to choose between. mentioned the word "argue. which set the tone for the whole passage..
Sixteen subjects. which marks the sentence relations in the paragraph. were low." "true." "explanation." "identifiable.e. Six students said the author had no definite conclusion." "welfare state. and the counterargument in paragraph 6. his conclusion." All were considered correct (see analysis in Appendix 2). one said the writer concluded that we could do both. an organizational issue." Responses to this question are strongly confirmed by the score of MCQ 2. The writer's choice. whereas scores for both groups on Q 10. None of these answers touches on the real function of the paragraph. one of whom added that in so doing. "is a summary. Only one answered that paragraph 6 supports the assumptions in paragraph 5." "statistical. The MCQs were mostly on the microlevel." The only acceptable answers were considered to be "choose" and "dilemma." or "sums up. This is actually the opposite of what the writer concludes in the passage. The response to OEQ 16 (the role of paragraph 7 in the development of the text) reveals a very important fact concerning the judges' opinion. i. called it a "climax. and preparation for the counterargument and attack against the welfare-state position in order to declare the choice we ought to make. however. gave the answer "summarizes" what went before. One subject." and one said "analysis of problem.220 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse majority got the sentence right." "goals. Both subgroups scored fairly well on MCQ 8. nowhere else in their answers." "policy. without referring to the counterargument. Five participants said the writer took the side of identifiable lives." two said it "raises/reveals conflict." and "further classification and setting up the rest of the argument" by the three judges respectively. including the summary. is there a sign of fitting it into an overall schematic structure. Paragraph 7 is transitional between the first half of the argument." and "choose. but missed the word." The answers to OEQs 15 and 16 about the passage's superstructure scored widely: for Q 15 (the relation between paragraph 5 and paragraph 6) ranged from 0% in Table 1 to 4% in Table 2. were not clear to any of the students. the functions of stating the claim in paragraph 5. which attempts to confirm the dilemma by asserting that we have to choose. The other two identified the relationship as "problem and solution" and "reality and choice" (see Appendix 2). It was called "argument. Although study participants were aware of the propositional content of the paragraph. which was about fact or opinion. which asks the same question in a different form." "needs. is the subject of OEQ 17. It is interesting to note that the judges too were not sure about this function either. he is subtle and indirect." "dilemma. The summary was meant to further clarify and probably underline . again. and yet another thought the writer was puzzled. Once more. Some of the answers to what is the most important word were "regrettably. confirming the dilemma. from group 2.
The correlation between the scores of OEQ 16 and MCQ 2 is further substantiation of this fact. Since students at the Department of English. 17. but fewer could connect the paragraph with the transitional function of "summing up" what came before to prepare for the next phase. They could not weave the pieces together because the controlling schema was absent. 10. which is an essential mechanism for securing macrocontrol and allowing for successful predictions." A good number of the summaries were either too vague or inadequate. either explaining a viewpoint or showing/explaining a situation.. instead of using their own words. but could not make them cohere. The answers to OEQs 8.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 221 some of the findings resulting from the response to questions. OEQ 8. and no one mentioned the word "argument. Cairo University. it can be concluded here that either they are not able to generalize the schema or that when the rigid pattern they are acquainted with is slightly broken—they feel lost." One student turned the issue into a moral question of whether it is right to let people who happen to be sick for no fault of their own suffer. 9. Subjects were aware of fragments of the propositional and superstructural levels. More students in both groups connected the phrase "make three points" to "summarize" or "sum up" in MCQ 1. from argument to counterargument in almost every paragraph (see Appendix 2). giving only part of the issue.) A general remark is due here: Subjects mostly quoted sentences verbatim when answering questions nos. To many. The closest to understanding the article as a semiargument was a student from subgroup 1 who missed the aspect of "choosing" altogether. 9. while others saw it as a sociopolitical issue of class distinctions. the greater part of the sample population attended to local and sentential details of prepositional meaning and organizational structure at the expense of macropropositional meaning and superstructure. These shifts must have been rather puzzling . But the most important remark to make is that the article was invariably received as a piece of exposition. (By semiargument I mean recognizing the content as explaining a dilemma but unaware of the organizational pattern. etc. are taught the patterns of argumentative discourse throughout their four years of study. The writer kept shifting from claim to opposition. Several subjects missed the central issue in the argument. The zig-zag nature of the argumentative pattern used in the test passage is not very common in writing argumentative discourse. Findings The above results show that in an attempt to comprehend the passage. the writer's conclusion "was to do both. and 10 reveal that subjects were not in possession of a macropropositional component.
1983. therefore. Application is in the most part faulty. who are rigidly trained to expect a stereotyped pattern—once the sequence is changed. counterclaim. hampers the indirect functions of concession and counterargument in an English text. p. which is a linear development. whereas the latter is on the schematic superstructural level. one subject who seemed to appreciate the "subtle and indirect" tone of the passage still failed to recognize the bias of the writer. The lack of comprehension for those who did not even partly grasp the schema resulted in their judging the passage as boring. the discrepancy in the two subgroups' scores to OEQ 7 (15% and 1. the writer "prefers" identifiable lives. to this student. was alluded to by Bernhardt (1993) and Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983). For those who were aware of the intricacies of the schema it was challenging and enjoyable. the type of inference involved in MCQ 1 is different from that involved in Q 7: the former is on the macropropositional level. The importance of text structure in comprehension. However. However. for a detailed discussion of these variations) may be present in the subjects' awareness only by name. see "Comprehension" above. The conventional schema of argumentation in English (claim. concession-assertion. since both questions are related to the same claim in the same argument. The summary. which brings to mind Van Dijk and Kintsch's assertion that the reader's cultural background usually dominates the writer's in the process of reader comprehension of the writer's work.222 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse to students. refutation/concession. and due to the zig-zag nature of the argument. the concessive function of this item was missed. the data proved to be puzzling and off-putting at times. Maccoun (1983. However. which follows a top-down hierarchical development. requiring the answer aptly given by one of the judges. particularly in the absence of cohesive devices. "true" was understood primarily as an "emphatic" element. The misinterpretation of the repeated use of "true" in the early part of the passage points to the fact that in the absence of a control schema. Comprehension strategies by study participants followed a bottom-up direction. at each stage the learner acquires: . The "directness" required by readers of Arabic for making proof by emphasizing and presenting the writer's argument.9%) and MCQ 1 (55% and 60%) is puzzling. let alone completely misinterpreted. 95) suggests a tentative scale of developmental stages of acquisition order of the comprehension of argumentative discourse. no macrocontrol was exercised. Significantly. demonstrates that the passage was received as a piece of exposition rather than argumentation and as a problem-solving technique at best. the text turns featureless. conclusion) with its ordering variation (see Maccoun.
" "talks about. Labels may be required for comprehension. because words like "argument. that the subjects did not show any ability in locating components of the argumentative passage or in identifying their functions. the answers included comments like "showing the reader.. most students connected modals with . and 10 refrained from answering OEQ 8. The theoretical aspect of their knowledge could not be put into practical use. at least 51. They are not in control of a discovery procedure whereby..." It is clear.. No one was aware of the categories of refutation or concession combined with the global bias. These students those who considered the text an exposition. in answering OEQ 17 about the writer's conclusion." and "opposition" appear sporadically in their answers. after three and a half years of training in reading comprehension. Similarly. but what is more important is to be able to attach those labels to their respective functional loci in order to recognize the type of discourse and its superstructure." but it was to "argue for saving identifiable lives" rather than statistical lives. The students' control of coherence strategies also proved quite inadequate." and some thought the writer sided with identifiable lives or that the writer was "puzzled. 12% in Stage 3. when faced with something new.. acquires direct refutation (stage 4) • acquires concession (stage 5) • acquires local and global bias.. In answering OEQ 6 (use of modals). But in answering OEQ 8 about the writer's intention.7% of the sample population is in stage 1. If placed on such a scale." "states a new policy." etc.. they can probe into its nature to discover its identity.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 223 • views discourse as neutral (stage 1) • mistakes opposition's argument for author's argument (stage 2) • acquires local bias (stage 3) • correctly identifies author's global argument.. direct refutation and concession (stage 6) • acquires sarcastically marked disagreement (stage 7).. According to this classification." a few said "no solution" or "we could do both." "wanting to choose.. six said "I don't know. They tended to concentrate on details of an intrasentential nature and on word meanings more than on global coherence strategies. commenting that the writer "tries to make people care about." or draws the reader's attention to " We find 13.." eight said "no conclusion. without which no true comprehension is possible.7% in Stage 2. therefore." "counterargument.. They have learned the labels. most students are still in the early stages of understanding argumentation. Only one subject used the term "argue. The remainder of the stages are not represented in this sample.." "exposition." shows two types of.
224 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse their habitual meanings.. The transfer from Arabic argumentation by repetition of one's claim and ignoring the opposition may have been what prompted the study subjects to interpret "true" in this context as the author's way "to assert a fact" (eight students). e. the repetition was mistaken for "emphasis. students from an English-medium background scored substantially lower than those from an Arabic-medium background. Acknowledgments I would like to thank Professor Robert Kaplan of the University of Southern California for his encouragement during our discussion of the initial plan for this research at a very early stage.. for assisting in carrying out the test and in processing the data." "expresses uncertainty." "evokes doubt. Table 3 shows that on all three levels. Cairo University. It can be concluded that the comprehension of texts such as argumentation depends on training rather than language proficiency. The macropropositional level shows a wider gap than the micropropositional level. It may be already clear from the facts of Table 3 that the impact of a prolonged period of exposure to English and consequently more proficiency in the language is not a determining factor in comprehending global designs or superstructures. Students may have understood the semantic content of the word "true. Used so many times in a sequence. "to assure" or "to make sure" or "to emphasize facts" (one student each). Since argumentation is a text type that greatly depends on its form. the purpose of the argument." or is a "sceptic." but none connected them with their more global function as hedges." but they totally missed its pragmatic force. The consistency is surprising in view of the fact that the sample of the English group is larger than that of the Arabic group." obviously a case of cultural transfer. i. Equally significant has been the lack of global coherence: most students were unable to make the correct inference as to the direction the writer's argument was taking. it follows that proficiency in the language alone does not aid comprehension. . " to state a fact" (four students). its concessive function.g. Students with less proficiency in English may be working harder on the technical sides of their courses to make up for the language deficiency. and the gap closes a little on the level of superstructure. My thanks also go to Khaled Tewfik and Manar Shalaby of the Department of English. many students remarked to the effect that "the writer is not sure if he is right or wrong. and thus they mostly missed the writer's bias.e. in their answer to OEQ 4.
They help us predict aspects of our interpretation of discourse. or writer's attitude toward subject or reader. social structure.because the mind of the hearer. Mistaking an . 3 Such cultural strategies have a wide scope. and then meet the opposing arguments by direct refutation or by pulling them to pieces. (This is a different use of the term schema from that of the same term in "Categories of comprehension of argumentation" above. 2 El-Shershabi (1988). joyful. 81). for example. different objects of reference (Van Dijk and Kintsch. i. understatement. p. 1983. flippant. facetious. different communicative events. 4 Aristotle demands that the arguer "first present [his] own argument. sympathetic. Hatim (1997) demonstrates that this is not always the case. 391). conceptual ordering of the world and society. sarcastic. different symbolic or ritual values and functions. different beliefs. 141). irrespective of any constraints or special specifications that may be imposed by argumentative discourse. and finally. mocking. p. However. 5 They are "higher complexes (and even conventional or habitual) knowledge structures"(Van Dijk 1981.refuses an argument if the opposing speaker has made a good impression" (Cooper. 247). attitude ideologies. p.. advisory.. etc. 235). different local and global coherence conditions. exaggeration. ironic.e. indifferent. It is revealed either directly (i. speech acts. p. opinions.. conciliatory. bitter. Therefore different cultural backgrounds result in different schemata.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse 225 Notes 1 El-Seidi (1996) compares the rhetorical structure of English and Arabic expository and argumentative discourse in the writings of native speakers and finds more similarities than differences in applying argumentative strategies between the users of both languages. his/her voice.e. p. paradox. styles and rhetorics. 1932. judgmental. which prop up ideas in the organization and interpretation of experience (Brown and Yule (1983. whimsical. superstructures. 7 Topic shift marks boundaries between paragraphs. distanced. they involve knowledge about different geographical areas. stated) or indirectly by parody.) 6 Tone. objective. institutions and events. 1990.. norms and values. and so on (Levin. The present study differs in two ways: it assumes that argumentation and exposition are two different text types and it investigates comprehension rather than production. can be angry. discusses aspects of cohesion and coherence in Arabic in general. different languages and discourse types..
226 Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse intraparagraph topic shift for the continuation of the same topic results in faulty chunking of the text. for example. He was commended for his argument and is reported to have won the debate against Qudama's austere defense of down-to-earth logic. Carefully read the following passage several times and then answer the questions below. p. miscomprehending. Please attempt all the questions. I learned from a Syrian linguist that students in Syria find it difficult to understand what refutation is all about in an English argument. wa-fadIan 'an 'an yurbi 'alayhi. anwa'i al-balagha] 'isti'aratun wa-la majazun wa-la kinayatun wa-la shay 'un min mithli hadha yasihhu fi al-jawazi aw fima yasa'hu l-'imkanu 'an yasluha ghayruhu fi mawdi'ihi 'idha tabaddaltahu minhu fadlan 'an 'an yafi bihi. There is a big difference between the answers "I don't know" and "No there isn't" in response to Questions 5 and 12. 44) reports that the English speaker regards the text producer in Arabic as "trespassing" and "breathing down the neck of the audience. which may render understanding difficult: fa-laysat fiha [ i." p. 8 Sa'deddin (1989. just write "I don't know" in front of the question number. 10 Through personal contact." 9 In the following extract from Mohammad Sadiq al-Rafi's I'jaz alqur'an ("The inimitability of the Quran.e. Please put your name and class on each paper you hand in. so please write only what you know. authoritarian opinion based on eloquence and style with no attempt at proof. and mistranslating. 210). particularly the difference between "identifiable" and "statistical" lives. wa-law adarta al-lughata kullaha 'a/a hadha al-mawdi'. Sentences are numbered in superscripts at the beginning of each sentence. while paragraphs are numbered in bold digits at the beginning of each paragraph. all pronominal references are in boldface. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer. . Appendix 1: Test used for data collection READ EVERYTHING BEFORE WRITING ANYTHING. in which the former's argument rested on moral. It is a case of complexity caused by excessive anaphora within one sentence. 12 It is interesting to note that judge 2 (British) also found the passage difficult on the first reading. but if there is any question you feel you could not possibly answer. 11 Ibrahim Salama (1952) tells the story of a debate between Al-Sirafi who rejected Aristotelian logic and Qudama who upheld it. Otherwise try your best because a good deal depends on your response.
" and P's = "paragraphs. 20We cannot do everything we might like to the extent we might like. and even when resources are not at issue (as in the kidnapping case). they are "identifiable" lives. the kidnapped child. 5True. l6These are real lives. there would be substantially less unemployment. but we do see the point. we could do both. . 3True. kidnappings. 3 6We could prohibit ransom payments to kidnappers. 7 22I wish to make three points about these dilemmas.Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse Part I: 227 The following abbreviations are used: S = "sentence. 24Second. 12These choices are especially difficult because we know who needs help. some decay would go untreated. 6 l7We might say we do not have to choose between helping those in need and preventing future needs. 26The policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists may risk the lives of some hostages. 27 Third. 18After all. 9True. 4 8We could drastically reduce unemployment compensation. 11All involve choosing between a policy designed to help specific persons and one that seeks to prevent the need for such help. New York Times. 25Thus it is now common to hear people advocating directing more medical resources to primary prevention of disease and fewer to treatment. fewer children would be taken." Statistical Lives by Alan Wertheimer. patients in need of such surgery might die. 1 Suppose the following were true: 1 2At least some money spent on open-heart surgery could be used to prevent heart disease. whereas conservative economists prefer to focus on statistical lives. we nevertheless do see the need to attend to the interests of statistical lives." P = "paragraph. the unemployed autoworker—they have names and faces. 1980. 2 4Some money spent on treating tooth decay among low-income children might be used on fluoridation and dental hygiene. but many more lives would be saved. the unemployed would suffer." S's = "sentences. but they are only "statistical" lives. even if this injures identifiable lives. tooth decay. welfare-state policies focus on identifiable lives. we do seem to favor the interests of identifiable lives (saving the kidnapped child) and it may not be irrational to do so. but fewer children would ever need such treatment. l3The patient requiring open-heart surgery. 14 On the other hand. we do not know whose lives will be saved or who will benefit from the prevention of heart disease. we often must choose between competing persons and goals. 23First. 21We must often choose between helping identifiable lives and saving statistical lives. 19But resources are scarce. or creation of new jobs. and we may be able to estimate their numbers with precision. but by lowering the incentive to kidnap. kidnapped children might die. 7True. but by converting the money saved to private investment and by lowering the incentive to stay jobless. 15Some people will. 5 l0These cases exhibit a similar structure.
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
8 28Monetary theory and other technical issues aside, the new Adam Smith tells us that however well intentioned, welfare-state policies have not (always) worked— on the policies' own terms. 29Minimum wage laws, unemployment compensation, consumer protection, occupational safety, Medicaid, Social Security—by interfering with market efficiency, by discouraging individual initiative, by impeding private capital formation, by incurring large-scale expenditures on governmental bureaucracies—all these policies (and others) have been self-defeating.30They argue that liberal economics, filled with concern for the genuine needs of identifiable lives, has swelled the future ranks of statistical lives in need. 31Welfare-state humanitarianism is shortsighted, they say, and if thus less humanitarian than we may believe. 9 32we need not dwell on the accuracy of this account. 33Conservative accounts may be wrong about the facts. 34We certainly need not assume that market choices and private-capital formation always serve the interests of all social groups, that regulation always does more harm than good. 35But suppose conservative economists are (sometimes) right about the facts. 36suppose that attempts to serve the needs of identifiable lives do end up harming statistical lives. 37should we turn our back on the needs that we see in order to prevent those that we cannot see? 38Regrettably, the answer may sometimes be yes. (From Levin, 1990, pp. 250-252) A. Answer the following questions on a separate sheet: 1. Did you enjoy reading the passage? Why? 2. Does the writer make himself clear in what he wants to say? How? 3. Did you find some points particularly difficult to understand? Give as many examples as you can. 4. Why do you think the writer uses the word "true" so many times? (See S's 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). 5. Is there a sentence that can be said to aptly summarize the first four P's? Which one? 6. Why does the writer use words like might and would in S's 1-9 so repeatedly, and the word suppose in S's 1, 35, 36? 7. What do you think is the relationship between S 2 and S 3? 8. What do you think the writer is trying to say and/or do in this passage? 9. How many points of view do you think are presented? Name them. Which is the writer's? 10. Can you point out one word in this passage that you may call the most important word? Can you do the same with a sentence? 11. Are there any sentences/paragraphs in this text that can be safely removed without affecting its development? 12. Is there a sequence of sentences that do not follow each other clearly and meaningfully, i.e. a sequence, which seems to puzzle or confuse you? 13. Join S's 8 and 9 into one sentence, using the suitable connective.
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
14. If you do not know who Adam Smith is, can you make a good guess? 15. Describe the relationship between P 5 and P 6. 16. What is the role of P 7 in the development of this text? 17. What is the writer's "conclusion" in this article, if any? 18. In P 9, which are the needs "we see" and which are those we "cannot see"?
B. Answer the following questions on this sheet. Select the most suitable item to complete sentences; place the letter, which marks your choice, in the space provided: 1. The author is open-heart surgery; he is heart disease. a. strongly against b. against c. in favor of d. neither against nor in favor of How did you find out? 2. Select the statement, which is a likely paraphrase of S 22: a. There are three points to summarize these dilemmas. b. I wish to add three points to these dilemmas. c. I wish to give some examples to illustrate these dilemmas. d. I can explain these dilemmas in three points. preventing
3. Select the statement, which most aptly summarizes S's 32-36: . a. The facts presented by the conservatives are wrong, and so they are rejected. b. The facts presented by the conservatives are right and acceptable. c. These facts are partly right and partly wrong. d. There is a degree of skepticism that should be taken into consideration. 4. When the author says, "After all, we could do both," he is expressing a. his own opinion b. the general public opinion c. the conservative opinion 5. "These are real lives, but they are only 'statistical' lives" (S 16) implies a. That is why they should not claim much attention. b. That is why they have not claimed much attention. c. They should claim much attention. d. They have claimed much attention.
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
6. "Statistical' lives" in S 16 means . a. cannot be counted c. are probable b. can be counted d. are unknown to us. 7. The word "thus" in S31 refers to the constituent a. less humanitarian c. short-sighted b. welfare-state d. humanitarianism 8. Decide whether the following sentences are "fact" or "opinion." Write F or O before each sentence: _A. (S12) these choices are... we know who needs help. _B. (S 20) we cannot do everything we might like to the extent we might like. C. (S 28) Minimum wage laws, unemployment compensation...all these policies (and others) have been self-defeating. D. (S 25) Thus it is now common...and fewer to treatment. 9. In P 6 the main point made is ; the other points are subordinated to it. Name the type of relationship you think exists between the main point and each of the supportive points in the space provided after each sentence, except the main idea, of course. a. After all, we could do both. b. We do not have to choose between helping those in need and preventing future needs. c. We must often choose between helping identifiable lives and saving statistical lives. d. Resources are scarce.
Part II: On this sheet, write a good summary in Arabic of what you can remember of the passage you have just read. Do not exceed 80 words.
Appendix 2: Structural Analysis of the Text
This passage is an argumentative text type that Levin (1990) tells us was published in the New York Times in 1980, written by Alan Wertheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Vermont, about government spending: the choice between helping identifiable lives and saving statistical lives:
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
Knowing that a large segment of his audience supports what he refers to as 'welfare-state humanitarianism,' Wertheimer uses the dilemma to force these people to recognize that the issue is complex, does not present a simple choice between right and wrong, and demands an examination of basic assumptions. (Levin, 1990, p. 250). What follows is the researcher's structural analysis of the text used, on which the test questions were based. The writer's commitment is divided into two stages: the assertion of the presence of the dilemma, the fact that we have to choose, and then the choice he actually makes. P 7 is the transition between the two stages: it sums up the previous stage, making positions clear in order to launch the attack and make a choice. Each stage consists of a claim, an opposition, a counterargument and a conclusion. The initial hypothetical situation is later turned into a probability, then into facts and testimonies inductively leading to a conclusion. The generalized predicate in S1 is hypothetical: it begins with "suppose," thus setting the concessive tone from the very start: the issue is not presented forcefully. Such a hypothetical situation at the beginning helps in mitigating the imposition of the argument by placing it a few steps away from fact. Four concrete examples are given in a row, each one mirroring the deductive superstructure of the overall argument in a syllogistic miniargument with claim (S 2), concession (first half of S 3) and counterargument/conclusion (second half of S 3). The writer's bias is carefully hidden, as part of his tactic is not to rock the boat too hard since he addresses an audience which is already biased toward saving identifiable lives. The four examples, therefore, present the situation quite impartially. "True" is another concessive and hedging tool used to avoid antagonizing the unsympathetic public. In asserting the dilemma in the first stage, the writer is not taking sides yet. He is only trying to confirm the fact that the choice is not as simple and clear as the public may think. Stage two is based on the deductive conclusion that saving more lives later (statistical lives) by spending money on prevention is better than saving less lives now (identifiable lives) by providing treatment for individual cases. In each example in P 1-4, the "true" statement is carefully balanced against the "but" statement, which gives the impression of an absence of bias. This balance is kept throughout the whole passage; both positions are right, until the very last word which slightly tips it to one side. However, there are subtle clues as to the direction in which the argument would take us, namely the use of such comparatives as "more" and "at least." Besides, if we try to map the layout of the four examples against Kaplan's (1983) rhetorical pattern of discourse focus (which is the prominence of certain information realized by surface structure syntactic means as opposed to discourse topic, which is semantic and a feature of deep structure), it is clear that the focus falls on the second half of S2, which expresses the stance the
Categories of Comprehension in Argumentative Discourse
writer adopts at the end of the argument, whereas the popular opposition is contained in topic position in the first half of the same sentence. The parallelism created by the repetition of four examples in exactly the same structure with the same pause positions creates a rhythm, underlines the message and also gives a feeling of relentlessness; it is an effective almost oratorical technique. P 5 introduces the claim: there is a dilemma and the choice is difficult but essential. P 6 provides an opposition to this situation, counterargues this opposition, and ends by reasserting the claim: we must choose. Then P 7 acts as a transition, summarizing the situation and introducing the parties involved. Throughout this stage, there are no explicit markers of bias. The writer is always hedging his position by using modals such as "might" and "would" and (frequency) adverbs like "sometimes" and "regrettably," by introducing other people's views ("They argue that..."), and by using the passive voice. But notice the use of some stylistic cues that pave the way for the writer's choice, such as the comparative "more" and "at least." P 8 slightly tips the balance to one side and begins the preparation for making a choice by launching the attack on welfare-state humanitarianism from a conservative point of view. Real-life factual information is used to support the counterargument inductively. It is full of negative connotations, which are immediately balanced by S 32 at the beginning of P 9 with the inclusive "we," which achieves full identification with the reader. But the argument is still in the third person. It is noteworthy that the audience is very much in the foreground in this article. The writer is hedging his argument, avoiding any strong stance in order not to provoke an already opposing public. P 9 begins with a concession and presents a counterargument to the claims made in P 8, which restores the balance to the argument once more. So far, we as readers are under the impression that both sides could be right, and this is the writer's ultimate aim: the choice is difficult. It remains for the writer only to declare his choice. The intensity of the argument is final: a "yes" comes after a rhetorical question (S 37) to declare the writer's choice concisely but emphatically. The question-answer technique, however, reduces this intensity to an acceptable degree. The passage, therefore, begins with a hypothetical "suppose" and ends with an emphatic "yes." There are several conclusions to make here: • Although the title seems to be a clue as to the writer's prospective choice, this choice is deeply embedded in the argument, hedged by several tools and surfaces only at the end due to the political and economic importance of the issue and the unsympathizing audience. • The frequency of a proposition and its paraphrases establishes its importance. The words "choice" and "choose" according to this principle becomes the key word in this passage, and S 21, which contains "choose," is the key sentence. • The writer casts his vote only at the end. It remains only a vote and a personal choice, but a difficult choice at that.
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