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(A Stylistic-Translational Perspective) by Hasan Ghazala, Ph.D., Department of English, College of Social Sciences, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia Abstract There have been many insightful studies of allegory in Classical Arabic. The writers' concerns have mostly been with the aesthetic, rhetorical, semantic and eloquent aspects of allegory. However, a great deal of work is still to be done on its stylistic structure and implications, and translatability into English, which sheds more light on these hardly trodden paths to uncover their mysteries. This in turn gives further enlightenment about allegorical expressions in general, and the way this can be reflected in translation into English. This paper, therefore, has the twofold aim of studying allegorical expressions from a stylistic perspective, and then demonstrating the importance of that in translating them into English. For achieving these two objectives, the whole study concentrates solely on allegorical expressions of silence and speech from different stylistic and translational perspectives. Several interesting and sometimes surprising findings have been declared below about these expressions and the relationships, functions and effects they produce, to be as much expressive as impressive to the audience, magnificently or mysteriously, and how all that can be taken (or not taken, or mis-taken) into consideration in translation into English. here have been many insightful and formidable studies of allegory in Arabic. At the top of the list of classic figures of this field are AlJurjani (1982 and 1983); Ibn Jinni (1980); Ath-tha'alibi (1981); Azzamakhshari (1990); El-Yaziji (1970); and there are many others. The writers' concerns have mostly been with the aesthetic, rhetorical, syntactic/grammatical, semantic and eloquent aspects of allegory. Therefore, little can be added to these studies in this respect. However, a great deal of work is still to be done on its stylistic structure and implications and translatability, which in my view sheds more light on these untouched aspects, and to uncover
their mysteries, which gives more enlightenment about allegorical expressions in general, and how this can be reflected in their translation into English. This paper is an attempt in this direction, concentrating on allegorical expressions of speech and silence in Arabic, investigated stylistically and translationally. Two questions beg answering here: Is allegory translatable in the first place? And is it legitimate to translate in the opposite direction as is done normally, that is, from L1 (mother tongue) into L2 (foreign language) instead of from L2 into L1? As to the first question, some theoreticians like Quillard (1998) regard the translation of puns, ambiguities and humour as impossible (maybe in imitation of Nobokov's firm belief in the impossibility of translating poetry-see Connolly 1998 for more details and objections), which is quite a strange claim, for in practice these are translated from and into all live languages almost daily, however questionable the degree of acceptability and accuracy. I side with Newmark that "...everything without exception is translatable; the translator cannot afford the luxury of saying that something cannot be translatable." (1988, 6). Admittedly, the comprehension and thus the translation of allegory is quite difficult, for it can be mysterious, elusive, opaque, or misleading (see also Baker 1992, 68-69 for more details on the difficulties of translating idioms), but certainly it is not impossible. I believe that it is possible to translate allegory successfully, and that this is confirmed by thousands of good translations of poetry in particular and other types of allegorical text in general, and that it is also demonstrated by the translations of the examples in this article. As regards the legitimacy of translation into a foreign language rather than into one's mother tongue, it is true that translators "...can translate naturally, accurately and with maximum effectiveness" (op. cit., 3), and-I add-legally into their native language, their language of habitual use, for they control it more than any other language; yet, the actual situation almost everywhere in the world is that they are sometimes obliged to reorient their translation in the opposite direction to produce some good translations (see also Rioss and Weatherby 1998). It is hoped that this study will prove a point in this respect. In comparison to English, allegorical Arabic expressions of speech and silence are amazingly rich with all kinds of meanings, styles and stylistic relationships, effects, implications and functions. Among the central relationships are the stylistic (especially lexico-grammatical and phonological) relationships of harmony, disharmony, ironical paradox, integration, disintegration, praise and condemnation of speech and silence considered individually, and speech and silence
considered together by way of juxtaposition and comparison. Understanding and communicating such stylistic relationships in a translation into English is sometimes crucially important to the message. What I mean by 'styles' here are the styles of politeness, harshness, indirectness, directness, passivity, positivity, threat, temptation, etc. As to functions, they are the hidden stylistic effects and implications created by the different stylistic relationships brought about by subtle, spellbinding allegory in Arabic at the levels of lexical choice and grammatical structure in particular, which must be transmitted, one way or another, into English in the translation. After all, style is taken here to be primarily a matter of choice made from all language features (see Leech and Short 1981, Carter and Nash 1990, Ghazala 1994, Toolan 1998 and many others for more illustrations). This choice, being intuitive and unfelt by language users, should not be disregarded by analysts and translators, for it is of critical importance to the message, and has considerable effect on the reader. It is irrelevant whether this choice is intentional or not, although any choice in language is supposed to be conscious and intended. Allegory, on the other hand, is used here as a superordinate term, subsuming all figures of rhetoric in language, including mainly metaphors, similes, puns, metonyms, personification, wordplay, symbolism, irony, synecdoche, antimetabole, anadiplosis, etc. (see Nash 1980, Wales 1989 and Ghazala 1996). In his distinguished book Rhetoric (1990), my Ph.D. co-supervisor, Professor Walter Nash, offers a comprehensive, profound, detailed and unique study of rhetoric and figurative language. In his discussion of the importance of style in rhetoric in the past, he finds that it is the "patterns of wording that enforced the structures of persuasion". Also, stylistic propriety or decorum (i.e., the relevance of the manner to the matter) is a voucher of the author's sincerity. Therefore, "figurative language ... has a more than decorative purport, it is meant to have an effective power, to raise the emotions associated with a subject and correspondingly to evoke emotional responses from an audience" (see pp. 10-13 in particular). The last point about the response of the audience is quite important and recurrent in any discussion about allegorical expressions, as recipients are the target of such expressions. In other words, the expressions have powerful stylistic effects which impress readers and should, therefore, be part and parcel of their meaning, and these effects have to be taken into account in translation, exactly as done below.
The equivalent English word 'hold' has this sense of preventing the tongue from talking by literally holding it. and serve as an aid in memorising and remembering. collocations and even everyday and colloquial phrases. the phrase makes tongue-holding the best characteristic of man. Similar phrases are: "[ "احفظ )عليك( لسانكihfaz ('alayka) lisaanak] and "[ "أمسك )عليك( لسانكamsek ('alayka) lisaanak]. semi-proverbs. surprisingly. On the other hand. Silence Silence. just the necessary. It may be noted that the same expression can also be interpreted as a reference to saying little. and then bitranslated. as the following discussion may confirm. The metaphorical image reflected by "'"حفظhold' recommends keeping the tongue literally inside the mouth. commended and recommended strongly and straightforwardly in many figurative phrases. as well as advice for everybody to be careful and quiet. however indirectly. I believe the former implication is the overwhelming sense of the phrase. with concentration on maintaining the superlative form to demonstrate the functional exaggeration aimed at by the Arabic original. is." Both can be used as a strong reaction to someone else's statement. especially in everyday use of language.: "The best characteristic is to keep one's tongue": "The best thing to do is to hold your tongue". Both mean: "Hold your tongue. while the first is semi-equivalent. They are transcribed phonetically. proverbs.This paper is based on a number of diverse Arabic expressions of different types: idioms. The English translations of the last two are perfect equivalences. To have some power of persuasion. the half rhyme between 'khilaal' and 'lisaan' and the repetition of the letter 'kh' in the first two words reflect the popularity of rhyme in such popular phrases. but criticised in others. . to make the point(s) sharper and clearer. adages. 1. catch phrases. which is spiritual encouragement and a comparison that would show high regard for people as social beings. which is certainly understood but not done by language users. This creates really interesting stylistic relationships. first literally and then more freely."[ "خير الخلل حفظ اللسانkhayru l-khilaali hifzu l-lisaan] Lit. useful and important words. Yet. to begin with. which means not to use it at all.
'more talk less wisdom' / 'more wisdom less talk' vs. for this would indicate their 'perfect mind'. etc. which must be attended to by analysts and translators alike. "["إذا تم العقل نقص الكلمithaa tamma l-'aqlu naqusa l-kalaamu] Lit. 4.e.. 3..: ً "Perhaps silence is a reply": "Silence could be sometimes an answer". On the other hand. consent.e. Such a strong link between 'reason' and 'silence' is a big incentive for people to refrain from talking. which could be of satisfaction. hesitation. etc. when a spoken statement is demanded. malice. 'kaana' 'was' does not refer strictly to the past. Silence. we understand the expression as follows: 'Be wise.: "When reason becomes perfect. In transmitting this expression in English. although the latter sense is not uncommon. There is nothing fantastic about the TL equivalence of meaning. care is taken on two main levels: the level of syntactic structure of contrast between the two verbs 'become perfect' and 'lessen' (in the TL it is reflected in 'more' and 'less'). The antithesis suggested between 'perfect mind/wisdom' and 'less talk/silence' (i. Thus. which is itself symbolic of a good answer. imitating-or perhaps superceding-the original (i. Here 'rubbamaa' 'perhaps' is a probability that two counterpossibilities are equally feasible. That is. 'don't know'. This is a hint to the value of keeping silent most of the time. and the level of conciseness of form. as it were. 'less talk' is more an insinuation to silence than to less words. fear. silence could/could not be an answer. Usually silence is literally no answer at all.2. the two would mean 'could/might/perhaps'. dissatisfaction. "["ربما كان السكوت جواباrubbama kana s-sukootu jawaaban] Lit. for it meets the requirements of rhetorical allegory perfectly. four words in English vis-à-vis five in Arabic). has very significant stylistic implications. then. which could be more expressive than a spoken utterance. anger. Yet to keep silent in such a situation is considered symbolic and expressive enough of the intended message. The same sense is expressed in English. One final important point is the translation of 'aql' 'reason/mind' into 'wisdom' 'hikmah' which is an inductive translation for 'perfection/completion of mind means wisdom'. The allegorical part of this phrase lies in silence. although on the face of it. Also. speech lessens": "More wisdom less talk". 'less wisdom more talk') is another sign of respect for silence.: "Silence is from gold": . Hence its translation into 'is'. but to a timeless present. as wisdom regards silence precious. 'less talk more wisdom' vs. keep quiet'. This means that 'rubba' is more probable and closer to certainty than 'rubbamaa'."[ "السكوت من ذهبassukootu min thahab] Lit.
although it is not really one of his own possessions by origin or by law. if only he would keep his mouth shut. or rob him of something that is (or would be) his otherwise. Some would object to comparing the immaterial silence to the material gold. could be costly enough to deprive someone of a valuable thing. So the harmony and perfect identification between gold and silence gives more evidence that silence is highly recommended. any where."Silence is gold". However.: "One word may steal a bounty": "One word could cost you a fortune". Furthermore. That is. or undesired. The 'word' meant here is primarily one that might be bad. Maybe this is true. it invites a feeling of regret for wasting such a hypothetical right. 'as-sukoot'."[ "رب كلمة سلبت نعمةrubba kalimaten salabat ni'mah] Lit. and for any reason (cf. This comparison aims at showing the great value of silence."A word can be costly". the first example above and the next example). 'rubba' implies certainty rather than probability in the sense that such a word. As such. is sure to have an effect. phonologically speaking. The TL version is stronger than the SL text for it makes silence perfectly correspondent to gold in form of immediate. full identification with it. voiced stop 'b' in 'thahab' is suggestive of closed lips and stopping talking completely. the definite article of 'al-sukoot' is indicative of any silence. and we are urged to look at it as being valuable as gold. So allegorically speaking. that is. The equating form 'lssukootu thahab' 'silence is (=) gold' does not exist in Arabic. that is. if said. but the fact of the matter is that a comparison like this is quite popular among language users. It is a phrase that recommends investing silence in a situation where saying something. which can imply that the former is superior to the latter. and that is all. and is intended only to confirm the value of something. even one word. the consonant bilabial. such a word could steal. is a subtle lexical choice which is functional and suggestive of a person's right ripped away him by uttering one single word. 5. any time. especially in everyday conversation. But the original makes silence 'made of'-rather than perfectly identical with-gold. The metaphorical word that relates silence to fortune. Here silence is materialised into gold.. and that other metals or things could be involved in its essence. but any word of any kind is inadvisable. Silence = Gold. the most precious metal to people everywhere. 'salabat' 'steal/rob'. for it could be depreciation rather than appreciation of silence to materialise it in such way. Syntactico-stylistically speaking. Again. the indefinite form of 'kalimaten' is again .
indicative of sometimes. Two English translations are provided for this expression. however. nothing has ruined me but you": "You ruined me. This expression is an outright threat that a word. have failed to produce a phonological effect similar to that of the original."[ "رب رأس حصيد لسانrubba raasen haseedu lissan] Lit. but too long and too literal. the first is a full translation in a precise literal sense. yet looser and less specific..: "O. before certain people. "[ "الندم على السكوت خير من الندم على القولannadamu 'la s-sukootu khayron mina n-nadami 'ala l-qawl] Lit. And this is exactly what the phrase wants to communicate. we discover a sense of irony in this soft rhyme with soft. head) as the price is so frightening that one must think twice before saying something in certain situations. my tongue."وهل يكب الناس على وجوههم في النار إل حصائد ُ َ ّ [ "ألسنتهم؟wahal dkubbu n-naasa alaa wujoohihem fi.e. The use of 'rubba' (implying certainty rather than probability) invites the notes made above on its use in such expressions. This shows the serious consequences of talking. low intonation and full pronunciation of the glottal fricative 'h' (as in the final sound of 'ah') which is indicative of something that has evaporated. Related to this are proverbial expressions and adages like: "[ "لسانك حصانك إن صنته صانك وإن خنته خانكLissanak hisaanak in suntahu saanak wa-in khuntahu khaanak] Lit. more effective and generic.: "Your tongue is your horse: if you take care of it. and at the same time implies the unparalleled value of silence. It is a connection that relates tongue to head in such a manner that the latter survives only on the condition that the former behaves itself. tongue) and one's life (i.: "Regretting silence is better than regretting saying": "Better to regret silence than utterance". the highest price that a man can pay. tongue!. "ما أوردني [ "المهالك إل أنت/لقد أوردتني المهالكmaa awradani l-mahaalika illaa ant/laqad awradtani l-mahaalek] Lit. not always (see the previous example).: "Maybe a head is the price for a slip of the tongue": "A slip of the tongue could get a man killed". Both translations. This is an indirect piece of advice for people to be extra careful and keep quiet.n-naari illa . while the second is shorter. Such a straightforward. might cause a person his life. and if you betray it. it will betray you": "Beware of your tongue (if you don't hold it)".. even one that is unintentional. Reading the expression with two stops on 'kalimah' and 'ni'mah' consecutively.e. 6. more English. sharp connection between a word (i. it will take care of you.
The closest to English proverbial structure is 'Better to regret silence than utterance. coming out of the man in question. The English translations of all these expressions lean heavily on the transference of their literal meaning as closely and faithfully as possible. turning the original image upside down. it has the implication that remaining silent is to be on the safe side.: "He did not whisper one daughter of a lip": "He buttoned his lips". 7.' 'better safe than sorry. to be extra careful when saying something. It roughly means: "The people of Hellfire are thrown there mostly because of their wicked tongues. as it were. This phrase is an excellent image of perfect silence. listening to speaking. It is an exaggeration meant to stress the state of absolute silence of a person whose mouth is . Another saying by the prophet which reflects the same sense is a word of advice for a believer to say good things. or else keep silent: ""فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت ً [falyaqol khayran aw liyasmot]. It should be pointed out that all the foregoing phrases and sayings do not recommend absolute. 8. where the word 'dump' is suggestive of the image claimed above. "He was as quiet as the grave". Eaton' (1988: 113). "A ton of silence". and to remain quiet in critical situations and moments in the company of certain people. like a speech-resistant suit. dumped on him from the outside. It is a kind of expression used usually in a context of passivity and/or confusion and puzzlement on the part of the hearer. or dissatisfaction. contemplation. 'The daughter of a lip' is a metaphor that stands for 'a word'.' etc. It is an exaggeration aimed at reflecting a psychological and/or mental state of deep thinking. utter carelessness. everlasting silence.' for it is an attempt to mimic the form of proverbs like 'better late than never."[ "ما نبس ببنت شفةmaa nabasa bibinti shafah] Lit. This metaphor is suggestive of a stone-dead person. 'absolute silence' is a good version. it is introduced here as something external. instead of describing silence as being internal. Yet. the latter being dominant.hasaaedu alsinatihem] This is a part of a tradition by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The English translation is borrowed from Newmark's example on original metaphors: 'A ton of enforced silence was dumped on Mr. which is more effective than an ordinary form. "Complete silence". "[ "صمت مطبقsamton mutbeq] Lit. That is. Their main message is to prefer silence to talking. At the same time.. "He kept a quiet tongue"." The last one is the strongest warning possible of the dire consequences of bad talk.: "Closing silence": "Absolute ِْ ُ silence".
which is precious to such an extent that people would buy it.completely shut. 9. or even one sound. how can one sell one's silence? And secondly and more importantly. for. to get him to stop talking? It is understood as an indirect. praising a person for keeping completely quiet.: "Sell us your silence!": "Keep your quiet". but with the same implication and effect. As regards the English translation." Nevertheless. Again. three equally accepted versions are available in the English language. Also. the first of which is the closest and the most identical with the Arabic original. 'Daughter of a lip' completes the picture of a person who does not even whisper. first of all. What is exactly meant by the SL expression is that someone had his lips completely buttoned. This will be quite clear if we practice it by closing lips and opening them a little in the middle to pronounce 'b'. which is what could be implied here by the Arabic 'bint'. Adding to this sense is the second set of sounds of the final word 'shafah'. "Stop talking!". What it really means is that silence is valuable whereas speech is not. The sound cluster 'fah' is again one of the simplest shortest and easiest to produce when just opening the lips. What helps us understand this sense is the falling-rising serious intonation in the question form. another is the use of two culturally different allegorical images. there are two differences between the original and the translation: one concerns the absence of the phonological effect of the former in the latter. the matter is to convince people to keep silent. that he did not open his mouth to produce one single word. but it is just an indirect way to pass the message to a person to stop talking. which is expressed in another informal Arabic phrase. by way of defending him for saying nothing whatsoever. The context of this expression is positive. This is a popular colloquial expression that could be somehow confusing. that person is advised to give up talking. 'whisper' emphasizes the person's absolute silence. "[ "خيط فمهkhayat ّ famah]: "He sewed his mouth". which is valueless. as far as the allegorical image is concerned. especially when he expresses an uninteresting view. Certainly no one would pay a penny for it. how are we to understand that this is said to interrupt somebody.)] Lit. . let alone produce words off his mouth. but impolite way of abruptly cutting off someone's speech."[ )بيعنا سكوتك!")عاbee'na skootak (col. Therefore. A very important feature of this phrase is its sarcastic implication. "He had his mouth sewed. 'Bint' can also be understood as a reference to the bilabial sound 'b' the first to be produced by the closed lips when opened. in favour of silence. We can hardly feel that we have pronounced something. since no one really sells or buys silence except ironically.
it is striking how silence is. paradoxically. It is one of a number of phrases used to describe the Prophet. rhetorical. considered mostly a merit. the sweetest. which sharpen. and to the language of poetry in general. This phrase could be the one in praise of the best part of language. . less context-bound. interpret and make prominent such implications of silence. The image is derived from taste. but transfers the sense perfectly. it is the sweetest thing that man can taste. free. Here sweetness is not confined to one aspect of speech. Even more striking paradoxical and complicated relationships are demonstrated by the following allegorical expressions of speech. This is more often made clear indirectly than directly. but not just any taste. with 'shareef' 'honourable' being a common denominator among them: 'His honourable. emphasise. and more creative version (with appropriate ironical intonation) like: "Isn't it interesting to listen to this man!". It displays all the allegorical skills and prowess of language and the intricacies of words put together. Speech 1. 2. but occasionally a demerit. etc. Talker!" etc. It is an unparalleled type of language. starting with those in favour. the most beautiful. Muhammad (peace be upon him). however. face/head/hand'. written or spoken. positive effect on all Muslims. aesthetic. but is common to all aspects. In sum. It has a quite affectionate.The English translation contains no allegory or sarcasm. It is a kind of perfect language that is regarded as the best. expressive. only people are. But here we have a special kind of saying by the Messenger of Allah. The precise sense and metaphor of the original are rendered completely into English. and love poetry in particular. There is a way. through stylistic features and relationships and their effects and functions.: "Honourable saying (by the Prophet Muhammad)": "A Prophet's tradition/saying".: "The sweetest talk ever": "The best words ever". "How nice to listen to you Mr. and hence the most attractive language ever. to convey this sense of ridicule stylistically by means of a rather pragmatic. This phrase is an exclusive reference to the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's traditions for Muslims.. So this metaphor is borrowed to elevate and venerate any saying by him. Usually a saying is not described as honourable."[ "أحلى الكلمahla l-kalaam] Lit."[ "حديث شريفhadeethon shareef] Lit. although not with the same connotation.
the area of taste rather than substance (it should be pointed out that the Arabic sweet talk is different from the well-known English phrase 'sweet talk' with the negative sense of insincerity and hypocrisy. referring to the two Holy mosques in Mecca and Al-Medina in Saudi Arabia.: "Sweet talk": "Nice talk". possessions and deeds. while the former identifies the elements with each other: speech is gold. an agreeable message is certainly implied. Secondly. speech is very much praised. likeable part of speech alongside a favourable message."[ )كلمك دهب/من دهب/ذهب")عاkalaamak dahab/min dahab (col. It could be a reference to the choice of favourable words and expressions such as collocations. Hence. but only good and nice speech. such comparison is drawn on a material. rhetorical figures. Added to them are phrases like "[ "المصحف الشريفalmus-hafu sh-shareef]. "[ )كلم حلو")عاkalam hulu (col. They are not precisely so as the latter would imply metals other than gold. exactly as silence is (see 1 above). whose concentration is shifted onto the agreeable. using this phrase. So. 3.all of which are special metaphors aimed at glorifying the Prophet. referring to the Holy Qur'an and "[ "الحرمان الشريفانal-haramaani sh-shareefaan].)] Lit. catch phrases and proverbs. Three stylistic points are due here. aiming at rating speech highly. It is a perfect metaphorical material harmony between gold and speech. therefore. see the discussion of 'sweet tongue' in the section about negative expressions about speech below). ""حسن الخطاب .: "Reasonable/rational speech": "Wise/good talk". achieves all the effects and functions of the original. it is not speech in general. Speech here is compared to gold.: "Beautiful talk": "Nice talk". identifying speech with gold draws attention to the substance of speech which is as precious as gold. Other similar expressions are "[ "كلم جميلkalaam jameel] Lit. gold is speech (see also 1 above). and speech is not identified with gold. But it is not any kind of speech. but made of it as its raw material. for this sense. " [ "كلم معقولkalaam ma'qool] Lit.: "Your speech is gold/from gold": "Your speech is gold/golden". The first is the difference between the two versions of this phrase: 'speech is gold' and 'speech is made of gold' which are apparently the same. his sayings. not a moral basis.)] Lit. which centres on persuasive speech. Thirdly. 4. it is a certain speech in a certain situation on a certain topic addressed to a certain person who approves it by commenting on it. The metaphor here identifies talk with sweetness. The English equivalent is perfectly identical with the first version and. Consequently.
'ala l-ayn war-raas (col. submission and full approval by the speaker. most important and sensitive parts of the human body.)] "OK/With pleasure". hesitant husband in Shakespeare's play. or a confirmation by the speaker himself. It is a prompt response to a point of view. firmness and faithfulness. maybe because they are the two highest. all these expressions have equivalents of sense in the first place. an instruction of some kind. 6.)] "OK/Yes sir/With all my pleasure". aesthetic aspects of speech. yet it is a relatively good translation that is faithful to the SL phrase. a word of advice. "A word of honour". This expression is symbolic of showing respect. so when both are used in one and the same phrase as connotatively homogeneous-as in our phrase here-they become stylistically more emphatic. Its reference is exclusively to the message. with focus on the rhetorical.: "Your speech is on (my) eye and head": "I hold your opinion in high esteem". etc."[ )كلمك على العين والراس")عاkalaamak. connoting a high regard for them both. 5.. a request. consent. "[ )على راسي)من فوق(/أمرك على راسي")عاala raasi (min fouq)/amrak 'alaa raasi (col. hence the popular. usually-but not strictly-a man. The choice of eye and head is socio-cultural. .: "The beauty of address": "Charming rhetoric". would be funny and repulsive.e.: "Talk of men": "Responsible word".)] Lit. It means a responsible saying. This is either a comment on somebody else's statement. honour.)] Lit. focussing on the sense and effect of the message at the expense of a literal rendition which. if applied. even with only one of the two-the eye or the head-the expression implies approval and submissiveness. honesty. The only problematic one is the last which sounds tautological in English (i."[ )كلم رجال")عاkalaam rjaal (col.[husnu l-khitaab] Lit. It is a kind of oath or a pledge made by him for another person that he assumes full responsibility to meet someone. responsibility. 'rhetorical' implies 'charming'). opinion or word given firmly by a person. obedience. This is not unknown in English language and culture. Thus. colloquial phrases: "'[ )على عيني/من عيني هذه قبل هذه/من عيوني")عاalaa 'ayni/min 'ayni haathihi qabla haathihi/min uyooni (col. as Lady Macbeth's question to her frightened. The English versions are pragmatic and free. So the word 'men' here is symbolic of courage. it does not always imply a wholehearted agreement: a contrastive statement-usually beginning with 'but'-might follow it to oppose what has been said. Although it is an expression of consent. Translationally.
These two expressions are said as a comment on an exceptionally favourable statement. when hit in the heart.: "Hitting saying": "Right saying".)] Lit. it reflects its function rather than the literal sense or description. At the same time. man's life terminates.: "Women's talk". "May your mouth be safe": "Well-said (spoken)". By analogy. Furthermore. when truth is hit in the heart."[ ")ل فض فوك/يسلم فمك)تمك()عاla fudda fooka/dslam fammak (tmmak) (col. alongside with the addressee's wishes for the addresser's mouth to be safe and never unsealed in order to speaking nicely perpetually.Macbeth. The allegory here is in the use of 'mouth' to mean speech by implication. Here a saying is highly appreciated because it hits the target perfectly. Yet. only in the allegoric sense. it gets killed. which has opposite connotations. this expression does not have negative implications about truth. This image of hitting is preferable. Perhaps this made sense in English in Shakespeare's day.: "May your mouth never be unsealed".)] Lit. That is. 'Heart of the matter' and 'hitting the target' are popular collocations in English and hit the target of the SL meaning here. there is no English metaphor like the last Arabic one about 'truth'. It is a great praise of somebody who says exactly the right and required thing. A similar expression is:"أصاب كبد [ "الحقيقةasaaba kabida l-haqeeqah] Lit. 7. "How well you have spoken". which means that it is right to perfection.: "He hit the liver of the truth": "He hit the heart of the matter". . and then we can get hold of it. "Are you a man?" (Act III. an expression that insinuates the opposite is "[ "كلم نسوانkalaam nswaan (col. on the contrary. but not now! The TL translation is a functional equivalent for the original. To my knowledge. This target is the absolute truth about something or somebody. especially in classical Arabic and culture. This image of the truth makes it a prey. where 'liver' is employed to symbolise the centre or the heart of the truth. weak man in the first place. "[ "قول صائبqawlon saa'eb] Lit. "Well-said". it has an outstandingly and exceptionally positive connotation. the origin of this image. The image is a little bit complicated here. 'word of honour' is a commonplace collocation. 8. therefore when hit. right in the bull's-eye. But truth has no liver or heart. Scene 4:58) implies that she thinks he is a cowardly. Here lies the metaphor: a saying is identified with an arrow that hits the target in the heart. The liver is as central and essential as the heart to the human body. it comes to an end and becomes clear and available to everybody.
it by no means discredits the previous two significant stylistic functions for the fronted 'words. Even granting the highly hypothetical possibility of touching the heart with pins.. so that no one can open it. thus keeping nice words safe inside. The front position occupied by 'saying/words' has three important indications: The first is the emphasis on the most important word in the phrase. concise. Even if this is so. as is perfectly true in reality. but surpass it. in other words. so that every time it is opened again.e. the use of 'fudda' 'unsealed' suggests an image based on a metaphor comparing a mouth to an envelope that is usually closed perfectly. in addition to the previous point about the use of 'mouth' to connote speech. The English equivalent 'well-said' has no allegory. it will produce nice words. but pins cannot. What a serious. it is crisp. or. but transfers the message of the original faithfully. Words are given a power greater and more influential than an attack in a war with a deadly weapon and the possibility of a man getting killed. sealed. pins). by foregrounding it. but here it is also attributed to the inconcrete (viz. One more stylistic point can be made about the word order of this expression. impressive and expressive. 9. like the original. Secondly.: "Speech penetrates where needles cannot penetrate": "Speech is as penetrating as a pin". and. whereas pins cannot. and such word order is dictated by the restrictions of foot and metre. the antithetical appearance of 'penetrate' becomes sharper and more ostentatious. That is. Thirdly.: "Perhaps a saying is tougher than an assault": "Words can be as fierce as a fight/as sharp as a needle". destructive power words might have! Certainly 'qawlen' and 'sawlen' are made to rhyme with one another on purpose for rhetorical reasons.' Identical with this expression is the phrase"[ "رب قول أشد من صولrubba qawlen ashaddu min sawlen] Lit.What is interesting in the first phrase is its double allegory. for words can touch the heart. So the image of penetration in this comparative relationship between pins and words is quite precise. words can still affect emotions and feelings. the whole expression is most likely taken from a line of verse from Arabic traditional poetry. it connotes a praise of a favourable statement. and for achieving and reflecting .."[ "القول ينفذ ما ل تنفذ البرal-qawlu yanfuthu maa laa tanfuthu l-ibaru] ُ ُ Lit. sharp and to the point. Moreover. with an eye kept on an agreeable expression of praise. Penetration is normally associated with the concrete (i. It is hoped by the addressee that the mouth never be unsealed. This metaphor is a fact of life. words) which not only matches the concrete.
rather than hide it from others who happen to be impatient to hear it. 'talk/say the truth/be frank'. as' phrases. the phrase is an urgent invitation for people to speak up and say the truth. The second is realised by the clear-cut symmetrical structure of the whole phrase. and message. as' phrase of popular similes. yet not uncertain. nature of the phrase. To support and reflect this. A strong relationship is created between speaking one's mind. this expression is perfectly organised. comfortable structure. On top of this type of talk is 'thikru Allah' (remembrance of Allah). agreeable.. by retaining the same metaphor of pins and needles. rhyme.. and 'tureeh' for trouble-shooting and change of the psychological state of worry on behalf of the addressee. The metaphorical word 'tayyeb' is literally used to describe .equality between them.g.: "At speaking (frankly) you comfort us": "Speak up to cheer us up" "You speak up we cheer up". decent. Stylistically speaking. Obviously. 10. the concern has been in the three most important points. The whole phrase is allegorical. In English. etc. for the former.. for 'tasreeh' stands for an open/frank opinion on the part of the addresser. and employing the favoured English form of 'as . the two words are made to rhyme with one another."'[ "عند التصريح تريحinda t-tasreeh tureeh] Lit. for the latter). with a subtle onomatopoeic touch demonstrated by the long 'ee' followed by the sound 'h'. The third is the result of the previous two aspects as much as of the lexical choice of 'speak up' and 'cheer up' in favour of several others available in the language inventory (e.. However. the former expression is admittedly an endeavour to imitate the SL structure and allegory.. Also. The reference here is to good. with 'ashaddu' in between to give superiority to the first. has superbly and comfortably matched the Arabic original.. The first is achieved through the repetition of 'up' and the consonance between the medial long 'ee' in 'speak' and 'cheer'. 'rubba'repeated in many expressions like this-has the stylistic function of stressing the hypothetical. etc. At translating the expression into English.: "Delicious talk": "Good words". and another's relief as a result of that. and 'be happy/feel comfortable/be at ease'. dignified and philanthropic language in general.. the fronted word of probability. تنهد/تنفس الصعداء [tanahhod/tanaffos as-sa'daa']."[ "الكلم)الكلم( الطيب/الكلمة الطيبةalkalimu (alkalaamu) t-tayyeb/alkalimatu t-tayyibah] Lit. namely between 'you speak up' and 'we cheer up'. a combination of sounds that can be identified with a long sigh of relief. the translation of the latter phrase into an 'as . 11. produced by a man having a burden lifted off his shoulders.
it is negative and critical of such types of statements. vicious. this phrase is suggestive of a serious statement by an ordinary person who either does not know its implications. It is also used in everyday conversation to mean OK. light conversation. indecent and taboo language in general. It is used to mean bad. beautiful. The functional equivalence is given in English for there is no identical expression with the same implications of the SL. and 'talk big'.)] Lit. 'small talk'. evil."[ )كلم كبير")عاkalaam kbeer (col. i. The phrase seems to be referentially in favour of speech.. There is some ambiguity in 'big' which is mostly positive in many collocations. It is . Here it seems to be positive as an adjective describing 'speech'. good. English has no perfect equivalent for such expressions. sense is certainly available. or is thought to have no authority or ability to be responsible for it or to substantiate it.e. and make prominent the advantages of the first and the disadvantages of the second.: "Disagreeable/malicious talk": "Dirty/bad talk". ridiculing or expressing surprise. threatening. countries (cf. yet it is not so in its connotations. dirty. as the versions supplied confirm. boastfully. being allegorical. It is used in a context criticising.. Contrasted to it is the phrase "[ "الكلم الخبيث/الكلمة الخبيثةal-kalaamu l-khabeeth/al-kalimatu lkhabeethah] Lit. wicked. 1.food in the sense of delicious and tasty. That is. but there is no sign of ambiguity here. right. 2. devilish. These two sharply antithetical expressions pave the way for the discussion of those phrases which condemn speech in different ways and for different reasons.: "Big talk": ْ ْ "Serious/responsible talk". i. However. are false friends in Arabic for they have completely different meanings and connotations). although without much allegory. 'Good language' is used alongside this phrase to sharpen and heighten the paradoxical relationship between them. but contextually it is used as a warning against the slips and hazards of the tongue. Originally 'khabeeth' is derived from the noun 'khubth' (dirt/obnoxious taste).."[ "اللسان مركب ذلولallisaanu markabon thaloolu] Lit. it is used to modify immaterial things like words. obnoxious.: "The tongue is an obedient boat": "One's tongue is under one's control". "al-baladu t-tayyeb"-"the good/clean country/town") and behaviour. speech. people. By analogy. Therefore.e. Usually talk is not described as big or small in Arabic (and the two English phrases. alright and fine.
"Trash". mean. trivial and time-wasting for the addressee in particular. This expression is. The image of emptiness is borrowed here to indicate that such kind of talk is at the same time: uninteresting. categorically destroying somebody's talk. bags. and any vacant spaces. there are expressions that urge taking care of the tongue.easy to use the tongue to say any word. Therefore.. it has a general reference to any expression. In this context."[ "كلم فارغ/تافهkalaam faaregh/taafeh] Lit. This sense is quite feasible and understandable for it is imposed by the general style and context of the expression. but the consequences might be quite costly. words with comprehensive. Stylistically speaking. this image is a good choice for expressing perfectly the notion of uncontrollability attributed to the tongue. but it is not all that bad. careless. slippery and uncontrolled production of words. They are a good example for the sharp and to-the-point phrases: "خير الكلم ما قل [ "ودلkhayru l-kalaami maa qalla wadall]. then. useless. The same can be said about 'taafeh' 'trivial'. From a stylistic point of view. It is like a boat navigating a fast river-extremely difficult to control. this metaphor implies the tendency of the tongue towards loose. negative or positive.e. which is sharp and to the point. which is 'humiliating and causing insult to man' (taken from 'thalla/thull' 'humiliate/humiliation'). Although the latter phrase is positive (it is not discussed with the phrases in favour of talk for it is not allegorical). or else silence is highly recommended (see phrases on silence above). rooms. Concerning the English translation. and beware of their slips and irresponsible emission of words. which has identical implications.: "Empty/trivial talk": "Empty/idle talk". this is a crisp popular phrase. it transmits the sense regardless of allegory. This is usually the last resort. 'Faaregh' 'empty' is usually used with material objects like pans. 3.: . rather than with immaterial things like talk. which implies the troubles a slippery tongue might cause. an indirect precaution for people to take care of their tongues. there are some metaphorical proverbial and semiproverbial phrases that have similar negative implications for idle talk: "[ "كلم الليل يمحوه النهارkalaamu l-layli yamhoohu n-nahaar] Lit. *** the so-called encapsulators (i. Two words are enough to blast apart a whole speech. Another meaning of 'thalool' (obedient) could be suggested here in this negative context of tongue. regardless of the results. general reference). In a similar context.
to signify idle. 'hulw'."Night talk is erased by day talk": "What is said at night is forgotten the following day". Here applies the well-known saying: "[ "والضد يظهر حسنه الضدwad-diddu yuzhiru َ ُ . This is a very passive expression used to describe hypocrites in whatever situation.: "Wet-tongued": "Sweet-tongued".: "His talk is a wind in a cage": "His talk vanishes into thin air". which indicates trivial talk again. 'tariyy'.: "Wasted talk": "Nonsense/logorrhea".: "Sweet tongue": "Sweet tongue". which insinuates trivial talk."[ "لسان حلوlisaanon hulw] Lit.: "And some of the talk goes with the wind": "A part of talk evaporates in the air".. In both languages the image of sweetness (the area of taste) is exploited to reflect the double sense of nice words. 'nonsense/trash'. to stress the uselessness of noisy.""لغو/لهو الحديث [lagwu/lahwu l-hadeeth] Lit. equally popular expressions are: "[ "طري اللسانtariyyu l-lisaan] Lit. 'ratb'-'sweet'. this does not apply to the phrase.: "I ً hear noise (of a mill) and see no grounds": "I hear wheeling without milling".. 4. hypocrisy as a means to get something). "[ "وبعض القول يذهب في الرياحwaba'du l-qawli yathhabu fi r-riyaahi] Lit. pompous chatter that stands short of action. "[ "كلمه ريح في قفصkalaamuhu reehon fee qafas] Lit. The last Shakespearean proverb is possibly the origin of the Arabic one. Also. Such paradoxical juxtaposition of antonyms has the function of making hypocrisy uglier.e. which highlights again the triviality of at least a portion of the talk. abhorrent and impolite image of hypocrisy in the heart of a sweet-tongued person. 'soft'. Two analogous. The metaphorical description of the tongue as sweet suggests a surface. unnecessary talk. it poses no problem.e. "[ "أسمع جعجعة ول أرى طحناasma'u ja'ja'atan walaa araa tahnan] Lit. ugly disgusting.: "Soft-tongued": "Sweet-tongued". friendliness. 'kalaam hulw' 'nice talk' (see above). which is the intended meaning here. Therefore. to stand in sharp contrast with the black. 'wet') have quite popular positive connotations of politeness. exactly like the barking of dogs that do not bite. It is stylistically interesting how the metaphorical words in these three phrases (i. the unnecessary use of a lot of nice and agreeable words) and an implied meaning (that is. or else it wiould not be forgotten. intimacy and sociability. and 'sharp and to the point' are well-known expressions in English that convey completely or partly the sense and allegory of the SL counterparts. referential meaning (i. and ""رطب اللسان ْ [ratbu l-lisaan] Lit. However. 'empty/idle talk'.
the rhyme between 'lisaanon' and 'yadon'. This leads to the conclusion that deception and hardness are closely related as two faces of the same coin. It is a stiff and senseless hand. The translation into English has tried to produce not only the message but also the effect of the original on the TL reader. with the same number of sounds and letters. parallel structure (ADJ+N: 'sweet tongue' vs. as wood is a hard material. and the rhymed repetition of 'min' twice.: "A tongue of ripe dates and a hand of wood": "A sweet tongue and a harsh hand"."[ "لسان من رطب ويد من خشبlisaanon min rutab wayadon min khashab] َُ Lit. which are the sweetest and the softest kind of dates. but. 5. and the 'wooden hand' is not just any hand. When words are made to resemble dates. The final stylistic feature that needs to be attended to is the coordinate conjunction of addition. although the latter is symbolic of harshness and the former of softness. rather than of contrast. Also. concise structure (as few words as possible). The sweetness and softness of the tongue is drawn from ripe dates. This gives further evidence for the argument for paradoxical conformity and heterogeneous homogeneity. they are meant to be identified with them perfectly when tasted and experienced by the tongue. as though the first equals the second. Here we perhaps expect a connector of contrast (i. and 'yadon min khashab' (N+PREP+N). so to speak. but a deceptive one. as the 'soft tongue' is not soft at all.) rather than of addition. 'harsh hand'). Simply. they are made identical. yet. 'a hand of wood'.. and the use of the same conjunction of addition. Several stylistic features have been employed here to produce the greatest possible effect on the reader. by achieving some kind of semi end-rhyme between 'tongue' and 'hand'. a contrast between the two noun phrases has changed into addition. suggests the meaning of harshness and ruthlessness on the part of the same person. 'rutab' 'ripe dates' and 'khashab' 'wood'. 'lisaanon min rutab' (N+PREP+N). Allegory abounds here. which half rhymes with the other two words preceding it each time. there is a striking syntactic parallelism between the two parts of the expression. this person is harsh.e. 'and'. which is . Chief among them is the antithetical conformity created between two opposites. but a hard one. hard and ruthless. What supports this even more is the strong stop end-rhyme between 'rutab' and 'khashab'. The second metaphor. But since the latter is used. etc.husnahu d-diddu]: "Nothing is good or ill but by comparison". That is. This is some allegory. and only phrases of the same kind are added to one another. however.
verbal oppression by the same speaker. pliant. hard.common in collocations of contrastiveness like 'vice and virtue'. both have surface antithesis and underlying resemblance of message (cheating and deception for honey. cordial language. Two stylistic points common to all these expressions are due here. Therefore. The difference is in degree and allegory which is richer on the SL side. and wickedness and aggression for sharp instrument). where the metaphor word. soft tongue/talk. which replaces a contrastive connector. is used normally with material things which could be pliant. The same can also be said of the conjunction 'and'. and paradoxical conformity in this expression exactly as in the previous three allegorical sayings. The latter seems to correspond with the former in this phrase. a sword. and 'asal = asal. and ferocity and harshness for a sharp instrument. So the sense of sharpness of two different kinds is there.: "A talk َ like honey and a doing like sharp a instrument": "Sweet words and bad deeds". to invalidate pliant words. a lance. etc. their initial parts deliver more or less the same message of sweet. simple terms the structure and meaning of the four foregoing expressions. pliancy of talk is suggestive of soft. as 'honey talk' is a cheating talk confirmed by the person's deeds which are wicked and aggressive. whereas the ending parts suggest a similar . opposed as well as uprooted by a blunt. to suggest the sameness of the two images of the expression. polite. We may notice the same stylistic points of rhyme. "[ "كلم لين وظلم بينkalaamon ّ ّ layyen wazulmon bayyen] Lit. which also suggests that kalaamon = fi'lon. Again the same sort of syntactic parallelism-noted in conjunction with the previous expression-is present between two remarkably and perfectly rhymed parts here: 'kalaamon kal-'asal' (N+PREP+N). functional 'and'. where the sweet honey is matched by a very sharp instrument like a knife. syntactic parallelism. Two more expressions of the same structure and sense can be introduced here: "["كلم كالعسل وفعل كالسلkalaamon kal-'asal wafi'lon kal-asal] Lit. Similar to this is the proverbial expression. and 'fi'lon kal-asal' (N+PREP+N).: "Pliant talk and explicit oppression": "Soft talk and stark abuse". side by side with the contrastive connotations of sweetness and agreeability for honey. Understandably. The same translation approach is applied to the next three expressions. The extremely popular saying: "[ "كلمة حق يراد بها باطلkalimatu haqqen yuraadu bihaa baatel]: "A right word and wrong implications" explains in short. First. or a razor.
while (b) is negative for it ends with a negative adjective. alternation. or less negative ones. and finish with the less negative. naughty (that is why it is inappropriate for a commercial). socially unfavourable for the vast majority of people . 6. which is not acceptable at all in the actual sequence of these expressions.. as their negative end focus would change completely. the end focus will change and the phrases would accordingly change into rather more positive. or positive part. The proverb is critical of a person who keeps talking and gossiping all the time for whatever reason. as it does not talk in the human literal sense of the word. it equates the two epithets by means of the coordinator of addition 'and'. talkative is a bad epithet indeed. but usually not of much talking.: "More talkative than a monkey": "As talkative as a talking machine"."[ "أحكى من قردahkaa min qird] Lit. That means if we start with the more negative part of harshness. or "Bad deeds and honey/sweet talk" (to replace 'Sweet talk and bad deeds'). or the effect of the message would undergo drastic changes. etc. where the ordering of words affects the focus as much as meaning (see Nash 1980: 7375): Compare these versions of the following example (taken from a well-known British television commercial): (a) This king burger is naughty but nice (positive end focus = positive bias). that is. As to (c).message of ruthlessness and harshness. Perhaps the allegory here is the pejorative comparison of a talkative person to a culturally ugly animal like a monkey. Certainly. the syntactic sequence of these parts cannot be reversed. &(c) This king burger is naughty and nice (addition = equation). or man. which can be understood as combining paradoxes in one and the same thing. on whatever occasion. They would be read more as expressions of balanced parts than passive ones. the whole implication of strong passivity would be minimized. if we say for example: "Harsh hand and sweet talk" (instead of 'Sweet talk and harsh hand'). This can be understood clearly from patterns of syndetic pairs of addition. That is. (a) is positive because the last adjective is positive (that is why it is the version used in the commercial). on whatever topic. (b) This king burger is nice but naughty (negative end focus = negative bias). contrast. Monkey has bad connotations in Arabic. Secondly. or making the positive and the negative equal and identical (which is the case with the four expressions discussed above). equation.
: "The camel has become a shecamel": "Listen/look who's talking". This sense is applied to people. There is no other way out. but it does not exactly possess the same kind and degree of effect on the TL readership. because this is crucial in the appreciation and comprehension and. Yet it is suggested to create a similar effect in the TL.: "Badri has just spoken": "Listen/look who's talking!" Badri is a . confused. this does not prevent them from getting the message.everywhere. People. The English translation is half standard. A similar. clumsy. An interesting stylistic point about the structure of the phrase is the use of the comparative form for 'ahkaa' (more talkative) instead of the normal form of 'talkative'. therefore. Therefore. to achieve a greater effect on language users. It is the first meaning of a man considered to be fragile. as the second version of the translation confirms. 1981 and 1988. Therefore another image is sought after to counterbalance the original. to emphasis the tendency in Arabic towards comparison for elucidation and exaggeration. 1964). The simile implies that a woodsman at night is wasting his time and efforts for he does not know or distinguish what he woods. low and foolish. as it were. 7. "The nobleman is henpecked". and Nida's dynamic equivalence. Similar to this is the proverb: "[ "المكثار كحاطب الليلal-mikthaaru kahaatibi l-layl] Lit. more popular comment in such a context is the colloquial expression. Alfayroosabaadi. respond differently to a machine and a monkey. Nevertheless. As to the English translation. But it is not our concern here. "[ "حكى بدريhakaa badri] Lit. and 'waste one's breath' can be appropriate here to transmit a similar message but in different environment. and Al-waseet Arabic monolingual Dictionaries). He is bitterly criticised and ridiculed by this phrase."[ "استنوق الجملistanwaqa l-jamal] Lit. that is. The TL has a cultural equivalent for the Arabic one: 'as a talking machine' for 'talkative monkey'. the translation of many such expressions (Newmark's communicative translation. he will be confused and have everything confused and in a shambles. It has nothing to do with camels except for its symbolic literal sense of a camel behaving as humbly as a she-camel (see Almunjed. The phrase is purely cultural and all-in-all metaphorical. which is usually followed by a smile.: "A talkative person is like a night woodsman": " A talkative man wastes his breath". which is culturally known to be subservient and obedient. namely 'as a talking machine' is a popular simile. the image of 'woodsman' is not a part of English culture or allegory in this context. how or what he does. whereas 'as talkative' is not.
It is one of the popular pejorative phrases used in everyday conversation to describe the language of a severe.:"Vicious-and-long-tongued": "Sharp-tongued". The referential meaning of this phrase has nothing to do with its implicit message. The translation of these two expressions are among the most difficult to translate into English. a person who has such a tongue can be told that to his or her face.. and the two cultures. sweet or sharp in the literal sense. but with less effect and sharpness. unnecessarily and without knowing exactly what he says.: "Long-tongued": "Sharp-tongued". To sharpen the sense of irony . Arabic and English. and implies a harsh. There are multiple recommendations here: Do not overpraise someone no matter who he is. It intends to tell someone who praises a person excessively. A tongue is a tongue. "[ "ل تهرف بما ل تعرفlaa tahref bimaa laa ta'ref] Lit. disliked. translated with the sense of 'long-tongued' is not used in standard English. Yet. like Jack or John in English.: "And my breast got relieved!": "So that I've had a sigh of relief!". which rhymes with 'Badri'. the catch phrase 'look who's talking!' is perfectly expressive of the message and its connotations of irony and disrespect.e.: "Do not ِ َ overpraise (someone) with what you do not know": "Don't shower (someone) with praise unnecessarily".[ "!وانشرح صدريwansharah sadri] Lit. 9. which is similar in meaning to the previous one. All these are . it can be sharp when it utters sharp words. it is sometimes completed as ". the reason for the original choice may never be known. These two expressions are easy to translate into English. allegorically speaking. to refrain from that. The accompanying tone of voice is in fact suggestive of that. to feel quite relieved). however. Therefore. These are the characteristics of a hypocrite and an opportunist.. Do not say what you do not know. a piece of flesh that cannot be soft.. normally behind his or her back."[ "سليط اللسانsaleetu l-lisaan] Lit. a common name. The second. harsh person. 8. But the speaker knows very well that he lauds him to get something personal.proper name. meet here. and opinionated people. Such expressions are critical of foolish. sarcastic implication which is quite the opposite of its surface meaning (i. and Stop pretending and being a hypocrite. The phrase has exactly the same metaphorical connotations as the previous formal one. An alternative for this expression is "[ "طويل اللسانtaweelu l-lisaan] Lit. thick-witted. However.
11. and the parallel structure of the 'laa tahref' and 'laa ta'ref'. The English translation reproduces only the sense. Words should be produced carefully. mid-rhyme-or motif-between the same sound 'h' (underlined) in the same word. the metaphorical 'shower' compensates for some loss here. 'aa' (long 'a'). the worst and most serious disease that speech can develop. To support this criticism. especially in formal and serious situations."[ "رمى الكلم على عواهنهrama l-kalaama 'alaa 'awaahineh] Lit. The only rhetorical aspect of the TL version is its crispness. The last feature. That is. that is. Lying is regarded here as a blight. It is a good metaphor to express the production of words irresponsibly. which suggests a good relationship of identification of their message. 10. Words here are portrayed as material things that can be thrown out of the mouth. and the common motif among all the words. the 'aa' motif.: "He threw words as they came to his mouth": "He spoke at random". confirming the disagreeability of hypocritical language and people.: "The blight of talk is lying": "Lying is ugly"."[ "آفة الحديث الكذبaafatu l-hadeethi l-katheb] Lit. The SL expression is superior to. as the phrase implies. for at-random words could be quite harmful. This is not to conclude that the phrase recommends doing the opposite. and therefore kills the whole speech. which is embarrassing and irrational. the close spelling of them as the key words of the phrase. Such disease is deadly. and richer than the Englishlanguage translation for the reasons just pointed out. to aid memorisation. Three important stylistic points are employed here to produce stronger supportive effect for the message: The apparent rhyme between 'tahref' and 'ta'ref'. ready-to-sing endrhyme between 'ramaa' and 'l-kalaama'.negative meanings. . any words. is suggestive of an open mouth that 'throws' words. However. the literal sense is expressed in general terms. ''waahineh'. alliterative rhyme between ''alaa' ''waahineh'. good or bad. and without giving them a second thought. haphazardly. but it loses all its stylistic features and functions. but not the stylistic-phonological features and effects of the original. any time. which gives further evidence for the correspondence between their implications. This ironical touch can be sensed at its best if the expression is said aloud rhythmically in pairs. a sense of sarcasm is achieved by the rhythmical. "ihref bimaa ta'ref" 'overpraise someone with what you know'-excessive praise is not advisable in principle in any case.
whereas honesty is a remedy for the honest. One of them corresponds to the previous phrase in its allegorical sense of illness: "[ "الكذب داء والصدق شفاءal-kathibu daa' was-sidqu shifaa'] Lit. Lying is a plague developed by liars. The lexical choice of 'blight' is. on the one hand. but not necessarily. emphatically.: "Lying is malady and honesty is remedy": "Lying is malady. which is another way of spoiling it. exactly the required words. concise structure of the phrase: only three words. there are several popular expressions which appreciate honesty. phonological and. and malady and remedy. At the same time it is an aid to memorisation. it has a rhetorical and stylistic function. which comforts them for life. One more significant stylistic feature is the succinct. categorically. on the other. for one lie in a long speech is devastating enough to discredit the whole thing.Lying is not only the worst part and kind of talk. The juxtaposition between lying and honesty. whereas honesty is an antidote for honest people. and effectively as required. and remains permanently. all semantic syntactic. As for the rhyme in both languages between 'malady' and 'remedy'. The main problem of translation into English is the absence of the image of lying as a blight. but also the destroyer of any talk. honesty is remedy". In this negative context of lying. I hope this translation of my own devising will be deemed acceptable. definite message about the brass tacks of both lying and honesty. which could accompany them always. This is what exactly lying does with talk. . The conciseness of form is also remarkable for its sharpness and straightforwardness in delivering a clear. They are expressive enough and sharp enough to deliver a message as bluntly. develops steadily. hence. makes their antithetical relationship sharper and more blatant. brilliant for it ominously refers to a killing disease that starts up abruptly. What a difference! This could mean that the latter is a remedy for the former. neither more nor less. so that it keeps killing the same thing for a long time. However. The English translation perfectly matches. and Arabic language in general. not to say supercedes.[ الصدقas-sidq]. put together in the same context of disharmony. A liar is never believed even when he is right. to strike some kind of balance with the allegory of the original. This is indeed the original tendency of Arabic rhetoric in particular. In this proverb. therefore. or to make the addressee(s) suspicious of it. another compensating image of ugliness is suggested for lying. lying is a disease for liars. stylistic aspects of the original Arabic.
The phrase 'al-'ujaru wal-bujaru' is the plural of ''ujra' wa 'bujra'. It is remarkable how a poor. to start with 'complaining' means to start with depreciating the vulnerable part of the weak. Although the words in the phrase mean. It is a kind of indecisive metaphor as whether to classify it as negative. still the passive is passive. for nobody tells his own secrets and sufferings unless he is fed up and in distress. rather than remaining passive. This means that the powerful element of the phrase is undermined. "The weapon of the weak is complaint": "The only weapon for the weak is complaining". or positive. and consequently. if not altogether lost.12."[ "سلح الضعفاء الشكايةsilaahu d-du'afaa'i sh-shikaayah] Lit. "I told him everything about the bad side of me". For all that. the same metaphor as well as the full sense of the original is retained. Although it is possible. In the English translation. it is preferable to keep the stylistic focus and word order of the TL text exactly as the original. That is. for the point of front-focus is changed. The context could be that of relief to the person speaking. and say. Yet it is not exactly positive. in which case the latter is negative while the former is less negative. it is not advisable. or closer to positive. Yet. It could be a matter of less passive and more passive. which is anyway not an invalid point. among other things."[ "أخبرته بعجري وبجريakhbartuhu bi'ujaree. Although it is originally intended to be a criticism of the submissive and surrendering nature of miserable people. they are used metaphorically to refer to all of one's private misfortunes and worries in general. rather than with their strong part. who brings relief to himself by speaking openly about his own troubles. wabujaree] Lit. turning poor words of poor people into a weapon of some kind. 13. whether more or less. . criticising the weak for resorting to humiliating complaint. nodes in the human body. miserable and humble type of speech like a 'complaint' is changed into a powerful weapon. "I washed all my dirty linen before him". to background 'weapon' and foreground 'complaining'. and are to be understood within one popular catch-phrase used symbolically in a negative context of sadness on the addresser's part. it simultaneously implies appreciating them in a sense for trying to do something. stylistically.: "I told َُ َُ him about my all drawbacks and troubles": "I told him everything". the bias of the whole expression. in which case it is a positive context. In fact they bear no reference to their literal sense of knots/nodes. "Complaining is the weapon of the weak". At the same time. it is the only weapon of poor people who are helpless and unable to do anything other than complain.
These are two of several similar phrases in Arabic which have the same syntactic structure and implications.: "The worst calamity is that which makes you laugh": "Misfortunes ironically invite a smile". Here good and bad talk are equally condemned and dismissed as inept. and "[ "الهموم والكرباتalُُ humoomu wal-kurubaat]. for at best it would cause regret and sorrow for others. "[ "الهموم والغمومal-humoomu wal-ghumoomu]. The perfect rhyme between these two words does not as much ease the burden of pronunciation as reflect the identical meanings and implications of one another. it is mispronounced as "'jree wabjree" for reasons of convenient. The whole phrase is allegorical. and insinuate a sense of irony associated with the phrase which is made obvious by a commonplace. sympathetic comment in such a situation: "[ "شر البلية ما يضحكsharru l-baliyyati maa yudhek] Lit. even harmful if it is good. It is all the same whether it is a right or wrong opinion. "[ "الهم والحزنal-hammu walََ hazan]. ُْ "[ "الهم والغمal-hammu wal-ghammu]. which is why in colloquial Arabic. implying sharp criticism of a person who states his opinion too late. "[ "شر الرأي الدبريsharru r-raayi d-dabariyyu] Lit. since much of the allegory and rhetoric is lost. I complain to you my troubles and distress" (an Islamic invocation). For example: "البث ["والحزنal-baththu wal-huznu] (from the Holy Qur'an). disintegrated. All one can do when translating these two phrases into English is convey the literal sense as closely as possible. after something has been done. 14. especially in supplication. and to avoid saying it in the wrong time regardless of its value. The same applies to the next group of identical phrases. . Another implication is that it is a warning against the social and practical inadvisability of stating one's opinion. easy articulation. as in: "اللهم إني أشكو إليك "-"عجري وبجريGod. and difficult to pronounce.It is remarkable that the sounds of the phrase are in a shambles in the sense that they are influent. all of which are used in an identical meaning and context. heterogeneous. whose sharp sarcastic sense is quite explicit. Verily this is an exceptionally positive complaint.: "The worst ّ ََ opinion is the late one": "Too late an opinion is too worse". It can also be interpreted differently-as a strong recommendation for saying something at the right time. for it will then be useless. This conforms perfectly with the phrase's disharmonious. dishevelled message.
and cannot get hold of somebody or something that is already in advance. 'what has gone has gone' and. More accentuation is assigned to this expression by a strong quadruple stress on two consecutive double 'R's in two successive words (i. demonstrating exaggeration about this kind of opinion. or sense. this sub-section brings to focus the depreciable part(s) of the negative allegorical expressions of speech. which display several interesting versions of translation. and more importantly the backgrounding of 'too worse' and foregrounding of 'too late' at the expense of emphasising the latter rather than the former.The choice of the word 'sharru' 'the worst' is functional. as in the original. To sum up. Any additional stylistic feature would be a gain. This is done on three levels: the repetition of 'too'.. Having discussed the allegorical expressions of silence and speech individually. and a semi-proverbial form of the whole translation. In other words. or come from behind only when it is too late. and two more stresses on 'd' and 'y' of the third word (that is. sharru rra'yi). we can now introduce discussion of some phrases which are reciprocal. 'dabariyyu' 'too late' is a good polysemous lexical choice that originally means to lag behind. it has failed on two other levels: the reduction of the superlative form of the original 'the worst' into the comparative form 'worse'. you cannot do anything now. In English.e. The version of translation provided here is an attempt to produce one or two stylistic features to create some kind of effect that is similar-at least in part-to the original. Silence and Speech Expressions Juxtaposed . implications. d-dabariyyu). juxtaposing silence and speech in the same context. stylistic functions and relationships that explain the intricacies and magic of such fascinating phrases. Yet. in an attempt to convince people of its hazards so that they may avoid it. parallelism between 'too late' and 'too worse'. Also. it says. therefore. the metaphorical word. that is the primary concern of a translator here. and three 'R's. Four stresses in three consecutive words. so 'let bygones be bygones' and do not make things worse and force people to regret doing or saying something by giving your late opinion about it. it is the message. two stressed and one unstressed must be emphatic and reflexive of the message.
while still rating silver highly. and preference is given to gold. silly speech after a long time of keeping quiet. the second of which (i. Rather. they have a strong relationship and are tied up together in positive contexts to give illustrations in material terms.1. but here they stand in immediate contrast to one . but it has become so because of a surprisingly bad opinion."[ "سكت دهرا ونطق كفراsakata dahran wanataqa kufran] Lit. that the difference between it and silence is in degree. as silence is not exactly the opposite of speech (as several examples of the foregoing sections demonstrate). both of which are associated in several verses of the Holy Qur'an and a number of everyday. We conclude from this the inevitable. the latter of which is superior to the former. There is no problem of translation here at all. but that is not the case. starting with the second. Yet.: "If speech is from silver. and therefore. This kind of structure is convenient for two temporally interconnected things. with the same message and connotations. silence is from gold": "Speech is silver. The whole proverb is based on the comparison between the two well-known metals. is a sharp reply to the first (viz. Obviously. exactly as the case here. which is strange and unacceptable as the favourite part is expected to be logically in the second position. So precedence is given to silence at the expense of speech. so the phrase is properly read as a depreciation and rejection of speech. silence is golden". Normally these are not antonyms. but a long silence. and our expectations are toppled altogether. popular collocations. Thus. to keep quiet for a long time presupposes that when one finally does speak. careful opinion. speech is silver". and 'dahran' 'for ages'-'kufran' 'trash'. 2. for English has exactly the same proverbial saying. it is understood that the difference between them is big. silence is more precious than speech. But it is not any silence or any speech. natural company that silence and speech keep in all situations. "Silence is golden". Long silence is not by nature negative. not in quality. this does not imply that speech is valuable.. fas-sukootu min thahab). here they are juxtaposed. Astonishingly enough. Moreover. while the inferior part is to be in the first position.. That is. Ithaa kaana l-kalaamu min fiddah). this phrase is a criticism of both silence and speech.e. This can be understood by reversing the clause order of the sentence."[ "إذا كان الكلم من فضة فالسكوت من ذهبithaa kaana l-kalaamu min fiddah fas-sukootu min thahab] Lit. the syntactic structure is that of conditional sentences. as follows: "If silence is gold. However. it will be an extremely wise. and a poor.: "He was ً ً silent for ages and uttered atheism": "He kept silent for ages only to utter trash". there are two pairs of words made opposites in this phrase: 'sakata' 'kept silent'-'nataqa' 'uttered'. Stylistically speaking. or silence.
neither 'dahran' 'for ages' nor 'kufran' 'blasphemy/atheism' are meant to be taken literally.: "He was silent ً َْ ً for a thousand (times) and uttered a trash": "He kept silent for ages to voice trash".: "Silence could be more eloquent than speech": "Silence can be more expressive than words". 'sakata dahran' and 'nataqa kufran') to one another. although the same image is not available in English."[ "رب سكوت أبلغ من كلمrubba sukooten ablaghu min . so 'trash' fits well here. As to the coordinate connector of addition. silence and speech in the same phrase. which applies perfectly to the message. especially when we know that the Arabic 'kufran' 'atheism' is not meant to be taken literally. and unexpectedly. for the message is clear and can be rendered safely. This leads to the conclusion that it is a conjunction of equation that makes the two sentences equal and exactly the same. Also a contrastive relationship is brought about by the use of the two opposites. 'for ages' and 'utter/voice trash' are perfectly expressive of the message with not much difference in connotations. Another version of the same proverbial expression with the same implications.. this does not hinder understanding or translation in any way.. it adds the two sentences of the phrase (i. The problem of translation here is not as difficult as it might look. But the context of the phrase understandably turns them to into opposites. this word indicates a strong.kalaam] Lit. as two opposite words with different implications. However. That is. 'long time' and 'trash' contrast each other here. which can . they are means of exaggeration about time and bad talk. 1.. However. One last point is the use of 'rubba' (perhaps) to imply a style of probability and occasionality. On the other hand. Silence is strongly recommended here as it can express a person's mind much better than speech. intended to be understood by implication and connotation. Likewise.another. Here the grammatical structure of the comparative form of 'more . They are also chosen on purpose to rhyme with one another for convenience of memorisation. in which case silence has no privilege over speech. likely probability. for sometimes speech could be more eloquent than silence. is: "[ "سكت ألفا ونطق خلفاsakata alfan wa nataqa khalfan] Lit.e. Perhaps the best reading of this expression is to stop at 'sukoot' and 'kalaam' to reflect the meaning of silence with elongated 'oo' and closing nasal 'm' which indicates a closed mouth. rather than contradicting one with the other. as the version proposed here confirms. 'and'. than' is preferred to the normal form of likeness. to sharpen the difference between them.
which makes the contrast between silence and speech sharper. examples below). The indefinite noun.: "The tongue of the person's condition is more eloquent than the tongue of speaking": "Man's condition is more expressive than his expression".. The rhyme between 'haal' and 'maqaal'. rather a man's appearance or condition is enough for us to understand him.e. implies sometimes rather than always. is not necessary. but it is not less expressive of meaning. 'speech' and 'expressive' can be an equivalent of some kind. the hissingness of the alveolar fricative sibilant sound 's' (see Gimson 1981: 185-88) in 'silence'. although both have eloquence in common. 'sukoot' 'silence'. the literal (the second) and the metaphorical (the first). However. as 'is' expresses certainty. 3. the metaphorical tongue changes man's silent condition into an eloquent expressive tongue in such a way that his normal tongue. the rhyme between 'condition' and 'expression' and the retention of the . Nevertheless. The phrase means to say that a person's terrible condition. appearance and countenance can say everything about him to the extent that he need say nothing. silence is sometimes more expressive than speech (cf. They are juxtaposed with one another to form a fantastic comparison. There are two tongues here. This shows the superiority of keeping quiet to speaking. On the other hand. without any need for words. Also. The comparative structure is retained to imply a similar stylistic function in the TL as well."[ "لسان الحال أبين من لسان المقالlisaanu l-haal abyanu min lisaani l-maqaal] Lit. silent) can be expressive enough so that words are totally unnecessary. makes the two words identical in sense. The English version of translation renders the sense. which is supposed to be more eloquent and expressive than anything else. 'abyan' 'more eloquent' is used in the comparative grammatical form which implies that what follows is better than what precedes. However. The adjective. the intended meaning of the phrase is not exactly so. Perhaps the English translation is less metaphorical than the Arabic original. That is. a loss. That is haal = maqaal: both are expressive and each has a tongue. words are completely unnecessary. and is therefore. each word associated with 'lissan'.be understood as modest certainty. however.. And since the Arabic 'rubba' 'could be' is usually taken more as certainty than probability. So remaining speechless (i. the phonological onomatopoeic features disappear in English. an assertive version like 'silence is more eloquent/expressive than speech' is feasible. Thus.
especially a Muslim. even a mouthful of any kind of food is not dissimilar to a stone. is a safe choice in English. "To stone someone's mouth". Therefore. This implies the powerful force of words on some occasions to such an extent that man can be forced to keep astonishingly silent at the time when he is in need of speaking and defending himself. mouth' as if words were a mouthful of food. witty and sharp response."[ "الساكت عن الحق شيطان أخرسas-saakitu'ani l-haqqi shaytaanon akhras] Lit.. at the level of .: "He who keeps his mouth shut on the right is a dumb Satan": "To refrain from saying the truth is satanic"."[ "كأنما ألقمه الحجرkaannamaa alqamahu l-hajar] Lit. which is an ugly image of man. and 'sabba' 'poured'. 4. Here the image works on two levels. or something stonelike. it is sufficient per se to express the required meaning. secret confidentiality and extreme importance of these words. Another catch phrase in this context of 'alqama' is. So passive silence here is dumped on somebody against his will. But by the time we digest this sense we realise that the forced mouthful is nothing but a stone. To put a stone in someone's mouth is symbolic of silencing him and shutting him up. A person who keeps his mouth shut and refuses to speak the truth is likened to a dumb Satan (with all its bad connotations). I suppose. In any case. Hence the preciseness of the image of being struck dumb by words. 5. The stylistic-lexical choice of 'alqama' 'to mouth' is precise and expressive. which has a twofold metaphor: 'alqama' 'enforced . "ألقمته أذني فصب فيها ُْ ً [ "كلماalqamtuhu uthunee fasabba feehaa kalaaman] Lit.comparative relationship between the two parts of the phrase are meant to match the original to some extent and compensate somehow for the loss in allegory. using the same image of stone. But this is just a material image to illustrate the idea of a speaker who is struck dumb by another person's quick. suggesting a big mouthful. for it is acceptable and comprehensible by native speakers of English-as well as by English speaking people worldwide.: "I enforced my ear in his mouth to pour words in": "I lent him my ear to whisper in".: "As though he mouthed him a stone": "To strike someone dumb". The literal translation of meaning. It is a humiliation to the former.. This is a traditional saying by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). but a triumph to the latter. as though words are matter or a liquid that can be poured completely and properly in the ear's passage-this suggests the full whispering. He would be not only a Satan but also dumb.
for Arabic is profusely rich with such expressions.e. What a big difference between the two! The translatability of this saying (or Hadith) into English as a one-toone equivalent is comparatively low for two main reasons: the religious base and bias of the original might only be partially received by TL readers.silence it is absolutely negative. Only a few examples have been discussed for the convenience of achieving the aims of this tentative paper. and subtly and extensively . There are two antonymic. leaving out the metaphor of 'dumb Satan'. this does not undermine the value of the discussion. and vice versa. All the phrases and expressions are proverbs. especially in examples like the last one.. I hope. However. as the limited number of examples investigated are quite suggestive. Satan and dumbness on the other. Conclusion In conclusion. and. make the points raised here explicit. They are all allegorical. everyday popular phrases. it is not fair to always think of their relationship in this way. the other positive. some notes can be drawn from the foregoing discussion. and gives a greater proportion of emphasis to the latter. This means that such a person and a dumb Satan are absolutely identical. whereas at the level of speech (namely. Having said that. speech and silence are sometimes juxtaposed to display the sensitive fluctuating relationship between them. fascinatingly rhetorical. and the image may not be understood or agreed upon completely by them. saying the right thing). which by extension sharpens the contrastive relationship between the black image of devilishly passive silence and the bright image of exceptionally positive speech (i. No too bad. symbolic and representational. adages. and collocations. catch phrases. Thus. Otherwise. and 'a silent man'. as one is sometimes negative. as generalisation would be harmful indeed. every single expression should be considered on its own terms. juxtaposed poles in the phrase: 'truth' on one hand. Rather. Although the latter is more frequently positive and the former negative. the version provided offers a compromise. therefore. semi-proverbs. while at the same time retaining the 'satanic' atmosphere and presence. saying the truth) it is quite positive. hundreds of examples could be cited and discussed.
religious and/or linguistic/stylistic problems and factors that resist fluent translation. and. since words are neutral out of context. We also notice from the discussion above that each phrase has its own occasion and situation. sociolinguistic. origins and depths of words. As regards the translation of these expressions into English. style and connotations is valid here. It is amazing how each combination can be used in the contexts of passivity and positivity. for example. because socially. which is valid then in that certain context and environment. implications and connotations that are critical to our translation and interpretation of their messages. but specified once contextualised (see Cruse 1977. for example. effects. All of these expressions exhibit stylistic (grammatical. Despite the tentativeness of this paper. it is hoped that it will pave the way for deeper and more comprehensive investigation about allegory in phrases of speech and silence in both English and Arabic. Top among the stylistic relationships are those of contrast and paradox in the three major combinations: silence. Therefore. it does not exist. having been secret and hidden inside the cluttered obscure and unconscious chambers. with stylistic functions. it must be admitted that it is far from easy for they are heavily imbued with cultural. are either this or that. speech. some generalisations about similar contexts can be tolerated. lexical and phonological) intricacies and relationships of various types. culturally and stylistically speaking.rich and expressive. sometimes in one and the same expression and context. Only specification of positivity and negativity of words. its particular message. Ghazala 1987: ch. It is worth noting that the level of neutrality is not included.3). therefore. there is no hard-and-fast rule that speech expressions. as demonstrated earlier in the classification of expressions into negative and positive. grammar and sounds in particular. which are made explicit in this paper. . The same applies to the remaining two combinations. However. and when the two are juxtaposed.
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