Rendering the Arabic Contronym /Zann-a/ 'to surmise' into English in Four Qur'anic Translations

Manal Mohamed Abdel Nasser


/?al-?aDdaad/ 'contronyms' represent a linguistic phenomenon that manifests the resourcefulness of the Arabic language. It means the encapsulation of two opposite meanings in one lexical item. It encourages and activates the role of context in decoding the intended meaning on the part of the speaker or the producer of the utterance. The present study explores the use of the lexical item /Zann-a/ 'to surmise' in the Glorious Qur'an. This item is an apparent example of contronyms because it simultaneously implies both doubt and certainty and it is only by the help of the context that its meaning is made clear. The study also examines the rendering of four Qur'anic Translations of this lexical item and how far these translations succeeded in presenting the exact meaning intended in the Qur'anic text. The study concludes that sense relations are very complicated and that every Qur'anic translation has its own touches in clarifying the various shadows of meaning encapsulated in the Qur'anic verses discussed.


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