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Euphemistic Expressions And Their Translation Essay

1030 words - 5 pages

The Prophet Muhammad was the last of the prophets of Allah and he was the founder of the great religion of Islam. In fact, he is one of the most influential figures in the history. His life, actions and sayings have been studied by many researchers around the world. The prophet's sayings in specific constitute a fertile area of linguistic phenomenon.

Euphemism in the sayings of the prophet Muhammad from a pragmatic perspective, being under study in this research, is a very important topic that aims at understanding the depth of meanings that are decoded from the utterances of the prophet Muhammad and it is hoped to contribute to the accuracy of the translations of these meanings.

The French diplomat Charles Talleyrand once remarked: "A diplomat who says 'yes' means 'maybe'; a diplomat who says 'maybe' means 'no'; and a diplomat who says 'no' is no diplomat''. This quotation vividly shows that communication involves more than what we literally say and the accurate meaning cannot be found always in the explicit sense of a word. Hence, the researchers appreciate the complexity behind word choice and the changeable nature of meaning (Linfoot-Ham: 2005). Further, communication is not only a matter of exchanging talks, but also a matter of being polite and knowing how to send the message without affecting the face of the interlocutor (Abdul Wahid: n.d).

To begin with, it is worth defining the term 'pragmatics'. Crystal (1985) and Watson & Hill (1993) define pragmatics as the study of language from the viewpoint of the users. They also add that pragmatics is concerned with the factors that govern the users' choice and the constraint they meet with in employing the use of the language. Hence, we can deduce that pragmatics concerns of meaning in context.

This study handles the topic of euphemism from a pragmatic perspective and attempts to suggest an appropriate translation for the euphemistic expressions. Hence, it is important to introduce the theoretical background of some issues which are related to this study.
1.1 The Role of Context
The role of context in the interpretation of linguistic expressions is often considered as an essential factor in meaning construction. In fact, it is supposed that when language is studied in use, context always comes first, directing the process of the interpretation of the expressions from the beginning (Requejo, 2007: 169). Requejo claims that any account of the meaning construction of a linguistic unit isolated from a real context will necessary be forced to consider a number of different possibilities where context is the only answer to decide which is the most appropriate. She provides the following example as an evidence:

Blue is the new black

In this example, the sentence cannot be interpreted by the meaning of its parts. In addition, hearers do not go through a list of possible meanings of blue and black stored in their minds. Instead,...

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