Tenor of Quranic Rhetorical Questions: with reference to two English Translations

Ibrahim I.I. Najjar, Soh Bee Kwee, Thabet Ahmad Abu-Alhaj

Abstract


A rhetorical question is that question whose form does not match its function. In other words, a rhetorical question has the form of a question, but does not expect an answer. Rather, it aims to serve a specific rhetorical function. This study investigates the two English translations that are used in the translation of the Quranic rhetorical questions. In particular, this is a comparative study that aims to determine to what extent the two English translations sustain the tenor of the Quranic assertion, negation, testing, denial and exclamation rhetorical questions. To this end, the study makes use of Halliday and Hasan’s (1985) context of situation and especially the tenor variable in the comparison between the two English translations, namely “the Koran Interpreted” by Arberry (1955) and “the Noble Quran: English translation of the meanings and commentary” (1996) by al-Hilali and Khan. The study concludes that the tenor of the Quranic rhetorical questions encounters some distortions in the two English translations. Therefore, it is better for translators to understand the context of situation of the source text’s rhetorical question before the process of translation.

Keywords


Meaning, Quran, Rhetorical Question, Tenor, Translation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.8n.2p.205

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