Waleed Ahmad Othman

Photograph of Waleed Ahmad Othman

Department of Modern Languages

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Phd title: A Systemic Functional and Relevance-Theoretic Approach to Explicitation in Translated Arabic
SupervisorDr Gabriela Saldanha and Dr Sofia Malamatidou
PhD in Modern Languages (Translation)


I am studying explicitational shifts manifested by clause augmentation (insertions and alterations of adjuncts related to location, manner, and cause) in translated Arabic based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). Using a data set comprising an English novel (Lord of the Flies) and three Arabic translations, I propose an SFL-based model for the identification of lexicogrammatical shifts and delimiting those that can be considered optionally explicitational. My proposed model is based on three parameters.

  1. The parameter of systemic possibility, which makes use of the notion of Choice in SFL, determines whether a translation shift is optional or non-optional.
  2. Local instantiation is a parameter that determines whether a shift is explicitational or not based on a shift’s traceability to the linguistic context, the physical context, the socio-cultural context, and/or translator’s assumptions. Systemic possibility and local instantiation are micro-level analysis parameters that determine the optionality and explicitational nature of individual shifts between the ST and the TT, regardless of their congruency with the typical patterning or norms of the TL or a specific TL register.
  3. Global instantiation. Global instantiation is a macro-level parameter that is applied on the text for the evaluation of the global effect of explicitational shifts in order to determine whether that text features more explicitness than is typical in the TL or a TL specific register.

It is not enough to depend on systemic possibility and local instantiation in determining whether a TT is optionally explicit and how explicit it is to the target readership. This is because a shift can be optionally explicitational as an individual instance and at the same time contribute, together with other similar shifts, towards congruency of the TT in terms of explicitness.