Volume 59, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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This paper examines the main challenges of translating English compounds into Arabic. Compounding is linguistically a common process across many languages where compounds are frequently formed. In English compounding is highly creative and innovative, and often used as a means of introducing new phrases or coining new words into the lexicon. In contrast, Arabic is less resourceful. Arabic does not possess similar multiword expressions as an integral linguistic mechanism that merges language items to form a unit of language that can be broken down into single words and display idiosyncratic features. (Sag <i>et al.</i> 2002). As the English text-writer and the Arabic translator use their respective languages from different mental pictures and from disparate thought processes, each operates from a different worldview, so transferring English compounds often leads to loss of meaning. Understanding and interpreting compounds has been a long-standing area of interest in Indo-European language research but remains under-researched in Arabic. This paper contributes to the debate on how to deal with English compounds in Arabic.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Compounding; endocentric; exocentric; semantic relation; syntactic relation
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