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The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics

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Academic Paper


Title: Metaphors of Desire in Arab Culture: Building bridges between linguistics, culture and translation
Author: Bahaa-Eddin M. Mazid
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: United Arab Emirates University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; Translation
Subject Language: Arabic, Standard
Abstract: The study explores metaphors for desire in Arab-Islamic culture and some issues in translating them into English. The metaphors of desire identified both in Ghazali's book and in modern and contemporary Arab-Islamic culture coincide with those identified in the research on metaphors in Western culture. This further supports the universality of basic metaphors of human emotions. It is argued, however, that we should look for more creative and more positive ways of representing sexual desire within the limitations of our Arab-Islamic culture. A more positive, less infra-humanizing and less terrifying representation of sexual desire is likely to result in a more well-informed ethics. Speaking, not steaming or screaming. On the other hand, translating metaphors of desire from Arabic to English literally is not always a good option.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: In: A. Jendli, S. Troudi and C. Coombe (eds.), The Power of Language: Perspectives from Arabia (pp. 59-70). UAE, Dubai: TesolArabia.


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