The Polysemous Nature of Some Arabic Prepositions

Manal Mohamed Abdel Nasser


The present study is a semantic approach that deals with the meaning of Arabic prepositions which is a complex issue due to their polysemous nature that they intentionally alternate with one another for rhetorical purposes. Basically, every preposition has one primary meaning and other secondary meanings which are, in a way or another, related together on the one hand and to the primary meaning on the other. The study is interested in investigating how the primary meaning of a preposition comprises the other secondary meanings and that they form a network of related meanings with the primary one acting as the centre or the basis of the other ones. The examples presented in the study are taken from both Classical and Modern Standard Arabic. The study concludes that Arabic prepositions are very important functional words which have polysemous nature and that through the notions of transitivity, implication and alternation, the meaning conveyed by a preposition varies to a wide range.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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