Erroneous Transfer of Pejorative Meaning in the English Journalistic Discourse into Arabic: A Corpus–Based Study

A.B. As-Safi, Hana S. Al-Haj Ahmed


The current study tackles the mistransference of the pejorative meaning from English into Arabic as exemplified by certain connotation-laden words in journalistic texts. The exemplary words are extracted from a corpus which consists of more than 80 thousand words taken from two professional American magazines namely: Newsweek (English and Arabic) and Foreign Policy (English and Arabic). The study highlights the realization of connotation in journalistic discourse and the translator‘s role in transferring the connotative meaning to the selected words. The findings evince that words in the source texts (STs) are charged with pejorative connotation which, in the majority of cases, are not accurately rendered into the target texts (TTs); to some extent, only partial equivalence is attainable due to English and Arabic linguistic and cultural discrepancies. The translations have converted the pejorative meaning into an appreciative counterpart, neutralized it, omitted it, transliterated the pejorative words, or opted for euphemism which have all resulted in erroneous transfer of the original message. The study also demonstrates that rendering accurately the connotative meaning in journalistic discourse is of paramount importance to produce effective and adequate translations. 

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