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Semantics for Translation Students



Ali Almanna

This book is an introduction to semantics for students and researchers who are new to the field, especially those interested in Arabic–English translation and Arabic–English contrastive studies. The book first presents key concepts in semantics, pragmatics, semiotics, syntax and morphology and gradually introduces readers to the central questions of semantics. These issues are then analysed and discussed in conjunction with the act of translating between Arabic and English. Seeking a balance between theoretical developments and empirical investigation, the book thus provides both a systematic overview of semantics and an application in the field of English and Arabic contrastive semantics, hence offering a resource for students and teachers of Arabic–English translation.


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Chapter 6: Modality


Chapter 6 Modality Key terms • Ability and lack of ability • Advisability • Deontic modality • Epistemic modality • Expectations • Futurity • Lost opportunities • Modal verbs • Modality • Necessity and lack of necessity • Obligation • Possibility/likelihood • Permission • Polite request • Preference • Prohibition The previous chapters considered some grammatical issues, such as causa- tivity, transitivity, affixation, tense, and aspect. This chapter, completes the introduction to these grammatical issues by touching on modality and its types and functions in both Arabic and English. Further, this chapter provides the reader with an approach to translating modality from Arabic into English and vice versa. 82 Chapter 6 6.1 Modality While communicating with each other, language users are in need of expressing their own attitudes, opinions, or moods towards what happens, towards what exists in the outside world, towards the truth of an utterance, or towards the event described by that utterance. To do so, they need to fall back on modality. Modality is a concept used widely in a direct link with such notions as: • Obligation: We must not lose the match tomorrow, or we will be out of the tournament. • Necessity: I haven’t visited my friend for ten years, so I will have to visit her this summer. • Lack of necessity: In order to apply for this job, you must speak two languages, but you don’t have to have a degree in international relations. • Prohibition: You mustn’t use your mobile during takeoff. • Expectation: There are plenty of petrol stations in the town; it should not be too difficult to find somewhere...

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