Cursing and Blessing in English and Arabic: A Contrastive Study
Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 19-46
AbstractStemming from the opinion that words have power to influence
humans and their relationships, cursing and blessing are chosen to
be studied in this research paper. Linguistically, they have not been
widely investigated in literature. In most previous studies, they have
been represented as social and theological phenomena. They tended
to be emotional expressions rather than declarative speech acts.
The present study tries to compare them linguistically, in both English
and Arabic languages, dealing with their characteristics in depth
by using a descriptive method. In addition to its preliminary attempt
to assign clearly the felicity conditions of blessing, this paper tries to
answer the following questions:
1. Is there a significant difference between cursing in English and its
counterpart in Arabic?
2. Is there a significant difference between blessing in English and
its counterpart in Arabic?
3. Is there a similarity between cursing and blessing?
4. Should they be treated as linguistic routines?
This paper is divided into five sections: the first examines cursing
in English structurally, semantically and pragmatically. The second
deals with it in Arabic. In the third section, a linguistic account is
given about blessing in English with an attempt to organize its felicity
conditions depending on those given for cursing within Searle
Model(1969), while the fourth looks at it in Arabic. Finally, the comparison
and the conclusions are given.
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