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Profiling of (Ir)reversible Binomials in Translated Arabic Texts: A corpus-based study


A binomial, or binomial pair, is a pair of words conventionally linked by a lexical link such as a conjunction or a preposition, for example, “day and night”, “life and death”, “dos and don’ts”, etc. Binomials are very common in all languages. Binomials can be reversible or irreversible; i.e. they share/do not share the same word order in the Source Language or Target Language. Binomials play a very important role in learners’ or speakers’ competence; the more binomials you are familiar with the more competent one would be. In this paper, we will examine binomials in the Arabic language; we will use corpus-based approaches to explore how binomials are reversible in Arabic and English. In an attempt to find a practical-digital way for language learners and translators to rely on when they come across conjoined words, mainly binomials, different approaches to binomial extraction have been explored. Corpus linguistic techniques and Mutual Information1 statistics are used to test the relations between the different parts of binomials; the most frequent binomials and conjoined phrases are analyzed in an Arabic text coupled with their translations into English. By calculating the significant binomials, mutual information helps us to identify what to examine in the concordance lines. Based on the analysis of the concordances of the data, some rules have been proposed, something which would enable language learners and translators to make generalizations and reach firmer conclusions regarding the order of parts within binomials and whether they are reversible or irreversible when translated from one language into another.


binominals, irreversibility of binominals, corpus-based analysis, conjoined phrases, Arabic/English translation



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