A Shift from Arabic to English A New Trend in Using Loanwords in Kurdish Journalistic Translation

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Sabir H. Rasul


Language is a living phenomenon; languages change, evolve and develop over time. One of the ways that languages change is through the influence of foreign languages, which is mainly reflected in loanwords. This paper addresses a new trend in translations produced in the Kurdish media, which is a shift from using Arabic loanwords to using English loanwords. Through a research questionnaire, this paper aims to attest whether the new observed trend is a mere perception or a factual phenomenon. The questionnaire aims at journalist-translators working between English and Kurdish. They are required to translate 40 fairly short English sentences (from journalistic genre) into Kurdish, each sentence containing one or more unmarked words that are thought to represent the aforementioned trend when translated into Kurdish. The results show that the use of Arabic loanwords in Kurdish journalistic translations is disproportionately low compared to English loanwords. Strikingly, the use of Kurdish equivalents is considerably high, given the fact that the chosen words are perceived to be normally translated as loanwords. Finally, over ten per cent of the translation occurrences demonstrate exceptional cases whereby the chosen words are translated by procedures such as near-synonymy, generalization and expansion.


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Rasul, S. H. (2020) “A Shift from Arabic to English: A New Trend in Using Loanwords in Kurdish Journalistic Translation”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(1), pp. 190-198. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v3n1y2020.pp190-198.
Author Biography

Sabir H. Rasul, Department of English Language, College of Languages, University of Human Development, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Sabir Hasan Rasul is the Head of English Department at the University of Human Development, where he is also a Lecturer in Translation between English and Kurdish. Dr. Rasul received his Ph.D. in Translation Studies from the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Leeds (2015). He also holds an MA in TESOL (University of Liverpool) and a BA in English Language and Literature (University of Sulaimani). Dr. Rasul is the author of Journalistic Translation: Procedures and Strategies in English-Kurdish Translation of Journalistic Texts (2019) and co-author of An Introduction to English-Kurdish Translation (2018).


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