Politeness Formulas in Arabic

Topics: Bless you, Semantics, Qur'an Pages: 2 (480 words) Published: December 7, 2012
- Politeness formulas in Arabic:
When talking about politeness formulas in Arabic and in English and how they are different, it is crucial to take into account the distinction between propositional content of a formula and its illocutionary force potential. A good example showing the relationship between semantic content or propositional content and illocutionary force illustrates in using congratulations in English and “shukran” in Arabic which is equivalent to “thanks”. Sometimes illocutionary force is not completely predictable, but simply can be learnt by what people agree upon. For instance, there are three expressions in Arabic performing different forces according to the matter of conventions; \baraka-allahu-fik\ “God bless you” is used to perform the act of thanking, whereas \barakafik\ “blessing in yourself” has a different force, addressing the family members and the relatives of the deceased. \mabruuk\ “blesses” is another formula used for congratulations of marriage or success in examinations. There are many other expressions used by Arabs in one of the earliest means of demonstrating politeness in a second language which are” greetings”. Greetings actually are the first task one should know when learning a new language. In Arabic greetings; for example, one would not restrict themselves to say \ahlan wa sahlan\ “hello” rather they would precede it by \marhaba\ “welcome” and they may add another welcoming phrase such as \al beit beitak\ “will you make my home as your home\ to express pleasure at seeing someone. Elaborate greetings are often used in Arabic as well as extended conversation openings which the latter is resulted from a transfer of Arabic discourse politeness strategies into English. After greeting, one might invite others to his house- as Arabs are best known for their hospitality- and prepare a hearty meal for them. Then, he would use certain politeness formulas after bringing the meal for guests such as...
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