The Treatment of Terms Relating to Islam and the Arab World in English Dictionaries

Hashan Al-Ajmi, Abdullah Al-Otaibi

Abstract


Abstract: This article investigates the treatment of vocabulary items relating to Islam and the Arab world in three major English dictionaries: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Oxford Dictionary of English, and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. The three dictionaries are compared with regard to their inclusion of 73 Arabic items (including loanwords) used in texts on Islam and the Middle East at the Google news file. With religion as theme, eight of these terms have been examined and compared across their entries in these three dictionaries to determine the closeness of the lexicographic description of these terms to their original meanings among native speakers of Arabic and to detect, from these speakers' viewpoint, any deficiencies in the defining language of their respective entries. The examination of the definitions of terms relating to Islam and the Arab world in the three dictionaries has revealed a number of pitfalls that may require editorial reconsideration. These include circularity, insufficient information, negative contexts, very general definitions, ambiguity, incomplete information, narrow definitions and encyclopedic re-dundancy.

Keywords: ARABIC LOANWORDS, CULTURAL TERMS, DEFINITION, ISLAM, REPRE-SENTATION, LEXICOGRAPHY

Opsomming: Die behandeling van terme betreffende Islam en die Arabie-se wêreld in Engelse woordeboeke. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die behandeling van woordeskatitems betreffende Islam en die Arabiese wêreld in drie vooraanstaande Engelse woor-deboeke: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Oxford Dictionary of English, en Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Die drie woordeboeke word vergelyk met betrekking tot hul opname van 73 Arabiese items (insluitende leenwoorde) wat in tekste oor Islam en die Midde-Ooste in die Google-nuuslêers gebruik word. Met godsdiens as tema, is agt van hierdie terme ondersoek en vergelyk met hul inskrywing in dié drie woordeboeke om die nabyheid vas te stel van die leksiko-grafiese omskrywing van hierdie terme aan hul oorspronklike betekenisse onder moedertaalspre-kers van Arabies, en om vanuit hierdie sprekers se gesigspunt enige gebreke op te spoor in die definisietaal van hul onderskeie inskrywings. Die ondersoek van die definisies van terme betreffende Islam en die Arabiese wêreld in die drie woordeboeke het 'n aantal slaggate blootgelê wat moontlik redaksionele heroorweging nodig maak. Dit sluit in sirkulariteit, onvoldoende inligting, negatiewe kontekste, baie algemene definisies, dubbelsinnigheid, onvolledige inligting, beperkte definisies en ensiklopediese oortolligheid.

Sleutelwoorde: ARABIESE LEENWOORDE, KULTURELE TERME, DEFINISIE, ISLAM, VERTEENWOORDIGING, LEKSIKOGRAFIE


Keywords


ARABIC LOANWORDS; CULTURAL TERMS; DEFINITION; ISLAM, REORIENTATION; LEXICOGRAPHY

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/16-0-645

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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