Linguistic Experience and Identity: Contextualizing the Mental Lexicon In English-Arabic Poetry Translation

Omar A. Sheikh Al-Shabab


Monolingual Language behavior rests on three components: human agent, code and message. Translation processing requires three more constructs: translator, two codes, and a message in two texts. Equivalence theories attempted to supersede faithfulness and sameness of meaning in translation, but equivalence is a “convenience”, and is “always relative” (Baker 1992). Translational commensurability and semantic transportation thwart obtaining equivalence; therefore, the Interpretive Frame includes experience and identity among the elements necessary for any translation (Author, 2008). To explore poetic aesthetics, experience is related to personality observed in the Mental lexicon, while identity is related to phonic appeal observed in euphony. These relations are investigated in Arabic translations of English poems by Coleridge, Keats, Tennyson, Wordsworth, and Auden. Preliminary results show that: 1) the Mental Lexicon and euphony vary according to experience and identity, 2) contextualizing lexical appropriateness, euphony and metaphors contributes to poetic aesthetics.


Translator’s Experience, Linguistic Identity, Personality Traits, Contextualization, Euphony

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