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Type: Theses
Title: Applying SFL to the Qurʾān: textual metafunction in some of the Qurʾānic narratives of Abraham
Author: Alamiri, Zaid Shihab
Issue Date: 2016
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: This study is an endeavor to apply SFL to the Qurʾān. Its focus is to analyze the textual metafunction in some passages of Abraham’s story mentioned in four Suras (Q.6, 11, 15 and 19). The textual metafunction domain is the text internal relationships and the context in which it is produced. It does so by managing the linguistic resources of the ideational and interpersonal metafunctions that are reflected in the thematic, information and cohesive systems. The study examined principally two elements of this metafunction, i.e., the thematic structure (Theme-Rheme), and the cohesion system. As to the first, the text made use of the multiple types of the textual, interpersonal and topical themes. In the latter, the study showed the thematisation of the verbal group (process) in the declarative VS clause type, which represented the unmarked type of theme in the majority of the clauses; and within that the ‘saying’ verbs are prevalent, establishing a projection relation. The results showed that the paratactic relation between the projecting and projected clauses made possible the separate analysis of thematic structure of both clauses. Related to the thematisation of the verbal group is the presence of the Subject, through the verbal inflection, in different pronominal forms. Therefore, a reconsideration of theme limit is needed to reflect this fact of Arabic, and extends its range. The interrogative and imperatives clauses fit well the SFL theme considerations. The cohesion was partially analyzed focusing only on the reference as a grammatical cohesive device. The ties established by both the personal and demonstrative pronouns, as components of reference relation, hold the text parts together, contributing thus to its cohesion. To better understand the controversial issue of the Qurʾānic cohesion, we believe other devices such as ellipsis and conjunctions as well as the lexical devices (repetition for example) need to be examined. As the text unfolds in a context, the contextual factors were examined, in particular, the mode of discourse as being the element that correlates with, and activates, the textual meanings. In this regard, language represents the whole activity, and its role then is a constitutive. The mode orientation is more towards the tenor of the discourse than to the field of the discourse, reflecting more the interpersonal than the experiential meanings. Finally, the medium of the language is particular in that it combined both features of the spoken and the written. This study showed that the Qurʾānic Arabic, so different from other Arabic varieties, actually lent itself to SFL analysis. And a promising area to improve understanding the text would be the translational studies. An extensive research in Arabic Linguistic Tradition is required to get more insights regarding other alternatives of considering the Theme in the Qurʾānic Arabic. Finally, it should be remembered this is an old Semitic text (Arabic) that had been shaped and created within its own grammatical and rhetorical realms; and our study is but an approximation in terms of SFL.
Advisor: Mickan, Peter
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.Phil.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2016.
Keywords: Quran narratives
textual metafunction
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