The Effect of Transitivity, Futurity, and Aspectuality on the Translation of English Present Progressive into Arabic Verbal and Active Participle Counterparts

Ayman Yasin, Omar Nofal


Arabic lacks a specific form for progressive tenses and instead uses the imperfective form ‘jafʕal’ to express habitual and progressive aspects. Arabic also uses an active participle form (AP) to express progressiveness. This paper addresses the effect of transitivity, futurity, and aspectuality on the translation of English present progressive (PP) into Arabic verbal and active participle counterparts. To investigate which of the two forms is used to translate English PP into Arabic, data were collected from 100 students who were studying an elective ‘translation’ course at Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT). The researchers built a questionnaire of 38 English sentences each of which has two main translations: one that uses the imperfective form ‘ja-fʕal’ and another that has an (AP) form, mainly ‘fa:ʕil’ or ‘mu-fʕil’. The participants were asked to rate the acceptability of each sentence on a scale of 0-2. The findings reveal that transitivity and the future reading of the progressive verb affect the translatability of the progressive tenses as imperfective or (AP) form. Transitive verbs are more likely to be translated as imperfective verbs than transitive APs because (AP) does not have as strong verbal properties as lexical verbs. On the other hand, translocative verbs accept (AP) translations fairly enough to refer to future. The findings also reveal that the aspectuality of the verb affects its translation in one of the two main forms mentioned above. (AP) translations of English (PP) become more acceptable when the root of the verb indicates state-of-affair actions, achievements or accomplishments.

Full Text:



World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders. If you have any questions, please contact: