The Metonymic Functions of the Verb fa?ala in the Holy Qur’an

Abdul Gabbar Al-Sharafi

Abstract


This study builds on an observation that the verb fa?ala in Arabic, which means ‘do’, is essentially metonymic; it can refer to any transitive or intransitive verb in the language. This referential function is paradigmatic in nature and has been mentioned by classical Arab grammarians, hence their choice of this verb as the template or pattern on which all action verbs are formulated and modulated. The study proceeds from this basic observation to propose another type of referential function of the verb fa?ala, which is syntagmatic in nature: the cohesive function. Taking the Holy Qur’an as the corpus for this study, both functions of the verb are investigated in this study. A statistical analysis is carried out to identify all the occurrences of the verb fa?ala and its derivatives in the Holy Qur’an within their textual contexts, usually the verse. A textual analysis of each of these occurrences is, then, carried out to reveal the metonymic function of the verb fa?ala in all these instances. The study shows that within the general metonymic referential function of the verb fa?ala two basic sub-functions can be identified. The first is plain reference and the second is euphemistic reference. The findings of this study show that the plain reference function only accounts for about 37% of the total occurrences, while the euphemistic reference accounts for about 63% of the total Holy Qur’an corpus. These findings are significant because no previous study has addressed this textual aspect of the verb fa?ala in the Holy Qur’an, not even classical and contemporary exegetes. This study is also significant to linguistic and figurative studies of the Holy Qur’an, Holy Qur’an corpus studies and textual and pragmatic analysis of the Holy Qur’an.

 


Keywords


Metonymy, cohesion, euphemism, representation, referential metonymy, social stigma, taboo.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/jass.vol4iss1pp5-24

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Copyright (c) 2017 Abdul Gabbar Al-Sharafi

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