The Translatability of Cognitive Synonyms in Shakespeare's Macbeth: A Comparative, Contrastive Study

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Mahmoud Khaleel Mahmoud Ishrateh

This study investigates the notion of cognitive synonyms in literary works in English-Arabic translation. In order to highlight the problem under discussion, the study explores the translation of some cognitive lexical items in their original context of use. The researcher takes these cognitive synonyms from Shakespeare's Macbeth as a case study. This comparative/ contrastive study focuses on how cognitive synonyms are translated by four translators of Shakespeare's play: Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Khalil Mutran, Farid Abu-Hadid and Hussein Ameen. The present study argues that cognitive synonyms are harder to translate than any other lexical items due to some subtle differences that exist between cognitive synonyms. Shakespeare sometimes associates fine-grained semantic connotations with words. Synonyms are used to convey certain implications. Differences in meaning or use among pairs of synonyms are claimed to be context-dependent. The context is the only criterion for selecting appropriate words. There are many occasions when one word is appropriate in a sentence, but its synonyms will be odd.

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