The Relationship of Language and Content – pragmatic analysis and interpretation of Muḥammad az-Zafzāf’s language in ‘ash-Shajara al-Muqaddasa’

University essay from Lunds universitet/Arabiska

Abstract: This thesis seeks to reveal the relationship of language and content in a Moroccan short story. These relationships are defined as such by pointing out single linguistic elements in the story’s language which reproduce a certain component of the story’s content. The main question hereby asks for the effect of the author’s language on the message itself – for, as the carrier of information, language is undoubtedly the only tangent between author and reader, and therefore the author’s sole tool to attract the reader’s attention for his or her message. The main premise of this thesis is thus that language is not a product of coincidence, but rather a deliberate construction due to an inherent purpose. To fulfill this purpose most conveniently, the author chooses every single word in accord with his intentions. In doing so, he or she takes advantage of various rhetorical and stylistical devices, which are not always evident to the reader’s eyes; yet these linguistic choices influence how the reader perceives and interprets any kind of text. Therefore this thesis wants to draw attention to the power of language by systematically demonstrating how the mechanisms of language in Muḥammad az-Zafzāf’s ‘ash-Shajara al-Muqaddasa’ reinforce its content, and as a consequence inspire the reader’s perception of the story.

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