Rendering Foregrounding as a Marked Structure in Four Persian Translations of the Holy Qur’ān

Document Type : Original Research


English Department, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran


Theme/rheme structure plays a crucial role in conveying meaning and facilitating effective communication and comprehension. Moreover, foregrounding is an issue that has attracted much attention from researchers and theorists. Several studies have investigated the translation of marked structures of the Holy Qur’ān into different languages from various perspectives, such as semantics or stylistics, but few have focused on foregrounding in English translations by Iranian translators of the Qur’ān. The present study aimed to examine the challenges that Iranian translators encountered in their renditions. To this end, English equivalents of eighteen Ayahs featuring foregrounding were extracted from four English translations by Iranian translators and the translators’ strategies in rendering foregrounding cases were analyzed. The findings revealed that the Iranian translators were inconsistent in their renditions but performed better in cases where marked structures were less complex and aligned with the normative structure of English prose. The translators faced the most difficulties in rendering specification and emphasis, which are two main categories of foregrounding. Interestingly, the translators who had native-like proficiency in English outperformed their peers in rendering foregrounding into English.


Main Subjects

©2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

Abdul Aziz, M. (2013). Translation quality assessment of foregrounding and deferment in the Glorious Qurän. Adab Al-Rafidayn, 65, pp. 47-72.
Abumahfouz, A. M., & Al-Shboul, Y. I. (2020). Qur’ānic semantic markedness: a translation and linguistic perspective. Dirasat, 47(1), pp. 302-313.
Abu-Serie Hussein, S. H. (2021). Collocational markedness in the Glorious Qur'an. Nile Valley Journal of Human, Social and Educational Studies and Research, 31, pp. 291-328.
Andersen, H. (1989). Markedness—the first 150 years. In Markedness in Synchrony and Diachrony. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Bakhtiar, L. (2009). The Sublime Qur’ān Arabic and English. New York: Kazi Publications.
Battistella, Edwin (1996). The Logic of Markedness. New York: Oxford University Press.
Elimam, A. S. (2013). Marked word order in the Qur’ān and its English translations: patterns and motivations. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Elimam, A. S. (2020). Translating word order variations in the Qurʾan: A qualitative and quantitative assessment. Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature, 1(4), pp. 1-12.
Halliday, M.A.K.  (1994). An introduction to functional grammar. New York: Edward Arnold.
Halliday, M.A.K., & Matthiessen, Ch. M. L. M. (2004).  An introduction to functional grammar. London: Arnold Publisher.
Kazemi Najafabadi, S. (2021). The syntactic alteration of pronouns in the Holy Qur’ān and the change of its marked structures in the translation process. Qur’ān and Hadith Translation Studies, 16, pp. 105-127.
Leech, G. N. (1966). Linguistics and the figures of rhetoric. In Essays on Style and Language, edited by Roger Fowler, pp. 135-56. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Mansoori, M. (2012). Markedness in Persian translations of the Qur’ān. Translation Studies (The Iranian Journal), 38, pp. 55-69.
Mohammadpour, S., & Nikoopour, J. (2017). Topicalization in English translation of the Holy Qur’ān: A comparative study. Journal of Language and Translation, 7(2), pp. 21-33.
Nasr, S. H. (2015). The study Qur’ān: A new translation and commentary. New York: Harper Collins.
Salami, A. (2016). The Magnificent Qur’ān: A 21st century English translation. Phoenix, Leilah Publications.
Safarzadeh, T. (2001). The Holy Qur’ān: Farsi and English translation with explanations and appendices. Tehran: Rayaneh Kosar.