Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation No.4 May, 2015                                   Pp. 234-252

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Productivity of the Arabic Suffix -iyya
Implications for Translation and Modernization of Vocabulary

 Jamal Mohamed Giaber Mohamed
Department of Translation Studies
United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, UAE

In creating new lexical items to accommodate new concepts, modern Arabic uses methods of word-formation (e.g., root-based derivation, compounding and borrowing). Another emerging type of word-formation is suffixational derivation, i.e. the productive use of  suffixes  such as  -iyya and -yaat in forming new words from existing forms. This type of derivation has resulted in the creation of hundreds of words. This paper investigates the morpho-semantic nature of the ending -iyya, types of lexical items it creates and their role in translating foreign words and modernizing vocabulary. The study is based on a lexico-semantic survey of the lexical items listed in three modern Arabic dictionaries. The study findings indicate that -iyya has developed into a derivational suffix and has been increasingly productive in forming at least sixteen types of concrete and abstract nouns. The study also shows that -iyya is used in translating and adapting foreign words to accommodate new concepts.
Key Words: Modern Arabic, -iyya, Suffixational Derivation, Translation,Word-formation,


Dr. Jamal M Giaber Mohamed is a holder of PhD in Translation Studies from the University
of Edinburgh. Currently, he is a faculty member at the Department of Translation Studies of
UAE University. He has been teaching translation and interpreting for fifteen years. So far, he
has published six books and twenty papers on translation and related issues. He is also a
professional translator and conference interpreter.