Intertextuality as a Tool to Determine Syntax

By Hammouri, Yazeed M.; Jarrah, Marwan A. et al. | International Journal of Linguistics, March 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Intertextuality as a Tool to Determine Syntax


Hammouri, Yazeed M., Jarrah, Marwan A., Khawaldeh, Sami K., International Journal of Linguistics


Abstract

The aim of the present study was to indicate that intertextuality could be a viable approach to determine certain syntactical aspects through laying down the intended meaning of words. In order to do just this, the researchers selected a syntactically ambiguous verse cited from the Glorious Quran; this verse is Al-Tahrim, (4). As for the machinery, a two-level analysis has been attempted. At the first level, the interpretations of some major Muslim expositors were provided, taking into consideration their understanding to the syntax of this verse. At the second, some attempts are made up to provide alternative explanations by bringing out the local and global intuitions that the key words of the verse invoke in the Qur'anic text as a coherent whole. Concerning the findings, the study indicated that the classic interpretations of this verse must be revisited as they are mostly inaccurate. These conclusions include the following. The word /dahiir/ is best rendered into English as a helper and is not a characteristic of Allah Almighty. In addition, the word /nasiir/ is best rendered into English as something that gets you win and can be used to describe Allah Almighty.

Keywords: Intertextuality, Synonyms, the Glorious Qur'an, Syntax, Semantics

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1. Introduction

Intertextuality is best known for its semantic applications and solutions. Many researchers, in addition, made use of it in order to determine how texts can be hung together. However, the term intertextuality was first introduced by Kristeva. She (1980) states that "any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotation; any text is the absorption and transformation of another". The notion of intertextuality replaces that of intersubjectivity, represented in that "the poetic language is read as at least double". According to her, the necessary elements which lead for getting the accurate interpretation of a text should be involved inside the text itself. Hence, society and history are external to textuality.

Allen (2000) points out that intertextuality comes into the French language in Kristeva's early work of the middle to late 1960s. Allen states that in order to get the interpretation of a text, the reader has to follow a network of textual relations. Consequently, reading becomes a process of moving between texts. However, intertextuality is considered as a network which functions as a bridge to relate each text to the texts surrounding it. Further, intertextuality is defined by Waaijman (2010) as a literary approach focusing on the relations between the texts.

It is worth mentioning that Intertextuality is, on the whole, a rather critical term, which is differently defined or explained. It is much depicted in the claim that the text, itself, is the mere dependent source for determining the meanings of words involved. Intertextuality is regarded as a network, functioning as a linguistic link employed to connect each text segment with the texts surrounding, or associated with, it (Khawaldeh, 2012). In addition, according to Kolaiti (2008), intertextuality, as an inference-based approach, could be an effective way of getting the intended meaning of a text right. Hence, texts (spoken or written) are never detailed enough to convey what is really intended.

In reality, this study aims at presenting a modest attempt to figure out word meanings apart from dictionaries and other interpretations such as text-free tools which are based on personal thoughts and experience. More obviously, this work highlights the use of intertextuality not only to specify the meaning of words as a tool which can help decide word meaning since it reveals the meaning in light of the text itself and/or other texts in the same field but also to indicate how it would be a suitable tool to solve syntactic puzzles. These new born text-processing perspectives go against Chomsky's claims, representing in the severe separation between syntax and semantics. …

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