International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research (IJELLR)

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A Cognitive Linguistic Study of the Features of Gradability by Focus in Arabic


The present study tackles the linguistic phenomenon of ‘gradability by focus’ in Arabic from a cognitive linguistic perspective. By and large, the early Arab grammarians have not theorized about gradability despite its importance in the semantic relationships. They address some grammatical and morphological forms that convey either ends of the scale of gradability. Gradable forms include ‘‘’at-Tawwkīd’’ (i.e., emphasis), ‘’al-Mafξūl ’al-Muŧlaq” (i.e., the cognate object), şiyagh ’at-Taşghīr’’ (i.e., diminutive forms), “şiyagh ’al-Mubālaghah” (i.e., maximizers) and many other forms. However, they do not use any of the aforesaid forms under the heading of ‘’at-Tadarruj bit-Tarkīz’’ (i.e., gradability by focus). Therefore, the study grounds for ‘focus’ highlighting its salient lexical, grammatical, and morphological features in Arabic. The present paper provides definitions for gradability, focus, prototypicality and precision. Afterwards, it provides a detailed analysis of the sub-categories of prototypicality and precision unearthing their rhetorical functions. In conclusion, gradability by focus plays a key role in identifying the subtle shades of meaning. Tackling such cognitive linguistic features is of an overwhelming importance at the pure linguistic level as well as the sociolinguistic one.

Citation: Ali H.H.H. (2022) A Cognitive Linguistic Study of the Features of Gradability by Focus in Arabic, International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research, Vol.10, No 5, pp.15-33

Keywords: Cognitive, Focus, Linguistic, Semantics, gradability, prototypicality

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