ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies
ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies 

Invective vocabulary and its classification in the Arabic language

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Pallades V. V. Invektivnaya leksika v arabskom yazyke i yeye klassifikatsiya. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. 2022. 18(2): 208–235.

The paper addresses invectives as a specific phenomenon in Arabic and proposes a classification of the Arabic invective vocabulary. Defining invectives as a specific phenomenon, the author refers to linguistic works by V. Zhelvis, K. Brinev, K. Allen and K. Burridge, as well as to politeness-centered studies by G. Leech and P. Brown & S. Levinson. Analyzing the nature of the invective the author argues that its defining feature is its direct association with the emotional damage it inflicts on the hearer. In chime with the corresponding references found in Arabic dictionaries such as Almaany Dictionary and A. Al-Manshawi’s Dictionary of Egyptian Swearing, this idea opens a way for further classification of the invective vocabulary in Arabic.

With this goal in mind, after an overview of the existing approaches to swearword classification in Arabic proposed by A. Montagu, G. Hughes, S. Pinker, M. Ljung, V. Zhelvis and other researchers, the author puts forward his own view on the invective vocabulary typology. It is based on treating concepts not as lexemes but as units of sense, i.e. sort of ‘containers’, each incorporating a set of various meanings. From this perspective, invective concepts make the basic level of the proposed classification, while the other two levels are that of thematic groups (the concepts’ organizational level), and the level of ‘sense containers’ comprising all the lexemes linked to the concepts existing on the basic level. This structure makes it possible to organize the classification in the most convenient way on the one hand, and effectively adapt it to the constantly changing linguistic realia on the other.

At the same time, this approach does not exclude other possibilities for a systematization of the Arabic invective vocabulary. Apart from the concept-based typology above, the paper identifies other grounds for swearword classification, including based on the taboo / allowed status of lexemes, or on the ability / inability of lexemes to express direct offense.

Invective, invective vocabulary, classification of invective, linguistic concepts, swearwords, taboo, Arabic language
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Invective, invective vocabulary, classification of invective, linguistic concepts, swearwords, taboo, Arabic language
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