AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 4. October 2023 Pp. 19-33

Semantic Prosody in Holy Qur’an: A Corpus Study of the Collocations and Meanings of the Verb Waqa’a‘Fell’

Department of English Language
College of Science and Humanities, Shaqra University
Shaqra, Saudi Arabia


This paper presents a comprehensive corpus study focusing on the semantic prosody of the verb “waqa’a” within the Holy Qur’an. Its primary objective is to analyze the attitudinal nuances and semantic behaviors exhibited by the verb “waqa’a” across the Qur’anic corpus. Furthermore, it examines how the study of semantic prosody enhances the understanding of Arabic and its implications in the interpretation of the Qur’an. The research methodology entails an extensive examination of the positive, negative, and neutral collocations in which “waqa’a” occurs, along with an exploration of the attitudinal connotations embedded within each prosodic context. Data for this investigation were gathered from The Quranic Arabic Corpus, utilizing meticulous word-by-word and morphological search techniques. The findings of this investigation reveal that “waqa’a” exhibits a multifaceted semantic spectrum, encompassing meanings such as “to fall,” “to occur,” and “to fulfill.” These meanings are found to convey negative, positive, and neutral attitudinal meanings. The paper substantiates these findings with concrete examples drawn from the Qur’an itself. By delving into the semantic prosody of Qur’anic vocabulary, this study not only unveils connotations and contextual insights but also contributes to the enhancement of translation precision and a more profound comprehension of the Qur’an’s profound message. Consequently, this research augments our understanding of the usage of “waqa’a” within the sacred text and further enriches our appreciation of the Arabic language.

Cite as:

Alhusaiyan, E. A. (2023). Semantic Prosody in Holy Qur’an: A Corpus Study of theCollocations and Meanings of the Verb Waqa’a‘Fell’. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (4): 19-33.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no4.2


Alshahrani, H. J. (2020). The Semantic Prosody of Natural Phenomena in the Qur’an: A Corpus-Based Study [Unpublished Doctoral dissertation]. University of Leeds, England.

Alshahrani, H. J. (2017). Semantic Prosody as a Tool for Translating Prepositions in the Holy Qur’an: A Corpus-Based Analysis. In Arabic Corpus Linguistics (pp. 139-157). Cambridge University Press.

Al-Shehri, A. M. (2019). Translating the semantic prosody of nature-related words in the Qur’an. Journal of Educational and Psychological Studies, 13(2), 1-16.

Al-Nasser, S.A. & Khashan, R.A. (2008). The collocation of mubeen in the holy Qur’an. Journal of the College of Arts in the University of Basrah. 45, 1-16.

Al-Saadi, A. M. (2018). On Translating Semantic Prosody of Some Nature-related Words in the Holy Qur’an: A Corpus-based Study. Journal of Qur’anic Studies, 20(2), 1-20. doi: 10.26656/jqs.2018.20.2.1

Al-Saadi, A. M. (2015). The Semantic Prosody of Natural Phenomena in the Qur’an: A Corpus-Based Study. International Journal of Linguistics, 7(4), 1-21. doi:10.5296/ijl.v7i4.5416

Al-Sofi, K, M., M., & Abu Bakr, K. (2104). Semantic Prosody in the Qur’an. International Journal of Linguistics (IJL), 2(6)

Al-zamakhshari, A. M. O. (1995). Al-Kashaf (1-4). Dar Al-Kutu.b Al-llmiyyah, Beirut.

Elewa, A. (2004).Collocation and synonymy in classical Arabic: A corpus-based study [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Manchester University, England.

Hunston, S., & Gill, F. (2000). Pattern grammar: A corpus-driven approach to the lexical grammar of English. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/scl.4

Ibn Adel, A. (1998). [Al-Lubab fi Uloom Al-Qur’an].Dar Al-Kutub Al-llmiyyah, Beirut. Attabari (2000). Jama’a Al-Bayan fi Ta’aweel Al-Qur’an. Al-Resala.

Ibn-Ashoor, M. (1984).Tahreerwa’l-Tanweer []. Ad-Dar At-tunisiaea. Tunisia.

Louw, B. (1993). Irony in the text or insincerity in the writer? The diagnostic potential of semantic prosodies. In M. Baker, G. Francis & E. Tognini-Bonelli (Eds.), Text and Technology: In honour of John Sinclair(pp. 157–176). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Louw, B.(2000). Contextual prosodic theory: Bringing semantic prosodies to life. In C.Heffen & H. Saunston (Eds.), Words in Context: In Honour of John Sinclair (pp.48-94).Birmingham: ELR.

Partington, A. (1998). Patterns and meanings. Amsterdam: Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/scl.2

Sayaheen, B., &Malkawi, M. (2019). Understanding the Nature of Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Corpus-based Study of Semantic Prosody in Arabic Political Discourse. LebendeSprachen, 64(2), 309-322. https://doi.org/10.1515/les-2019-0017

Sinclair, J. (1996a). Beginning the study of lexis. In C. E. Bazell, J. C. Catford, M. A. K. Halliday, & R. H. Robins (eds.), In Memory of J. R. Firth(pp. 410-430).London: Longman

Sinclair, J. (1996b). The search for units of meaning.Textus: English Studies in Italy, 9,75-106.

Sinclair, J.  (ed.) (1987).Looking Up. An Account of the COBUILD Project in Lexical Computing, London/Glasgow: Collins.

Sinclair, J. (2003). Reading concordances: an introduction. Pearson Longman.

Stubbs, M. (1995). Collocations and semantic profiles: on the cause of the trouble with quantitative studies. Functions of Language, 2(1)  23-55.

Stubbs, M.(1996). Text and Corpus analysis: Computer Assisted Studies of Language and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell

Stubbs, M.(2001). On inference theories and code theories: corpus evidence for semantic schemas.Text, 21(3),436-465.

Supanfai, P. (2017). Semantic prosody in Thai [Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation]. Lancaster University, England.

Yasin, A., Al-Shawashreh, E., Obeidat, H., & Aljarrah, R. (2023). A Prosodic Account of Negation in Jordanian Arabic. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies (IJAES), 23(2), 249-252. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33806/ijaes.v23i2.462

Younis, N. (2018). Semantic prosody as a tool for translating prepositions in the holy Qurʾan: A corpus-based analysis. In T. McEnery,  (ed.),  Arabic Corpus linguistics (pp. 120-42). Edinburgh University Press


Eman Abdulaziz Alhusaiyan is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language in Shaqra University, Saudi Arabia. She had her B. A in English Language & Literature from MU, Saudi Arabia. She then had her MA and PhD in Linguistics from IMSIU, Saudi Arabia. Currently, she is a full-time Lecturer in English Language Department, Shaqra University. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5638-2840