AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 6, Number3. August 2022                              Pp.177-199

Significance of Performative Speech Acts for the Translation of Nahjul Balagha from Arabic into English

Department of English, College of Education for Women
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq

Mehdi Falih alGhazalli

Department of Translation, Faculty of Arts
Al-Mustansiriya University, Baghdad, Iraq


The current study investigates the significance of performative speech acts for translating Nahjul Balagha. Attempting to accredit the claim that performatives are essential for understanding the intended meaning of a text is, speech act theory is employed to show that the different functions of performative acts must be considered in translation. For the elucidation of the potential of this theory, this study employs Searle’s taxonomy. The main question of this study is: How does Imam Ali (A.S.) employs performatives in his letters? In relation to this, the present study aims to see how Imam Ali’s performative acts in Nahjul Balagha are interpreted and then translated into English. To achieve this aim, the study qualitatively analyzes five selected letters from Nahjul Balagha with their English translation by Reza (2003) by comparing the performative function in the source text with the English target text. The results of this study attested the significance of performatives for translating Nahjul Balagha. It has been shown that Imam usually uses various performatives, mainly directives, to effect change in his addressee(s).

Cite as:

Tisgam, K. H., & alGhazalli, M. F. (2022). Significance of Performative Speech Acts for the Translation of Nahjul Balagha from Arabic into English. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 6 (3) 177-199.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol6no3.13


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Khalida H. Tisgam, Assistant Professor at the University of Baghdad, College of Education for Women, Department of English. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics and translation. She translated 18 books, and dozens of articles, book reviews, interviews, and studies in cultural studies, philosophy, hermeneutics, poetry, art, etc. She is the winner of “The Best Translated Book Award in Iraq” from the Ministry of Higher Education in 2017 and the “Creativity Award” in translation from the Ministry of Culture in 2021. She is among the editorial board of many Iraqi and Arab journals.


Prof. Dr Mehdi Falih alGhazalli is a specialist in linguistics and translation. He got his MA degree in applied linguistics from Baghdad University 1997. His Ph. D. is in linguistics and translation in 2006. Prof al Ghazalli got the academic rank of the professorship in 2016. His research interests are translation theory, contrastive linguistics, and literary translation.