A Cross-linguistic and Cross-cultural Study of Explicitness in English and Arabic Discourse


In this article, an argument is made to account for the thesis that at various instances of language usage and on different linguistic levels Arabic discourse enjoys a higher degree of explicitness than English. To develop this position the tendency in Arabic discourse to produce more explicit utterances is highlighted on lexical, syntactic and textual levels. In addition to explicitness induced by purely linguistic constraints, a tradition of socio-cultural norms is found to exert a considerable influence on characterizing the relatively more explicit Arabic discourse strategy. A corpus of Arabic examples, involving material in Modern Standard Arabic and derived mainly from realistic writing, printed interviews as well as printed data, is investigated to reach the findings reported in this paper