Research Article

Emerging Political Expressions in Arab Spring Media with Implications for Translation Pedagogy


  • Reima Al-Jarf Full Professor of English and Translation Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


A sample of political expressions that have been common in Arab media since the Arab Spring in 2011 was collected from TV newscasts, online news websites and social media pages. Analysis of their structure, denotative and connotative meanings revealed the following features: (i) Use of lexical hybrids (اخوانجي- الدم قراطية – سني ستان - الحقيقة ليكس- عسكريتاريا; (ii) revival of ancient Islamic expressionsأمير المؤمنين - غزوة الموصل) ); (iii) use of blends (صهيوأمريكية); (iv) few borrowings (BRICS); (v) use of new acronyms (ISIS) with verbs, nouns and agents derived from them (دواعش استدعاش); and (vi) phonological and lexical substitutions in names of political and religious personalities that the users oppose (Kerdogan for Erdogan;حزب اللات  for Hezbollah). Semantically, Arab Spring political terms refer to types of governments, places (towns), minority groups, religious sects, names of militia groups, weapons and military tactics, revolution squares that were not widely used before. They are also characterized by their non-literal use, i.e., use of loaded expressions, dysphemisms, and slurs that express disparagement, derogation, criticism, and disrespect towards those they oppose and towards the social and political situation as inالخرفان المتأسلمين - الفئة الضالة – شبيحة – الفلول - المخلوع. Translation and interpreting instructors need to integrate emerging political terms commonly used in the media in political and media translation courses. students majoring in translation and interpreting need to be familiar with new political terms and should be able to translate them from Arabic to English and vice versa.  Students need to keep their own lists of new terms used in the media together with their equivalents in English or Arabic. They need to use Google Translate with caution as Google Translate usually gives incorrect word order in compounds. It also gives equivalents that do not match source terms in part of speech and in the type of derivative.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (11)





How to Cite

Al-Jarf, R. (2022). Emerging Political Expressions in Arab Spring Media with Implications for Translation Pedagogy. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(11), 126–133.



Arab Spring, political discourse, emerging terms, linguistic characteristics