Research Article

Arabic and English Dar (House) and Bayt (Home) Expressions: Linguistic, Translation and Cultural Issues



This study aims to: (i) describe the different meanings and contexts in which Arabic dar and bayt and English house and home expressions are used; (ii) compare dar, bayt, house and home expressions and give examples of expressions that are identical in form and meaning, examples where English house expressions are translated into bayt in Arabic, Arabic expressions in which dar is translated to home in English, those that are similar in meaning but different in form, and those that exist in English only or Arabic only and have no equivalents in the other language; (iii) shed light on student translators’ ability to comprehend and translate the dar, bayt house and home expressions; (iv) identify the strategies utilized in translating dar, bayt house and home expressions; and (v) identify the sources of errors in translating dar, bayt, house, and home expressions. For purposes of the current study, a corpus of 200 Arabic expressions containing "dar" (house) and "bayt" (home) was collected and analyzed. Although "dar" and "bayt" literally mean "house" and "home", they have several meanings and are used in many contexts. They mean family of (بيت الجرف، دار الجرف) and origin of (بيت القيم، بيت الفن). Some are used in names of cities (دار السلام، بيت المقدس), monuments (بيت العثمان، دور الأدارسة), bird, insect, animal homes (بيت النحل/النمل), companies commercial, industrial activity or organization (دار المياه، دار الأركان ، بيت التمويل الكويتي), hotel, accommodation (دار الضيافة، بيت الطالبات), stores, restaurants, (بيت البيتزا، بيت العود،), schools and universities (دار العلوم، دار الحكمة), publishers and bookstores (دار المريخ) and types of homes (بيت ريفي، بيت متنقل). They are used in religious contexts (بيت الله، أهل البيت، دار التقوى); financial contexts (بيت المال، دار السندات), literature (بيت الشعر), metonyms (بيت الداء، يخرب بيته، يعمر بيتك), and in describing the physical appearance of a home (بيوت كرتونية، بيوت محمية، بيوت طينية). A translation test showed that students translated less than 25% correctly. Those where Arabic expressions and their English equivalents are similar such as "courthouse” and “publishing house". Many items were left blank. Literal translation was the most common strategy. Implications for translation pedagogy are given. 

Article information


Journal of Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis

Volume (Issue)

1 (1)





How to Cite

Al-Jarf, R. (2022). Arabic and English Dar (House) and Bayt (Home) Expressions: Linguistic, Translation and Cultural Issues. Journal of Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis, 1(1), 01–13. Retrieved from



home and house expressions, dar and bayt expressions, translation difficulties, student translators, metaphorical expressions, idioms