Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Hyo-Chang Hong

Second Advisor

Ryan Angus

Third Advisor

Kateryna Schray


This thesis examines patterns of thematization between English and Arabic, demonstrating variations in textual meaning and implications of such an examination on the activity and education of translation. Translators frequently encounter the challenge of positioning clausal constituents at the beginning of a sentence when translating from English to Arabic. The study, drawing on Halliday’s SFL theory, applies the system of Theme as a tool to the analysis of an English text and six Arabic translations to investigate such variations. The analysis also aims to demonstrate to what extent thematic patterning is preserved or changed between the original and target text. The results show that there are cases of unjustified deviation, leading to translational shifts and changes in the intended textual meaning. The study argues that thematic patterns are not arbitrary, but imply textual meanings that should be rendered to the target language as they reflect the author’s intentions and method of text development and reader’s orientation. This thesis concludes that changes in thematic patterning between English and Arabic is attributed to the translator’s lack of understanding of the textual meanings underlying such patterns and lack of resources in Arabic to equivalently recreate such meanings. Furthermore, it presents the system of Theme as an objective metalinguistic tool for translation analysis, critique, and education.


Themes in English literature.

Themes in Arabic literature