Meaning Loss in Translating Commissive Speech Acts in Movie Subtitles from English into Kurdish


  • Muhammed Kamal Abdulwahab College of Basic Education, Salahaddin University, Kurdistan Region – Iraq
  • Himdad A. Muhammad College of Basic Education, Salahaddin University, Kurdistan Region – Iraq
  • Mary Beneditte College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services, University of Cincinnati- USA



The paper aims at investigating translating commissive speech acts in movie subtitle from English into Kurdish. It attempts to identify the meaning loss, in other words deletion errors and then categorize them along with the illocutionary acts. The samples of the study are taken from the subtitle of the horror movie (Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud) which has been translated into the Kurdish language. First, twenty commissive speech act are identified as having translation problems in the movie according to Searle’s category, then their illocutionary acts are specified. The English and Kurdish subtitles are compared to find out the meaning loss and deleted items, in addition to the compatibility of the illocutionary acts between them. The results of the analysis show that ‘promising’ and ‘warning’ are the most challenging illocutionary acts for translators because of the number of deletion errors found in their translation. The most common type of meaning loss in the translation of commissive speech acts are adverbs, pronouns, exclamation words, main verbs, modal verbs, nouns, and adjectives, respectively.


Download data is not yet available.


Abdulwahab, M.K. , Muhammad , H.A and Beneditte , M. (2020) Translating Directive Speech Acts in Movie Subtitle from English into Kurdish. Zanco Journal Salahaddin.

Al-Sulaimaan, M. (2010) Semantics and pragmatics. Baghdad: Daar Ibn Al-Atheer.

Anderson, G. & Arsenault, N. (1998) Fundamentals of Educational Research (2nd Edition). London: Falmer Press.

Colina, S. (2015) Fundamentals of Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.

Chen, I. (1996): Lun zhong wen zh mu gan tan ci zhi fan yi. An unpublished MA thesis , Fu jen Catholic university Tiawan, ROC.

Chen, S. J. (2004) ‘Linguistic Dimensions of Subtitling: perspectives from Taiwan’. Meta. 49 (1), pp. 115-124.

Crane, D. (2014) Cultural globalization and the dominance of the American film industry: cultural policies, national film industries, and transnational film. International journal of cultural policy. (20)4.

Fromkin, F., Rodman, R. and Hyams, N. (2003) An Introduction to Language (seventh edition). Boston: Thomson.

Guerra, A. F. (2012) Translating Culture: Problems, Strategies and Practical realities. A journal of literature, culture and literary translation. 1(12).

Ghazala, H. (2008) Translation As Problems and Solutions: A Textbook for University Students and Trainee Translators. Lebanon: Dar el-ilmlilmalayin.

Gotttlieb, H. (1998) Subtitling. In Mona Baker (Ed) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (pp. 244-248). London: Routledge.

Krippendorp, K. (2004) Content analysis: an Introduction to its Methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

LoCastro, V. (2012). Pragmatics for language educators: A sociolinguistic perspective. New York: Routledge.

Leech, G. (1983) Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman.

Liu, M. (2003) Contemporary Studies of Translation. Beijing: China Translation & Publishing Corporation.

Luyken, G.M., Thomas, H., Jo, L. B., Helene, R. And Hermans, S. (1991) Overcoming Language Barriers in Television: Dubbing and Subtitling for the European Audience. Manchester. European Institute for the Media.

Muhammad, H.A. (2017) Semantic loss in Translating Movie Subtitles from English into Kurdish (Witch Hunter as a sample. Journal of Raparin University. 4 (11).

Mackey, A. & Gass, S. M. (2005) Second Language Research; Methodology and Design. New Jersey: Routledge.

Munday, J. (2012) Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications. London: Routledge.

Rao, S. (2007). The globalization of Bollywood: An ethnography of non-elite audiences in India. The Communication Review, Vol. 10, 57-76.

Sultan, K. M. (2007) The Semantic, Pragmatics and Translation of Speech Acts. Journal of college of basic education. (50)

Schreier, M. (2012) Qualitative Content Analysis in Practice. London: Sage.

Yule, G. (1996) Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



How to Cite

Kamal Abdulwahab, M., Muhammad, H. A., & Beneditte, M. (2021). Meaning Loss in Translating Commissive Speech Acts in Movie Subtitles from English into Kurdish . Academic Journal of Nawroz University, 10(4), 14–22.