Language Contacts in Arabic Poetry

Patterns of Merging Languages in the Poetry of Adonis and Fuad Rifka

  • Hanan Natour Freie Universität Berlin
Keywords: Arabic Literature vis-à-vis Western European Literatures, Modern Arabic Poetry, Identity and Alterity, Humanism


Language contacts in poetry differ from other forms of linguistic contacts, allowing writers to merge formal specificities of distinct languages within a single poem. This paper focuses on contacts between Arabic and European languages in selected poems of Adonis (*1930) and Fuad Rifka (1930-2011), both of whom are Syrian-Lebanese by birth and have lived for many years in Western Europe: Adonis in France and Rifka in Germany. How, then, do both poets deal with contacts between Arabic and French or German in their poetry? Can poetry be a way of crossing boundaries by merging patterns of different languages into one?


Erratum: p. 84, col. 1, line 23. Printed: الوَرَقَ. Corrected: الوَرَق.

Author Biography

Hanan Natour, Freie Universität Berlin

Hanan Natour is a Ph. D. candidate of German- Palestinian origin, supervized by Professor Beatrice Gründler at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). She holds a MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA in Arabic Studies and German Literature from the University of Göttingen, including one year of studying abroad at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. In her doctoral thesis, she researches the themes of nation and narration in contemporary Tunisian Arabic prose.  

How to Cite
Natour, H. “Language Contacts in Arabic Poetry: Patterns of Merging Languages in the Poetry of Adonis and Fuad Rifka”. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Vol. 13, Dec. 2019, pp. 77-87, doi:10.17192/meta.2019.13.8077.