Test of Acceptance, Understanding and Appeal

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Test of Acceptance, Understanding and Appeal

Postby dralmenoar2006 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:18 am

ABSTRACT

This paper is an attempt to create an awareness of the linguistic features present in the English language translations of the meaning of the Quran. Two of the same Medinan and Meccan surah (chapters of the Quran) were selected from two versions of the English translated versions of the Quran for a stylistic analysis. The Medinan surah is the sixty-first surah, As-Saff and the Meccan surah is the seventy-seventh surah, Al-Mursalat and the two versions of the Quran are: The Message of the Quran-the English translated version of the Quran by Muhammad Asad and The Holy Quran- the English translated version of the Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. A comparison was made to surah As-Saff and surah Al-Mursalat of the two translated versions using the stylistics approach. Questionnaires were distributed to and collected from one hundred undergraduates at an Islamic institution. An analysis of the data from the questionnaires shows a significant level of acceptance of extracts from the abovementioned surah to be used as literary texts for the teaching of literature, a high level of understanding of the language used in the extracts of the abovementioned surah, and a high percentage who prefer Muhammad Asad’s version over Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version in terms of appeal.

INTRODUCTION

The questionnaire comprises of ten questions. An evaluation of the results to the responses of the questions in the questionnaire was done. One hundred copies of questionnaires were distributed to and collected from undergraduates of an Islamic institution. This paper seeks to analyze the questionnaire data. Some of the findings are illustrated by tables.

THE QUESTIONNAIRE

The objectives of the questionnaire are to test:
i)the understanding,
ii) acceptability and
iii) preference of appeal in terms of language use.
The questions in the questionnaire were devised to test and analyse the responses to three main objectives: acceptability, understanding and preference of appeal in terms of language use of two sets of extracts from the two translated versions of the Quran. Ten questions were devised to retrieve certain information needed from the students’ responses revolving around the three main objectives. The main questions to test acceptability in the questionnaire are:
Q5: Have you ever thought of the Quran as a text possessing literary value apart from its religious values?
Yes No
Q10:Do you think that the English language translations of the meaning of the Quran can be used as a text for the teaching of literature in the English language especially in Islamic institutions?
Yes No
This writer felt that it is important to know how students felt about the texts used in the classroom. There must be a sense of acceptance or agreement towards the text selected and used in the classroom by the students. This way, learning can reach an optimal level because there is a positive interaction between the student and the text. Thus, the teacher can also benefit from this because the students can then give better feedback in terms of discussions and classroom participation. The main question to test understanding in the questionnaire is:
Q8: In your opinion, which of the 2 sets of the verses above is easier to understand?
A B
This writer felt that it is important to know the students’ level of language competence in terms of understanding a particular text. It will be pointless if the student “likes” or accepts a particular text but is unable to give feedback in the form of written exercises or discussions and classroom participation because of lack of understanding. The main question to test preference of appeal in terms of language use in the questionnaire is:
Q9: Which one of the 2 sets of verses above is more appealing?
A B
This writer felt that it is important to know the students’ preference of appeal in terms of the different types of English language used in the two extracts translated from the same original text. This knowledge will help in the final selection of the text, all things considered. A student may find (A) more appealing than (B) although at the same time, the same student may find (B) easier to understand than (A). The extracts printed in the questionnaire were marked (A) and (B) and the names of the translators were not disclosed. Thus, the responses from the students were based solely on their opinions on reading extracts (A) and (B). This is beneficial for those who have no idea who Muhammad Asad and Abdullah Yusuf Ali are. The results were also illustrated by tables to facilitate better understanding of the responses to the questions in the questionnaire.

THE RESULTS

AGE DISTRIBUTION OF THE RESPONDENTS

All the 100 respondents were Muslims. Their ages ranged from 19 - 28 years of age with a mean of 22 years of age, as explained in Table 1. The majority of the respondents aged between 21 and 23 years .

Table 1: Age Distribution in Years
Age in Years No. of Students Mean Age in Years
19-20 11 22
21-22 65
23-24 21
25-26 1
27-28 2

NATIONALITY OF THE RESPONDENTS

The majority who responded were females, comprising 84%. There were only 16% of males. The majority of students who responded were Malaysians (89%) and 11% were international students, as explained in Table 2. The 11 international students came from different countries: Thailand, Albania, Tanzania, Algeria, Tunis, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia. Out of the 11 international students, 5 were males and 6 were females.

Table 2: Nationality of the Respondents
Malaysian Students International Students
89(89%) 11(11%)

LANGUAGE BACKGROUND OF THE RESPONDENTS
ACCORDING TO THE MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION
IN HIGH SCHOOL

Out of the 100 respondents, the majority were Malay-medium students 77 (77%), 13 (13%) were English-medium students, 7 (7%) were Arabic-medium students and 3 (3%) students under “others”, as explained in Table 3. Specifically, these 3 students had their medium of High School instruction in Thai language (for 2 students) and in Albanian language (for 1 student).
The medium of instruction at this particular institution is English. Thus, the students are expected to deal with texts in the English language. Because the students may have come from High schools which did not have English as their medium of instruction, this writer felt that it is important to know the extent of their exposure to English texts and their ability to understand and interact with the text.

Table 3: Medium of Instruction in High School
Medium No. of Students
Malay-medium
Students 77(77%)
English-medium
Students 13(13%)
Arabic-medium
Students 7(7%)
Others 3(3%)

EDUCATION AT RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

Out of the 100 respondents, 70 (70%) had attended religious schools which means they have definitely had Quranic studies included in their curriculum. The 70 (70%) respondents had, for various number of years, studied Arabic language. The 30 (30%) respondents who did not attend religious may still have had the opportunity to study Arabic language.
This section will divide the respondents into 3 subgroups: Malay, English and Arabic medium students. Specifically, the 3 students who are under “others” subgoup- 1 attended a religious school and had 6 years of Arabic, 2 did not attend religious schools but they had 7 years and 2 years of Arabic respectively.

MALAY-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Malay-medium students was 77. Out of these 77(100%) students,55 (71%) had attended religious schools and the remaining 22 (29%) did not attend religious schools. The majority of the students who attended religious schools 46 (84%) had between 5-8 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 4. The majority of students who did not attend religious schools 18 (82 %) had between 0-4 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 4.

Table 4: Malay-Medium Students’ Attendance of Religious Schools
No of Years Attendance of Religious Schools
Yes No
0-4 0 18(82%)
5-8 46(84%) 4(18%)
9-12 9(16%) 0
13-16 0 0
Total 55 22

ENGLISH-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of English-medium students was 13. Out of these 13(100%) students, 7(54%) had attended religious schools and the remaining 6(46%) of students did not attend religious schools. The majority of the students 3(43 %) who attended religious schools had between 5-8 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 5. The majority of the students 4 (66%) who did not attend religious schools had between 0-4 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 5.

Table 5: English-Medium Students’ Attendance of Religious Schools
No of Years Attendance of Religious Schools
Yes No
0-4 0 4(66%)
5-8 3(43%) 1(17%)
9-12 2(28.5%) 1(17%)
13-16 2(28.5%) 0
Total 7 6

ARABIC-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Arabic-medium students was 7. Out of these students, all 7(100%) had attended religious schools. The majority of the students 6 ( 86%) had between 5-12 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 6.

Table 6: Arabic-Medium Students’ Attendance of Religious Schools
No of Years Study of Arabic in years
0-4 0
5-8 3(43%)
9-12 3(43%)
13-16 1(14%)
Total 7

UNDERSTANDING THE QURAN IN ARABIC

Out of 100 respondents, 42(42%) can understand the Quran in Arabic, 58(58%) cannot understand the Quran in Arabic. Those 58(58%) who cannot understand the Quran in Arabic have had various number of years of Arabic language.
This section will divide the respondents into three subgroups: Malay, English and Arabic medium students. Specifically, the 3 students who are under “Others” subgroup- 2 can understand the Quran in Arabic, 1 cannot understand the Quran in Arabic but has had 2 years of Arabic.

MALAY-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Malay-medium students was 77. Out of these 77 students, 27 (35%) can understand the Quran in Arabic, 50 (65%) cannot undersatnd the Quran in Arabic. Those 50 students who cannot understand the Quran in Arabic have had various number of years of Arabic language. The majority of the students 28( 56%) had between 5-8 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 7.

Table 7: Malay-Medium and English-Medium Students who cannot Understand the Quran in Arabic
Study of Arabic in Years Medium
Malay English
0-4 17(14%) 4(57%)
5-8 28(56%) 2(28%)
9-12 5(10%) 1(14%)
13-16 0 0
Total 50 7

ENGLISH-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of English-medium students was 13. Out of 13 students, 6(46%) can understand the Quran in Arabic, 7(54%) cannot understand the Quran in Arabic. Those 7 students who cannot understand the Quran in Arabic have had various number of years of Arabic language. The majority of these students 4(57 %) had between 0-4 years of Arabic, as explained in Table 7.

ARABIC-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Arabic- medium students was 7. Out of these 7 students, all 7 (100%)can understand the Quran in Arabic.

READING THE TRANSLATED VERSIONS OF
THE QURAN IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Out of 100 respondents,97 (97%) have read the translated versions of the Quran in other languages, 3 (3%) have not read the translated versions of the Quran in any language. Who are these three students? 1 English-medium student have not read the translated versions of the the Quran in any language although this particular student cannot understand the Quran in Arabic. The other 2 Arabic-medium students who have not read the translated versions of the Quran in any language perhaps because these two students can understand the Quran in Arabic.
This section will divide the respondents into three subgroups: Malay, English and Arabic medium students. Specifically, the 3 students who are under “others” subgroup- 2 have read the English translated version of the Quran and both can understand the Quran in Arabic. 1 student has read the English translated version of the Quran and this particular student cannot understand the Quran in Arabic.

MALAY-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Malay-medium students was 77. Out of these 77 students, all have read the translated versions of the Quran in other languages: 71 (92%) have read the English translated version of the Quran, 6 (8%) have read the Malay translated version of the Quran, as explained in Table 8.

ENGLISH-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of English-medium students was 13. Out of these 13 students, 12 (92%) have read the english translated version of the Quran, 1 (8%) have not read the translated versions of the Quran in any language, as explained in Table 8.

ARABIC-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Arabic –medium students was 7. Out of these 7 students, 5 (71%) have read the English translated version of the Quran, 2 (29%) have not read the translated version of the Quran in any language, as explained in Table 8.

Table 8: Malay, English and Arabic Medium Students who have Read Translated Versions of the Quran in Other Languages
Language of Translation Medium
Malay English Arabic
English 71(92%) 12(92%) 5(71%)
Malay 6(8%) 0 0
None 0 1(8%) 2(29%)
Total 77 13 7

READING ABDULLAH YUSUF ALI’S ENGLISH
TRANSLATED VERSION OF THE QURAN

Out of 100 respondents, 82 (82%)have read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translated version of the Quran. This section will divide the respondents into three subgroups: Malay, English and Arabic medium students. Specifically, the 3 students under “others” subgroup-all 3 have read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translated version of the Quran.

MALAY-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Malay-medium students was 77. Out of these 77 students, 65 (84%) have read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version,12(16%) have not read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version, as explained in Table 9.

ENGLISH-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of English-medium students was 13. Out of these 13 students, 10 (77%) have read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version, 3(23%) have not read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version, as explained in Table 9.

ARABIC-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Arabic-medium students was 7. Out of these 7 students, 4 (57%) have read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version, 3(43%) have not read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version, as explained in Table 9.

Table 9: Reading Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s Translated Version
Reading AYA’s Translation Medium
Malay English Arabic
Yes 65(84%) 10(77%) 4(57%)
No 12(16%) 3(23%) 3(43%)
Total 77 13 7

READING MUHAMMAD ASAD’S ENGLISH
TRANSLATED VERSION OF THE QURAN

Out of the100 respondents, only 7(7%) students have read Muhammad Asad’s translated version. This section will divide the respondents into three subgroups: Malay, English and Arabic medium students. Specifically, the 3 students who are under “others” subgroup-all 3 have not read Muhammad Asad’s translated version.

MALAY-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Malay-medium students was 77. Out of these 77 students, 5(6%) have read Muhammad Asad’s translated version, 72(94%) have not read Muhammad Asad’s translated version, as explained in Table 10.

ENGLISH-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of English-medium students was 13. Out of these 13 students, 2(15%) have read Muhammad Asad’s translated version, 11(85%) have not read Muhammad Asad’s translated version, as explained in Table 10.

ARABIC-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Arabic-medium students was 7. Out of these 7 students, none have read Muhammad Asad’s translated version, as explained in Table 10.

Table 10: Reading Muhammad Asad’s Translated Version
Reading MA’s Translation Medium
Malay English Arabic
Yes 5(6%) 2(15%) 0
No 72(94%) 11(85%) 7(100%)
Total 77 13 7

ANALYSIS OF ACCEPTABILITY,
UNDERSTANDING AND APPEAL

For acceptability: Out of the 100 respondents, all 100% students have answered positively.
For understanding: Out of the 100 respondents, 76(76%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is easier to understand than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 24(24%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is easier to understand than Muhammad Asad’s version.
For Appeal: Out of the 100 respondents, 59(59%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is more appealing than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 41(41%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is more appealing than Muhammad Asad’s version.
This section will divide the respondents into three subgroups: Malay, English and Arabic medium students. Specifically, the 3 students who are under “others” subgroup-2 felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is easier to understand than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 1 felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is easier to understand than Muhammad Asad’s version. 1 felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is more appealing than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 2 felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is more appealing than Muhammad Asad’s version.
Table 14 compares the responses of Malay, English and Arabic medium students in understanding and appeal of both translated versions.

MALAY-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Malay-medium students was 77. Out of these 77 students, 58(75%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is easier to understand than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 19(25%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is easier to understand than Muhammad Asad’s version, as explained in Table 11.

Table 11: Response of Malay-Medium Students to Understanding and Appeal
Translated version
AYA MA
Understanding 19(25%) 58(75%)
Appeal 31(40%) 46(60%)

Out of 77 students, 46(60%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is more appealing than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 31(40%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is more appealing than Muhammad Asad’s version, as explained in Table 11.

ENGLISH-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of English-medium students was 13. Out of these 13 students, 11(85%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is easier to understand than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 2(15%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is easier to understand than Muhammad Asad’s version, as explained in Table 12.
Out of these 13 students, 7(54%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is more appealing than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 6(46%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is more appealing than Muhammad Asad’s version, as explained in Table 12.

Table 12: Response of English-Medium Students to Understanding and Appeal
Translated version
AYA MA
Understanding 2(15%) 11(85%)
Appeal 6(46%) 7(54%)

ARABIC-MEDIUM STUDENTS

The total number of Arabic-medium students is 7. Out of these 7 students, 5(71%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is easier to understand than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 2(29%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is easier to understand than Muhammad Asad’s version, as explained in Table 13.

Table 13: Response of Arabic-Medium Students to Understanding and Appeal
Translated version
AYA MA
Understanding 2(29%) 5(71%)
Appeal 2 5

Out of these 7 students, 5(71%) felt that Muhammad Asad’s version is more appealing than Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version, 2(29%) felt that Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version is more appealing than Muhammad Asad’s version, as explained in Table 13.

Table 14: Responses of all Medium of Students to Understanding and Appeal of Both Translated Versions
AYA MA
Malay English Arabic Malay English Arabic
Understanding 19(25%) 2(15%) 2(29%) 58(75%) 11(85%) 5(71%)
Appeal 31(40%) 6(46%) 2(29%) 46(60%) 7(54%) 5(71%)

CONCLUSION

Out of the100 respondents, the general responses, without any subdivisions, revolving around the main objectives of the questionnaire are:
For acceptability: 100% answered positively.
For understanding: 76% MA, 24% AYA
For preference of appeal: 59% MA, 41% AYA
Although the majority of the respondents have read and are more familiar with AYA’s translated version of the Quran, MA’s version of the Quran scored higher in terms of understanding and appeal. The possible conclusions that can be derived or deduced from this include:
1)AYA’s translated version of the Quran is well-circulated.
2)MA’s translated version of the Quran uses more straightforward, prosaic language and less classicism, poetic and symbolism.
3)The preference of appeal for MA’s translated version of the Quran is not dependent on the level of proficiency in the Arabic language. The responses are clearly based on the respondents’ opinion, level or knowledge of the English language.

QUESTIONNAIRE

Name:(optional) : .......................................................................
Kulliyah & dept.: .......................................................................
Religion : .......................................................................
Age : .................... years
Male/female : ....................
Nationality : ....................
Language of instruction in high school : .......................................
Have you attended a religious school : .......................................
How many years did you study Arabic : .......................................
Other languages learnt in high school : .......................................
Languages spoken at home : .......................................
Languages spoken among friends : .......................................
Please circle the answer of your choice:

1) Do you read the Quran in Arabic? Yes No
If yes, can you understand the Quran in Arabic? Yes No

2) Do you ever read the translations of the meaning
of the Quran in any other language? Yes No
If yes, in what language? .............................

3) Have you ever read Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English
language translation of the meaning of the Quran? Yes No

4) Have you ever read Muhammad Asad's English
language translation of the meaning of the Quran? Yes No

If yes to 3) and 4), which do you prefer to read? .......…….

5) Have you ever thought of the Quran as a text
possessing literary value apart from its religious
value? Yes No

(A)
Consider these messages, sent forth in waves
and then storming on with a tempest's force!
Consider these messages that spread the
truth far and wide,
thus separating right and wrong with all
clarity,
and then giving forth a reminder,
promising freedom from blame or offering a warning!


6) Is the English language used in the verses
above easy to understand? Yes No

(B)
By the Winds Sent Forth
One after another
(To man's profit);
Which then blow violently
In tempestuous Gusts,
And scatter (things)
Far and wide;
Then separate them,
One from another,
Then spread abroad
A Reminder,Whether of Justification
Or of Warning;-


7) Is the English language used in the verses
above easy to understand? Yes No

8) In your opinion, which of the 2 sets of
verses above is easier to understand? (A) (B)

9) Which one of the 2 sets of verses above
is more appealing? (A) (B)

10) Do you think that the English language translation
of the meaning of the Quran can be used as a text for
the teaching of literature in the English language
especially in Islamic institutions? Yes No

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