It is needless to mention that the English language has become an indispensable means for communication among people. It imposes itself in a large scale to be the most dominant language the world has ever known. Although English acquired a great importance in the last century, it has gained increasing demands in the new millennium especially after the globalization has intruded all geographical borders, shrinking the whole world into a small village. This great transition in the history of English has necessitated the use at numerous levels in most worthwhile walks of life. English contributes to develop strong bands between countries across the world through exchange of cultures, and to create international relationships between countries in the fields of trade, politics, education, science and so on. To meet the needs of the new era, it has become very essential to teach English in schools, institutes, universities and other educational foundations.
As to Arabic language, the last four decades witnessed the emergence of the Arab World as a center of attraction and strategic importance for almost all countries of the world in general and the west in particular. This is due to a significant development in the industrial field specially in the field of oil, which has created a situation of competition of capturing the Arab market and to establish economic relation with the Arab countries. It is in this regards that the interest of obtaining a sound knowledge of Arabic and English has increased considerably.
However, the growing numbers of learners need to understand the structural features of both languages so that the process of learning can be made easier. For this purpose, many comparative studies have been attempted in the past to highlight the similarities and dissimilarities between both languages, trying to bridge the gap and bring them as much closely as possible.
Besides, it is evident from observation that prepositions are the most problematic area of grammar, the matter that opens the door widely for many scholars to study them. Prepositions are difficult in the sense that they can have different functions, and the greatest problem faced by students of English as a foreign language is the correct use of prepositions. An inappropriate use of preposition may change the intended meaning of a sentence entirely. Therefore, translators and teachers need to be familiar with prepositions so that their translation or teaching process can be accurate and elegant.
This dissertation is intended to an intensive study of prepositions in English and Arabic. It is an attempt to analyze and contrast the system of prepositions of time in both Standard English and standard Arabic, the purpose being to identify and validate them and their potential productivity for pedagogical purposes.
Prepositions are difficult since most of them have different – functions, and at the same time different prepositions can have similar uses, and the greatest problem faced by students of English as a foreign 1anuage is the correct use of prepositions.
It is found that English and Arabic are similar in the use of prepositions in, until, from . . . to and for, while they show great difference in the use of the prepositions on and at.
Also, there is a difference in the use of the prepositions before, after and during because they are adverbs in Arabic whereas in English they are prepositions. As for the preposition since, the two languages show difference in its use. In English it is used as a preposition and a conjunction, while in Arabic it is used as a preposition and an adverb.
There is a difference between the two languages concerning the number of prepositions of time.
English has fifteen prepositions whereas Arabic has only eight. In both 1anguaes, the prepositions come before nouns or pronouns
and also they can function as postmodifiers, premodifiers, predications, predication adjunct and conjunctions.
For the purpose of examining the ability of using the preposition of time, thirty students were selected from the first level of the English Department at the Faculty of Arts in Sana’a University as Group 1 and thirty students were selected from the fourth level of the English Department at the Faculty of Arts in Sana’a University as Group 2. They were given a test that consists of thirty sentences to be translated from Arabic into English. After assessing the students' performance, certain conclusive remarks were made and it is hoped that these findings will prove to be of great help to policy makers in the field of education, syllabus designers, textbook writers, English teachers and those who want to write supplementary teaching materials or to standardize a proficiency test.
The present study comprises six chapters. Chapter 1 gives in brief the aims, subject, significance, limitations of the study, material used in this study, and definition of terms.
Chapter 2 is a review of literature on contrastive analysis. Chapter 3 offers a description of prepositions of time in English. Chapter four gives a description of prepositions of time in Arabic. Chapter five is the procedures of the study which consists of two parts, part one is devoted to the contrastive analysis of the prepositions of time in English and Arabic, and the other part presents the procedure of the test which is adopted on the students of Level 1 and Level IV in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Sana’a to show the influence of the mother tongue on students’ learning of prepositions of time.
Chapter six which presents the summary of findings and recommendations and is followed by a bibliography.