A knowledge of the collocational principles governing the cooccurrence of words aids the linguistic analyses of eccentric poetic usages such as oxymoron, paradox, and tuatology. These forms can be more formally linguistically analysed and insights gained complement the literary critic's efforts. This paper shows how these semantically deviant constructions contribute to "meaning" in Okot p'Bitek's Song of Lawino. Lawino exploited them for satire. Tautology is vacuous, empty, meaningless; but she used it to communicate her disgust and dissatisfaction at her husband's unsociable behaviour. Her use of oxymoron and paradox is linked to her tendency to exaggerate; but these exaggerations are to shock her erring husband to realization. He had shriked his marital and parental responsabilities and needed to be reminded. Their literary significance hinge on their situational meaningfulness. The critic must develop the ability to understand, explain and interpret such usages; and thus make literary sense of semantic nonsense.
Errors arise in the translation of poetic literature as a result of gaps in the translator's knowledge of the historical, social, and cultural context in which the poem was written. However, it is not enough for the translator to have knowledge of this sort, he must also know about the kind of idiomatic expressions in vogue which the poet tends to use and the contemporary allusions intended in his choice of words, metaphors..., etc. A further source of error stems from a misunderstanding of grammatical, or stylistic features of the poetry. All poets manipulate the grammar of their language in their own characteristic way. Unless the translator is well acquainted with these features, he may not faithfully represent their semantic effect in the target language. This paper deals with some cultural and linguistic aspects of some translations of the pre-Islamic poets and also of "Wormhoudt's" translation of al-"Mutanabbi" with examples of errors arising from cultural and linguistic misunderstanding.