A Shared Set of Solecisms: the Mamlūk and Ottoman Reception of al-Ḥarīrī’s Durrat al-ghawwāṣ

In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

This article aims to highlight sociolinguistic aspects of an Arabic text from the sixth/twelfth century, its reception, and the commentaries on it. Soon after its publication, the linguistic treatise Durrat al-ghawwāṣ fī awhām al-khawāṣṣ by al-Ḥarīrī (d. 516/1122) became a model for discussing the subject of laḥn (solecism) in Arabic, and remained so throughout the following centuries. Rather than attributing this to fixed practices of premodern commentary culture, the article seeks to explain the scholars’ lively and nuanced engagement with Durrat al-ghawwāṣ by focusing on their identification with the social group of the khāṣṣa, which distinguishes itself through language mastery, and by connecting the interest in linguistic treatises to sociocultural developments in the Arab-Islamic realm during the Mamlūk and Ottoman periods.

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