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Tense and Text in Classical Arabic

A Discourse-oriented Study of the Classical Arabic Tense System

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Michal Marmorstein

In Tense and Text in Classical Arabic, Michal Marmorstein presents a new discourse-oriented analysis of the indicative tense system in Classical Arabic. Critical of commonly held assumptions regarding the binary structure of the tense system and the perfect-imperfect asymmetry, the author redefines the discussion by analysing the extended syntactic and textual environments in which the paradigm of the indicative forms is used.The study shows that the function of Classical Arabic tenses is determined by the interaction of their inherent grammatical meaning and the overall dialogic, narrative, or generic contexts in which they occur. It also demonstrates the particularizing effect of context, so that temporal and aspectual meanings are always more nuanced, delicate, and pragmatically motivated in actual discourse.