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The Inimitable Qurʾān

Some Problems in English Translations of the Qurʾān with Reference to Rhetorical Features

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Khalid Yahya Blankinship

In The Inimitable Qurʾān: Some Problems in English Translations of the Qurʾān with Reference to Rhetorical Features, Khalid Yahya Blankinship examines certain Arabic rhetorical features of the Qurʾān as represented in seven English translations. The author addresses the intersection of two important topics in Qurʾānic studies: the critique of the available English translations and the role of rhetoric in the interpretation of the Qurʾān. He identifies a number of figures characteristic of Qurʾanic style which represent some of the chief stumbling blocks for readers who are used to English in attempting to understand, interpret, and appreciate the text. The book should be useful to all those interested in rhetorical and translation studies and theory as well as Islamic studies.

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Sonja Noll

In The Semantics of Silence in Biblical Hebrew, Sonja Noll explores the many words in biblical Hebrew that refer to being silent, investigating how they are used in biblical texts, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Ben Sira. She also examines the tradition of interpretation for these words in the early versions (Septuagint, Vulgate, Targum, Peshitta), modern translations, and standard dictionaries, revealing that meanings are not always straightforward and that additional work is needed in biblical semantics and lexicography. The traditional approach to comparative Semitics, with its over-simplistic assumption of semantic equivalence in cognates, is also challenged. The surprising conclusion of the work is that there is no single concept of silence in the biblical world; rather, it spans multiple semantic fields.

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Nikolas Gisborne

In Ten Lectures on Event Structure in a Network Theory of Language, Nikolas Gisborne explores verb meaning. He discusses theories of events and how a network model of language-in-the-mind should be theorized; what the lexicon is; how to probe word meaning; evidence for structure in word meaning; polysemy; the lexical semantics of causation; a type hierarchy of events; and event types cross-linguistically. He also looks at the relationship between different classes of events or event types and aktionsarten; transitivity alternations and argument linking. Gisborne argues that the social and cognitive embedding of language, requires a view of linguistic structure as a network where even the analysis of verb meaning can require an understanding of the role of speaker and hearer.

Robert Kilwardby’s Science of Logic

A Thirteenth-Century Intensional Logic

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Paul Thom

Paul Thom’s book presents Kilwardby’s science of logic as a body of demonstrative knowledge about inferences and their validity, about the semantics of non-modal and modal propositions, and about the logic of genus and species. This science is thoroughly intensional. It grounds the logic of inference on that in virtue of which the inference holds. It bases the truth conditions of propositions on relations between conceptual entities. It explains the logic of genus and species through the notion of essence.
Thom interprets this science as a formal logic of intensions with its own proof theory and semantics. This comprehensive reconstruction of Kilwardby’s logic shows the medieval master to be one of the most interesting logicians of the thirteenth century.

Understanding Medieval Latin with the Help of Middle Dutch

Magistri Symonis (?) Questiones secunde partis Doctrinalis Alexandri de Villa Dei First Critical Edition from the Manuscript with Introduction, Appendices and Indexes

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Edited by E.P. Bos

How advanced students in the 15th century learned to understand Latin with the help of Middle Dutch becomes clear in Master Simon’s (?) commentary in the form of questions on the famous medieval didactical poem on grammar Doctinale of Alexander de Villa Dei. The master discusses notions such as the six cases of Latin (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative and ablative), construction, impediments of construction, and participles. The author has a conceptualist approach of language and criticizes interpretations by realists (Modists). He refers to other important medieval grammars, viz. Commentary on Priscian attributed to Peter Helias, Compendium de modis significandi attributed to Thomas of Erfurt, the Metrista, the Regulae Puerorum and the Florista.

Ancient Texts and Modern Readers

Studies in Ancient Hebrew Linguistics and Bible Translation

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Edited by Gideon Kotzé, Christian S. Locatell and John A. Messarra

The chapters of this volume address a variety of topics that pertain to modern readers’ understanding of ancient texts, as well as tools or resources that can facilitate contemporary audiences’ interpretation of these ancient writings and their language. In this regard, they cover subjects related to the fields of ancient Hebrew linguistics and Bible translation. The chapters apply linguistic insights and theories to elucidate elements of ancient texts for modern readers, investigate how ancient texts help modern readers to interpret features in other ancient texts, and suggest ways in which translations can make the language and conceptual worlds of ancient texts more accessible to modern readers. In so doing, they present the results of original research, identify new lines and topics of inquiry, and make novel contributions to modern readers’ understanding of ancient texts.

Contributors are Alexander Andrason, Barry L. Bandstra, Reinier de Blois, Lénart J. de Regt, Gideon R. Kotzé, Geoffrey Khan, Christian S. Locatell, Kristopher Lyle, John A. Messarra, Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, Jacobus A. Naudé, Daniel Rodriguez, Eep Talstra, Jeremy Thompson, Cornelius M. van den Heever, Herrie F. van Rooy, Gerrit J. van Steenbergen, Ernst Wendland, Tamar Zewi.

Secondary Content

The Semantics and Pragmatics of Side Issues

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Edited by Daniel Gutzmann and Katharina Turgay

In addition to expressing some main content, utterances often convey secondary content, which is content that is not their “main point”, but which rather provides side or background information, is less prominent than the main content, and shows distinctive behavior with respect to its role in discourse structure and which discourse moves it licenses. This volume collects original research papers on the semantics and pragmatics of secondary content. By covering a broad variety of linguistic phenomena that convey secondary content – including expressives, various particles, adverbials, pronouns, quotations, and dogwhistle language – the contributions show that secondary content is pervasive throughout different aspects of natural language and provide new insight into the nature of secondary content through new semantic and pragmatic analyses.

Meaningful Absence Across Arts and Media

The Significance of Missing Signifiers

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Edited by Werner Wolf, Nassim Balestrini and Walter Bernhart

This volume focusses on a rarely discussed method of meaning production, namely via the absence, rather than presence, of signifiers. It does so from an interdisciplinary, transmedial perspective, which covers systematic, media-comparative and historical aspects, and reveals various forms and functions of missing signifiers across arts and media. The meaningful silences, blanks, lacunae, pauses, etc., treated by the ten contributors are taken from language and literature, film, comics, opera and instrumental music, architecture, and the visual arts. Contributors are: Nassim Balestrini, Walter Bernhart, Olga Fischer, Saskia Jaszoltowski, Henry Keazor, Peter Revers, Klaus Rieser, Daniel Stein, Anselm Wagner, Werner Wolf

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Edited by Iwona Kraska-Szlenk

Embodiment in Cross-Linguistic Studies: The ‘Head’ edited by Iwona Kraska-Szlenk adds to linguistic studies on embodied cognition and conceptualization while focusing on one body part term from a comparative perspective. The ‘head’ is investigated as a source domain for extending multiple concepts in various target domains accessed via metaphor or metonymy. The contributions in the volume provide comparative and case studies based on analyses of the first-hand data from languages representing all continents and diversified linguistic groups, including endangered languages of Africa, Australia and Americas. The book offers new reflections on the relationship between embodiment, cultural situatedness and universal tendencies of semantic change. The findings contribute to general research on metaphor, metonymy, and polysemy within a paradigm of cognitive linguistics.

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Edited by Manuela E. B. Giolfo and Kees Versteegh

This volume contains sixteen contributions from the fourth conference on the Foundations of Arabic linguistics (Genova, 2016), all having to do with the development of linguistic theory in the Arabic grammatical tradition, starting from Sībawayhi's Kitāb (end of the 8th century C.E.) and its continuing evolution in later grammarians up till the 14th century C.E. The scope of this volume includes the links between grammar and other disciplines, such as lexicography and logic, and the reception of Arabic grammar in the Persian and Malay linguistic tradition.