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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.

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Mira Grubic

Abstract

This chapter discusses the presupposition of German auch (“too”). While secondary meanings associated with other triggers can often be informative, additive particles require their presupposition to be salient at the time of utterance. According to one account, additives require a parallel proposition to be salient (e.g. Beaver & Zeevat 2007). Another account suggests that only another individual needs to be salient, while the remainder of the presupposition can be accommodated (e.g. Heim 1992). In this chapter, an experiment comparing these two accounts is presented and discussed. It is argued that the second account is better suited to explain the results.

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Stefan Hinterwimmer

Abstract

In this paper I show that the Bavarian discourse particle fei, in contrast to discourse particles like doch, cannot be added to a sentence denoting a proposition p if the addressee has uttered a sentence entailing that she believes that not p. If it follows from general background assumptions or can be inferred from the addressee’s behavior that she believes that not p, in contrast, the addition of fei is felicitous. Likewise, fei can be added to a sentence denoting a proposition p if not p is presupposed or conversationally or conventionally implicated by a sentence that the addressee has previously uttered.

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Claudia Borgonovo

Abstract

There is a subtype of concessive clauses (CC s), event related CC s, that shows the classical traits of central adverbial clauses (Haegeman 2010, 2012). Event related CC s share with all other CC types the fact that they convey not at-issue content: they project under operators and can be dismissed. As a result, event-related CCS may never be focused, either informationally or contrastively. I derive this property from the impossibility of building an alternative set and excluding all alternatives but one. Taxonomically, e-related CC s are backgrounded, secondary assertions, since they satisfy the defining traits of neither presuppositions nor CI s.

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Patrícia Amaral

Abstract

This chapter examines the morphosyntactic and semantic/pragmatic properties of descriptive pronouns in European Portuguese, a set of NP s that refer to the addressee and are formed by the definite article and a noun. These forms display a bundle of conventional meaning components not previously described: (i) they refer to the addressee (deictic component), (ii) the property conveyed by the noun is predicated of the addressee (property component), and (iii) the speaker expresses social distance towards the addressee (expressive component). While the deictic meaning is primary content, the property and expressive meanings are secondary contents. I analyze descriptive pronouns as mixed use-conditional items and discuss the theoretical status of their secondary contents.