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This book offers a comprehensive survey of the agreement phenomena found in written and spoken Arabic. It focuses on both the synchronic description of these agreement systems, and the diachronic question of how they evolved. To answer these questions, large amounts of data have been collected and analysed, ranging from 6th century poetry and Quranic Arabic to the contemporary dialects. The results presented by the authors of this research greatly improve our understanding of Arabic syntax, and challenge some well-established views. Can Arabic be envisioned as possessing more than only two genders? Are some contemporary dialects more similar to the pre-Classical version of the language than MSA is? And is the Standard rule prescribing feminine singular agreement with nonhuman plurals a more recent development than previously thought?
Author: Ahmad Al-Jallad
This volume contains a detailed grammatical description of the dialects of Old Arabic attested in the Safaitic script, an Ancient North Arabian alphabet used mainly in the deserts of southern Syria and north-eastern Jordan in the pre-Islamic period. It is the first complete grammar of any Ancient North Arabian corpus, making it an important contribution to the fields of Arabic and Semitic studies. The second edition covers topics in script and orthography, phonology, morphology, and syntax, and contains a chrestomathy and a glossary of over 1000 Safaitic lexical items.
Author: Bettina Leitner
This book is the very first comprehensive description of the Arabic variety spoken in the South-Western Iranian province of Khuzestan. It contains a detailed description of its phonology and morphology with numerous examples and a collection of authentic texts presented in transcription with an English translation. The author uses a corpus-based method for the grammatical analysis relying on original data collected during fieldwork in Khuzestan as well as among other Khuzestani Arab communities in Kuwait and Austria. The introduction and text collection offer the reader insights into Khuzestani Arab culture and traditions. The book highlights the peripheral character of Khuzestani Arabic spoken as a minority dialect in Iran and isolated from influence by both Standard Arabic and regional prestige varieties. It also provides an in-depth description of the linguistic development of Ahvaz, Khuzestan’s capital city.
What is the relationship between spatial and temporal representations in language and cognition? What is the role of culture in this relationship? I enter this discussion by offering a community-based, cross-generational study on the community of speakers of aṣ-Ṣāniʿ Arabic, members of a Negev Desert Bedouin tribe in Israel. The book presents the results of ten years of fieldwork, the linguistic and cognitive profiles of three generations, and first-hand narration of a century of history, from nomadism to sedentarism, between conservation, resilience, and change. Linguistic and cognitive representations change with lifestyle, culture, and relationships with nature and landscape. Language changes more rapidly than cognitive structures, and the relationship between spatial and temporal representations is complex and multifaceted.
Volume Editors: Manuel Sartori and Francesco Binaghi
This volume contains a selection of papers presented at the Fifth Conference on the Foundations of Arab Linguistics (FAL V, Cambridge, 2018). The first part of the book deals with Sībawayhi’s Kitāb, the oldest known treatise of Arabic grammar: after providing insights on some of its specific terminology, these chapters evaluate its place as a source within the long-term tradition of grammatical studies. The second part of the book focuses on parallel developments in the Arabic grammatical theory, both in the classical and postclassical periods up to the 15th century. Some contributions also address the relationship between grammar and other disciplines, notably philosophy and Qurʾānic exegesis. As such, this volume aims to deepen our knowledge of the development of linguistic theories in the Islamicate world.

Abstract

The paper deals with the issues of the historical existence of the grammatical schools of Basra and Kufa, of the relationship between Sībawayhi (d. 180/796?) and his alleged most outstanding pupil, al-ʾAḫfaš al-ʾAwsaṭ (d. 215/830), and of the reputation of Sībawayhi as a grammatical authority in the 2nd/8th and early 3rd/9th centuries.

In the first part (section 1) evidence from biographical, historiographical, and literary sources demonstrates that the reputation of Sībawayhi was considerable, if not properly during his life, at least starting from the very first years after his early death, and that al-ʾAḫfaš was perceived as the heir and successor of Sībawayhi’s teaching at the very least already at the beginning of the 3rd/9th century.

In the second part (sections 2 and 3) a comparative study of the Qurʾānic quotations found in Sībawayhi’s Kitāb and in al-ʾAḫfaš’s Maʿānī al-Qurʾān shows, on a textual basis, that both authors express a common scholarship that can only be explained by admitting the existence, in 2nd/8th century’s Basra, of a scholarly circle of people concerned with the way of speech (naḥwiyyūn), if not properly a grammatical school, of which both Sībawayhi and al-ʾAḫfaš were obviously part.

In: The Foundations of Arab Linguistics V
Author: Hanadi Dayyeh

Abstract

The ‘profile of the speaker’ is the lens through which the present study will look into the Arabic linguistic tradition after Sībawayhi (d. 180/796?). Where the speaker appears in Sībawayhi’s Kitāb as an originator and arbiter, it comes across as a learner in the works of his successors. Notwithstanding some later attempts at restoring the profile of the speaker as an originator, the study will show that the change of the profile of the speaker reveals a shift in approach to linguistic analysis away from Sībawayhi’s. The causes of this shift and its impact on the development of the Arabic linguistic tradition will be examined.

In: The Foundations of Arab Linguistics V

Abstract

The 4th/10th century logician al-Fārābī (d. 339/950) often mentions grammar. It has been suggested that his views on grammar put him at odds with the Arabic grammarians such as Sībawayhi (d. 180/796?). But on closer inspection we find that the views of al-Fārābī and Sībawayhi on grammar are complementary rather than opposed. Al-Fārābī is interested in languages at an abstract level—where they come from and what needs they meet; he hopes to give a general account by exploiting the notion of similarity. Sībawayhi by contrast takes the Arabic language as given and seeks to describe it in detail. It is not hard to illustrate some of al-Fārābī’s general points with examples taken from Sībawayhi. Perhaps the most significant differences between al-Fārābī and Sībawayhi in their views of grammar are al-Fārābī’s broader intellectual perspective and Sībawayhi’s greater scientific rigour.

In: The Foundations of Arab Linguistics V

Abstract

Overshadowed by the most famous al-Radd ʿalā al-nuḥāt by Ibn Maḍāʾ (d. 592/1196), the radd genre seems to have been particularly flourishing in al-Andalus and attests to the Andalusi intellectual activity in the field of grammatical studies. The article draws a list of 25 grammatical radd treatises, among which emerge the names of some of the most important Andalusi grammarians, either as authors or as targets of these refutations. The list also highlights the contribution to grammatical studies of some figures, such as the Sevillian Ibn Ḫarūf (d. 609/1212), who characterized themselves for their involvement in such debates. The article tries to evaluate the content and impact of these treatises: even though the great majority of these texts have not been preserved, indirect information provided by other grammatical works or biographical sources sheds some light on the issue. This allows to sketch the lines of possible intellectual networks and scholarly affiliations. Moreover, this points to two major opposing stances on Arabic grammar in al-Andalus: a polarity in terms of sources for grammatical teaching (al-Zaǧǧāǧī’s Ǧumal vs al-Fārisī’s ʾĪḍāḥ), and a deeper epistemological divide with regard to the purpose of grammar (auxiliary vs speculative science). These fraction lines might eventually relate with the textual history of Sībawayhi’s Kitāb.

In: The Foundations of Arab Linguistics V
Author: Hideki Okazaki

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to examine the classification of mušabbah bi-l-mafʿūl (“pseudo-object”) by Ibn al-Sarrāǧ (d. 316/929) based on a consideration of the use and the transition of the grammatical concept of faḍla, which corresponds to laġw in the Kitāb of Sībawayhi (d. 180/796?). Ibn al-Sarrāǧ’s major 10th-century work, Kitāb al-ʾUṣūl fī al-naḥw, is one of the oldest grammatical works that classified mafʿūl into five categories with well-defined terminologies. His treatise is characterized by the classification of each grammatical category based on the principles of comprehensive divisions and by the arrangement of chapters according to this classification. However, his manner of dividing mušabbah bi-l-mafʿūl is less assertive than his clear-cut classification of mafʿūl. According to his description, one may say that he recognized five types of “pseudo-objects”—ḥāl (“circumstantial qualifier”), tamyīz (“distinguishing element”), istiṯnāʾ (“disjunctive exception”), ḫabar kāna wa-ʾaḫawātihā (“the predicate of kāna and its related verbs”), and ism ʾinna wa-ʾaḫawātihā (“subject-noun of ʾinna and its related particles”)—as well as five types of “objects”—mafʿūl muṭlaq (“absolute object”), mafʿūl bihi (“direct object”), mafʿūl fīhi (“locative object”), mafʿūl lahu (“reason object”), and mafʿūl maʿahu (“accompaniment object”). He classified these pseudo-objects in terms of two aspects: the semantic relation between manṣūb and marfūʿ, and the grammatical category of ʿāmil (“operator”); that is, whether it is a true verb (fiʿl ḥaqīqī) or a non-real verb (fiʿl ġayr ḥaqīqī) or a particle (ḥarf). However, it seems that he fails to account for the reason why nidāʾ (“vocative”) and nafy bi-lā (“negation with ”) are excluded from the category of “pseudo-objects”. Although Ibn al-Sarrāǧ’s classification of mušabbah bi-l-mafʿūl was accepted by Ibn Ǧinnī (d. 392/1002) and al-Ǧurǧānī (d. 471/1078), some of the divided categories were modified, at least after the 7th/13th century, by grammarians like al-ʾAstarābāḏī (d. 688/1289 ?), Ibn Mālik (d. 672/1274), and their successors.

In: The Foundations of Arab Linguistics V