Previous research on the history of Arabic agreement has shown that F.SG agreement with nonhuman/inanimate plural controllers (the most typical case of “deflected agreement”) most likely first appeared in the pronoun before the 6th century. It is thought to have then spread across the agreement system by following a cross-linguistically well attested path (Corbett’s “agreement hierarchy”), and to have finally ousted the older F.PL agreement type by the 10th century.
This article deals with Qurʾānic Arabic, because it is commonly regarded as representing a transitional stage in this process. Using the “agreement hierarchy” as an analytic tool, it presents a new approach to the question of the origin of “deflected agreement.” Part I shows that the way in which the “agreement hierarchy” interacts with various types of plural controllers leads to the conclusion that the origin of “deflected agreement” must be sought specifically in the realm of inanimates. Part II (forthcoming) suggests that contrary to previous analyses, the pronoun is probably not the place where “deflected agreement” was originally grammaticalized. Rather, it is better explained as the result of a reanalysis/reinterpretation of an ambiguous use of F.SG in contexts with strict number neutralization (i.e., with VSO-verbs and other pre-controller targets).
This paper presents a further development of my research on the Arab linguistic and lexical commentaries of the Dīwān by al-Mutanabbī compiled in Islamic Sicily and al-Andalus. The first part of this article presents the Takmila wa-sharḥ al-abyāt al-mushkila min Dīwān Abī al-Ṭayyib al-Mutanabbī, attributed to Abū ʿAlī al-Ṣiqillī al-Maghribī (d. 512/1121). In the Takmila, Abū ʿAlī al-Ṣiqillī al- Maghribī focuses on the explanation of gharīb terms found in al-Mutanabbī’s Dīwān. The Takmila and its author have been neglected by scholars (except for Abū Suwaylim 1985 and al-ʿIzām 1997) and the only Arab grammarian who mentioned Abū ʿAlī al-Ṣiqillī al-Maghribī in his works is the Andalusi al-Iflīlī (d. 441/1050).
In the second part of this article, some selected gharīb words contained in the Takmila are analyzed in comparison to their definitions in the mubawwab and mujannas lexica and in some specialized gharīb and nawādir dictionaries. The commentaries of some authoritative Arab grammarians, such as Ibn Jinnī, Abū l- ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī, al-Wāḥidī, al-Iflīlī, Ibn al-Qaṭṭāʿ al-Ṣiqillī and al-ʿUkbarī, are discussed. In so doing, this paper aims to draw attention to the Takmila and its author as a representative of Arab linguistic thought and the debate on the notion of gharīb, and determine whether Abū ʿAlī al-Ṣiqillī al-Maghribī had a real influence on the diffusion and circulation of Mutanabbī’s Dīwān and its linguistic commentaries in Sicily and in al-Andalus.