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Amal E. Marogy and Kees Versteegh

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Hanadi Dayyeh

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Ittisāʿ in Sībawayhi’s Kitāb refers to a notion in the Arabic language that allows the speaker to construct certain ‘unfamiliar’ semantic and/or syntactic structures. After Sībawayhi, ittisāʿ developed, in the semantic context, to become analogous to a figure of speech (majāz) and, in syntax, to become defined as a type of deletion. The present study focuses on the concept of ittisāʿ in the Kitāb and its development in the Arabic grammatical tradition and argues that ittisāʿ is a cause (ʿilla) for semantic and/or syntactic disorders. Its use in the Kitāb offers examples of the three types of causes (ʿilal) identified by al-Zajjājī in his ʾĪḍāḥ: ‘pedagogical’ (taʿlimiyya), ‘analogical’ (qiyāsiyya), and ‘argumentational-theoretical’ (jadaliyya-naẓariyya). The concept of ittisāʿ as ʿilla was neglected by later grammarians. The present study shows that this neglect is connected with the semantic nature of the concept.

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Beata Sheyhatovitch

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Fāʾida is an important and complex term in Medieval Arabic grammatical theory. The literal meaning of the term is ‘benefit/usefulness’, but since the grammarians used it to refer to the ‘value’ of sentences, syntactic constructions, or single words, it can be understood in various contexts as ‘communicative value’, ‘message’ or ‘meaning’. This article focuses on the term fāʾida as a criterion for utterance acceptability in the works of grammarians from the 3rd/9th–5th/11th centuries. In this context, two meanings of the term can be discerned: fāʾida as communicative value and fāʾida as a full message. The examples discussed here not only elucidate the term in question, but also shed light on pragmatic and semantic aspects of Medieval Arabic grammatical theory.

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Amal E. Marogy

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This paper sheds light on Sībawayhi’s cognitive framework of interpretation and his approach to unusual cognitive information. It underlines the link between communication and cognition as it glimpses over relevant aspects of cognitive linguistics and relevance theory, and presents a quick overview of Gestalt theory and its holistic approach to the ‘shaping processes’ in the human mind. It finally moves on to address the grammatical encoding of the masculine and feminine nouns in the Kitāb and introduces the cognitive framework of interpretation to the tanwīn. This framework shows how cognition is mapped onto language in the Kitāb and tanwīn is shown to evoke continuity of contextual assumptions and adherence to linguistic conventions as established by trustworthy speakers of ‘good Arabic’, while its absence is used as a problem-solving tool within an open-ended context.

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Manuela E.B. Giolfo

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In the present paper I argue that it is possible to find a meaningful answer to the question why law should not be considered a true conditional particle. Although law is mentioned by early Arab grammarians within chapters or sections dedicated to conditional particles, only those words which are construed with the apocopate are regarded by the Arabic grammatical tradition as proper ḥurūf al-šarṭ. By exploring Ibn al-Ḥājib’s concepts of muḍiyy and of istiqbāl—helped in this by al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s analysis—and by remaining at the same time firmly attached to Sībawayhi’s treatment of ʾin, I argue that Arab grammarians were at least as much conscious as the Greek grammarians were about the fact that the semantic difference was much more important than the syntactic one. The syntactic constraint against law governing an apocopate in fact implies that the expression introduced by law is either impossible or necessary, and thus in both cases certain and non-hypothetical.

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Arik Sadan

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This paper focuses on the role of ḥadīṯs in the grammatical tradition and their use by grammarians from the time of Sībawayhi onward. Following an introduction on the sources which Arab grammarians use for their grammatical descriptions and theories, and salient views on the role of ḥadīṯs, if at all, as a grammatical tool, the paper examines Sībawayhi’s quotations of ḥadīṯs and then presents the actual way grammarians from the time of Sībawayhi onward use and quote ḥadīṯs, in the context of one syntactic topic, namely the naṣb (subjunctive) mood. The paper shows that the number of quoted ḥadīṯs in this context is quite small, certainly in comparison with the number of examples from the spoken language of the Bedouins, the Qurʾān and ancient Arabic poetry, which totals in the hundreds. Finally, it proposes a possible explanation for these findings

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Georgine Ayoub

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The present paper examines a modal notion in Sībawayhi’s Kitāb, the notion of wājib/ġayr wājib, and its role in determining the word order of the sentence and the inflections of the noun in some contexts. To explore this notion means to explore how enunciation and utterance are articulated in the Kitāb, and to identify the ways in which the communicative intention of the speaker, as well as the other elements of the speech situation, determine the form of utterances and their syntax. This identification—a topic that has been addressed in a variety of ways in recent studies—remains a major issue in determining the specificity of Sībawayhi’s linguistic thinking. Even though it is well known in general linguistics that word order is one of the grammaticalized ways to express modality, we still do not know precisely how this issue is treated in the Kitāb.

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Jean N. Druel

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In this paper we explore the impressive theoretical gap that exists between Sībawayhi’s (d. 177/793?) grammar and that of later grammarians by focusing on the grammar of numerals. We compare Sībawayhi’s Kitāb with al-Mubarrad’s (d. 285/898) Muqtaḍab and Ibn al-Sarrāj’s (d. 316/928) ʾUṣūl fī l-naḥw in order to qualify the different frames in which these three grammarians deal with numerals. While Sībawayhi endeavors to relate numerals to the category of the adjectives which resemble the active participles (al-ṣifāt al-mušabbaha bi-l-fāʿil), al-Mubarrad separates numerals in different categories and analyzes each numeral within its category, and Ibn al-Sarrāj creates an ad hoc category of numerical specifiers that apparently solves all the difficulties. Thus, we identify three directions in which the grammar of numerals evolved after Sībawayhi: i) differentiation as an interpretative tool; ii) a search for local consistencies instead of a global consistency; iii) the appearance of formal semantic categories that make their way into the grammatical analysis.

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Kees Versteegh

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This paper deals with the question in what way Sībawayhi’s Persian background affected his linguistic approach. In the absence of any direct information from the Kitāb on his views about Persian, the only available data are the three chapters on Persian loanwords. When we compare Sībawayhi’s treatment of Persian loanwords with that of al-Ḫalīl, it turns out that his approach was slightly different: while al-Ḫalīl (and most later grammarians) focused on procedures to identify Persian loanwords, Sībawayhi was interested in the way these loanwords were adapted to Arabic phonology and morphology. This may have been an indirect effect of his familiarity with Persian.

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Arik Sadan

In The Subjunctive Mood in Arabic Grammatical Thought Arik Sadan outlines the grammatical theories on the naṣb (subjunctive mood) in Classical Arabic. Examining over 160 treatises written by 85 grammarians, lexicographers and Qurʾān commentators, the author defines and characterizes the opinions of medieval Arab grammarians concerning this mood in the verbal system of Classical Arabic. Special attention is given to the prominent early grammarians Sībawayhi (d. ca. 180/796) and al-Farrāʾ (d. 207/822), who represent the Schools of al-Baṣra and al-Kūfa respectively.
The analysis of the grammarians’ views enables the author to draw several important conclusions and hypotheses on the syntactic environments of the subjunctive mood, the dialectal differences relating to its employment and the historical changes and developments it underwent.