This is the first monograph-length volume entirely devoted to the theoretical and empirical issues raised by the definition of ‘word’ and related concepts in Arabic, both at the historical and synchronic level. Some of the best-known scholars in the field of Arabic linguistics debate such issues as the technical definition of words and morphemes in the Arabic grammatical and rhetorical traditions, the theoretical status of the root and its interactions with morphology, the analysis of word in the computer treatment of Arabic texts, some relevant phenomena in the contact of Arabic with other languages. The result is a fresh portrait of some of the most interesting research currently under way in Arabic linguistics from different theoretical and methodological viewpoints.
This book presents a comprehensive portrait of the
Kitāb Sībawayhi. It offers new insights into its historical and linguistic arguments and underlines their strong correlation. The decisive historical argument highlights al-Ḥīra’s role, not only as the centre of pre-Islamic Arabic culture, but also as the matrix within which early Arab linguistics grew and developed. The
Kitāb’s value as a communicative grammar forms the crux of the linguistic argument. The complementarity of syntax and pragmatics is established as a condition
sine qua non for Sībawayhi’s analysis of language. The benefits of a complementary approach are reflected in the analysis of nominal sentences and related notions of
ibtidā’ and definiteness. The pragmatic principle of identifiability is uncovered as the ultimate determiner of word order.