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The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics III

The development of a tradition: Continuity and change

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All contributions deal with the reception of theories in the Arabic grammatical tradition from the time of Sībawayhi (d. end of the 8th century C.E.) to the later grammarians in the 14th century C.E.. After Sībawayhi, considerable changes in the linguistic situation took place. The language of the Arab Bedouin described by him died as a native language. Grammars also changed, even if grammarians used for the most part the data given by Sībawayhi. This volume aims to determine continuities and changes in Arabic grammars, providing a new perspective on the impact of cultural and historical developments and on the founding principles of Sībawayhi's Kitāb.
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Kees Versteegh

Abstract

In the transmission of Islamic knowledge in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the usual language of religious instruction was not Arabic. The role of Arabic was limited to the recitation of the Qurʾān and the Ḥadīṯ; passive knowledge of Arabic was trained by collective reading of (often short) treatises in the classroom, which were memorized with the help of interlinear translations, e.g. in Swahili, in Persian, in Urdu, or in Malay. For the instruction in Arabic grammar students needed textbooks. There are a few sources about the curriculum in madrasas in Indonesia, Indo-Pakistan, East Africa and West Africa. This paper deals with the canon for grammatical treatises in different parts of the Islamic world and with the motives for learning Arabic. The main question is: how is it possible to learn a foreign language like Arabic by memorizing a grammatical treatise like the ʾAlfiyya, which presupposes a large amount of grammatical knowledge?

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Georgine Ayoub and Kees Versteegh

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The Grammatical and Lexicographical Traditions

Mutual Foundations, Divergent Paths of Development

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Ramzi Baalbaki