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Beata Sheyhatovitch

In The distinctive terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī l-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī Beata Sheyhatovitch presents a structured and systematic study of a seminal treatise in the medieval Arabic linguistic tradition. The treatise’s author, al-ʾAstarābāḏī (d. circa 1289), is widely considered the most brilliant grammarian of the later classical period. The author's analysis of his terminology reveals the extent of his originality, and of the influence that other Islamic sciences (logic, jurisprudence, theology) had on his writings.

The comprehensiveness and the unique approach, which uses texts from various medieval Islamic disciplines to clarify the terminology, make this book an excellent and innovative tool. It provides scholars and ordinary readers with tools for a deeper understanding of al-ʾAstarābāḏī as well as other medieval Arab grammarians.

Series:

Beata Sheyhatovitch

Abstract

This chapter presents some general tendencies that can be discerned in al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s terminology: a tendency towards accurate formulations; a tendency towards abstract terminology (frequently created by the addition of the suffix -iyya to less abstract grammatical terms or to non-technical words); the use of terms that are usually viewed as Kūfan; using terms from other Islamic disciplines (logic and jurisprudence).

Series:

Beata Sheyhatovitch

Abstract

This chapter is dedicated to al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s theory of waḍʿ ‘coinage’. It explores the sources of this theory, terminology related to it and its applications in linguistic discussions. This theory allows to explain most linguistic phenomena by the coiner’s intention, but al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s sensitivity to mismatches between the coiner’s intention and actual usage is also highlighted. In addition to signification by coinage (which is how most linguistic elements are created and given meaning), attention is given to al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s notions of signification “by nature” (bi-l-ṭabʿi/ṭabʿan) and signification “by means of reason” (ʿaqlan).

Series:

Beata Sheyhatovitch

Abstract

This chapter analyzes two ostensibly close terms that refer to factors/elements which are secondary and/or transient in comparison to others: ṭaraʾān ‘pouncing’, used in the juridical literature as early as in the 4/10th century, and ʿurūḍ ‘accidentality’, a logical term. The chapter clarifies the differences between the two terms and surveys the main contexts in which they appear.

Series:

Beata Sheyhatovitch

Abstract

This chapter surveys a series of seemingly synonymous terms referring to the form-meaning relation: maʿnā ‘meaning’ (that refers in the vast majority of cases to a meaning which is relatively abstract), dalāla/madlūl ‘signification/ signified [meaning]’ and their derivatives (that are often used to speak of a mental representation of a concrete object signified by linguistic elements, and also in distinguishing among different types of signification), musammā ‘the named one’ (used to refer to an entity denoted by a proper noun or to a concrete referent of a word), maḍmūn ‘content’ (that mostly refers to the content of a clause or a clause-like element, or the content of a predicate in a sentence/clause). The examples presented in this chapter illustrate the important role of semantics in al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s writing.

Saussure and Sechehaye: Myth and Genius

A Study in the History of Linguistics and the Foundations of Language

Pieter Seuren

In this book, Pieter Seuren argues that Ferdinand de Saussure has been grossly overestimated over the past century, while his junior colleague Albert Sechehaye has been undeservedly ignored. Saussure was anything but the great innovator he is generally believed to be. Sechehaye was a genius providing many trenchant analyses and anticipating many modern insights. The lives and works of both men are discussed in detail and they are placed in the cultural, intellectual and social environment of their day. Much attention is paid to the theoretical issues involved, in particular to the notion and history of structuralism, to the great subject-predicate debate that dominated linguistic theory at the time, and to questions of methodology in the theory of language.

Pieter A.M. Seuren

Pieter A.M. Seuren