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From Sībawayhi to ʾAḥmad Ḥasan al-Zayyāt: New Angles on the Arabic Linguistic Tradition, a volume edited by Beata Sheyhatovitch and Almog Kasher, brings together nine articles written by leading scholars of the Arabic linguistic tradition. These articles trace the development of the tradition, from Sībawayhi to modern Arabic language academies. The authors shed light on lesser-known aspects of this tradition, such as little-investigated grammatical structures, and problematic spots of the ʿamal theory and the grammatical terminology. They explore the discipline’s relations with stylistics and logic, the Arab grammarians’ influence on Jewish Bible exegesis, and modern applications of the medieval Arabic grammatical theory. This volume showcases the richness of the medieval Arabic linguistic literature and the diversity of ideas found within it.

Abstract

This paper examines the syntactic structure of Arabic vocatives, focusing on case-marking of vocatives. The assignment of accusative and nominative-like case can be accounted for in the light of Hill (2017)’s proposal which provides the basic structure of the vocative phrase. This paper argues that in Arabic vocatives (i) the particle YAA is a transitive probe with valued [ACC-Case] and unvalued [2nd] and [Distance] features; (ii) The D has the unvalued case feature [u-Case], and it has both the [2nd] and [+Distance] features if it is a free pronoun and (iii) The vocative noun carries the valued [2nd] and [+/-Distance] features. Based on these assumptions, I argued that indefinite vocatives are assigned accusative case only if they are merged with an overt D -n, otherwise a nominative-like case surfaces on the noun by default. Proper names have the same analysis since the presence of the indefinite article -n is a prerequisite for accusative case assignment. Concerning vocatives as heads of Construct States, N-to-D movement takes place in order to assign [+def] feature to D and is assigned accusative case by YAA. Regarding vocatives in demonstrative phrases, the existence of a null D prevents the vocative noun from being assigned an overt accusative case. Concerning vocative pronouns, only accusative case is assigned since the determiner carrying the [u-Case] feature is overt.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Habakkuk is unique amongst the prophetic corpus for its interchange between YHWH and the prophet. Many open research questions exist regarding the identities of the antagonists throughout and the relationships amongst the different sections of the book. In A Discourse Analysis of Habakkuk, David J. Fuller develops a model for discourse analysis of Biblical Hebrew within the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. The analytical procedure is carried out on each pericope of the book separately, and then the respective results are compared in order to determine how the successive speeches function as responses to each other, and to better understand changes in the perspectives of the various speakers throughout.
Three East African Arabic Historical Documents
This work consists of the translation and annotation of three East African Arabic / Swahili manuscripts together with the original texts. They cover aspects of the history of the coast from the early Himyaritic period up to the beginning of the 20th century. By the use of earlier, in some cases hitherto unused Arabic sources, the authors of the texts have contributed to a fuller picture of the East African coastal history. The texts relate directly to works on East African coastal history that have appeared since the latter part of the 19th century. They are presented against the background of general Arabic and Islamic history. The annotations indicate, and some case stress, significant hints and references to matters that need to be borne in mind, along with archeological and other evidences.
In recent years, a growing interest in “oriental manuscripts” in all their aspects, including the extrinsic ones, has been observed. Research that focuses on holograph, autograph and authorial manuscripts in Arabic handwritten script has nevertheless been casual, although these manuscripts raise important and varied questions. The study of the working methods of authors from the past informs different disciplines: paleography, codicology, textual criticism, ecdotics, linguistics and intellectual history. In this volume nine contributions and case studies are gathered that address theoretical issues and convey different, disruptive perspectives. A particularly important subject of this book, so far rarely discussed in scientific literature, is the identification of an author’s handwriting. Among the authors specifically dealt with in this volume one will find: al-Maqrīzī (m. 845/1442), al-Nuwayrī (m. 733/1333), Akmal al-Dīn b. Mufliḥ (m. 1011/1603), al-ʿAynī (m. 855/1451) and Ibn Khaldūn (m. 808/1406). Contributors: Frédéric Bauden, Julien Dufour, Élise Franssen, Adam Gacek, Retsu Hashizume, Marie-Hélène Marganne, Elias Muhanna, Nobutaka Nakamachi, Anne Regourd, and Kristina Richardson.

Abstract

It has generally been assumed that there has not been any direct influence on Somali poetic metre from the metrical forms of Arabic. For the most part, this certainly seems to hold, but this article presents a poem which is of a type on which, it is argued, Arabic influence can be seen. The poem, ‘Taaj Awliyo’ by Sheekh Caaqib Cabdullaahi Jaamac (ca. 1922-?) is presented in detail and, although it has been described as being in the jiifto metre, it is demonstrated that this description of the metre is incorrect. It actually follows a previously undocumented metrical pattern which is the equivalent of four maqalaay warlaay lines. The article also shows how the metrical pattern can be seen as a Somalized analogue of the Arabic kāmil metre in its majzūʾ or dimetric form. Evidence is given both from comparison of the line structure itself and from brief comments on reports of what the poet himself had said. The poem considered in detail is part of the Qaadiriya Sufi tradition in which poetry composed in Arabic plays an important role including poems in the kāmil metre.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics

Abstract

In both Palestinian Arabic and Qaraqosh Neo-Aramaic, high vowels lower and lengthen in the _C# position. This paper analyzes this phenomenon in the framework of Government Phonology (Kaye et al. 1990) and Strict CV (Lowenstamm 1996, Scheer 2004). It is claimed that in both languages, phonological considerations require additional length to be realized in this position (under certain conditions). However, this length cannot be realized through vowel lengthening, and so an element A is inserted. The fusion of the high vowel with A produces the lowered quality. Lengthening and lowering are therefore related, possibly because lowered high vowels are more complex than high vowels.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics

Abstract

It has been argued that adjunction as pair merge, unlike substitution or set merge, may or even must occur counter-cyclically. I present evidence from optional datives in Levantine Arabic, a category of pronouns that merge as applicative adjuncts, to show that adjunction may behave on a par with set merge and give priority to cyclicity. More specifically, I show that Levantine Arabic Attitude Datives as applicative adjuncts must merge cyclically by default and that they only opt for counter-cyclic merge as a last resort.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics

Abstract

In Sidaama, a Highland East Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia, the majority of nouns are feminine in the plural, regardless of their gender in the singular. We refer to this as ‘gender switch’ and we investigate how best to analyze this puzzling change in morphosyntactic behavior. We compare gender switch in Sidaama to the well-studied gender switch in Somali, arguing that Sidaama is different in that it is a true morphological syncretism unrelated to the syntax of plurality. We develop an analysis of Sidaama gender switch in the framework of Distributed Morphology and show how this analysis correctly predicts that feminine is the default gender in Sidaama. Overall, the paper provides a better understanding of gender switch in Sidaama and of the relationship between gender and number generally, it contributes to the very small theoretical-linguistic literature on Sidaama, and it offers some empirical support for Distributed Morphology.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics