Quranic Arabic

From its Hijazi Origins to its Classical Reading Traditions


What was the language of the Quran like, and how do we know? Today, the Quran is recited in ten different reading traditions, whose linguistic details are mutually incompatible. This work uncovers the earliest linguistic layer of the Quran. It demonstrates that the text was composed in the Hijazi vernacular dialect, and that in the centuries that followed different reciters started to classicize the text to a new linguistic ideal, the ideal of the ʿarabiyyah. This study combines data from ancient Quranic manuscripts, the medieval Arabic grammarians and ample data from the Quranic reading traditions to arrive at new insights into the linguistic history of Quranic Arabic.
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Marijn van Putten, Ph.D. (2013), Leiden University, is a historical linguist specializing in the linguistic history of Arabic, Berber and Semitic. In addition to this, his research focuses on the textual history of the Quran and the early history of the Quranic reading traditions.
Preface and Acknowledgements

1 Introduction
 1.1 Previous Scholarship
 1.2 The Uthmanic Text Type and the Quranic Consonantal Text
 1.3 Overview

2 What Is the ʕarabiyyah?
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 The Linguistic Variation in the ʕarabiyyah
 2.3 Where Is Classical Arabic?
 2.4 Prescriptivism of the Grammarians
 2.5 Conclusion

3 Classical Arabic and the Reading Traditions
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 Reading or Recitation?
 3.3 Lack of Regular Sound Change
 3.4 The Readings Are Not Dialects
 3.5 Readers Usually Agree on the Hijazi Form
 3.6 The Readings Are Intentionally Artificial
 3.7 The Choices of the Canonical Readers
 3.8 Conclusion

4 The Quranic Consonantal Text: Morphology
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 The ʔalla- Base Relative Pronoun
 4.3 The Distal Demonstrative Expansion with -l(i)- in ḏālika, tilka and hunālika
 4.4 The Plural Demonstratives (hāʔulāʔi/(hāʔulā; ʔulāʔika/ʔulāka
 4.5 Proximal Deictics with Mandatory hā- Prefix
 4.6 Feminine Proximal Deictic hāḏih
 4.7 Loss of Barth-Ginsberg Alternation
 4.8 Uninflected halumma
 4.9 Imperatives and Apocopates of II=III Verbs Have the Shape vCCvC Rather Than (v)CvCC
 4.10 Mā ḥiǧāziyyah
 4.11 The Morphosyntax of kāla
 4.12 The Presentative hāʔum
 4.13 The Use of Zawǧ as ‘Wife’
 4.14 Alternations between G- and C-stems
 4.15 Morphological Isoglosses Not Recognized by the Grammarians
 4.16 Questionable Morphological Isoglosses
 4.17 The Quran Is Morphologically Hijazi

5 The Quranic Consonantal Text: Phonology
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 The Loss of the
 5.3 Development of the Phoneme ō
 5.4 Lack of Cyī >
 5.5 Passive of Hollow Verbs
 5.6 Retention of ṣirāṭ
 5.7 Lack of Syncopation of *u and *i
 5.8 Development of the Phoneme Ē
 5.9 Hollow Root ʔimālah
 5.10 Major Assimilation in Gt-stems.
 5.11 *raʔaya, *naʔaya > rāʔa, nāʔa
 5.12 Lexical Isoglosses
 5.13 Phonetic Isoglosses Not Recognized by the Grammarians
 5.14 The Quran Is Phonologically Hijazi
 5.15 Conclusion

6 Classicized Hijazi: Imposition of the Hamzah
 6.1 Introduction
 6.2 Pseudocorrect Hamzah
 6.3 Hamzah among the Quranic Readers
 6.4 Pseudocorrect Presence of Hamzah
 6.5 Failure to Insert Hamzah
 6.6 Conclusion

7 Classicized Hijazi: Final Short Vowels and tanwīn
 7.1 Lack of Final Short Vowels in the Reading Traditions
 7.2 Was ʔabū ʕamr’s Reading an ʔiʕrāb-less Reading?
 7.3 A Phonetic Rule That Requires Absence of Full ʔiʕrāb
 7.4 Conclusion

8 From Hijazi Beginnings to Classical Arabic.
 8.1 The Prophet’s Career
 8.2 The Uthmanic Recension (ca. 30 AH/650 CE)
 8.3 The Era of the Readers (ca. 40 AH–250 AH)
 8.4 Crystallization of Classical Arabic (ca. 250–350 AH)
 8.5 Conclusion

Appendix A: Notes on Orthography, Phonology and Morphology of the Quranic Consonantal Text
Appendix B: Orthographic Comparison
Everyone interested in the history of Arabic and the Quranic text and the early history of Classical Arabic and the Quranic reading traditions.
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