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This review article discusses various issues raised by the two reports of the Italian missions to the Yaghnob Valley in Tajikistan. It aims to provide a critical review of the publications, which present a broad variety of new research on the Yaghnobi people, as well as a more general discussion of the methodology involved in studying this group.

In: Iran and the Caucasus


By producing certain types of knowledge and discourse and rendering medieval sources such as Ibn Khaldūn into the terms of that discourse, colonial Orientalists delimited what it was possible to know about both the medieval and modern Maghrib. Concerned with the narrative of the “Arabization” of the Maghrib distilled out of Ibn Khaldūn by colonial scholars, the field of Arabic dialectology attempted to use linguistic research on modern Arabic to buttress this narrative while employing it to categorize its results. This article examines how particular categories such as divisions of “Bedouin” dialects originated through this type of colonial scholarship, and how they have lived on until now as the categories into which current research is fit.

In: Philological Encounters


This paper discusses agreement patterns in Kalīla wa-Dimna, a collection of animal fables translated from Middle Persian to Arabic in the 8th century CE by Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ and considered one of the masterpieces of early Arabic prose. It advances the hypothesis that the text bears traces of interference from the L1 of its translator, Middle Persian. Kalīla wa-Dimna features agreement patterns unattested in any other described variety of Arabic. The paper provides an introduction to the complex textual history of Kalīla wa-Dimna, followed by a detailed analysis of the agreement patterns emerging from the text. A survey of agreement in both Arabic (in its written and spoken varieties) and Middle Persian then highlights the main differences between the two systems, followed by a discussion of the possible interference that resulted in Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ’s reinterpretation of the Arabic system as based on animacy.

In: Journal of Language Contact
In: Arabic in Context