Author: Almog Kasher

Abstract

The term taqdīr is mostly used in Arabic grammatical tradition to refer to underlying structures, i.e. to sentences, forms etc. intended by the speakers but which differ from the sentences, forms etc. which they actually utter. This is also the sense modern scholars have in mind when discussing taqdīr. Yet the term proves to have a significantly wider extension, embracing also cases where it pertains not to underlying structures, but to properties possessed by constituents at surface structure, such as the syntactic functions they assume and the parts of speech to which they belong. Both usages of the term taqdīr, however, are derived from the single basic sense it conveys, viz. speakers' intention. This argument is illustrated in the present article through Ibn Hišām's writings.

In: Arabica
In: The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics III
Author: Almog Kasher

Abstract

The Baṣran grammarians are generally credited with the view that the operator assigning the independent mood to verbs is their filling positions of nouns. The text of the Kitāb shows, on the one hand, that Sībawayhi indeed regards filling positions of nouns as the operator of this mood; on the other hand, his explanation seems to be founded on a ‘background principle’ of the default status of this mood. Later grammarians generally adopt the ‘Baṣran’ view, but do not regard it as a formalization of this ‘background principle’. Yet, elements of Sībawayhi’s theory regarding this operator are incorporated into their discussions, which facilitated the reading of later theories into the Kitāb.

In: The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics II
In: The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics IV
In: The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics
Author: Almog Kasher

Abstract

The present article discusses the use of the term šuġl and related terms in Arabic grammatical tradition. The lion’s share is dedicated to Sībawayhi’s Kitāb; it is shown that it is used there in three related senses: priority (i.e. an operator assigns case to some constituent, hence it is said to be ‘occupied’ by that constituent, and correspondingly ‘diverted’ from another constituent, which renders it free to be operated on by some other operator); satisfaction of an operator’s requirement to syntactically effect some constituent; and the verb-subject relationship. Among later grammarians most occurrences of the term conform with its usages in the Kitāb, although the extent to which it is used significantly varies among authors. Several ninth/tenth-century grammarians also use it in a fashion which we dub ‘reverse’, as it is applied not to an operator but rather to the constituent that is operated on.

In: From Sībawayhi to ʾAḥmad Ḥasan al-Zayyāt: New Angles on the Arabic Linguistic Tradition
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 medieval Arabic grammatical theory. This volume showcases the richness of the medieval Arabic linguistic literature and the diversity of ideas found within it.

In: From Sībawayhi to ʾAḥmad Ḥasan al-Zayyāt: New Angles on the Arabic Linguistic Tradition

Abstract

This article discusses theories designed by medieval Arabic grammarians to explain one of the most puzzling topics in Arabic grammar, mamnūʿ min al-ṣarf (diptotes). The mainstream theory of mamnūʿ min al-ṣarf probably took on its definitive form in the early 4th/10th century; it differs from Sībawayhi’s (d. ca 180/796) theory, yet consists of a generalisation of features found in the latter. A later modification, which retained its basic elements, was presented to the mainstream theory probably during the 7th/13th century. A radically different theory was presented by al-Suhaylī (d. 581/1185), who harshly criticised the mainstream theory as inadequate and arbitrary.

In: Arabica