Amal Marogy

This book presents a comprehensive portrait of the Kitāb Sībawayhi. It offers new insights into its historical and linguistic arguments and underlines their strong correlation. The decisive historical argument highlights al-Ḥīra’s role, not only as the centre of pre-Islamic Arabic culture, but also as the matrix within which early Arab linguistics grew and developed. The Kitāb’s value as a communicative grammar forms the crux of the linguistic argument. The complementarity of syntax and pragmatics is established as a condition sine qua non for Sībawayhi’s analysis of language. The benefits of a complementary approach are reflected in the analysis of nominal sentences and related notions of ibtidā’ and definiteness. The pragmatic principle of identifiability is uncovered as the ultimate determiner of word order.


Amal E. Marogy


This paper sheds light on Sībawayhi’s cognitive framework of interpretation and his approach to unusual cognitive information. It underlines the link between communication and cognition as it glimpses over relevant aspects of cognitive linguistics and relevance theory, and presents a quick overview of Gestalt theory and its holistic approach to the ‘shaping processes’ in the human mind. It finally moves on to address the grammatical encoding of the masculine and feminine nouns in the Kitāb and introduces the cognitive framework of interpretation to the tanwīn. This framework shows how cognition is mapped onto language in the Kitāb and tanwīn is shown to evoke continuity of contextual assumptions and adherence to linguistic conventions as established by trustworthy speakers of ‘good Arabic’, while its absence is used as a problem-solving tool within an open-ended context.

The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics

Sībawayhi and Early Arabic Grammatical Theory


Edited by Amal Elesha Marogy

This volume is intended as the first in a series of studies on traditional Arab linguistic theories concentrating on Sībawayhi and his grammatical legacy. Here, the reader is introduced to the major issues and themes that have determined the development of Arabic grammar and presents Sībawayhi in the context of his intellectual and social environment. The papers make significant contributions to and offer in-depth introductions into major aspects of the foundations of Arab Linguistics, early Syriac and medieval Hebrew linguistic traditions. This is a unique reference on the three main Semitic linguistic traditions, accompanied by a detailed analysis of some grammatical and pragmatic aspects of Kitāb Sībawayhi in the light of modern theories and scholarship.

Contributors include: M. G. Carter, Hanadi Dayyeh, Manuela E.B. Giolfo, Mohamed Hnid, Almog Kasher, Geoffrey Khan, Daniel King, Amal Marogy, Avigail S. Noy, Arik Sadan, Haruko Sakaedani