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In The distinctive terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī l-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī Beata Sheyhatovitch presents a structured and systematic study of a seminal treatise in the medieval Arabic linguistic tradition. The treatise’s author, al-ʾAstarābāḏī (d. circa 1289), is widely considered the most brilliant grammarian of the later classical period. The author's analysis of his terminology reveals the extent of his originality, and of the influence that other Islamic sciences (logic, jurisprudence, theology) had on his writings.

The comprehensiveness and the unique approach, which uses texts from various medieval Islamic disciplines to clarify the terminology, make this book an excellent and innovative tool. It provides scholars and ordinary readers with tools for a deeper understanding of al-ʾAstarābāḏī as well as other medieval Arab grammarians.

Abstract

Fāʾida is an important and complex term in Medieval Arabic grammatical theory. The literal meaning of the term is ‘benefit/usefulness’, but since the grammarians used it to refer to the ‘value’ of sentences, syntactic constructions, or single words, it can be understood in various contexts as ‘communicative value’, ‘message’ or ‘meaning’. This article focuses on the term fāʾida as a criterion for utterance acceptability in the works of grammarians from the 3rd/9th–5th/11th centuries. In this context, two meanings of the term can be discerned: fāʾida as communicative value and fāʾida as a full message. The examples discussed here not only elucidate the term in question, but also shed light on pragmatic and semantic aspects of Medieval Arabic grammatical theory.

In: The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics II
In: The Distinctive Terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī al-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī

Abstract

This chapter presents some general tendencies that can be discerned in al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s terminology: a tendency towards accurate formulations; a tendency towards abstract terminology (frequently created by the addition of the suffix -iyya to less abstract grammatical terms or to non-technical words); the use of terms that are usually viewed as Kūfan; using terms from other Islamic disciplines (logic and jurisprudence).

In: The Distinctive Terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī al-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī

Abstract

This chapter is dedicated to al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s theory of waḍʿ ‘coinage’. It explores the sources of this theory, terminology related to it and its applications in linguistic discussions. This theory allows to explain most linguistic phenomena by the coiner’s intention, but al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s sensitivity to mismatches between the coiner’s intention and actual usage is also highlighted. In addition to signification by coinage (which is how most linguistic elements are created and given meaning), attention is given to al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s notions of signification “by nature” (bi-l-ṭabʿi/ṭabʿan) and signification “by means of reason” (ʿaqlan).

In: The Distinctive Terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī al-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī

Abstract

This chapter analyzes two ostensibly close terms that refer to factors/elements which are secondary and/or transient in comparison to others: ṭaraʾān ‘pouncing’, used in the juridical literature as early as in the 4/10th century, and ʿurūḍ ‘accidentality’, a logical term. The chapter clarifies the differences between the two terms and surveys the main contexts in which they appear.

In: The Distinctive Terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī al-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī

Abstract

This chapter surveys a series of seemingly synonymous terms referring to the form-meaning relation: maʿnā ‘meaning’ (that refers in the vast majority of cases to a meaning which is relatively abstract), dalāla/madlūl ‘signification/ signified [meaning]’ and their derivatives (that are often used to speak of a mental representation of a concrete object signified by linguistic elements, and also in distinguishing among different types of signification), musammā ‘the named one’ (used to refer to an entity denoted by a proper noun or to a concrete referent of a word), maḍmūn ‘content’ (that mostly refers to the content of a clause or a clause-like element, or the content of a predicate in a sentence/clause). The examples presented in this chapter illustrate the important role of semantics in al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s writing.

In: The Distinctive Terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī al-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī
In: The Distinctive Terminology in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya by Raḍī al-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī
In: The Foundations of Arabic Linguistics IV

Abstract

Raḍī l-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī (d. ca. 1289) seems to be different from other Arab grammarians; I claim that the unique character of his Šarḥ al-Kāfiya can be explained, at least partially, by influences from other Islamic sciences, especially logic. Although such influences can also be found in earlier grammarians’ writings, in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya they are particularly strong, so much so as to often make the understanding of the text difficult or impossible without acquaintance with other Islamic sciences. This point can be demonstrated by investigating al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s multiple discussions on definitions.

The current article surveys the following subjects related to the theory of definition in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya: various types of definitions (ḥadd ḥaqīqī, ḥadd rasmī, ḥadd lafẓī), the structure of a complete definition (jins+faṣl), and criteria for a complete definition: coextensiveness and conversion, separate definitions for separate concepts, an accurate formulation and avoiding circularity. I use treatises by al-Ġazālī and Ibn Sīnā to elucidate some terms and arguments in Šarḥ al-Kāfiya, that are unclear otherwise.

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