In this paper we explore the impressive theoretical gap that exists between Sībawayhi’s (d. 177/793?) grammar and that of later grammarians by focusing on the grammar of numerals. We compare Sībawayhi’s Kitāb with al-Mubarrad’s (d. 285/898) Muqtaḍab and Ibn al-Sarrāj’s (d. 316/928) ʾUṣūl fī l-naḥw in order to qualify the different frames in which these three grammarians deal with numerals. While Sībawayhi endeavors to relate numerals to the category of the adjectives which resemble the active participles (al-ṣifāt al-mušabbaha bi-l-fāʿil), al-Mubarrad separates numerals in different categories and analyzes each numeral within its category, and Ibn al-Sarrāj creates an ad hoc category of numerical specifiers that apparently solves all the difficulties. Thus, we identify three directions in which the grammar of numerals evolved after Sībawayhi: i) differentiation as an interpretative tool; ii) a search for local consistencies instead of a global consistency; iii) the appearance of formal semantic categories that make their way into the grammatical analysis.
The grammar of numerals is a complicated chapter in Classical Arabic treatises because it lies at the junction of many grammatical rules. In his Kitāb, Sībawayhi (d. 180/796?) analyzes numerals as a category of substantives resembling the adjectives that themselves resemble active participles, aiming at a deep consistency between all grammatical rules. In the Muqtaḍab, al-Mubarrad (d. 285/898) visibly prefers to collect as many peculiar cases as possible where numerals are involved, renouncing consistency at a wider scale. Lastly, in his ʾUṣūl, Ibn al-Sarrāj (d. 316/928) creates a specific grammatical category for numerals, systematizing a trend initiated by al-Mubarrad and initializing a way of analyzing grammar that seems to be predominant until the present day in the grammar of numerals.
What has the grammar of numerals become in later grammarians? Did they refine Ibn al-Sarrāj’s systematic and exhaustive subdivisions? In this paper, I intend to explore Raḍī l-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s (d. 688/1289?) grammar of numerals in order to understand how he deals with this complicated chapter of Arabic grammar. Each theory has its blind spots, i.e., assumptions that make vision possible but that are not questioned per se. Can we infer Raḍī l-Dīn al-ʾAstarābāḏī’s blind spots in his grammar of numerals? Could he escape the blind spots of his predecessors?
In this short treatise, the 6th/12th century Baghdadi grammarian Ibn al-Ḫaššāb (d. 567/1172) presents a grammatical state-of-the-art of the scholarly research on the Hebrew word ʾāmīn in Arabic grammar. Once a foreign word has entered the Arabic language, it has to comply with its rules and fit into existing categories, both in terms of morphology and syntax. After recalling the different grammatical opinions, Ibn al-Ḫaššāb discusses the position of a few grammarians (Ṯaʿlab, Ibn Darastawayhi, ʾAbū Hilāl al-ʿAskarī, ʾAbū l-Fatḥ al-ʿAṭṭār). He then refutes ʾAbū ʿAlī l-Marzūqī and his master ʾAbū ʿAlī l-Fārisī, who devoted an exhaustive discussion to ʾāmīn in his al-Masāʾil al-Ḥalabiyyāt. The issues discussed in Ibn al-Ḫaššāb’s short treatise are the following: the part-of-speech ʾāmīn belongs to; its meaning; ʾāmīn vs. ʾamīn and ʾāmmīn; is ʾāmīn one of God’s names?
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.