Arabic Grammar in its Formative Age

Kitāb al-‘Ayn and its Attribution to h̬alīl b. Aḥmad


This volume deals with the numerous grammatical passages included in the voluminous Kitāb al-‘Ayn, the earliest Arabic dictionary (8th century). This material is isolated and classified according to its various grammatical categories and then analyzed, taking due account of the current knowledge of the state of Arabic grammar in its early stage of development.
The much disputed attribution of Kitāb al-‘Ayn to h̬alīl b. Aḥmad is reconsidered from the vantage point of this grammatical material. This reconsideration involves a critical study of the vast medieval literature about ̬alīl's personality and the question of attribution of this early Arabic dictionary.
In addition to the author's analysis, the volume includes an appendix with citations of the original grammatical passages of this dictionary with useful indices.
Restricted Access


EUR €237.00USD $287.00

Biographical Note

Rafael Talmon, Ph.D. (1981) in Arabic, Tel Aviv University, is Professor of Arabic at the University of Haifa. He has published extensively on the early history of Arabic grammatical tradition and its relations with other linguistic traditions.

Review Quotes

' ...Talmon should be commended for undertaking this venture.'
Monique Bernards, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1999.
' It is a fitting addition to Brill's excellent Semitic languages and linguistics series edited by T. Muraoka and C.H.M. Versteegh…This tome is an impressive synthesis utilizing a solid bibliography of primany and secondary sources.'
Alan S. Kaye.
' Talmon's monograph offers the reader an impressive stock of information supported by an uncommonly rich amount of sources.'
Ladislav Drozdik, Asian and African Studies, 2000.


Students of Arabic linguistic tradition, students of medieval Arabic literature, historians of linguistics.


Collection Information