An Outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic Inscriptions


This volume contains a detailed grammatical description of the dialects of Old Arabic attested in the Safaitic script, an Ancient North Arabian alphabet used mainly in the deserts of southern Syria and north-eastern Jordan in the pre-Islamic period. It is the first complete grammar of any Ancient North Arabian corpus, making it an important contribution to the fields of Arabic and Semitic studies. The volume covers topics in script and orthography, phonology, morphology, and syntax, and contains an appendix of over 500 inscriptions and an annotated dictionary. The grammar is based on a corpus of 33,000 Safaitic inscriptions.
Restricted Access


EUR €168.00USD $229.00

Biographical Note

Ahmad Al-Jallad, Ph.D. (2012) Harvard University, is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University. He has published on the comparative grammar of the Semitic languages, the history of Arabic, and on the epigraphy of Ancient North Arabia.

Review Quotes

Let it be said from the start that this is a first-class study which places firmly on the map a language which is of huge importance in the context of the history of the Arabic language and, more generally, of Arabian epigraphy and Semitic linguistics. - G. Rex Smith, University of Leeds.

Grâce à Ahmad al-Jallad, les spécialistes de grammaire sémitique comparée ont désormais un accès simplifié à ce formidable corpus, qui ressuscite tout un pan de l’histoire de la langue arabe et, par là même, de l’histoire des peuples arabes préislamiques. - Jonas Sibony.

This well-researched and structured book will be of interest to Semitists, who will find invaluable parallels and ideas, while comparatists will now have a reliable reference work with dozens of glossed examples when they construct linguistic models based on a large sample of world languages. - Naïm Vanthieghem - Princeton University.


All interested in comparative Semitic linguistics, the historical grammar of Arabic, and the languages and cultures of pre-Islamic Arabia.