Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Subject: Language and Linguistics

Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard and Rudolf de Jong

The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online comprehensively covers all aspects of Arabic languages and linguistics. It is interdisciplinary in scope and represents different schools and approaches in order to be as objective and versatile as possible. The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online is cross-searchable and cross-referenced, and is equipped with a browsable index. All relevant fields in Arabic linguistics, both general and language specific are covered and the Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online includes topics from interdisciplinary fields, such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and computer science.

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(452 words)

Author(s): Jacques Grand'Henry
Jacques Grand'Henry Bibliography Sībawayhi, Kitāb = ʾAbū Bišr ʿAmr ibn ʿUṯmān Sībawayhi, al-Kitāb. Ed. Hartwig Derenbourg. 2 vols. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1889. Fleisch, Henri. 1961. Traité de philologie arabe. I. Préliminaires, phonétique, morphologie nominale. Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique.

Ḥadīṯ, Language of

(10,753 words)

Author(s): Mustafa A. Shah
Introduction  The ḥadīṯs constitute the vast corpus of individual reports which are traditionally believed to preserve details germane to all aspects of the life of the Prophet Muḥammad and his Companions. Given the spiritual as well as the temporal realm assumed by the faith of Islam, the subject matter of traditions inevitably encompasses a vast panoply of topics and themes. Alongside the Qurʾān, the ḥadīṯs serve as the preeminent scriptural source of Islam, providing a bridge to the Prophetic sunna, which is defined as the normative custom or precedent established by …

Hadrami Arabic

(7 words)

see Wādī Ḥaḍramawt Arabic


(3,196 words)

Author(s): Monique Bernards
In Standard Arabic, the circumstantial clause may be an asyndetic construction beginning immediately with an imperfect verb, as in xaraja yaḥmilu l-kitāb fī yadihi ‘he went out carrying the book in his hand’. The circumstantial clause may be a syndetic construction as well, introduced by wa-. This introductory wāw indicates the simultaneousness of the main clause and the circumstantial clause, as in the English ‘while, when, although’, e.g. jarat hāḏihi l-waqāʾiʿu wa-l-ḥarbu qāʾimatun ‘these events occurred while the war was going on’; kataba maktūban wa-huwa malikun ‘he wrote a…


(2,754 words)

Author(s): Andries W. Coetzee
1. Orthography The hamza is usually not written on its own but is supported by one of the consonants ى ,و or ا. The supporting consonant is known as the kursī ‘chair’ of the hamza. The rules about how to write the hamza are complicated, but see Wright (1967, Paragraphs 15–22, 131–139) or Mitchell (1953:20–21, 39–40, 79–81) for a good discussion. The following are the most important rules: The default kursī is the ا. However, when preceded or followed by the u or i, the و or ى sometimes serves as kursī. There are also contexts in which the hamza is not supported by a kursī – when preceded by a long …


(3,310 words)

Author(s): Kees Versteegh
The names of the vowels are explained by the Arabic tradition in articulatory terms. The legendary founder of the linguistic tradition, ʾAbū l-ʾAswad ad-Duʾalī, is said to have instructed a scribe as follows: When you see me opening my mouth, write a dot above the letter, and when you see me contracting my mouth, write a dot within the letter, and when you see me folding my mouth, write the dot beneath the letter ( ʾiḏā raʾaytanī qad fataḥtu famī bi-l-ḥarf fa-nquṭ nuqṭa ʿalā ʾaʿlāhu wa-ʾiḏā ḍamamtu famī fa-nquṭ nuqṭa bayna yaday al-ḥarf wa-ʾiḏā kasartu famī fa-jʿal an-nuqṭa taḥta l-ḥarf). (ʾA…


(2,606 words)

Author(s): Samvel Karabekyan
As a polyvalent notion, the term ḥarf has no equivalent in the conceptual system of European linguistics (Frolov 1991:57). Its polysemy derives from the systematic use of the same term at different levels, not only within one scientific domain but also across a broad range of subjects, a characteristic typical of the entire spectrum of medieval Arabic science ( al-ʿulūm al-ʿarabiyya). This is not the consequence of undifferentiated functional contents of the denoted units; rather, it stems from the conceptual perception of language as a unitary process (…

Ḥassāniyya Arabic

(5,358 words)

Author(s): Catherine Taine-Cheikh
1. General information Ḥassāniyya (or klām əl-Bīḏ̣ān ‘language of the Whites’) is the mother tongue of the Arabic-speaking population of the western Sahara, especially the Moors ( Bīḏ̣ān) of Mauretania and the former Spanish Sahara (from the Sagya el-Ḥamra and the Rio del Oro). It is difficult to draw the precise geographical limits of this dialect, but its approximate borders are Goulimine in the north, Tindouf in the northeast, Tombouctou in the southeast, and the Senegal River in the south. The percentage of Ḥassāniyya speakers is highest in the central regions. The…


(4,224 words)

Author(s): Al-Amin Abu-Manga
1. Introduction Most scholars who speculate on the origin of the Hausa agree that the Hausa's ethnic composition includes a Hamitic element. If Palmer's (1967:95) view is taken as reasonably true, the Hausa people developed from a mixture of groups migrating from the central Sahara (due to desertification) to the central savanna in the south during the 1st millenium C.E. The new group which emerged out of that contact was relatively more sophisticated and later on absorbed a number of other small ethnic gr…


(5 words)

see X-Bar Syntax