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Convergence

(3,824 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Definition The term ‘ convergence’ is not an established term, in either theoretical linguistics in general or Semitic and Arabic linguistics in particular. Neither is the opposite term ‘ divergence’. However, the term does occur in an informal sense in studies concerning koineization phenomena (Ferguson 1959; Palva 1982), as well as pidginization and creolization phenomena of language contact (Gumperz and Wilson 1971; Kossmann 1994; Mous 1994). Lately, with Versteegh's book Pidginization and creolization: The case of Arabic (1984), Arabists have become aware of the …
Date: 2018-04-01

Affixation

(3,172 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  Definition Affixation refers to the adding of morphemes – prefixes, infixes, and suffixes – to a nominal or verbal stem, usually with the specification that these morphemes do not occur as independent units. This stipulation accounts for the crucial difference between affixation and compounding, even though a strict separation between these two concepts is not always possible. As all Semitic languages typologically belong to the inflecting type, Arabic only exhibits a moderate degree of affixati…
Date: 2018-09-15

Truncation

(1,985 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Definition The term ‘truncation’ can be understood generally as referring to a process of word shortening which is phonologically predictable. Morphological processes of clipping and acronymy also belong to this category. The former process derives a shorter form from a simple lexeme, while the latter derives forms consisting of the first letters of a compound lexeme (cf. Kreidler 2000:956ff.). In the context of Arabic linguistics, the term ‘truncation’ makes sense as an umbrella term for vari…
Date: 2018-04-01

Declension

(2,582 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Definition In general, declension affects the nouns, adjectives, articles, numerals, and pronouns of a language (as opposed to conjugation, which affects finite verb forms). In Classical Arabic, the nouns, adjectives, numerals (except those from 11 to 19), as well as the dual forms of the demonstrative pronoun (near deixis) and the relative pronoun are subject to declension. According to native Arabic grammatical theory, nouns are either muʿrab ‘ declinable’ or (in rare cases) mabnī ‘ indeclinable’. Declinable nouns are then munṣarif ‘declined with nunation ( tanwīn)’ or ġayr m…
Date: 2018-10-01

Annexation

(2,604 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Definition and overview In Semitic studies, the combination of a first constituent ( nomen regens) in the Construct State and a second constituent ( nomen rectum) overtly or structurally in the genitive counts as “annexation”. While the first constituent in a genitive construction often corresponds to the “possessed” and the second constituent to the “possessor” (e.g., baytu r-rajuli ‘the house of the man’), this equation does not hold across the board semantically (cf. the opposite scheme in, e.g., ṣāḥibu l-bayti ‘the owner of the house’) and therefore is avoided here…
Date: 2018-04-01

Qāf

(1,760 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Qāf in Arabic and Semitic Qāf is the name of the 21st letter of the Arabic alphabet. In surveys of Modern Standard Arabic, /q/ is regularly described as a voiceless velar or uvular plosive/stop (cf., e.g., Kästner 1981:45–46). While this description reflects the pronunciation in Modern Standard Arabic and in some dialects, it is very likely that the uvular stop regularly transcribed as q in Arabic linguistics was a nonemphatic (nonvelarized) voiced counterpart to k (IPA [g]) (cf., e.g., Versteegh 2001:21). As one of the ḥurūf ʾaqṣā l-lisān ‘the sounds at the remotest part of th…
Date: 2018-04-01

Noun

(4,058 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Definition Generally speaking, the term ‘ noun’ can be used either as a synonym for ‘substantive’ and ‘ adjective’, or as an umbrella term for all ‘nominal’ parts of the sentence, including adjectives as well as pronouns and numerals. In the context of Semitic and Arabic linguistics, ‘noun’ (ism) is always used in the first, narrower sense. The demarcation between substantive and adjective poses a morphosyntactic problem in some Semitic languages (noun phrase; adjective phrase) because from a typological point…
Date: 2018-04-01

Conjugation

(3,923 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  Definition Together with the declension of nouns, the conjugation of verbs constitutes the realm of inflection. In the native Arabic tradition, verbal morphology is treated under the heading of ṣarf and taṣrīf. More specifically, conjugation can be defined as comprising the categories, person, gender, number, tense and/or aspect, mood, as well as genus verbi (cf. Bußmann 1990:405). In the case of the Semitic languages, the latter term can be applied to both apophony (Ablaut) and diathesis in a meaningful way, as conjugation in Arabic displays apo…
Date: 2018-04-01

Article, Indefinite

(1,851 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
1. Definition In Classical Arabic no element is found which could be directly compared to the indefinite article ( quantifier of existence) in Indo-European languages, e.g. the element a in English. In-efiniteness (Arabic tankīr) is simply marked by a combination of a Ø-article and nunation ( tanwīn) in the case of triptote nouns and by a Oslash;-article in the case of diptote nouns in the plural (cf. Fleisch 1961:342–345 and Diem 1975 for morphological details and the genesis of mimation and nunation). Furthermore, indefiniteness can be rendered by paronomastic constructions such as w…
Date: 2018-04-01

Optimality Theory

(4,500 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  1. Introduction Many phonetic and phonological observations can be conveniently recast in terms of theories of linguistic preference and natural generative phonology (cf. Hooper 1976), notably in terms of the approach of Vennemann (1983, 1988), which was applied to Semitic by Edzard (1991). Optimality Theory, originally proposed by Prince and Smolensky (1993), offers a formal means to capture the ‘ constraint ranking’ that is implicit in the rejection of disallowed forms and the evaluation of competing forms (‘candidates’) of linguistic surface forms. W…
Date: 2018-04-01

Conditional Clause

(5,299 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  Definition This lemma first considers Classical Arabic, then Modern Standard Arabic, and finally a variety of modern Arabic dialects. Conditional structures, in the Arabic tradition labeled jazāʾ ‘requital’ (cf. Dévényi 2007), come basically in real and irreal varieties (cf. Wright 1967 II:35–349; for typological considerations, cf. Comrie 1986). The irreal type can be divided further into hypothetical (something that might occur) and counterfactual (something that cannot occur) conditionals (cf. Peled 1992:40). Conditional structures also serve as the prefe…
Date: 2018-04-01

Formulaic Language

(6,115 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
  General Language in various registers, encompassing both prose and poetry, is built on and makes copious use of formulae or formulaic features. It is almost a truism that formulaic phrases in rhetorical speech or textual motives in traditional forms of prose and poetry are indispensable building blocks, comparable, for instance, to motifs in musical composition. In a long soliloquy in Raymond Chandler’s crime novel The little sister, detective Marlowe repeatedly uses the fixed phrase “You’re not human tonight, Marlowe”. Turning to the Middle East, the repetitive stanzas in ġazal p…
Date: 2018-04-01

5.1.4 Hebrew Phonology

(3,568 words)

Author(s): Lutz Edzard
Part of 5 Languages and Linguistics - 5.1 Hebrew5.1.4.1 IntroductionThe following overview of Biblical Hebrew phonology is based on the Tiberian representation of the language, due to the general availability of the Biblical text in precisely that transmission. It is not claimed that other transmissions, notably the Babylonian transmission, are of minor importance in principle.1 Richter has elaborated an extremely precise and morpho-phonologically informative transcription system that abstracts from the Masoretic representation of Biblical Hebrew…
Date: 2017-11-15