A Linguistic History of Arabic

A Linguistic History of Arabic

by Jonathan Owens
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0199563306

ISBN-13: 9780199563302

Pub. Date: 08/17/2009

Publisher: Oxford University Press

A Linguistic History of Arabic presents a reconstruction of proto-Arabic by the methods of historical-comparative linguistics. It challenges the traditional conceptualization of an old, Classical language evolving into the contemporary Neo-Arabic dialects. Professor Owens combines established comparative linguistic methodology with a careful reading of the

Overview

A Linguistic History of Arabic presents a reconstruction of proto-Arabic by the methods of historical-comparative linguistics. It challenges the traditional conceptualization of an old, Classical language evolving into the contemporary Neo-Arabic dialects. Professor Owens combines established comparative linguistic methodology with a careful reading of the classical Arabic sources, such as the grammatical and exegetical traditions. He arrives at a richer and more complex picture of early Arabic language history than is current today and in doing so establishes the basis for a comprehensive, linguistically-based understanding of the history of Arabic. The arguments are set out in a concise, case by case basis, making it accessible to students and scholars of Arabic and Islamic culture, as well as to those studying Arabic and historical linguists.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199563302
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
08/17/2009
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Symbols x

Maps xi

1 Introduction: A Language and Its Secrets 1

1.1 Proto-Arabic, Basic Terms 2

1.2 The Early Sources 5

1.3 The Role of the Modern Dialects in Interpreting Arabic Language History 8

1.4 Scope of Work 13

1.5 Language Change and Language Transmission 15

1.6 A Critical Look at Some Truisms in Arabic Historical Linguistics 20

1.7 Summary of Chapters 30

2 Old Arabic, Neo-Arabic and Comparative Linguistics 34

2.1 A Method vs. a Logical Matrix 34

2.2 Stages in Arabic 38

2.3 Arabic and the Dialects 43

2.4 Neo-Arabic and the Neo-German school 47

2.5 The Past is the Present: A Modern Logical Matrix 74

2.6 The Arabic Tradition 75

2.7 Conclusion 77

3 Case and Proto-Arabic 79

3.1 Introduction 80

3.2 Case in the Afroasiatic Phylum 80

3.3 Classical Arabic 85

3.4 The Modern Dialects 101

3.5 Case and Caseless Arabic 114

4 Al-Idgham al-Kabiyr and Case Endings 119

4.1 Sharℏ Tayyibat al-Nashr: A Fifteenth-Century Treatise on Koranic Variants 123

4.2 Linguistic Attributes of 'Major Assimilation' 125

4.3 Interpretive Summary 129

5 Pre-Diasporic Arabic in the Diaspora: A Statistical Approach to Arabic Language History 137

5.1 Introduction 137

5.2 Dialects, Procedure, Initial Results 142

5.3 Statistical Results and their Meaning 151

5.4 Interpretations 157

5.5 The Interpretation of Arabic Linguistic History 166

5.6 Statistics, Reconstruction, Hypothesis Testing 168

5.7 Three Caveats 172

5.8 Problems in Coding 173

6 Nigerian Arabic and Reconstruction of the Imperfect Verb 184

6.1 The Basic Imperfect Verb 184

6.2 Historical Significance 189

6.3 Epenthesis 193

6.4 The Old ArabicEvidence 194

6.5 The Reconstructions and the Classical Arabic Verbal Mode Endings 195

7 Imala 197

7.1 Imala in Old Arabic 197

7.2 Imala in the Modern Dialects 212

7.3 Reconstruction 220

8 Suffix Pronouns and Reconstruction 230

8.1 Pausal and Context Forms and Case Endings 230

8.2 Suffix Pronouns and Case Endings 234

8.3 Pronominal Suffixes, Case Endings and Epenthetic Vowels in Dialects 235

8.4 Syllable Structure 237

8.5 A Data Survey 237

8.6 Unproblematic Cases, Some Easy Generalizations 239

8.7 More Difficult Cases 245

8.8 Case Traces? 255

8.9 Harris Birkeland and Old Arabic Object Pronoun Reconstruction 259

9 Summary and Epilogue 266

9.1 Reconstruction and Continuity with Old Arabic 266

9.2 Epilogue 267

Appendix 1 List and short summary of dialects included in study 271

Appendix 2 List of features used in comparison, Chapter 5, with brief exemplification 276

Appendix 3 Imala in Zamaxshari 281

Appendix 4 Table of suffix pronouns used in reconstructions in Chapter 8 283

References 285

Index 301

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