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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(5 words)

see Vowel Raising


(3,843 words)

Author(s): Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila
Grammatical and lexical irregularities and oddities are also found outside of rhyme. This made rajaz verses a favorite mine of šawāhid ‘evidentiary verses’ for lexicographers and grammarians. The poetic licenses ( ḍarūrāt) of rajaz should not be taken to represent a living language outside the genre itself without close examination of the examples. It is clear, though, that the existing potentialities of language did guide even poetic license. The limits of language were stretched in those directions which found some legitimacy in dialectal forms, existing ano…


(4,021 words)

Author(s): Mohssen Esseesy
Reanalysis is inextricably linked to (child's) language acquisition (Harris and Campbell 1995; Hopper and Traugott 1993), because children interpret syntactic relations of words and their constructions according to rules newer than those in the output of adults. Such rules are presumed to differ from the original ones used in their constructions. This mode of alternative construing of syntactic relations has been labeled ‘abduction’ and is said to lead to reanalysis. 1. Types of reanalysis The surface (phonetic) manifestation of the 3rd person masculine and feminine p…


(1,724 words)

Author(s): Joost Kremers
Heim a.o. (1991) argue that in order to achieve this, a reciprocal expression such as each other is composed of two elements: a distributor ( each) and a reciprocator ( other). The distributor is associated with the subject (which in the theoretical framework that Heim a.o. use is expressed as a covert movement of the distributor to the subject) and thus turns a plural subject ( the men) into a distributed subject ( the men each). The reciprocator is in object position and, in a sense, directs the action back to the subject. Arabic employs several different methods of expressing reciprocity. I…


(2,497 words)

Author(s): Ali Farghali
1. Definition Redundancy is a universal property of human language. There is no language that does not have some degree of redundancy, and the Arabic language is no exception. In WordNet 2.1, Fellbaum (1998) gives four senses of redundancy: i. Repetition of messages to reduce the probability of errors in transmission ii. The attribute of being superfluous and unneeded with one direct hyponym iii. Someone or something that is unwanted and unneeded iv. Needless repetition of an act The English/Arabic dictionary of theoretical linguistics (Al Khuli 1982) translates ‘redundancy’ with ḥaš…


(2,418 words)

Author(s): Dina El Zarka
In formal terms, reduplication can be full (total) or partial. Full reduplication mostly iterates a whole word, e.g. bḥal bḥal and kif kif ( Moroccan Arabic) ‘alike’; in partial reduplication, a certain structure is only partly repeated, as in Classical Arabic nāma nawman ‘he slept long/well’ ( object, absolute), where only the root consonants are repeated (paronomasia). Partial reduplication in Arabic is also a means of word formation. The material reduplicated is mostly called ‘ base’ and the copy of the base ‘ reduplicant’. The base of reduplication can be defined morpholog…

Reference tools for Arabic linguistics

(1,072 words)

Author(s): Eid, Mushira | Elgibali, Alaa | Versteegh, Kees | Woidich, Manfred | Zaborski, Andrzej
For many disciplines within the field of Arabic studies major reference tools exist. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, especially useful for historical matters, with an emphasis on persons and places, has now embarked on its third edition. The Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān covers the entire domain of Qurʾānic studies and has only one more volume to go to completion. For Arabic literature there is the Encyclopedia of Arabic literature, as well as the Cambridge history of Arabic literature. For written production in Classical Arabic Brockelmann's Geschichte der arabischen Literatur has been…


(2,505 words)

Author(s): Joost Kremers
Reflexives can be simplex or complex. Simplex reflexives are reflexives like French or Spanish se, Italian si, Dutch zich, Norwegian seg, Finnish itse, etc. These reflexives have a form that cannot be decomposed. Complex reflexives, on the other hand, are composed of a pronominal element combined with some meaningful element such as self, one's own, body, soul, limbs, etc. Typical examples are English himself, Dutch mijzelf ‘me-self’, Hebrew aṣm-o lit. ‘his bone’, etc. A complex reflexive can also consist of a simplex reflexive combined with a self-type element, such as Dutch zichzelf…


(1,660 words)

Author(s): Reem Bassiouney
1. Definition ‘Register’ refers to a variety of language defined according to its use in social situations, for example the register of scientific, religious, or formal English. In Hallidayan linguistics, the term is specifically opposed to those varieties of language which are defined according to the characteristics of the user's regional or class dialect (Crystal 1991:295). Ferguson also posits that “a communication situation that recurs regularly in a society (in terms of participants, setting, communicative fu…

Relative Clause

(5,415 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
1. Subordination and relative clauses Subordination is a syntactic configuration in which a clause functions as a constituent within the structure of another clause either as an argument (subject or complement) or as a modifier. What distinguishes subordinate clauses from independent (or main) clauses is that the former cannot be used in isolation. For example, the subordinate purpose clause li-yaktuba ‘for him to write’ and ʾan yaktubū ‘that they write’ cannot be used as independent sentences. Even a subordinate relative clause with no relative pronoun cannot be used independ…

Relative Pronoun (Arabic Dialects)

(1,719 words)

Author(s): Vicente Ángeles
According to David Cohen (1962:140), the explanation for this homogeneity could be the greater prevalence in Old Arabic of a form illi, whereas the form finally adopted and standardized in Classical Arabic, allaḏī, was less used in previous periods of the Arabic language. Both forms originally had a demonstrative function (Grand'Henry 1972:142). There are other forms of the relative pronoun as well, such as il with variants al, la, lə, and , which mainly differs from the aforementioned forms by the lack of gemination in the phoneme l (about the origin of this gemination, see Bro…

Religion and Language

(5,690 words)

Author(s): Stefan Reichmuth
1. Introduction It is difficult to analyze a form of language in which the topics that are dealt with are admittedly beyond ordinary experience. Religious language is generally regarded even by its most committed users as inadequate. The dispute on whether religious utterances are imbued with a deeper and fuller kind of meaning or whether they are basically meaningless has not come to an end (for general overviews of philosophi-cal, theological, and linguistic approaches, see Kaempfert 1983; Stive…


(2,214 words)

Author(s): Joseph Aoun
(1a) mīn fakkarto ʾənn-o sāmi who thought.2ms that Sami ʿazam invited.3ms ‘Who did you think that Sami (has) invited?’ In sentence (1a), the interrogative WH-element ( mīn ‘who’) is interpreted as the object of the embedded verb, even though it appears in the matrix clause. The displacement property, illustrated in (1b), is captured in generative transformational grammars by assuming that the WH-phrase has been generated in the embedded object position and then moved to the matrix position (WH-movement). This movement leaves a copy in the original position that is silent; thi…


(881 words)

Author(s): David Teeple
1. Cluster avoidance According to the theory of directional syllabification (Selkirk 1981; Ito 1986, 1989; Farwaneh 1995), the algorithm which constructs syllables out of segmental material can proceed either from left to right or from right to left, with important consequences for the site of epenthesis. Famously, Cairene Arabic resolves a triconsonantal cluster by epenthesis of [i] between the second and third consonant (… VCCCV … →… VCC iCV …), while Iraqi Arabic resolves such clusters by epenthesis of [i] between the first and second consonant (… VCCCV … →… VC iCCV …) (Broselow 19…