Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard and Rudolf de Jong

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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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(1,113 words)

Author(s): Dominique Caubet
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,783 words)

Author(s): Djamel Eddine Kouloughli
1. Preliminary remarks …
Date: 2018-04-01


(4,683 words)

Author(s): Georgine Ayoub
In Medieval Arabic texts laḥn is the key term to refer to linguistic mistakes. According to Fück (1955:205), who studied the term in detail, it is first attested in this sense after the advent of Islam, at the end of the 1st century A.H., but the term itself is older. The common element in all archaic examples is ‘leaning over; deviating’ ( māla ʾilā in Classical Arabic dictionaries). Another element in its meaning is the connection between laḥn and sound or voice. These two elements explain that in the earliest examples laḥn is used for any manner of speaking that deviates from the u…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Academies

(5,005 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Sawaie
1. Academy precursors The first ‘academy’ in the Arab world was established by the French during the Napoleonic occupation of Egypt (1798–1801); it came to an end with the French exit from Egypt in 1801. There were several attempts in the 19th century, especially in Egypt and Lebanon, by enlightened scholars concerned with intellectual issues in general, and language matters in particular, to establish similar organizations. A serious effort was made in 1892/1893 when the first meeting of al-Majmaʿ al-Luġawī al-ʿArabī ‘Arabic Language Academy’ was held at the home of Muḥamm…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Acquisition

(11 words)

see First Language Acquisition ; Second Language Acquisition
Date: 2018-04-01

Language and Gender

(5,909 words)

Author(s): Fatima Sadiqi
1. Introduction The Arabic fuṣḥā has two gender-linked characteristics: it is not a mother tongue, and it entertains a diglossic (diglossia) relationship with the dialectal Arabic mother tongues with which it co-exists. Both characteristics make of Arabic a typically ‘public’ language in an overall patriarchal context where ‘public’ denotes ‘male power’, as opposed to ‘private’, which denotes ‘women's realm’ (El Saadawi 1980; Mernissi 1997; Sadiqi and Ennaji 2006). The study of Arabic from a gender perspecti…
Date: 2018-12-15

Language Attitudes

(10,178 words)

Author(s): Keith Walters
Social psychologists define ‘attitude’ as “a psychological tendency … expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor” (Eagly and Chaiken 1988:269). The entity, or attitude object, may be anything from the color of a car – purple – to a class of behaviors – encouraging democracy – to specific individuals or groups – Oum Kalthoum or immigrants. When the entity is or involves a specific language, language variety, or language practice, social psychologists speak o…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Contact

(7,061 words)

Author(s): Sarah G. Thomason
The study of contact situations involving Arabic permits a number of generalizations, most of which are unsurprising. More interesting, therefore, are the sometimes quite striking differences among the contact situations and their linguistic and sociolinguistic outcomes. In this entry, three sets of topics are surveyed, and some of their implications for general theories of contact-induced language change are discussed. Less attention is paid to the historical, political, and socioeconomic setti…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Impairment

(4,618 words)

Author(s): Mohammad T. Alhawary
The term ‘language impairment’ covers a wide array of language disorders that affect language abilities, including hearing, speaking, signing, reading, and writing across all levels of language structures and functions as well as processes of language comprehension and production. The field dedicated to the study of language impairments is called language pathology. 1. Classification and causes Language impairments can generally be classified into two main categories: acquired and developmental disorders. Acquired language impairments result from a variety of cause…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Loss

(4,370 words)

Author(s): Abderrahman El Aissati
1. Introduction Language loss refers to a variety of phenomena relating to the loss of a whole language or a portion thereof by an individual or a speech community (Freed 1982:1; Jaspaert a.o. 1986:38; Lambert and Freed 1982:6). Different definitions converge onto an understanding of language loss as partial or complete disappearance of one or more linguistic features from the grammar of a speaker. This feature can be the meaning of a lexical item (reception skills), the item itself (production skills), or a language rule (phonological, morphological, syntactic, or pragmatic). A comm…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Maintenance

(7 words)

see Language Shift: Amazigh
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Pathology

(4,613 words)

Author(s): Sabah M.Z. Safi
Language pathology' (also known as ‘language disorder’ or ‘language impairment’) refers to deficiencies in language use (production or comprehension or both) due to a clear physical cause. Roman Jakobson (1971) was probably the first linguist to stress the insights that can be drawn from pathological deficits in linguistic performance. What he called ‘experiments in nature’, he argued, not only provide information on the nature of the deficit itself but also provide a testing ground for theoreti…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Policies and Language Planning

(9,384 words)

Author(s): Kassim Shaaban
1. Introduction The place of Arabs in the modern world has been determined to a large extent by the fact that, beginning around the end of World War I and well into the post-World War II period, the majority of the countries of the Arab world were under British or French mandate, in accordance with the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916. The development plans of these countries and their emergent political, economic, administrative, and educational systems were established during the colonial period and modeled largely after the French and British s…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Shift: Amazigh

(6,332 words)

Author(s): Yamina El Kirat el Allame
1. Introduction The term ‘language shift’ refers to the change from the habitual use of one language to that of another. This implies that a community gives up a language in favor of another one. When shift has taken place, members of the community are said to have collectively chosen a new language instead of their native one (Fasold 1984). This is, in fact, a common result of extensive language contact, occurring typically where there is a sharp difference in prestige and levels of official support for the languages concerned. Language shift is not the only possible outcome of language cont…
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Teaching

(11 words)

see First Language Teaching ; Second Language Teaching
Date: 2018-04-01

Language Variation

(5 words)

see Variation
Date: 2018-04-01

Latin America

(3,388 words)

Author(s): Ernesto Capello
1. Introduction Arabic speakers have been part of Latin American society since the mid-17th century, when the Syrian Chaldean priest ʾIlyās al-Mawṣilī came to South America on a papal mission. The ties between Iberian and Arab culture date even further back, to the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, an event that left an indelible impression on Spanish and Portuguese culture, architecture, and language. So it should come as no surprise that Latin America, in particular the great economic powerhouses of Brazil and Argentina, formed one of the most important destinati…
Date: 2018-04-01

Latin Loanwords

(1,879 words)

Author(s): Irfan Shahîd
Latin loanwords entered the Arabic language during the seven centuries or so which elapsed between the Roman conquest of Bilād aš-Šām in 63 B.C.E. and its subsequent conquest by the Arabs in the 630s C.E. The area extended from the Euphrates River or the Amanus Mountains in the north to the Sinai Peninsula in the south. Roman rule in this area was preceded by some three centuries of a Macedonian presence, initiated by the conquests of Alexander the Great. During that time the Greek language spre…
Date: 2018-04-01


(6,601 words)

Author(s): Elie Wardini
Arabic is the language of Lebanon, spoken and official. This said, the linguistic landscape of Lebanon, historical and contemporary, presents the observer with a varied and changing picture. The region that today comprises the State of Lebanon has seen at least two language shifts. Records show that at any point in time the inhabitants of the region used several languages simultaneously, for different purposes. Geographically, Lebanon covers a rather small, mostly mountainous area (10,452 km2). The population is highly mobile, urbanized and relatively well educated. R…
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,463 words)

Author(s): Reem Bassiouney
1. Definition Leveling is defined by Blanc (1960:62) as a process that occurs in “inter-dialectal contact”. In such contacts, speakers may replace some features from their own dialect with those of another dialect that carries more prestige. The different dialect is not necessarily that of the listener. Blanc cites the example of villagers in central Palestine who may try to use the dialect of Jerusalem, or of non-Muslim Baghdadis who may try to move toward linguistic features of Muslim Baghdadis. Leveling does not necessarily mean that the speakers will abandon their own d…
Date: 2018-04-01
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