Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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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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(3,803 words)

Author(s): Rahman, Tariq
1. The history of Arabic in South Asia Pakistan is a multilingual country with six major languages (see Table 1) and 69 languages in all (Grimes 2000:588-598). Urdu is the national language, but it is English, the ex-colonial language, which is used in the higher domains of power - government, military, higher education, judiciary, commerce, research and media.  Table 1: Languages spoken in Pakistan language percentage of speakers number of speakers Punjābī 44.15 66,225,000 Pashtō 15.42 23,130,000 Sindhī 14.10 21,150,000 Siraikī 10.53 15,795,000 Urdū 7.57 11,355,000 Balōchī 3.57 5,…
Date: 2019-03-29


(6,077 words)

Author(s): Petra M. Sijpesteijn
Palaeography is the science of deciphering and determining the date of ancient documents or systems of writing. Arabic palaeography is the study of the development of the Arabic script through time and place. 1. Introduction The very first verses that were revealed to the Prophet Muḥammad, according to the tradition, symbolize the importance attached to writing in the society in which Islam arose: “Recite! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, who by this pen taught man what he did not know” (Q. 96/1–5). While only a minority in t…
Date: 2019-05-10


(1,344 words)

Author(s): Chakir Zeroual
1. Introduction Palatalization characterizes a set of phonetic and/or phonological processes that have output segments produced with an articulation in or close to the palatal region (for a review, see Bhat 1978). This term has two common meanings: i. palatalization involves the shift of the articulation of a consonant toward the palatal region before front vowels, especially [i], and the glide [j] (e.g., /k/ > [tʃ] in Slavic and Arabic, and t > [tʃ] in Romance and Slavic); ii. palatalization adds a palatal articulation, generally co…
Date: 2018-04-01

Palestinian Arabic

(6,392 words)

Author(s): Kimary N. Shahin
This entry describes Palestinian colloquial Arabic: its phonemic system, prosody, phonotactics, morphophonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and lexicon. The description is based on the documentation of a sizeble body of literature since the early 1900s. 1. General 1.1 Area Palestinian Arabic is spoken in Palestine (Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip; see Map 1). As more than 50 percent of Palestinians live elsewhere, it is also spoken around the world. 1.2 Speakers Palestinian Arabic is a native language to approximately 8.5 million people. The lifestyles in the…
Date: 2019-03-25


(5 words)

see Sentence Coordination
Date: 2018-04-01


(2,137 words)

Author(s): Avihai Shivtiel
Commonly known as ‘pun’ (Redfern 1984), paronomasia is a figure of speech which is based on a play on meanings, either by using, in the same context, one homonymous or polysemic word, or by using two or more words with synonymous or closely related meanings, which are often alliterative or rhyming. Examples of this include situations where an important personality who has passed away is cynically described as a grave man (homonym), or where the expression kith and kin (alliterative idiom) is used. Paronomasia is widely used in all genres of literature, as well as in daily comm…
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,143 words)

Author(s): Jonathan Owens
Both Classical Arabic and modern spoken varieties of Arabic have what are customarily termed active and passive participles. Although nearly identical in form in both varieties, the semantico-syntactic status of the active participle differs. This entry summarizes the commonalities, particularly the morphological, then deals separately with the two varieties. 1. Common structures 1.1 Morphology Morphologically, both active and passive participles are regularly derived from a verb. The active/passive participles have the form fāʿil/mafʿūl in the basic form, and and i…
Date: 2018-04-01

Parts of Speech

(4,632 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Carter
The division of speech into its parts, or of words into their categories, is the first preoccupation of every significant grammatical text in Arabic, starting with the opening lines of the Kitāb of Sībawayhi (d. ca. 180/796): hāḏā bābu ʿilmi mā l-kalimu min al-ʿarabiyya. fa-l-kalim: ismun, wa-fiʿlun, wa-ḥarfun jāʾa li-maʿnan laysa bi-smin wa-lā fiʿlin (I, 1 ed. Derenbourg/I, 2 ed. Būlāq). This can be translated fairly literally as ‘Chapter on the knowledge of what words are in Arabic. Those words are: name (ism), action (fiʿl), and a bit (ḥarf) wh…
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,113 words)

Author(s): Vít Bubeník
1. Morphology The finite passive is formed two ways in Arabic: internally (the apophonic passive) and externally (formed by a prefix). The apophonic passive displays the vowel sequence u – i instead of a – a or a – i of its active counterpart in the perfect. In the imperfect, the apophonic passive uniformly displays the vowel a instead of i/u (as the second vowel), and all the forms are inflected with the u-series of the prefixes: (1) perfect imperfect I faʿala fuʿila yafʿa/i/ulu yufʿalu II faʿʿala fuʿʿila yufaʿʿilu yufaʿʿalu IV ʾafʿala ʾufʿila yufʿilu yufʿalu The apophonic system ‘leaks’…
Date: 2018-04-01

Passive (Syntax)

(3,102 words)

Author(s): Amira Agameya
The passive in Arabic is a sentence structure in which the semantic subject or agent, i.e. the performer of or person/thing responsible for an action, is suppressed and, in fact, cannot be mentioned. This renders the passive in Arabic an impersonal structure. In the passive, the understood object of the active verb is the subject of the passive sentence and is marked for this role by nominative case in the Classical/Standard Arabic variety. The verb changes into the passive by either changing the vowels in the stem and tense prefix or by the insertion of a prefix (passive). 1. Structural pro…
Date: 2018-04-01


(5 words)

see Language Pathology
Date: 2018-04-01

Pausal Forms

(4,476 words)

Author(s): Robert D. Hoberman
  1. Introduction A pausal form is the form a word has at the end of a sentence or major phrase or before a pause or stop in the speech flow ( waqf), if that is different from the form it takes in the beginning or middle of a phrase. In Classical and Modern Standard Arabic, most words have different pausal and medial forms. Phonetic pausal phenomena probably occur in all languages, although they may differ from language to language, but morphologically conditioned pausal changes are much rarer, and they are the ones most often…
Date: 2018-04-01


(4 words)

see Tense
Date: 2018-04-01


(1,985 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
Performatives are utterances that are unambiguous with regard to their illocutionary force (Austin 1962, 1979). For example, the performative utterance I hereby promise that I will come at noon can only be interpreted as a promise, whereas the nonperformative statement I will come at noon can be intended and/or interpreted as a promise, a threat, a prediction, or a warning, among other possible illocutionary forces. A performative utterance is issued to perform only a particular type of communicative act, and it has no other interpretations regardless of the nature of the context. The …
Date: 2018-04-01


(4 words)

see Iran
Date: 2018-04-01


(4,457 words)

Author(s): John R. Perry
This entry includes an account of the incorporation of Arabic vocabulary into literary New Persian in general, and some discussion of the Arabic vocabulary in Standard Persian, the written and spoken language of educated Iranians today. The topic is pertinent also for other Iranian, Turkic, and Indic literary languages of the region, such as Chaghatay and Ottoman, Pashto, Urdu, and Bangla (Bengali), which received their Arabic vocabulary through the medium of Classical Persian. 1. History and evolution With the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century and the conversion …
Date: 2018-04-01

Persian Loanwords

(2,646 words)

Author(s): Asya Asbaghi
The history of mankind is characterized by an ongoing cultural exchange between different nations and cultures. Generally speaking, older cultures exert a much greater influence on the younger ones because they possess a greater number of achievements with regard to civilization. This process also has linguistic implications. Because the Arabs lived in a relatively remote area before the advent of Islam and had only limited cultural exchange with other peoples, they did not possess words for thi…
Date: 2018-04-01

Personal Pronoun (Arabic Dialects)

(2,857 words)

Author(s): not-specified
The pronominal system of Arabic dialects has one characteristic in common with other varieties of the Arabic language and other Semitic languages: it consists of a series of independent pronouns and a series of suffixed pronouns, whose form may vary from region to region for various reasons, among which are the influence of the substratum (e.g. the Aramaic substratum in the Syrian-Lebanese area; see Diem 1971) and its own internal evolution, or even a mixture of both (see Behnstedt 1991). These …
Date: 2018-04-01

Personal Pronoun (Standard Arabic)

(3,278 words)

Author(s): David L. Appleyard
A pronoun may be defined as a part of speech belonging to the broad class of nominals that stand or substitute for a noun. Unlike nouns, pronouns form small, closed classes, whose reference can only be determined from the context of the utterance in which they are used. In inflected languages like Arabic, pronouns often have heterogeneous inflectional patterns which differ from those of nouns themselves, and indeed Arabic is no exception here. Pronouns are also subject to agreement with their re…
Date: 2018-04-01