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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Nominal Clauses

(3,673 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
Nominal clauses in Arabic ( jumal ismiyya) are clauses in which the first constituent is a nominal expression ( mubtadaʾ ‘that which is begun with, inchoative’; ibtidāʾ), of which the remaining subconstituent of the clause (xabar ‘news, announcement’) is predicated. Mubtadaʾ and xabar are translated here as ‘initial Noun Phrase (NP)’ and ‘report’, respectively. The report constituent has two basic types. The first is a complete ‘verbal clause’ containing a pronoun rābiṭ ‘binder, connector’ which ‘resumes’ or is bound by the initial NP, as illustrated in (1) and (8)…
Date: 2019-03-23


(2,965 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
Event nominals, also known as verbal nouns, derived nominals, and action nominalizations, are nouns that refer to events, e.g. suqūṭ ‘falling’, wuṣūl ‘arrival’, tadmīr ‘destruction’ (maṣdar). This particular class of nouns has been subject to much discussion because it sheds doubt on the traditional distinction between nouns and verbs. The controversy stems from the fact that although event nominals display external syntactic properties typical of nouns, they seem to have internal verbal syntax. For example, event nom…
Date: 2019-03-26


(4 words)

see Declension
Date: 2018-04-01


(4 words)

see Morphology
Date: 2018-04-01

North America

(3,883 words)

Author(s): Kirk Belnap
Arabic has roots in North America that extend at least as far back as when Muslim slaves were brought from West Africa. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Arab immigrants (largely Christians from Lebanon and Syria) established Arabic-speaking communities, which eventually assimilated. Unrest and difficult economic conditions have resulted in subsequent waves of immigrants arriving from Arabic-speaking countries, as well as even greater numbers of non-Arab Muslims. Arabic is also an importa…
Date: 2018-04-01

North Arabian

(5 words)

see Thamudic
Date: 2018-04-01

Northwest Arabian Arabic

(6,059 words)

Author(s): Heikki Palva
Northwest Arabian Arabic is a group of dialects spoken by the Bedouin population of the Sinai Peninsula, the Negev, southern Jordan, and the northwestern corner of Saudi Arabia, an area virtually identical with Arabia Petraea with its eastern and southern extensions. Culturally, the area is relatively homogeneous, representing Bedouin culture of seminomadic, or at times semisedentary, type. The society is based on a tribal system, and the most important means of livelihood are the tending of she…
Date: 2018-04-01

Northwest Semitic Languages

(9,499 words)

Author(s): John Hühnergard
  1. NorthwestThe Northwest Semitic Languages The term ‘Northwest Semitic’ is the traditional designation of a group of languages comprising Ugaritic, the Canaanite dialects, and the Aramaic dialects. Ugaritic is the language of the ancient city of Ugarit (modern Rās Šamra, on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean in Syria). The roughly eleven hundred Ugaritic texts are written in an alphabetic cuneiform script on clay tablets; unlike other Semitic alphabets, the Ugaritic script reads from left to right. In addition to …
Date: 2018-04-01


(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

Noun Phrase

(3,606 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
1. Overview The Arabic noun phrase ( tarkīb ismī) is a syntactic constituent consisting of a noun (ism) or verbal noun (maṣdar) and its dependents or modifiers. The Arabic noun phrase has been one of the major preoccupations of researchers studying Arabic syntax from a variety of theoretical and methodological points of view, and a very extensive literature is dedicated to it. General studies of the Arabic noun phrase have been done by Ayoub (1981), Ditters (1992), Fassi Fehri (1993), and Kremers (2003). The greater part of the literature on Arabic noun ph…
Date: 2019-03-23


(2,509 words)

Author(s): Angelika Jakobi
Loanwords are lexical items which are phonetically and morphologically integrated into a language other than the one where they originated. The prerequisite for such lexical items to be incorporated in another language is the presence of bilingual individuals. Arabic/Nubian bilingualism can be characterized as replacive in the sense that the Nubian languages are threatened by complete replacement by Arabic. The Nubian languages are scattered today over a large area comprising both the northern half of the Republic of Sudan and southern Egypt. They form a…
Date: 2018-04-01

Nubi Ki-Nubi

(5 words)

see Ki-Nubi
Date: 2018-04-01

Null Subject Pro-Drop

(6 words)

see Pro-drop
Date: 2018-04-01


(4,767 words)

Author(s): Robert R. Ratcliffe
In Classical and Modern Standard Arabic, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verbs are morphologically marked for number. Three categories of number are recognized by both medieval and modern grammarians: singular ( mufrad), dual ( mut̲annā), and plural ( jamʿ). The singular in general refers to a single item in a class, the dual to two items of a class, the plural to three or more. An important exception to this generalization is that for a small set of nouns, termed ‘collectives’, the unmarked singular form refers to a collection or group, and a singulative ( ism al-waḥda lit. ‘noun of the…
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,591 words)

Author(s): Catherine Taine-Cheikh
Numerals represent a very particular semantic field of the lexicon. They concern a very small number of roots because, at least originally, all numbers, apart from zero (named ṣifr in Classical Arabic), are formed by a combination of a limited series of twelve numbers (1–10, 100, and 1,000). These roots mainly belong to a common semantic background. In addition to the cardinals, the ordinals, and the fractions, they have produced a certain number of verbal and nominal lexemes in ancient Arabic. 1. Cardinals Cardinals have several usages that correspond to different syntactic f…
Date: 2018-04-01


(1,107 words)

Author(s): Franz-Christoph Muth
In Classical Arabic, the grammatical term ‘nunation’ (from Arabic tanwīn ) is defined as the usually unvocalized suffix - n, which is pronounced but not written at the end of nouns. At first, nunation was graphically represented by double-colored dots (Endress 1982:179; Lipiński 1997:163), and later by doubling the appropriate vowel signs. The masculine accusative ending - an, which sounded in pause - ā was written with an ʾalif as lengthening marker in combination with the double vowel marker. As a marker of indefiniteness ( tankīr), nunation is applied to triptotic nouns witho…
Date: 2018-04-01