Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

Get access 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.

Subscriptions: see brill.com


(6 words)

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


(3,164 words)

Author(s): Alex Metcalfe
The geographical location of Sicily in the central Mediterranean, between the mainland areas now referred to as Italy and Tunisia, largely determined the complex linguistic history of the island in the ancient and Medieval periods. Thus, for most of the Classical and early Medieval periods (ca. 835 B.C.E.–535 C.E.), dialects of Greek and Latin came to predominate over the miscellany of tongues used by a range of indigenous and immigrant peoples. In addition, Neo-Punic was also attested but to a …
Date: 2018-04-01


(2,159 words)

Author(s): Kees Versteegh
The term ṣifa lit. ‘feature, attribute, property’, from the root w-ṣ-f ‘to describe’, belongs to the earliest stock of Arabic grammatical terminology. In later grammar, its meaning became more or less fixed for a category of words corresponding to the adjective and the attribute in the Greco-Latin tradition, but originally it was used for a variety of meanings. The term ṣifa is one of a functional pair ṣifa/mawṣūf, which is analogous in meaning to the terminological pairs musnad/musnad ʾilayhi (ʾisnād) and muxbar bihi/muxbar ʿanhu (xabar), as al-Fārābī (d. 339/950; ʾAlfāḏ̣ 57) expla…
Date: 2018-04-01

Sign Languages

(4,608 words)

Author(s): Ulrike Zeshan
Sign languages are visual-gestural languages that are produced by hand movements, facial expressions, and head/body postures and are perceived by the eyes. They are natural human languages that have arisen wherever Deaf people have come together in communities to meet their communicative needs through signing. Sign languages have complex structures at all levels of linguistic organization, with lexicon and grammar being independent of and different from the spoken languages used in the same regi…
Date: 2018-04-01


(1,831 words)

Author(s): Zeinab Ahmed Taha
Derivatives of the root w-ṣ-l are used in Arabic grammatical theory to express the general idea of ‘connecting’ two linguistic units. Two terms derived from this root, waṣl and ṣila, are used as technical terms, along with mawṣūl as the correlate of ṣila, and the verbs waṣala, ʾawṣala, and ittaṣala. The use of ṣila as a technical term goes back to the earliest Qurʾānic commentaries. Here, the term is used for redundant elements whose only function is to come between two linguistic units. Examples are found in Muḥammad al-Kalbī's (d. 146/763) commentary, for instance when he uses the term ṣila…
Date: 2018-04-01

Sinai Arabic

(7,579 words)

Author(s): Rudolf de Jong
  1. General 1.1 Geographical Wedged between North Africa and southwestern Asia lies the Sinai Peninsula. Through the ages, the area has served as a land bridge between the two continents, and across it Islam and the Arabic language were spread to Africa by Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula. The most populous region of the Sinai Desert is its northern littoral. The central plain of at-Tīh and the mountainous region of the south (aṭ-Ṭūr) are only thinly populated. The majority of the population in the south live near the Gulf of Suez and the Gul…
Date: 2018-04-01


(4 words)

see Number
Date: 2018-04-01


(11,536 words)

Author(s): Kamal Abu Deeb
1. Introduction Studying the language of Arabic poetry ( šiʿr) poses a problem that may not be common in the study of language in poetry in other cultures. The problem arises from the fact that the Arabic language has been bequeathed to us largely in the form in which it was used in that poetry. In other words, the language of poetry, supplemented by the properties of the language of the Qurʾānic text, generated our concept of a norm in the use of Arabic. Thus, if we try to examine the language of poetry in terms of some modern notions of poeticality, we find ourselves in…
Date: 2018-04-01


(4,885 words)

Author(s): John C. Eisele
‘Slang’ is an English term which is sometimes used erroneously to refer to what in Arabic is termed al-ʿāmmiyya or ad-dārija or al-lahja, i.e. linguistic entities which are more appropriately referred to in English as colloquials or dialects. A more precise correspondence to the English term ‘slang’ might be the Arabic term sīm or the phrase raṭāna ʿāmmiyya. The former term is more closely akin to a very limited and specific form of slang which in English is termed ‘argot’ or ‘cant’ (also ‘lingo’), while the latter phrase captures that aspect of slang…
Date: 2018-04-01

Slavonic Languages

(6,076 words)

Author(s): Václav Blažek
1. Introduction The number of words of Arabic origin (or words borrowed from other sources via Arabic) in the Slavonic languages differs from one language to another. There are, for instance, more than fifty Arabic loanwords in Czech (Machek 1968; Rejzek 2001), approximately seventy in Russian (Vasmer 1950–1958), almost three hundred in Macedonian (Jašar-Nasteva 2001), and more than four hundred in Bulgarian (BER 1962ff.) and Serbo-Croatian (Skok 1971–1974). Although direct contacts between Slavs and Arabs are documented as early as the 7th century C.E. ( Theophanes, Chronographi…
Date: 2018-04-01

Slips of the Tongue

(3,400 words)

Author(s): Sabah M.Z. Safi
Slips of the tongue (also known as speech errors) are unintentional deviations from the speaker's intended production of a string of linguistic units. Slips have been of interest to Arabic grammarians as far back as the 8th century (al-Kisāʾī's [d. 189/805] Mā talḥanu fīhi l-ʿawāmm ‘Errors of the populace’), insofar as they believed that slips provide clues as to how language changes. But it was not until the publication of Meringer and Mayer's corpus (1895) that slips of the tongue began to receive increased attention. At the end of the …
Date: 2018-04-01