Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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(3,588 words)

Ism, pl. ʾasmāʾ, is the technical term for ‘noun(s)’, the first of the three major parts of speech traditionally recognized in Arabic grammar (the other two being fiʿl, pl. ʾafʿāl ‘verb(s)’, and ḥarf, pl. ḥurūf ‘particle(s)’; parts of speech).

Morphosyntactically, the category of ʾasmāʾ is characterized by the following four features:

Nouns have declension, either full (munṣarif), partial (ġayr munṣarif), or invariable (mabnī);
Nouns may be marked for definiteness (by the prefixed al-) or indefiniteness (by tanwīnnunation’);
Nouns have three numbers, singular, dua…

Cite this page
Monique Bernards, “Ism”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 09 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_SIM_vol2_0030>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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