Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Waḍʿ al-Luġa
(2,174 words)

The phrase waḍʿ al-luġa, which may be translated as ‘the founding of language’, represents a concept that is central to classical Muslim scholarly thinking about language. Language in that thinking was entirely invented. That is to say, it owed its existence to a process of deliberate assignment of patterned vocal utterances – or components of such utterances – to meanings, of ʾalfāḏ̣ (lafḏ̣) to maʿānī (maʿnā). The relationship between the utterances and the meanings was not a natural or intrinsic relationship. In principle, an utterance could have any meanin…

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Bernard Weiss, “Waḍʿ al-Luġa”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_SIM_0141>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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