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Kalām

(3,275 words)

Author(s): Tamás Iványi
The word kalām means ‘speech’; it is used for the pure, uncorrupted speech of the Bedouin Arabs, as a synonym of ʿarabiyya. Kalām, however, also means any length of words uttered in a grammatically correct form; it is “a complete [series] of sounds, beneficial [for the hearer]” ( al-kalāmu llaḏī lā yakūnu ʾillā ʾaṣwātan tāmmatan mufīdatan). Therefore, ‘the Qurʾān is kalām Allāh ‘God's speech’, because it is complete, and self-sufficient ( muktafī bi-nafsihi; Ibn Manẓūr, Lisān k-l-m; for the theological implications of speech as an attribute of God, see Peters 1976). In …
Date: 2018-04-01

Diphthongs

(1,993 words)

Author(s): Tamás Iványi
1. Diphthongs in Classical Arabic and its dialects In the Semitic linguistic domain a vowel + glide ( w or y) compound is called a diphthong. Its Arabic name has the same meaning: ṣawt murakkab ‘compound sound’. The hypothetical Proto-Semitic diphthongs, *aw/*ay, according to the generally accepted view, are conserved in Old Arabic (Cantineau 1960:102), but this conservation is not at all surprising, since Proto-Semitic phonology has been reconstructed mainly from Classical Arabic, as interpreted by comparatively late sources. Early papyri testify that aw/ay are preserved and …
Date: 2018-04-01

Luġa

(5,475 words)

Author(s): Tamás Iványi
1. The meaning of the term luġa In the Arabic grammatical tradition, the term luġa (pl. luġāt) means (i) ‘dialect’, (ii) ‘(dialectal) word’, (iii) ‘word in a dictionary’, and hence (iv) ‘lexicography’, and finally (v) ‘language’. The term luġa was used in this latter meaning in the phrase waḍʿ al-luġa ‘the conventional nature of language’ in speculations about the relationship between names and designation (see Versteegh 1987:168; Goldziher 1994:38–44; for a more detailed study, see Weiss 1974). The original meaning of the word may …
Date: 2018-04-01

Jumla

(3,193 words)

Author(s): Tamás Iványi
The lexical meaning of the word jumla (pl. jumal) is ‘sum, total’; in the Western linguistic tradition it is usually translated with ‘clause, proposition’ or even ‘sentence’; in modern Arabic linguistics it is used for ‘sentence’. Originally, jumla was the opposite of mufrad lit. ‘single, individual’ which in linguistics meant ‘simple, consisting of one word or element’. Thus, jumla means approximately ‘consisting of more than one word or element’. In the medieval Arabic dictionaries, jumla is explained by jamāʿa ‘group, sum’, and as such, it contrasts with ‘individuals’ ( ʾafrād) a…
Date: 2018-04-01