Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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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.

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(1,158 words)

Author(s): Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila
ʾIbdāl or badal ‘permutation’ is a term used for two distinct phenomena in Arabic linguistics. ʾIbdāl naḥwī ‘grammatical ʾibdāl’ refers to certain, mainly morphophonological, changes in verbs, nouns, and particles, whereas ʾibdāl luġawī ‘lexical ʾibdāl’ refers to phonologically and semantically related doublets, triplets, or longer series in the lexicon. In both cases, only consonants (as defined by Arab grammarians, i.e. including the ‘weak consonants’ w, y, ʾalif) are concerned; variation of short vowels is not called ʾibdāl, the starting point for the medieval author…
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,178 words)

Author(s): Reinhard Kiesler
1. Introduction The multifarious contacts between Arabic and Ibero-Romance have led to prolific cultural exchange. The linguistic aspect of this exchange materializes as mutual influence between different varieties of Arabic and the Ibero-Romance languages and dialects. Arabic loanwords are defined as ‘words introduced directly from Arabic into another language’. The superordinate term is Arabism, “an Arabic word or meaning introduced into another language, or a typical Arabic syntagm imitated in another language” (Kiesler 1994:44), e.g. Spanish azúcar < as-súkkar, llenar…
Date: 2018-04-01

Ibero-Romance Loanwords

(2,240 words)

Author(s): Federico Corriente
1. Language contacts between Arabic and Romance At the beginning of the 8th century, armies of Muslim Arabs and somewhat Arabicized Berbers invaded the Iberian Peninsula. The lexical interference of Ibero-Romance with Arabic was the unavoidable consequence of contacts between these armies, who imported Arabic dialects, and the local inhabitants, who spoke Proto-Romance dialects derived from Low Latin. The invaders succeeded in creating a new geopolitical entity, soon called al-Andalus by its mixed population. The guest language obviously occupied a do…
Date: 2018-04-01

Ibn ʿAṭāʾallāh al-Iskandarī

(4,723 words)

Author(s): Vimercati Sanseverino, Ruggero
Tāj al-Dīn Abū l-Faḍl (also Abū l-ʿAbbās; Ibn Farḥūn, Dībāj, 1:242) Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Karīm Ibn ʿAṭāʾallāh al-Iskandarī (b. before 657/1259, d. 709/1309) was an Egyptian Ṣūfī and scholar of the Ayyūbid-Mamlūk period, author of the al-Ḥikam (“The aphorisms”), and successor of al-Mursī (d. 686/1287) and al-Shādhilī (d. 656/1258) as head of the Shādhilī order. 1. Life Primary sources for his life consist of autobiographical information scattered through the author’s Laṭāʾif al-minan (“Subtle blessings”) and of the brief entries in various biographical diction…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ibn Bāna, ʿAmr

(641 words)

Author(s): Sawa, George Dimitri
ʿAmr Ibn Muḥammad b. Sulaymān b. Rāshid (d. 278/891) was a mawlā of the Thaqīf tribe and Bāna was his mother’s name. His father was in charge of an administrative governmental office and a prominent ʿAbbāsid secretary. ʿAmr lived in Baghdad and died in Sāmarrāʾ. He was a good poet as well as a good singer endowed with a beautiful and heart-rending singing style. He followed the singing style of Ibrāhīm b. al-Mahdī (d. 224/839), that is, taking liberty to change the older repertoire to suit his taste and abilitie…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ibn Ḥamdīn

(848 words)

Author(s): Garden, Kenneth
Ibn Ḥamdīn was the name given in the biographical dictionaries and histories for the two most notable of the three members of the Banū Ḥamdīn who served as qāḍīs (judges) in the Andalusī city of Córdoba (Qurṭuba) during the Almoravid dynasty (r. in al-Andalus during the late fifth/eleventh century and first half of the sixth/twelfth). The first to serve as qāḍī of Córdoba was Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Ibn Ḥamdīn (d. 508/1114–5). He is known mainly for leading opposition to Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn (“The revival of the religious sciences”) by the scholar, theorist, mystical and …
Date: 2019-05-08

Ibn Ḥamdīs

(916 words)

Author(s): Gómez García, Luz
Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Jabbār b. Abī Bakr b. Muḥammad b. Ḥamdīs al-Azdī al-Ṣiqillī (b. c.447/1055, d. c.527/1133), known as Ibn Ḥamdīs, was an Arab-Sicilian poet renowned for his rootlessness and his life-long sentiment, expressed in his poetry, of longing for home ( ghurba). Ibn Ḥamdīs contextualised most of his poems in personal and historic terms (Ibn Ẓāfir, 71), providing in his dīwān (collected poetry) a primary source on his life. He was born in Noto, near Syracuse, Sicily, to a wealthy family that traced its lineage to the Banū Azd of Yemen. Followin…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ibn Isḥāq

(1,844 words)

Author(s): Lecker, Michael
Abū ʿAbdallāh or Abū Bakr Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq (d. c.151/768) ṣāḥib al-sīra/ṣāḥib al-maghāzī (the compiler of the monograph on the Prophet’s biography/battles) compiled the most widespread mediaeval biography of the prophet Muḥammad, known to us mainly through an abridged and censored version produced by Ibn Hishām (d. 218/833 or 213/828). Ibn Isḥāq was a mawlā, that is, a descendant of a manumitted slave. His grandfather Yasār was among a group of Jewish boys taken captive in the village of Nuqayra, near ʿAyn al-Tamr (modern Shithātha, some 50 kilom…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ibn Jāmiʿ

(532 words)

Author(s): Sawa, George Dimitri
Ismāʿīl Ibn Jāmiʿ (fl. late second/eighth century), born in Mecca, came from a noble family related to the Quraysh tribe. He was pious and knew the Qurʾān by heart. His mother married Siyāṭ (d. c.169/785), the singer and composer from whom Ibn Jāmiʿ learned his craft. He also learned from Yaḥyā l-Makkī (d. c.218/833). Ibn Jāmiʿ was poor and he left Mecca for Medina in search of a better life. From Medina Ibn Jāmiʿ later moved to Baghdad where he was strongly reprimanded by the caliph al-Mahdī (r. 158–69/775–85) for singing, together with Ibrāhīm al…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ibn al-Māshiṭa

(546 words)

Author(s): Osti, Letizia
Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan Ibn al-Māshiṭa (d. after 311/923) was an ʿAbbāsid bureaucrat and author. Nothing is known of his origins other than his nickname (“son of the hairdresser”) which, however, seems to have been an insult rather than a reference to his family (Ibn al-Nadīm). He had a long career as an accountant in charge of wages (this seems the most probable meaning of al-Tanūkhī’s kāna yataqalladu… al-ʿamālāt, although the reference does not seem to be a separate sub-bureau in the administrative manuals). Already at an advanced age, he was appointed head of the state treasury (dīw…
Date: 2019-05-08


(2,569 words)

Author(s): Chakri Iraqi-Houssaini
Ibtidāʾ is the term used in the Arabic grammatical tradition for the commencement of an utterance by putting a noun in the initial position. The notion of ibtidāʾ is used in two main domains of the Arabic language sciences, grammar and Qurʾān reading. In grammar, it is used in governance ( ʿamal) theory and in sentence grammar ( naḥw al-jumal). It is an ambiguous notion that was much disputed in the Arabic grammatical tradition. While it is still used in school programs and in university departments of Arabic, the notion of ibtidāʾ plays hardly any role in modern linguistic approaches…
Date: 2018-04-01


(3,383 words)

Author(s): Karin C. Ryding
1. The ʾiḍāfa in the Arabic linguistic tradition Two Arabic nouns may be linked together in a noun phrase in such a way that the second noun in the sequence determines the first by limiting, identifying, possessing, defining, or amplifying it. The two nouns in this phrase function as a closely knit syntactic unit. In Arabic grammatical terminology, this structure is referred to as ʾiḍāfa ‘annexation; addition’; the first noun in the structure is muḍāf ‘annexed’ to the second noun, which is the muḍāf ʾilay-hi lit. ‘the added-to (or ‘annexing’) noun’. The annexing noun is in the …
Date: 2018-04-01


(1,353 words)

Author(s): Janusz Danecki
The term ʾidġām (or iddiġām) lit. ‘insertion’ denotes in Arabic phonetics different types of assimilatory processes (assimilation), which lead either to gemination (prolongation) of consonants or their change. The term ʾidġām was used by the Kufan school of grammar, whereas iddiġām is said to have been used by Sībawayhi and the Basrans (Suyūṭī, Hamʿ II, 225 quoting Ibn Ḥayyān). In fact, Troupeau (1976) has a total of 217 occurrences for the verb ʾadġama in the Kitāb and 141 for the masdar ʾidġām; iddaġama occurs once, in the passive (Sībawayhi, Kitāb I, 386.12 ʾanna n-nūn qad tuddaġamu…
Date: 2018-04-01


(5,516 words)

Author(s): Ludmila Torlakova
  The term “idiom” has generally been used to cover both (1) fixed, irregular, and grammatical constructions in principle peculiar to a given language (e.g. “catch fire”, “make a comeback”, “by and large”, “to good effect”) and (2) widely accepted collocations in one or more languages whose meaning at times cannot be deduced, or not readily deduced, from the literal meanings of their components (e.g. “kick the bucket”, “red herring”, “bite the bullet”) but whose meaning is most often nonetheless …
Date: 2018-04-01


(1,520 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Carter
Although the term ʾiḍmār lit. ‘keeping in mind’ sometimes occurs interchangeably with ḥaḏf ‘elision’, it represents an entirely different phenomenon. Whereas ḥaḏf denotes an omission at the surface level, as a purely phonological event that leaves the utterance formally incomplete, ʾiḍmār refers to the mental act of suppressing an element at what might now be called the deep-structure level, independent of any phonological realization, and not necessarily producing a formally incomplete utterance (ellipsis). Moreover, it is a feature of ʾiḍmār that, unlike ḥaḏf, only complete…
Date: 2018-04-01