Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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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.

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(639 words)

Author(s): Tariq Rahman
Tariq Rahman Bibliography Census. 1951. Census of Pakistan, 1951. I. Reports and tables, E.H. Slade. Karachi: Manager of Publications, Government of Pakistan. Census. 1961. Census of Pakistan Population, 1961. I. Pakistan, A. Rashid. Karachi: Ministry of Home and Kashmir Affairs, Government of Pakistan. Census. 1998. Census report of Pakistan. Islamabad: Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, 2001. Ibn Ḥawqal, Masālik = Ibn Ḥawqal (d. 1193), ʾAškāl al-bilād or Kitāb al-masālik wa-l-mamālik. Ed. H.M. Elliott and John Dowson, The history…


(6,079 words)

Author(s): Petra M. Sijpesteijn
1. Introduction The very first verses that were revealed to the Prophet Muḥammad, according to the tradition, symbolize the importance attached to writing in the society in which Islam arose: “Recite! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, who by this pen taught man what he did not know” (Q. 96/1–5). While only a minority in the world of medieval and premodern Islam (7th–19th centuries) would have been able to read and write, the written word was everywhere – in the form of administrative records, p…


(1,346 words)

Author(s): Chakir Zeroual
1. Introduction Palatalization characterizes a set of phonetic and/or phonological processes that have output segments produced with an articulation in or close to the palatal region (for a review, see Bhat 1978). This term has two common meanings: i. palatalization involves the shift of the articulation of a consonant toward the palatal region before front vowels, especially [i], and the glide [j] (e.g., /k/ > [tʃ] in Slavic and Arabic, and t > [tʃ] in Romance and Slavic); ii. palatalization adds a palatal articulation, generally co…

Palestinian Arabic

(6,658 words)

Author(s): Kimary N. Shahin
1. General 1.1 Area Palestinian Arabic is spoken in Palestine (Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip; see Map 1). As more than 50 percent of Palestinians live elsewhere, it is also spoken around the world.   1.2 Speakers Palestinian Arabic is a native language to approximately 8.5 million people. The lifestyles in the dialect area are urban, rural, Bedouin, and Gypsy. In 1948 and 1967, when the State of Israel was formed and expanded on Palestinian land, many rural families resettled in towns and cities, so the number of speakers with a…


(2,146 words)

Author(s): Avihai Shivtiel
Paronomasia is widely used in all genres of literature, as well as in daily communication, and is usually employed for a special, often humorous effect. Related English terms in stylistics include ‘ambiguity’, ‘ antanaclasis’, ‘ catachresis’, ‘ syllepsis’, ‘ zeugma’, and even ‘jingles’, ‘quibbles’, and ‘ polyptoton’, while in other European languages we find, in addition, ‘annomination’, ‘ double entendre’, ‘ calembour’, and a few more terms, which come under the general notion of ‘jeux sémantiques’ in French, or ‘Wortspiel’ and ‘doppelsinnig’ in German. Arab scholars of rhetor…


(3,150 words)

Author(s): Jonathan Owens
1. Common structures 1.1 Morphology Morphologically, both active and passive participles are regularly derived from a verb. The active/passive participles have the form fāʿil/mafʿūl in the basic form, and and in the derived forms they essentially have mV- + imperfect/perfect stem. Because both participles are inflected like adjectives, in Classical Arabic they take case endings. Furthermore, with a rare dialectal exception (see (22) and (23) below), like adjectives, they are not inflected for person. In Classical Arabic the masculine plural usually takes sound plural suffixes - ū…

Parts of Speech

(4,633 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Carter
It is at once striking that there are only three parts of speech, which will henceforth be referred to in their appropriate technical style as ‘ noun’, ‘ verb’, and ‘ particle’, with the caveat that the literal meaning is never absent from discussion of these elements as linguistic entities. The question of where this threefold classification came from cannot be answered by direct evidence: a possible inspiration, it has been claimed (J. Fischer 1962–1963, 1963–1964; but see Carter 1972), is Aristotle's broad division in the Poetics into ónoma and rhēma and a miscellaneous group of i…


(3,113 words)

Author(s): not-specified
1. Morphology The finite passive is formed two ways in Arabic: internally (the apophonic passive) and externally (formed by a prefix). The apophonic passive displays the vowel sequence u – i instead of a – a or a – i of its active counterpart in the perfect. In the imperfect, the apophonic passive uniformly displays the vowel a instead of i/u (as the second vowel), and all the forms are inflected with the u-series of the prefixes: (1) perfect imperfect I faʿala fuʿila yafʿa/i/ulu yufʿalu II faʿʿala fuʿʿila yufaʿʿilu yufaʿʿalu IV ʾafʿala ʾufʿila yufʿilu yufʿalu The apophonic system ‘leaks’…

Passive (Syntax)

(3,103 words)

Author(s): Amira Agameya
1. Structural properties of the passive An active sentence changes into the passive by undergoing a number of structural changes. First, the subject of the sentence is deleted. Second, the object becomes the subject of the sentence and receives nominative case. Third, the active verb changes into the passive by changing its vowels, the change being dependent upon the tense or type of the verb, as described below. Fourth, the verb agrees in person and gender with the new subject in the Verb-Subject order and in person, gender, and number in the Subject-Verb order. (1) našara l-kātib-u publis…

Pausal Forms

(4,478 words)

Author(s): Robert D. Hoberman
1. Introduction A pausal form is the form a word has at the end of a sentence or major phrase or before a pause or stop in the speech flow ( waqf), if that is different from the form it takes in the beginning or middle of a phrase. In Classical and Modern Standard Arabic, most words have different pausal and medial forms. Phonetic pausal phenomena probably occur in all languages, although they may differ from language to language, but morphologically conditioned pausal changes are much rarer, and they are the ones most often …


(6 words)

Author(s): not-specified
Not Specified


(1,986 words)

Author(s): not-specified
The motivation for the distinction between performatives and statements is that the former constitute events rather than descriptions of events or states of affairs (Searle 1969, 1971). In other words, the act of uttering a performative is itself the action purported by the speaker. For example, the performative utterance in (1), when issued by a lawyer in the context of a court session, amounts to registering an objection rather than reporting or describing an event of objecting taking place at speech time. (1) ʾana ʾa-ʿtariḍ I 1s-object ‘I object!’ The major difference between per…


(6 words)

Author(s): not-specified
Not Specified


(4,463 words)

Author(s): John R. Perry
1. History and evolution With the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century and the conversion of a majority of the population to Islam, Arabic came to exert a profound influence on the Persian language. The form of Persian affected was not literary Middle Persian ( pårsīk, commonly called Pahlavi), which was identified with Zoroastrian religious literature and written in a form of the Aramaic script, but rather the related vernacular of the court milieu of Seleucia-Ctesiphon ( Madāʾin) and other parts of the Persian Empire, called Dari by Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ (see Lazard 1990). By the mid…

Persian Loanwords

(2,683 words)

Author(s): Asya Asbaghi
In the pre-Islamic period, Arabs and Persians had some contact in border areas of the Arabian Peninsula. There were, for example, the Lakhmids, who were in the service of Sassanian Persia and secured the border against invasions from Bedouin tribes from the desert. Almost half a century before the advent of Islam, Yemen came under the rule of Sassanians and Persian governors, who ruled there even after the advent of Islam. These contacts had linguistic implications, and we find a comparatively l…

Personal Pronoun (Arabic Dialects)

(2,862 words)

Author(s): not-specified
1. Independent personal pronouns The various paradigms may be grouped into three categories, according to types of dialects: Bedouin dialects, without geographical distinction, and sedentary dialects, both Eastern and Western. The forms of the independent personal pronouns for each of the three categories are given in Table 1. Table 1. Independent personal pronouns in three types of dialects: Bedouin (Rosenhouse 1984:17–18), Cairo (Jomier and Khouzam 1977:36), and Moroccan koine (Caubet 1993:I, 159) Free pronouns Bedouin Eastern sedentary Western sedentary 1 comm. sg. ani, ān…

Personal Pronoun (Standard Arabic)

(3,278 words)

Author(s): not-specified
Pronouns in Arabic exhibit the usual three persons: 1st person or speaker(s), 2nd person or addressee(s), and 3rd person or the subject of discourse, i.e. the person(s) or thing(s) spoken about. In Arabic, the 1st person has only two number forms, a singular and a nonsingular (i.e. dual and plural), and does not distinguish gender. The other persons all distinguish three numbers, singular, dual, and plural, and two genders, masculine and feminine, except in the dual. This gives Standard Arabic a…