Sibawayh on ?imalah (Inclination)

Sibawayh on ?imalah (Inclination): Text, Translation, Notes and Analysis

Solomon I. Sara
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Sibawayh on ?imalah (Inclination)
    Book Description:

    A translation and analysis of Sibawayh’s comprehensive and insightful work on Inclination (or Umlauting) in classical Arabic.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3181-0
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. I Preliminaries
    • Introduction
      (pp. 3-6)

      ʔabuw Bišr ʔibn ʕuθmān ʔibn Qanbar Sībawayh, (ah 140?–180/ad 757–796), was an eighth-century linguist. His is the most recognizable and respected name among grammarians of Arabic, and he is known simply as Sībawayh. He was born in Baydʕāʔ, in the province of Shiraz, in southwestern Iran/Persia. From there his family migrated during his youth to Basrah, a southern Iraqi city, where he attended school. He studied under the most noted and influential linguists of his time, in the School of Basrah. All his teachers are mentioned and frequently quoted in his book on Arabic. Two of the most...

  5. II Text and Translation
  6. III Analysis
    • 7: Analysis of Chapter One (477)
      (pp. 117-125)

      The chapters dealing withʔimālah‘inclination’ comprise a small section ofʔal-Kitāb ‘the book’ of Sībawayh. They include chapters 477–82 in Derenbourg’s enumeration (1885), that is, six chapters out of a massive book that is 571 chapters long. The value of this special phonetic topic is that it is a coherent treatment of a prevalent phenomenon in classical Arabic.ʔimālahwas operative across dialectal boundaries in a variety of guises that may have baffled many analysts. What Sībawayh accomplished was to produce an overview of the inventory of observed changes of the inclinedʔalifāt[A]s, [ā]s becoming [ē]s, for...

    • 8: Analysis of Chapter Two (478)
      (pp. 126-130)

      In this chapter, Sībawayh pauses to make a statement about the state ofʔimālah‘inclination’ among the speakers. He makes the point that there is variation, when he says:

      Know that not everyone who inclines theʔalifāt[A]s agrees with the other Arabs who incline. Rather, each member of the group may differ from his colleague so that someoneyansʕub‘erects’ what his colleagueyumiylu‘inclines’, andyumiylu‘inclines’ some others that his colleagueyansʕub‘erects’. Similarly, whoever, in whose dialect thenasʕb‘erection’ plays a part may not agree with the others who erect. Rather, his case and the case...

    • 9: Analysis of Chapter Three (479)
      (pp. 131-132)

      As a first formalization of the grammar of Arabic, Sībawayh in his book isolates the regularities he finds in the language according to the patterns of the language. This pattern he callsGiyās. As illustrated in the previous two chapters, theGiyāsstates thatʔimālah‘inclination’ of anʔalif[A] comes about if theʔalif[A] has akasrah[i] or ayāʔ[y] in its immediate environments. But Sībawayh also notices irregularities. These irregularities, or the so-called exceptional cases, are when there isʔimālahwithout the phonetic triggers that affected theʔimālahchanges that he had observed in their...

    • 10: Analysis of Chapter Four (480)
      (pp. 133-140)

      In the previous chapter (Chapter 9 (479)), Sībawayh discussed exceptional cases to theʔimālahofʔalif[A], that is, those in which theʔimālah‘inclination’ of theʔalif[A] took place without there being akasrah[i] oryāʔ[y] in the immediate context of theʔalif[A]. In this chapter, he discusses phonetically systematic cases where inclination is prevented. The thrust of the chapter is the effect thatʔal-ħuruwf ʔal-mustaʕliyah‘the raised letters’ – thesʕād[sʕ], thedʕād[dʕ], thetʕāʔ[tʕ], theðʕāʔʕ], theγayn[γ], theGāf[G] and thexāʔ[x] – have when...

    • 11: Analysis of Chapter Five (481)
      (pp. 141-145)

      In the previous chapter (Chapter 10 (480)), Sībawayh discussed the effect thatʔal-ħuruwf ʔal-mustaʕliyah‘the raised letters’ – thesʕād[sʕ], thedʕād[dʕ], thetʕāʔ[tʕ], theðʕāʔʕ], theγayn[γ], theGāf[G] and thexāʔ[x] – have on theʔalifāt[A]s. They preventʔimālah‘inclination’. In this chapter he takes up the case ofrāʔ[r] and its effect on theʔimālahof theʔalif[A].rāʔ[r] is a unique sound in that it ismukarrar‘repeated’, which gives it greater solidity than a single letter. Everyrāʔ[r], when it is set in...

    • 12: Analysis of Chapter Six (482)
      (pp. 146-148)

      This chapter concludes the section on theʔimālah‘inclination’ ofʔalif[A] with the extension of the process beyond the letterʔalif[A] to the other letters, or, more specifically, to theħarakāt‘motions’ of the other letters. In the previous chapters,ʔimālah‘inclination’ affected a letter ofmadd‘length’, namely theʔalif[A]. Theħarakāt‘motions’ are considered to be parts or pieces ofħuruwf ʔal-madd‘the letters of length’ (II, P. 293, L. 9). The longʔalif[A] and shortʔalif[A], thefatħah‘open [a]’, and the otherħarakāt‘motions’ are now subject to the process of...

    • 13: Dialects
      (pp. 149-157)

      In his discussion ofʔimālah‘inclination’, Sībawayh is careful to point out that even thoughʔimālahis a common phenomenon, found to a greater or lesser extent in different dialects, it is neither a uniform nor a universal phenomenon in all its manifestations. There are individual speakers, certain groups of speakers, or whole speech communities that may or may not useʔimālahin their speech in specific contexts. There are scattered references to these speakers throughout the six chapters discussed above. It is of interest to students of Arabic and linguistics that Sībawayh gave so much attention to the dialects...

    • 14: Conclusions
      (pp. 158-164)

      What is of interest in Sībawayh’s analysis ofʔimālahis that he does not limit it to the overt and expressed contexts forʔimālahbut takes into account its absent, covert and unexpressed contexts. This obviously takes phonetics and phonology beyond the traditional limits of being sensitive only to what is expressed in the context and to no other.

      In his discussion and analysis ofʔidγām‘assimilation’, Sībawayh states thatʔal-ʔasʕlu fiy ʕal-ʔidγām ʔan yatbaʕa ʔal-ʔawwalu ʔal-ʔāxara‘the principle of assimilation is that the first follow the other’ (II, P. 472, L. 17). This is his way of stating that...

  7. Appendices
    • Appendix 1 List of Technical Terms, Sorted by Arabic
      (pp. 167-169)
    • Appendix 2 List of Technical Terms, Sorted by English
      (pp. 170-172)
    • Appendix 3 List of Technical Terms, Sorted by Transcription
      (pp. 173-175)
    • Appendix 4 List of Examples
      (pp. 176-185)
  8. References
    (pp. 186-190)
  9. Index
    (pp. 191-192)