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Problems in the medieval arabic theory of sentence types

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Chapter Summary

In medieval Arab grammatical tradition, the two basic sentence types jumla filiyya and jumla ismiyya, are normally defined by the first occurring predicative constituent. However, the linkage between the concept of two sentence types on the one hand, and the theory of amal on the other, turned out to constitute a major problem with regard to the binary division into jumla filiyya and jumla ismiyya. Since the grammarians' theory of sentence types grew out of their theory of amal, it is not surprising that in elaborate discussions of Arabic sentence types, particularly those of Farisi and Ibn Hišam, problems relating to the categorization of certain constructions were couched in terms of case assignment (amal). The majority of grammarians, conforming to the theory of amal, did posit istaqarra as the underlying case assigner to zaydun, but they never went as far as categorizing fiha zaydun as jumla filiyya.

Keywords: Arab sentence types; medieval Arabic theory; theory of amal



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