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Arabo-Aramaic And ‘Arabiyya: From Ancient Arabic To Early Standard Arabic, 200 Ce–600 Ce

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Chapter Summary

Arabic did not become a written language and the means of communication of the largest empire that the world had yet seen as late as ca. 600 BCE. The Aramaic inscriptions from Nabatea, Palmyra, Hatra, even Edessa produced during the first three centuries CE might well be summarized under the heading of "Arabo-Aramaic". The linguistic stratification of Arabic, from the Old Arabic of the Nabateans through to the Early Standard Arabic of the fourth through sixth centuries, is characterized by triglossia rather than diglossia. "Classical" Arabic, on the other hand, is an ideological construct like each and every other linguistic environment polluted by the concept of something "classical" (i.e., diachronically normative). This construct was created by Arab philologists from the eighth century CE onwards when they started to study Poetic Old Arabic in order to distinguish "right" from "wrong" in the use of Arabic, and the interpretation of the Qurʾā.

Keywords: Arabic; Arabo-Aramaic; Qurʾan



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