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The Notion of tanwīn in the Kitāb: Cognitive Evaluation of Function and Meaning

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Chapter Summary

This paper sheds light on Sībawayhi’s cognitive framework of interpretation and his approach to unusual cognitive information. It underlines the link between communication and cognition as it glimpses over relevant aspects of cognitive linguistics and relevance theory, and presents a quick overview of Gestalt theory and its holistic approach to the ‘shaping processes’ in the human mind. It finally moves on to address the grammatical encoding of the masculine and feminine nouns in the Kitāb and introduces the cognitive framework of interpretation to the tanwīn. This framework shows how cognition is mapped onto language in the Kitāb and tanwīn is shown to evoke continuity of contextual assumptions and adherence to linguistic conventions as established by trustworthy speakers of ‘good Arabic’, while its absence is used as a problem-solving tool within an open-ended context.



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