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The Notion of fāʾida in the Medieval Arabic Grammatical Tradition: Fāʾida as a Criterion for Utterance Acceptability

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Chapter Summary

Fāʾida is an important and complex term in Medieval Arabic grammatical theory. The literal meaning of the term is ‘benefit/usefulness’, but since the grammarians used it to refer to the ‘value’ of sentences, syntactic constructions, or single words, it can be understood in various contexts as ‘communicative value’, ‘message’ or ‘meaning’. This article focuses on the term fāʾida as a criterion for utterance acceptability in the works of grammarians from the 3rd/9th–5th/11th centuries. In this context, two meanings of the term can be discerned: fāʾida as communicative value and fāʾida as a full message. The examples discussed here not only elucidate the term in question, but also shed light on pragmatic and semantic aspects of Medieval Arabic grammatical theory.



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