The Islamic Linguistic Tradition: an Overview

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

3-5 Portland Street, Piccadilly Gardens, MANCHESTER, M1 6DP

Prof James Dickins

Professor of Arabic at the University of Leeds

In this talk, I consider the religious and other impetuses behind the development of the Arabic and Islamic grammatical tradition. I look at the origins of Arabic grammar from Al-Farahidi and Sibawayh onwards. I discuss how Arabic grammar became almost a rival to philosophy, leading to a ‘classical’ form of grammar which was both abstract and strove for maximum internal coherence and symmetry. I consider some of the basic features of Arabic rhetoric, and ask whether rhetoric is to be regarded as complementary to grammar, an alternative to it, or something in between. Finally, I look at some of the ways in which Arabic grammar was applied to other languages of the Middle East.