'Unorthodox' Usages of the Term xabar in the Early Arabic Grammatical Tradition

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This paper examines the term xabar. It focuses on cases where xabar, or the dyad ism-xabar, is used at variance with canonical theory. These cases suggest that the triad X + X's ism + X's xabar (familiar when X = inna, kna and their 'sisters') was used to accommodate tripartite configurations whose so-called xabar is not a predicate, or whose ism and xabar are generally taken to be mubtada and xabar. This syntactic model, which differs significantly from the canonical theory of sentence types in the Arabic grammatical tradition, was most probably designed for pedagogical aims. This alternative model analyzes sentences according to their surface structure, with focus on initial constituents, whereas canonical syntactic model's point of departure is a distinction between sentence types, based on the concept of predication and taking into consideration word order variation. An appendix on the little-known grammarian al-Quhunduzī examines the history of the figure, who has in modern scholarship been confused with another author. Pinning down his identity and the period in which he lived dispels confusion about the figure, allowing us to better place his work in the scholarly record.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-304
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Semitic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 The author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of Manchester. All rights reserved.


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