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ʾAsmāʾ al-fiʿl - The Arab Grammarians’ Views on Their Classification

Beata Sheyhatovitch

Pages 71 - 101


ʾAsmāʾ al-fiʿl (lit. ‘verb's names’) are interjections conveying
meanings characteristic to verbs. This article explores medieval grammarians’
views on ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿl, focusing on strategies used by the
grammarians to accommodate these expressions in their theory of the parts of
speech. I begin by discussing ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿl's problematic
status in light of the grammarians' definitions of the parts of speech. I
demonstrate, inter alia, that the criteria used to determine
the categorical identity of ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿl are not necessarily
those appearing in the accepted definitions of a noun and a verb. I then argue
that the understanding of this categorical identity can be helped, at least in
some cases, by elucidating the notions of ʿadl ‘transformation’
and naql ‘(semantic) transfer’.


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