A Linguistic History of Arabic

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Oxford University Press on Demand, 2009 - Foreign Language Study - 316 pages
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A Linguistic History of Arabic presents a reconstruction of proto-Arabic by the methods of historical-comparative linguistics. It challenges the traditional conceptualization of an old, Classical language evolving into the contemporary Neo-Arabic dialects. Professor Owens combines established comparative linguistic methodology with a careful reading of the classical Arabic sources, such as the grammatical and exegetical traditions. He arrives at a richer and more complex picture of early Arabic language history than is current today and in doing so establishes the basis for a comprehensive, linguistically-based understanding of the history of Arabic. The arguments are set out in a concise, case by case basis, making it accessible to students and scholars of Arabic and Islamic culture, as well as to those studying Arabic and historical linguists.

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About the author (2009)


Jonathan Owens is Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Advanced Study of Language, University of Maryland where he is on leave from his position as Professor of Arabic Linguistics at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Starting his linguistics career with a SOAS PhD on Creole Arabic Nubi of East Africa, he has taught and conducted research at universities in Libya (Garyounis), Nigeria (Maiduguri), and Jordan (Yarmouk). His books include A Grammar of Libyan Arabic, 1984, A Short Reference Grammar of Nigerian Arabic, 1993 and The Foundations of Grammar: an Introduction to Medieval Arabic Grammatical Theory, 1988.

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