Early Medieval Arabic: Studies on Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad
edited by Karin C. Ryding
Georgetown University Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-0-87840-663-0
Library of Congress Classification PJ6064.K5E27 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 492.7092


The first book in English on the founder of Arabic linguistic theory, this interdisciplinary collection explores the contributions to Arabic intellectual history of al-Khalil ibn Ahmad, (d. A.H. 175/A.D. 791).

Al-Khalil was distinguished in his own time as a lexicographer, phonologist, grammarian, educator and musicologist. In the Arab world, his stature is almost legendary, although information on his life, his works and his achievements is fragmented. He is remembered principally for two achievements: the creation of the first dictionary of the Arabic language (Kitab al-'ayn, "The Book of 'ayn"), and discovery of the rule-governed metrical systems used in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry. His biographers also cite publications on musical theory and have preserved fragments of his poetry. In addition to these achievements, he was also the teacher of the medieval Islamic world's most distinguished authority on Arabic grammar, Sibawayh.

Conceived as a tribute to al-Khalil’s influence on Arabic language sciences, this book provides a new and broader perspective on al-Khalil’s talents, character, and fields of interest. It should be of interest to Arabic linguists, medievalists, historians of linguistics, theoretical linguists, historians of science and scholars of medieval Arab intellectual history.

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