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BIC Excellence Award

Sibawayhi's Principles
Arabic Grammar and Law in Early Islamic Thought

By Michael C. Carter

Sibawayhi's Principles
Paperback, 296 pages £41.00
Published: 2017
ISBN: 9781937040581
Format: 254mm x 178mm
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Subjects: Arabic and Islamic Studies, Linguistics and Lexicography, Lockwood Press
Series: Resources in Arabic and Islamic Studies

Sibawayhi, a non-Arab, was the first to write on Arabic grammar and the first to explain Arabic grammar from a non-Arab perspective.  Both Sibawayhi and his teacher al-Farahidi made the earliest and most significant formal recording of the Arabic language.

This book argues that the science of Arabic grammar owes its origins to a set of methods developed independently to form the Islamic legal system, not to Greek or other foreign influence. These methods and criteria were adapted to create a grammatical system brought to perfection by Sibawayhi in the late second/eighth century. It describes the evolution of the new science of grammar, and makes detailed comparisons between the technical terms of law and grammar to show how the vocabulary of the law was applied to the speech of the Arabs. It also sheds light on Sibawayhi's method in producing his magisterial Kitb.

This is a corrected version, with considerable Addenda, of Michael G. Carter’s 1968 Oxford doctoral thesis, Sibawayhi's Principles of Grammatical Analysis.

Series Editors' Preface


Preface to This Edition

The Background of the Kitab

The State of Kitab Criticism

Grammar and Law

‘Grammar’ and ‘nahw’

The Principles and Criteria of the Kitab

Twenty Dirhams

In Conclusion


Index of Arabic Terms and Proper Names

Index of Qur'anic Citations

Index of Poetic Citations

Michael C. Carter is Hon. Prof. at Sydney University. He has held positions at Duke University, New York University, and Oslo University. His publications include Arab Linguistics: An Introductory Classical Text with Translation and Notes (Benjamins, 1981); Sibawayhi (OUP/Tauris, 2004), and Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar, with Elsaid Badawi and Adrian Gully (Routledge, 2003, rev. ed. 2015).

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 296 pages
 254mm x 178mm

BIC Code:
  LAN006000, LAN009000, LAN009020, LAN009060
 Lockwood Press


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