- The Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
- The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics
- Transcription and Transliteration Equivalences
- A House of Sound Structure, of Marvelous form and Proportion: An Introduction
- Arabic Folk Linguistics: Between Mother Tongue and Native Language
- Arabic Linguistic Tradition I: Naḥw and ṣarf
- Arabic Linguistic Tradition II: Pragmatics
- Codeswitching and Related Issues Involving Arabic
- Arabic Dialectology
- Issues in Arabic Computational Linguistics
- Modern Lexicography
- Orality, Culture, And Language
- Pidgins and Creoles
- Second-Language Acquisition
- The Arabic Literary Language: <i>The Nahḍa (and beyond)</i>
- The Arabic Writing System
- The Classical Arabic Lexicographical Tradition
- The Philological Approach to Arabic Grammar
- The Syntax of Arabic From A Generative Perspective
- What Is Arabic?
- Index of Names
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article addresses what we mean today by the term Arabic: the whole complex of spoken languages from Oman to Morocco, from southern Turkey to Chad, including almost the entire Arabian Peninsula. Which are the purely linguistic criteria on which our modern use of the term is based? Which are the isoglosses that set it apart from other Semitic languages? The modern concept of Arabic, which argues that it encompasses both Arabiyya and modern vernaculars, is not meaningful as a pure linguistic concept. Searching through the phonology and morphology of the complex we call Arabic today, it seems impossible to find anything that delimits the group from other Semitic languages in a meaningful way. From a purely linguistic viewpoint, the Arabic complex is dissolved into a large variety of languages that in varying degrees have elements in common with each other as well as with other Semitic languages.
Jan Retsö, Department of Languages and Literatures, University of Göteburg
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