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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the linguistic map of pre-Islamic Arabia based on the epigraphic evidence and the place of Arabic within it. It then moves on to the issues of writing and literacy, the emergence of the Arabic script, and multilingualism. The final section addresses the relevance of the inscriptional evidence for understanding the literary background of the Qur’an by highlighting important similarities in structure and content between the Qur’an and the ancient inscriptions of North and South Arabia.

Keywords: Ancient Arabia, literacy, Qur’anic Arabic, Arabic script, Arabic-Aramaic contact, South Semitic script

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