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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the history of the Arabic language. It argues that Arabic should have a privileged place within historical linguistics. It is one of the few languages in the world for which a wealth of data exists both in the far-flung contemporary Arabic-speaking world and in a rich Classical tradition attested beginning 1400 years ago. Issues of maintenance and change, central concepts in historical linguistics, can be interpreted against a rich set of data. That they have not resides in the fact that basic concepts of historical linguistics have rarely been systematically applied to the language. Doing so will not only open new vistas to understanding the rich linguistic history of the language but also promises to contribute to the general study of historical linguistics.

Keywords: Arabic, language history, historical linguistics

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