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Semantic and Formal Underlying Levels in Arabic Grammatical Tradition: The Case of Exceptive Sentences

Almog Kasher

Pages 329 - 344


It is customary in modern scholarship to classify exceptive sentences such as mā qāma 'illā zaydun 'no one stood except Zayd' (the so-called al-istiṭnā' al-mufarraġ) as containing a restored general term (mustaṭnā minhu), that is, to posit for the abovementioned sentence an underlying structure such as mā qāma 'aḫadun 'illā zaydun. Moreover, it has occasionally been claimed that this view was also held by Arab grammarians. However, the writings of Arab grammarians present a much more complicated picture. In this article three different analyses of al-istiṭnā' al-mufarraġ will be discussed: whereas the first is completely distinct from the foregoing analysis, and the third shows remarkable similarity with it, it is on the second analysis, which posits an underlying general term, but only at the semantic level, that our discussion will concentrate.

Ramat Gan


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