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The Arabic Grammatical Tradition

A Study inTaclìl

Yasir Suleiman
Edited by Elizabeth Goldring

Hardback (Printed to Order)

The concept of taclìl occupies a central position in the Arabic intellectual tradition. In grammar it covers a host of areas of immense theoretical interest, including description, methodology, epistemology and explanation. This book sets out to deal with the concept by investigating the major works of those grammarians who have contributed most in theoretical terms to its development and elaboration in the Arabic Grammatical Tradition. It seeks to do so by considering the relation between grammar, on the one hand, and jurisprudence and theology, on the other. In dealing with the above issues an appeal is made, both directly and indirectly, to some of the relevant ideas in the philosophy of science as they apply to this tradition. The approach adopted is cross-disciplinary in orientation to reflect the centrality of taclil in the Arabic intellectual tradition, and reference is therefore made to the employment of this concept in jurisprudence and, to a lesser extent, theology. This is the first major study in any European language or in Arabic to be published on the topic. It will be of interest to Arabic grammarians, students of Arabic and general linguistics and to specialists in Islamic jurisprudence and philosophy.

About the Author

Professor Yasir Suleiman is the first holder of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Sa'id Chair of Modern Arabic Studies and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. His many published works include A War of Words: Language and Conflict in the Middle East (2004), The Arabic Language and National Identity: A Study in Ideology (2003), The Arabic Grammatical Tradition: A Study in Tal'liil(1999), Literature and Nation in the Middle East (edited with Ibrahim Muhawi, 2006), Language and Society in the Middle East and North Africa (editor, 1999), Arabic Grammar and Linguistics (editor, 1998), Language and Identity in the Middle East and North Africa (editor, 1996) and Arabic Sociolinguistics: Issues and Perspectives (editor, 1994).


This book is an essential introduction to the field. It would be an essential text in any course that deals with this history of Arabic linguistics, and it can be recommended to anyone who wishes to become familiar with the theoretical framework and history of traditional Arab grammarians.
Suleiman's book is a notable achievement, and once again one sees that medieval Arab grammatical theory has great relevance for practitioners of modern linguistics.
A valuable contribution to the study of the Arabic grammatical tradition in English. Such a valuable effort will surely familiarize Western scholars with a period of Arabic intellectual activity that is little known outside a small circle of specialists.
A meticulous and informative study and a valuable contribution to the study of Arabic grammatical thinking, which in recent decades has received more scholarly attention than ever before.
Offers an illuminating analysis of the relevant material … Suleiman's book fills a gap in the study of the medieval Arab grammarians' writings … a rich, penetrating and enlightening book by a scholar showing remarkable erudition in such divergent disciplines as Arabic grammar, Islamic jurisprudence and the philosophy of science.