The historical reality of the plural of paucity and the plural diminutive in Classical Arabic: Evidence from kalām al-‘arab (Part Two)

  • Francesco Grande University of Turin


This study investigates the semantics of the plural of paucity and the plural diminutive, based on their attestations in the non-literary source of Classical Arabic traditionally known as kalām al-‘arab. In noun plural marking, the meaning of the diminutive is as elusive as that of the plural of paucity. What is known of both kinds of meanings is mainly derived from the indirect description of early lexicographers and grammarians. To assess the historical reality of this traditional semantic description, attestations from the kalām al-‘arab are collected, then compared to data from Arabic dialects, and finally subjected to a distributional analysis. The grammatical categories of the collective, inherent plural, and the pseudo-dual are also considered in this assessment.


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Author Biography

Francesco Grande, University of Turin

Francesco Grande, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of Turin. He has previously been a Researcher in Arabic language and literature at the University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, and a free- lance teacher and translator of Arabic. He has long worked in different Arab countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Libya). His current research interests include kalām al-‘arab, Arabic mythology and Early Arabic lexicography.

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