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This project seeks to digitize and comment on several excerpts from Sibawayhi's grammar treaty al-Kitab.

About the project

If allocated additional funds, it will be published even more excerpts on specific morphological and syntax attractions problems Sibawayhis Kitab. The excerpts will be explained further with links to linguistic secondary literature on the various topics.

The individual subgoals involve the breaking up of the 8000+ page corpus into segments.

The resulting corpus will comprise a basic reference text, three printed editions, a complete German translation (plus English and French excerpts) and other related material in smaller quantities, together with links to graphic versions of three manuscripts.

The main challenge is size: about 5700 pages remain to be digitalized from the three printed editions and the German translation, and about 2500 manuscript folios to be scanned. However, Arabic scanning and OCR are now efficient enough to make the Project practical, and the real challenge will be to develop software and research techniques to exploit this large corpus.

The potential application is twofold:

  • For the study of Arabic in the West it will give Internet access to the foundation text of Arab linguistics, providing a basis for traditional research in cultural history, and initiating new research proceedures with large hypertext corpora.
  • For the Islamic world it will offer access to the most authoritative description of Arabic. At a time when language reforms and religious and secular changes are becoming increasingly prominent, this corpus will be a neutral and trustworthy reference point in a very fluid situation (a sort of Oslo Accord!).


The long-term objective is to present the entire Kitab in this way and make links to all existing releases and available scripts

Read more about the project

Published May 19, 2010 12:47 PM - Last modified May 16, 2014 2:06 PM


Lutz Edzard


Detailed list of participants