Volume 6 (2005-6)
Edited by Joseph Norment Bell with Walter Herman Bell and Lutz E. Edzard
Samer Mahdy Ali, Singing Samarra (861-956): Poetry and the Burgeoning of Historiography upon the Death of al- Mutawakkil (Adobe Acrobat 7.0 PDF file, 215 kB, pp. 1-23)
Abstract: Historiography on the patricide/regicide of the Caliph al-Mutawakkil (d. 861) developed from a stage of simple description to a burgeoning of mytho-historical narrative. It would appear that what began as a palace scandal?profaning to a putatively sacral community already torn by civil war?developed into a redemptive tragedy with perennial appeal. In a patronage society governed by loyalty to one's patron or father, this transformation should count as nothing less than conspicuous. This article examines the role of a major Abbasid poet, al-Buhturi (d. 897), in shaping public perception by cultivating genuine sympathy for the Abbasids and planting the seeds of questions that would be addressed in historical narratives. In particular, I discuss the importance of literary salons or gatherings as a social institution where poetry and historical narratives were recited orally as a means of transmitting knowledge to future generations. These gatherings provide a likely forum where mythic questions of poetry could inspire narrative.
Zev bar-Lev, Arabic Key Consonants (Adobe Acrobat 7.0 PDF file, 328 kB, pp. 24-63)
Abstract: This article outlines an approach to lexicon in Arabic linguistics, with special implications for teaching Arabic as a foreign language. Its basic insight is that individual initial consonants have their own meanings. On a theoretical level, this key-consonant system offers a pervasive theoretical insight about the structure of a lexicon, and the nature of lexical acquisition; and on a practical level, it offers a powerful key to learning vocabulary L2?which in turn may offer the best possible validation of the theoretical claim. It is here related to insights in linguistic theory on the submorpheme (and analogical modeling); in L2 learning, such submorphemes can help make learning of vocabulary easier, and sometimes even make it possible to guess the meanings of new roots in context. An additional implication for the history of Semitic linguistics is also drawn, proposing to bring back into Semitic linguistics a set of insights that had been ?banished? from the mainstream with the advent of ?scientific? Semitic grammar over a thousand years ago. On the other hand, we will draw a sharp distinction between the proposal and biconsonantal root theory, with which it might be confused on first impression.
Ahmed Sokarno Abdel-Hafez, The Development of Future Markers in Arabic and the Nile Nubian Languages (Adobe Acrobat 7.0 PDF file, 169 kB, pp. 64-79).
Abstract: This paper deals with the rise of the grammatical elements of simple future in the Nile Nubian languages (i.e. Kenzi and Fadicca) and Arabic (i.e. Standard Arabic and Cairene Colloquial Arabic). Using grammaticalization as a frame of reference, I attempt to determine the sources, the mechanisms and processes involved in the development of the grammatical elements in these languages. In addition, the study sheds light on the points of similarity and difference between these languages as far as the rise of future expression is concerned.
Peter Marteinson, La Disjonction de la voix narrative et la manipulation de la vraisemblance dans Le Rocher De Tanios d'Amin Maalouf (PDF file, 347 kB, pp. 80-94)
Abstract: This investigation of the narrative voice in Maalouf's Prix-Goncourt winning novel Le Rocher de Tanios observes the manner in which the multiplicity of enunciators, in the form of secondary narrators "cited" intertextually by the primary narrator, engenders a subtle play upon points of view, epochs, and cultural outlooks, an artifice which lends the novel a breadth in its generic status and veridictory grounding. It manages to be both an entirely possible, realistic narrative, and a fantastical legend, in which the "strange and the marvelous", in the words of one of the secondary narrators, form a counterpoint against the rigorous historical research of the primary narrative. The result is a tale in which the appearance of a coherent and inevitable progression of providence melds with a capricious logic of chance events. The work raises the question of fiction and history and answers yes to each one; it is not only a fiction aspiring to verisimilitude, but conversely, it is also an actual history transformed into a novel - into the sort of novel that leads the reader to question his sense of truth and falsehood.