Unlocking the Ajrumiyya

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Commentary of the Ajrumiyya.

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    UnlockingtheAjrmiyya

    BeingaCommentaryintheEnglishLanguageonIbnAjrmsPrimer,andDrawing

    ExtensivelyfromtheSupplimentof(a))b

    By

    Al-faqirilRabbihil-Ghan

    KhalidWilliams

    KhalidWilliams2011

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    W

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    TheDefinitionofSpeech

    ThisistheclassicaldefinitionofwhatconstitutesspeechinArabic.Initslinguisticmeaning,

    speech is wider, including as it does other means of communication such as gestures or

    writing.

    Asforitstechnicalusage,thegrammarianshavedefinedspeechasanythingthatsatisfiesthe

    followingfourconditions:

    1 Thatitbeenunciatedvocally()2 Thatitbecomposedofatleasttwowords()3 Thatitgiveanintelligiblemeaning()4 ThatitbeArabic;or,thatitbeintentional(thereisadifferenceofopinion,aswe

    shallsee,Allahwilling.)()

    Somethingsbeingsenunciatedmeansthatitisasoundcomposedofalphabeticletters,such

    asoror.Thegrammariansdonotconsideranythingthatisnotenunciatedtobespeechforgrammaticalpurposes.

    Asgrammaticallydefined, speechmustbecomposedof twoormorewords.Forexample,

    is speech, because it is composed of two words, a verb and a noun. This includesphraseswhich includewords that are elided, suchas ,which is considered tobeeventhoughitappearstobeonlyoneword,becausethesubjectpronounisconcealed )( ,asisseenbyitsonlypossibleEnglishtranslation:Hewent.

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    Speechmustgiveanintelligiblemeaning,wherebyifoneweretoceasespeaking,themeaning

    wouldbeplaintothehearer,withouttheirneedingtowaitformore.Forexample,thephrase

    is speech, because it gives a complete, intelligiblemeaning. If onewere to saysimply andthenstop,thiswouldnotbeconsideredspeech,eventhoughitiscomposedof two words, because it gives no complete meaning; the listener will no doubt be left

    wonderingexactlywhere,orinwhat,Zaydmightbe.

    Grammaticallyspeaking, speechmustbeArabic;thereisnosenseattemptingtoanalysea

    work in the Persian language according the conventions and rules of the Arabic tongue.

    Otherscholarshavestatedthatthemeaningoftheauthorswordsisthatinordertobeconsideredspeech,itmustbeutteredbyasentientbeingwithintention:thevocalizationsof

    asleepingperson,andtheimitationofhumandiscourseperformedbyparrots,andsoon,are

    notfitforgrammaticalanalysisaccordingtothisview.

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    ThePartsofSpeech

    :

    ThisistheclassicaldefinitionoftheArabicpartsofspeech,asissaidtohavebeenoriginally

    putforwardbyImmAlibnAbDlib.ModernArabicstudieshasatendencytoadvance

    many other parts of speech, such as and, but these classifications are generallyderivedfromother languages,andwhilesometimesuseful,canoftenresult inconfusion. It

    remainsthecasethatallArabicwordscanbeplacedinoneofthefollowingthreecategories:

    1 TheNoun )( 2 TheVerb )( 3 TheParticle )(

    Anounisawordthatembodiesameaninginandofitself,andisnotcontextualisedbytime.

    Thewordembodiesaspecificmeaning,namelyalion,sothatifitisheard,themindwillconjureuptheappropriateimageaccordingtoitsunderstandingandexperience.Timehasno

    bearing on the word, that is, there is no indication as to whether the reference is to the

    present,thepast,orthefuture.

    Nouns )( areofthreekinds:1

    (i) :Thatwhichindicatesitsmeaningwithoutneedforcontext,suchas. 1TheEnglishgrammaticaltermssubstantive,demonstrativeetchaveintentionallybeenavoidedhere,

    astheyarenotperfectequivalentsfortheArabicterms,andthereissomeoverlap.Bearinginmindthe

    many difficulties that arose with the attempts by English grammarians to apply Latin rules and

    preceptstoEnglish,alanguagewhichispatentlyneitherLatinnoraderivativeofit,itwouldseemwise

    toavoidwhereverpossiblethetemptationtoapplytoomuchEnglishgrammaticalterminologytothe

    Arabiclanguage.Inthecaseofsuchclear-cuttermsasnounfor,verbforandsoon,thisdangermaybehopedtobeaverted.

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    (ii) :Thatwhichindicatesitsmeaningonlyinthecontextoffirst,secondorthirdperson,suchas,,,andsoon.

    (iii) :Thatwhichisambiguousinmeaning,suchas,,andsoon.

    A verb is a word that embodies ameaning in and of itself, and is contextualised by time,

    whetherpast,present,orfuture.Thewordembodiesaspecificmeaningin itself,namelythatofreading,anditiscontextualisedbytime,inthiscasethepast.

    Verbsarealsoofthreekinds:2

    (i) :Thatwhichindicatesaneventoractionthattookplaceinthepast,andwascompletedbeforethetimeofspeaking,suchas,,and

    (ii) : Thatwhich indicates an event or action that takes place at the timeofspeaking,orwhichwilltakeplaceafterit,suchas,,and

    (iii) :Thatwhichwilltakeplaceafterthetimeofspeaking,suchas,,and

    Particles arewordswhosemeaning does not become apparent until they are coupledwith

    another part of speech. The particle may be described vaguely as having the meaningfrom, suggesting the concept of origin or beginning, yet its shades ofmeaning defy plain

    definition or translation; itsmeaning is known only through context. Consideration of the

    followingsentences,andtheroleofinthem,sufficestoillustratethis:

    2ItmaybenotedthatthisdoesnotcorrespondwiththeEnglishconventionofgroupingverbsintopast,

    present, futureand imperative.The future tense isabsent inArabic,beingas it is includedwith the

    present. Itmay therefore be appropriate to groupArabic verbs according to the same classification

    oftenaffordedbyEnglishspeakerstoJapaneseverbs:Past(),non-past( ),andimperative().

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    Particlesarealsoofthreekinds:

    (i) Thosewhichcanbeappliedtonounsonly,suchas,,,etc.(ii) Thosewhichcanbeappliedonlytoverbs,suchas,,,etc.(iii) Thosewhichcanbeappliedtobothnounsandverbs,suchas,,,etc.

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    TheHallmarksoftheNoun

    :

    Nounsaredistinguishedfromverbsandparticlesbyseveralhallmarks.Theauthormentions

    fourofthese:3

    1 Thegenitivecase()2 Tanwin()3 Thedefinitearticle( )4 Genitiveparticles( )

    Thegenitivecaseisparticulartonouns.4Nounsaresaidtobeinthegenitivecasewhentheir

    caseendingiskasraoranyofitssubstitutes.Forexample,inthesentence ,thewordisinthegenitivecase.

    Nounsaremadegenitiveeitherbyothernounsorbyparticles,notbyverbs(accordingtothe

    mainstreamposition).Thedifferentwaysthisoccurswillbeseeninduecourse,Allahwilling.

    3Thesearenottheonlyhallmarksofanoun.Anotherimportantoneis ,thatis,theabilitytobethesubjectofasentence,whetherverbalornominal.

    4The termwas the termusedby theKufa schoolof grammarians. InBasra, the term waspreferred;thelattertermisnowthemorefrequentlyused.

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    Tanwin5 isalsoparticular tonouns.6 Itmeans theadditionof theletternnattheendofa

    word,representedorthographicallybyadoublingofthefinalvowel.Therearefourkindsof

    tanwin:7

    (i) :This isadded to theendofdeclinablenouns, reflectingtheir nature as true nouns, resembling neither verbs in their being

    partially declinable, or particles in their being indeclinable. This

    includesmostindefinitesingularnouns,suchasand,aswellasmanyindefiniteplurals,suchasand.

    (ii) :This isaddedtotheendof indeclinablepropernamesinorder to distinguish between a well-known individual and someone

    elsewhosharesthesamename.Forexample,thenameofthefamous

    grammarianSbawayhiisindeclinable,andconsidereddefinite.Ifwe

    wanttomakethisnameindefiniteinordertomentionsomeoneelse

    withthisname(i.e.aSbawayhi,nottheSbawayhi),weaddtanwin,so

    itbecomeswithtanwin.(iii) :Thisisaddedtotheparticleinsuchphrasesasand

    inordertoreplaceasentencedefiningtheperiodoftimemeant.It is equivalent to the that in the phrase On that day, where the

    that refers to some description of the day in question that

    distinguishes it from all other days. When Allah says: ,8thetanwininreferstoeverythingthathascomebefore,describing the moment when the soul leaves the body. The tanwin

    serves to avoid repeating a whole phrase that has just been

    mentioned,orthatisunderstoodbycontext.

    (iv) :thisisaddedtofemininesoundpluralsastheequivalentofthennthatisaddedtotheendofmasculinesoundplurals.Thatis,

    5NunationseemsawhollyunnecessaryAnglicisation.

    6OntheoccasionsintheQuranwhenvernsendintanwin(forexample96:15),thisisnottanwinbut

    ratherthennofemphasis,whichhistoricallywasoccasionallywrittenwithadoubledvowel,although

    itslexicalpurposediffersentirelyfromthatoftanwin.

    7 These are not the only kinds of tanwin: al-Ahdal mentions a total of ten in his commentary on

    (a))bsMutammimaal-Ajurmiyya;butmostscholarssufficethemselveswithmentionofthesefour,

    astheothersaresubjecttoscholarlydifferenceastotheirapplicability.

    856:84

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    thetanwinontheword isequivalenttothennontheword.

    Theadditionofthedefinitearticleisalsoparticulartonouns,e.g.,,,andsoon.

    Only nouns are preceded by genitive particles, such as , where the word isprecededbythegenitiveparticle.

    Thegenitiveparticlesare,,,,,,,, and.Theirmeaningsarewell-known,andvaryaccordingtotheircontext.

    Afurtherthreeparticlesareusedasmeansofdeclaringoaths.Theseare,and.

    isonlyusedbeforesubstantivenouns,e.g., ,or .Itcannotbeusedwithpronouns.Itisnotprecededbyaverb,sowecannotsay .

    canbeusedwithboth substantives andpronouns,e.g. or . It canbeprecededby averb,e.g. ,or .

    isonlyusedwiththename,e.g. .Itisnotprecededbyaverb.

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    TheHallmarksoftheVerb

    Verbsaredistinguishedfromnounsandparticlesbyseveralhallmarks.Theauthormentions

    fourofthese:

    1 2 3 4

    Thisparticlecomesbeforebothandverbs.Whenitprecedesthe,itserveseithertosignifythecloseproximityofanevent,asin ,orelsetogiveemphasistoanevent thathas alreadyoccurred, as in .When itprecedes the, itsignifieseitheremphasis,asin ,orrarity,asin .9

    Thesetwoparticlesgiveafuturesensetoaverbwhentheyprecedeit.Iti