1887
Volume 12, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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Abstract

SUMMARYThe first part of the article (Sect. 1-6), an earlier version of which appeared in 1964, constitutes a survey of medieval Arabic lexicography, which resulted in the conlusion that the works of these lexicographers could not be used, according to modern standards, as primary sources for lexical studies of Arabic, as has frequently been done up to now. It is characteristic of medieval Arabic lexicography that it was limited to the study of Classical Arabic, the literary language of Islamic society until the end of the tenth century. The beginnings of Arabic lexicography date back to the time of 'All or to the early Umayyads and were motivated by the concern for the classical language and its preservation from decline and deterioration. It was primarily the Koran, tradition literature, early poetry and proverbs which served as a basis for lexical studies. As a result of these scholarly efforts a number of lexical works were produced, some of which aiming at a complete vocabulary of the language, others being limited to certain linguistic and literary fields. Besides dictionaries in the proper sense there are also onomastic dictionaries. The arrangement of roots varies in different works. Although some of these dictionaries are extremely voluminous, they do not adequately represent the actual state of the language, as evidenced by the Lisän al-'Arab, for, on the one hand, they are often incomplete, on the other hand they contain material of dubious origin. Information as to usage and currency is lacking. The arrangement of the material within the roots is irregular and unsystematic, and the morphological structure of words is not always clearly established. There are shortcomings with regard to the definition of word meaning; moreover, no distinction is made between common and occasional meaning. Sometimes a meaning is stated as being known, sometimes it is defined by synonyms. Information regarding gender is often too general and wide, whereas with regard to meaning it is too narrow, based on isolated occurrences or simply false. In conclusion, reference is made to the Wörter-buch der klassischen arabischen Sprache (WKAS), which constitutes a new approach to Arabic lexicography.The second part of the paper (Sect.7-10) reports on the progress and development of the WKAS up to 1983 (date of publication of the first half of the second volume). The source material has been considerably enlarged, and there are also improvements from the technical point of view. Another change, however, is the widening of the linguistic scope. In addition to the classical language in the strict sense, translations from Greek (and Syriac) and relevant works succeeding them are taken into acount. Although this material only refers to certain domains of Greek thought, mainly pertaining to scientific subjects, it is rather heterogenous and often requires considerable expert knowledge. Theoretical concepts are more frequent here than in common literary language. The translations vary, moreover, as to quality and usage; the latter alsoapplies to relevant subsequent literature. In philosophy, for instance, only a small quantity of loan-words and foreign words is to be observed. Word composition being almost completely lacking as a means of translation, Greek terms were rendered by way of morphological derivations and syntactical structures, or by semantic extensions and semantic loans. At the present stage of research it is not yet possible to achieve a complete inventory of technical terms; consequently, examples quoted as reference are not always equally pertinent. For the same reason a number of terms and definitions could be added in the field of philosophy as well. Another problem is the choice of adequate European meanings for rendering Arabic concepts. In the WKAS philosophical terms are partially included in the entries devoted to common language. In such cases, but also when they are treated apart, sequences of meaning are sometimes produced which are neither homogeneous in themselves, nor do they always fit in with the examples quoted. Thus the user must take notice of the distinction made within individual entries, and, if required, rely on his own judgment in finding further definitions. All things considered, the WKAS is certainly not to be regarded as a substitute for a dictionary of philosophical terms, but it offers rich and valuable material in this respect.RÉSUMÉLa premiere partie de cet article (sect. 1-6), publiee pour la premiere fois en 1964, contient un aperçu de la lexicographie arabe indigene; elle en arrive ä la conclusion que ses travaux ne peuvent plus servir de base principale au defrichement lexical de l'arabe, comme ce fut largement le cas jusqu'ä present. Le trait caracteristique de cette lexicographie est qu'elle se limite ä l'arabe classique, que etait vivant, comme langue litteraire, jusque vers la fin du 10e siecle. Les debuts de la lexicographie qui se situent ä l'epoque de 'Ali ou des premiers Omeyyades, sont conditionnes par un motif, celui de proteger la langue classique contre les defigurations. L'objet de l'observation etaient avant tout le Coran, la tradition religieuse, la poesie archaïque et les proverbes. Ces efforts lexicographiques aboutirent ä des ouvrages, les uns visant l'ensemble du vocabulaire, d'autres ne touchant que des domaines partiels de la langue ou de la litterature. En plus des lexiques stricto sensu, il y a aussi les dictionnaires onomastiques. L'organisation des racines diverge dans les differents lexiques. En depit de leur volume, parfois enorme, ces lexiques ne rendent pas justice ä l'etat reel de la langue, ainsi qu'il est montre ä l'exemple du Lisän al-'arab. D'une part ils sont lacunaires, d'autre part ils contiennent du materiau non indigene. Les constatations relatives au mode d'emploi et ä la frequence y font defaut. La disposition du materiau classe sous les racines est heterogene et asystematique. La forme des mots n'est par toujours fixee de façon univoque. A cela s'ajoutent des deficiences dans la definition du sens des mots, car il n'y a pas de differenciation entre signification usuelle et signification occasionnelle. Les significations sont partie designees comme etant connues, partie definies par des synonymes. Par ailleurs, on trouve des indications generales et trop larges relatives au genre et des significations trop restreintes tirees de passages isoles, ainsi que des significations fausses. Pour une nouvelle amorce de la lexicographie arabe, on a attire l'attention sur le Wörterbuch der klassischen arabisc hen Sprache (WKAS), dont la premiere livraison a paru en 1957.La deuxieme partie s'occupe du developpement ulterieur du WKAS jusqu'en 1983 (date de parution de la premiere moitie du deuxieme volume). La base du materiau a ete considerablement etendue et la technique amelioree. C'est cependant le cadre linguistique qui a lui aussi ete elargi. En effet, ä (cöte de la langue classique proprement dite, il a aussi ete tenu compte des traductions du grec (et du syriaque) ainsi que de la litterature qu'elles ont engendree. Tout en ne concernant qu'une partie de la pensee grecque, notamment scientifique, le materiau est fort diversifie et exige parfois des connaissances considerables de la matiere. Il contient bien plus de notions theoriques que la langue litteraire commune. Les traductions sont inegales au point de vue de la qualite et de l'usage, qui n'a pas lui non plus ete entierement unifie dans la litterature subsequente. La philosophie, ä titre d'exemple, ne presente qu'une faible proportion d'emprunts. Le procede de la composition faisant quasiment defaut, pour rendre les termes grecs, on a eu recours ä des derivations morphologiques et des imitations ä l'aide de schemes syntaxiques. A cela viennent s'ajouter les extensions et les calques semantiques. L'etat actuel de la recherche met des limites ä l'apprehension du vocabulaire specialise, si bien que les exemples-temoins ne sont pas toujours uniformement caracteristiques. Par consequent, en philosophie, certains mots et significations pourraient egalement faire l'objet de supplements. Un autre probleme est celui du choix d'une signification europeenne adequate. Dans le WKAS, les termes philosophiques sont en partie integres aux items consacres ä la langue commune. Ce faisant, et même lors d'un traitement separe, on trouve des series de significations qui ne sont pas toujours homogenes et ne s'appiquent pas toujours ä tous les exemples. L'utilisateur doit prêter attention ä la differenciation au sein des items et, le cas echeant, proceder ä d'autres definitions. Tout bien considere, le WKAS ne remplace pas un dictionnaire specialise de philosophie, mais il contient aussi ä cet egard un materiau riche et precieux.

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/content/journals/10.1075/hl.12.1-2.06gat
1985-01-01
2019-08-21
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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