Volume 8, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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SUMMARYThis article attempts to give a summary of the contribution made by early Arabs and Muslims in the field of phonetic sciences. Works by scholars like al-Khalil (d.175/791), Sibawayhi (d.177/793), Ibn Jinni (d.392/1002), Ibn SIna or Avicenne (d.428/1037) and others will be given special attention in this connection. In particular, it presents the various treatments of the Arabic nasal sounds and the phenomenon of nasalization. As a term of reference, the Arab and Muslim phoneticians divided the Arabic phonemes into categories such as: glottals, pharyngeals, palatals, dentals /l, r, n/, and labials /f, b, m, w/. Al-Khalil is one of the first Arab phoneticians to order the Arabic phonemes in terms of place of articulation along the vocal tract from the glottis upward to the lips. His student, SIbawayhi, and later phoneticians also recognized other categories in terms of manner of articulation such as: voiced/voiceless, stop/ non-stop, rolled, lateral, nasals/m, n/, including variants, e.g. [ng, N]. Further, SIbawayhi and Ibn Jinni seem to lay more emphasis on treating ghunna or nasality and other features in terms of binary distinctive feature analysis. The Muslim phoneticians also recognized that in certain contexts /n/ and /ml may influence non-nasals, both vowels and consonants. In sum, a close look at the early Arab grammatical works reveals an underlying systematic approach and a rich mine of terminology which are relevant both to modern Arabic phonetics and general phonetics. Some instrumental (spectographic and mingo-graphic) data are included at the end of the article in order to support some of the descriptive techniques used in early phonetic heritage.RÉSUMÉLe present article vise a resumer l'apport, dans le domaine des sciences phonetiques, des Arabes et Musulmans de Pepoque la plus ancienne. C'est dans cette perspective que nous accordons une attention particuliere aux oeuvres d'erudits tels que al-Khalll (d.175/791), SIbawayhi (d.177/793), Ibn Jinni (d.392/1002), Ibn Sina ou Avicenne (d.428/1037), entre autres. Nous presentons ici specialement des diverses manieres de traiter les nasales et le phenomene de la nasalisation. Les phoneticiens arabes et musulmans divisaient les phonemes de l'arabe en categories telles que: glottaux, pharyn-gaux, palataux, dentaux /l, r, n/ et labiaux /f, b, m, w/; c'etait la la base de reference. ,A1-Khalil est l'un des premiers phoneticiens arabes a classer les phonemes de l'arabe d'apres le lieu d'articulation, le long du canal vocal, en partant de la glotte pour monter jusqu'aux levres. Son disciple, Sibawayhi, et les phoneticiens posterieurs distinguaient aussi d'autres categories d'apres le mode d'articulation: voise/non voise, arret/non arret, roule, lateral, nasales / m, n/. Iis distinguaient egalement les variantes nasales, par exemple [ng, N]. Par ailleurs, Sibawayhi et Ibn Jinni semblent mettre plutot l'accent, pour la ghunna ou nasalite et d'autres phenomenes, sur une analyse en traits distinc-tifs binaires. Les phoneticiens musulmans perçurent aussi que dans certains contextes, /n/ et /m/ peuvent influencer les non-nasales, voyelles et con-sonnes. Un examen attentif des ouvrages grammaticaux du monde arabe le plus ancien révele une approche systematique sous-jacente et une veritable mine terminologique, qui interessent la phonetique arabe moderne aussi bien que la phonetique generale. A la fin de Particle, nous presentons un certain nombre de donnees d'analyse instrumentale (spectographique et mingo-graphique) afin d'etayer certaines des techniques de description en usage dans la phonetique ancienne.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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