The Arabic Language

Front Cover
Edinburgh University Press, 2014 - 410 pages
An introductory guide for students of Arabic language, Arabic historical linguistics and Arabic sociolinguistics New for this edition
  • Additional chapters on the structure of Arabic, bilingualism and Arabic pidgins and creoles
  • A full explanation of the use of conventional Arabic transcription and IPA characters
  • An updated bibliography
  • All chapters have been revised and updated in light of recent research

Concentrating on the difference between the two types of Arabic - the classical standard language and the dialects - Kees Versteegh charts the history and development of the Arabic language from its earliest beginnings to modern times.

The reader is given a solid grounding in the structure of the language, its historical context and its use in various literary and non-literary genres, as well as an understanding of the role of Arabic as a cultural, religious and political world language.

Key Features
  • Covers all aspects of the history of Arabic, the Arabic linguistic tradition, Arabic dialects, sociolinguistics and Arabic as a world language
  • Makes links between linguistic history and cultural history
  • Emphasises the role of contacts between Arabic and other languages

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About the author (2014)


Kees Versteegh is Professor of Arabic and Islam at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He graduated in Classical and Semitic languages and specializes in historical linguistics and the history of linguistics, focusing on processes of language change and language contact.

His books include Pidginization and Creolization: The Case of Arabic (Amsterdam, 1984), The Arabic Linguistic Tradition (London, 1997) and Arabic Grammar and Qur'anic Exegesis in Early Islam (Leiden, 1993). He co-edited the Handbuch f r die Geschichte der Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (Berlin, 2000--2005) and the Arabic--Dutch/Dutch--Arabic Dictionary (Muiderberg, 2003), and was the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics (Leiden, 2006--2009).

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