Early Medieval Arabic

Studies on Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad

Karin C. Ryding, Editor

"All four essays are valuable, and together they cast light both on al-Khalil and on the question of how much can ever be known about a pioneering thinker of whose work so little has survived."
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The first book in English on the founder of Arabic linguistic theory, this interdisciplinary collection explores the contributions to Arabic intellectual history of al-Khalil ibn Ahmad, (d. A.H. 175/A.D. 791).

Al-Khalil was distinguished in his own time as a lexicographer, phonologist, grammarian, educator and musicologist. In the Arab world, his stature is almost legendary, although information on his life, his works and his achievements is fragmented. He is remembered principally for two achievements: the creation of the first dictionary of the Arabic language (Kitab al-'ayn, "The Book of 'ayn"), and discovery of the rule-governed metrical systems used in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry. His biographers also cite publications on musical theory and have preserved fragments of his poetry. In addition to these achievements, he was also the teacher of the medieval Islamic world's most distinguished authority on Arabic grammar, Sibawayh.

Conceived as a tribute to al-Khalil’s influence on Arabic language sciences, this book provides a new and broader perspective on al-Khalil’s talents, character, and fields of interest. It should be of interest to Arabic linguists, medievalists, historians of linguistics, theoretical linguists, historians of science and scholars of medieval Arab intellectual history.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Roger Allen
Section One: Fundamentals of Foreign Language Pedagogy
1. Some Pedagogical Principles
2. Theory and Practice
3. Professionalism and Professional Standards
Section Two: Approaches to Foreign Language Teaching
4. Traditional Methods and Approaches for Language Teaching
5. Newer Methods in Foreign Language Teaching
Section Three: Programmatic Issues
6. Learning Goals, Curricula, and Syllabi
7. Materials, Resources, Technology
8. Assessment and Testing
Section Four: Planning and Managing the Elements of Teaching
9. Pedagogical Practice: Classroom Management
10. Learning Styles, Strategies, and Affective Factors
11. Mixed Classes and Heritage Learners
Section Five: The Pedagogy of Comprehension
12. Comprehension and Arabic Input: Overview
13. Reading Comprehension in Arabic
14. Listening Comprehension in Arabic
Section Six: Teaching Productive Skills
15. Teaching Arabic Pronunciation
16. Teaching Spoken Arabic
17. Writing in Arabic
Section Seven: Teaching Core Competencies
18. Teaching and Learning Vocabulary
19. Pedagogical Grammar
20. Teaching Arabic Culture


"All four essays are valuable, and together they cast light both on al-Khalil and on the question of how much can ever be known about a pioneering thinker of whose work so little has survived."—MESA Bulletin

"These essays are stimulating and offer new material on the role and work of al-Khalil, one of the most famous of the classical Arab philologists."—MELA Notes


Ramzi Baalbaki, American University of Beirut Michael Carter. University of Oslo Eckhard Neubauer, Frankfurt-am-Main Irfan Shahid, Georgetown University

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Karin C. Ryding is professor emerita in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies Georgetown University. She is the author of Formal Spoken Arabic: Basic Course and Formal Spoken Arabic: FAST Course (both published by Georgetown University Press).

160 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-663-0
Jan 1998

160 pp., 6 x 9

Jan 1998

160 pp.

Jan 1998

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