ʾAsmāʾ al-fiʿl, (lit. 'verb's names') are interjections conveying meanings characteristic to verbs. This article explores medieval grammarians' views on ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿl, focusing on strategies used by the grammarians to accommodate these expressions in their theory of the parts of speech. I begin by discussing ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿls problematic status in light of the grammarians' definitions of the parts of speech. I demonstrate, inter alia, that the criteria used to determine the categorical identity of ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿl are not necessarily those appearing in the accepted definitions of a noun and a verb. I then argue that the understanding of this categorical identity can be helped, at least in some cases, by elucidating the notions of cadl 'transformation' and naql '(semantic) transfer'.
- medieval Arabic grammatical theory
- parts of speech
- ʾasmāʾ al-fiʿl