"Five" as a typological number in the medieval Arabic grammatical tradition

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In the Arabic grammatical tradition several categories comprising exactly five members can be found, e.g., the types of “meaningful things”, of definite nouns, of tanwīn, of definite article, of tawābiʿ etc. Given the importance of the number ‘five’ in Islam, it is natural to ask whether these categorizations are affected by the symbolical meaning of that number. This article examines some of these categorizations in order to check the extent to which they are linguistically or theoretically justified, and whether they use ‘five’ as a typological number. In order to answer these questions, the fivefold divisions are tested for consistency and the surrounding discourse is investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-111
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Arabic and Islamic studies
StatePublished - 2019


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