[THREAD] Arabic scholars & students: two new etymological dictionaries (like the OED but for Arabic) are now in production, one in Doha (@dohadictionary) & the other in Sharjah (@ArabiclanginShj). The former is online, the latter is only hard copy...1/6

...at least for now. Over at Al-ʿArabī al-Jadīd, Iraqi linguist Ahmad al-Janabi favors us with a preliminary comparison (in Arabic), admitting bias since he worked on the Doha project (see link below; h/t @borfali for posting). Here's the upshot: ... 2/6

Doha dictionary has entries for all letters, while Sharja has only hamza, bāʾ, and tāʾ. Doha's entries only go to 200 AH / 816 CE, whereas Sharja goes to the present year (1442 AH / 2020 CE). Sharja entries are mainly nouns and verbs while Doha uses some 30 parts of speech... 3/6
...for its entries. The Sharjah entries have plural forms of nouns without referring to original texts, which by contrast the Doha entries do (texts accessible by clicking the button "الجموع"). The Doha online platform includes texts not entered in the dictionary so that ... 4/6
...users can verify authentic dating of witnesses. The Doha entries have texts going back further in time than the Sharjah entries, which also tend to use lexicons like Lisān al-ʿarab rather than primary witnesses (e.g. poetry, histories) ... 5/6
All in all, al-Janabi weighs in (not surprisingly) on the side of the Doha project, while giving due credit to Sharjah for its contribution. I personally would like to know if, as you use the dictionaries, your impressions match al-Janabi's or my own. Happy philologizing! 🧐 6/6

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More from @AmericanMaghreb

19 Nov
Comparing things or people to Arabic letters is common in poetry. E.g. the alif-lām combination لا , which is often used as a symbol of union. Why is that the case? A quick🧵on this element of script/calligraphy as metaphor ... 1/6
... e.g. here is a nice line quoted anonymously by ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī, Asrār al-balāgha, ed. Ritter, p. 184:

إنّي رأيتُك في نومي تُعانقني
كما تُعانق لامُ الكاتب الألِفا

In my slumber, I saw you embrace me
like the scribe’s lām embraces the alif

Compare this line with the title of a book on mystical love by Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Daylamī, ʿAṭf al-alif al-maʾlūf ʿalā l-lām al-maʿṭūf (Attaching the United Alif to the Curved/Linked Lām) referring to an 8-line poem by al-Ḥallāj ... 3/6
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6 May
After playing chutes and ladders with his kids, a colleague did some searching and discovered that it is has very old roots! Originally used by Hindu and Buddhist mystics, during the Mughal dynasty it apparently moved into Arabic as شترنج العارفين (gnostic's chess)...1/2
The words on the board are "states" of being (aḥwāl) in mystical thought. Some are positive, e.g. ṣabr, "patience," and lead closer to God, while others are negative, e.g. nifāq, "hypocrisy," and lead away from Him, with the final goal being divine "union" (wiṣāl). 2/2
P.S. If anyone is looking for a fun way to seek spiritual enlightenment, this game is a good fit!
Read 4 tweets

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