Refuting The Alleged Transmission of Greek Grammatial Concepts Into Arabic Grammer

Solehah Haji Yaacob,


The first contact of Greek and Arabic grammar was probably made in Alexandria (Egypt) and Antioch (Syria) since both cities were renowned Hellenistic centers of education and learning (CHM. Versteegh, 1977:1-2). However, not all historical scholars agree on this matter, and the question whether Arabic language and thought have been directly influenced by their ancient Greek counterpart is still debated. The modern historian Ahmad Amin in his book Ouha al-Islam (1969) mentions that the renowned linguist and translator Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (260H I 873 C.E.) a. Ruska, 1980:134) went to Rome to learn Greek and later returned to Basrah to learn from Khalil (Amin Ahmad, 1978: v.1:313). This idea is strongly supported by Mustafa Nazif who states that Khalil was visited by Hunayn to study Arabic (1978:vo1.1:313). Modern historians assert that in the ninth century C.E. Arabic scholarship was influenced by Greek science and thought. Bustani, for example, was known to be very competent in Greek, and Khalil influenced
by Aristotelian ideas, especially by the concept of cause and effect (Mahdi al-Makhzumi,1986:68). Mustafa Sadiq Rafiy suggests that Arabic phonetic signs such as the harakat did not originate from Arabia but from Syria which was governed by the Byzantines whohad introduced small harakai signs as reading aids in the text of the Bible (K. Brockelmann, 1968:vol.1:105).

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