Imar Koutchoukali (Tallinn University, Estonia) “What the Grammatical Features in the 1001 Nights Tell Us about the History of Arabic”


For my Master’s thesis I will analyse the register of Arabic known as „Middle Arabic“ as it occurs in the classic Arabian epos „One Thousand and One Nights“. The history of the Arabic language is marked by an interaction of two different language registers: on one hand the classical language, used mostly in writing, and on the other the spoken varieties.

Although the notion that the spoken variants of Arabic are incorrectly acquired variations of classical Arabic has been rejected by most serious linguists, the interaction between the two remains a subject which can continue to provide us with information on the history of Arabic in general. By critically analysing various grammatical elements – such as clitics, pronouns, etc. – it would be possible to draw up a grammatical overview of shared stable features of the classical and spoken varieties of Arabic as they existed in the early Islamic period (ca. 800 CE).