An analytical phonetic study of three areas of Al-Farahidiy's legacy
It is the purpose of the present thesis to present an analytical phonetic study of three areas of alFarahidiy1s linguistic legacy in a general phonetic perspective in such a way as to preserve a proper balance between the analytical and historical sides of our subject, Phonetics. Only three areas have been decided upon due to the fact that a comprehensive, analytical study of al Farahidiy's linguistic legacy would be a lifetime-work. The thesis is presented in four major sections: an introduction and an analytical phonetic study of three areas. The introduction deals in general terms with alFarahidiy1s biography and his contributions to fields pertinent to Phonetics, though they are not primarily phonetic. The three areas deal respectively with his approach to verse structure, the time-substratum underlying his system, and his restoration of the principles which lie hid underneath what I have called (since no other term exists) the phoniconic symbols1 of the East Mediterranean scripts. Each analytical section includes either a theoretical, phonetic discuss¬ ion against which alFarahidiy's contribution is projected in terms of its relation to the general phonetic spectrum, or an empirical evidence in support of a hypothesis discovered in the construction of his prosodic system. Towards this end, the first area, following a more or less Stetsonian line, includes a theoretical view of the articulatory actualization of the respir¬ atory potential1 and rhythmicality in Arabic; the second section is focused on the empirical authentication of the time-units which underlie his prosodic system, whilst the third section starts with an analytico-phonetic approach to the East Mediterranean scripts. The thesis is concluded with a general bibliography of works that have been cited or consulted, with a special section allocated to works by or about alFarahidiy. The author is convinced that the soundest basis for an understanding of certain phonological phenomena (particularly, the superimposed stretches, quantity and rhythm) of a living language with a long history behind it, would be an illumination of the path of development it has pursued. Such a path, in normal conditions, is provided by phoneticians or writers on phonetics. It is also the conviction of the author that for an enlightened attitude towards the history of phonetics, especially in olden times when phonetics was a practice not a discipline, an analytical, phonetic approach to the pertinent writing system constitutes a proper springboard. For this reason, equal attention has been paid to the development of the 'pure' iconic and phoniconic writing systems in Mesopotamia and the East Mediterranean in the prelude to alFarahidiy's restoration of certain scriptological, phoniconic principles which lie in the background of the Ugaritic script in his prosodization of the Arabic script.