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With this pilot version the point has now been reached where the Project needs multi-year funding to make any significant advance.

It is very gratifying indeed that the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) of Oslo University supported the continuation of this project in 2008 with a grant which will enable us to process some more chapters of the Kitab. We chose the introductory parts of Volume Two because they deal with the principles of morphology. More information will follow as the pages are processed (see now the new Home screen for latest information).

Ancient History: An application was submitted to the Australian Research Council to reactivate the project in 2007. The plan was to integrate the Sībawayhi corpus into a larger context, the role of language stability/instability in the authority of Islam. This is an exciting challenge and will open up new approaches to the relationship between language and power. The grant application failed, which means that the Australian government has lost a chance to try to understand why it is that Islam is so powerful. There's 200 million Muslims right next door, but if you don't look at them they may go away. We will keep working on the project privately. A similar application by our Norwegian colleagues was also unsuccessful, though it was well regarded by the referees, and we are lucky that it can be kept alive by the departmental support of IKOS above.

We can only hope that the broader value of the project may be recognised one day.


Recently a new translation of these chapters was made by Georges Bohas and Michael Carter under the title: 'Prolégomènes au Kitāb de Sībawayhi, traduction' and has been linked to the Base Text. To view from here click on this link.

It appeared among a collection of articles about Sībawayhi's introductory chapters in a special section of Langues et Littératures du Monde Arabe vol. 5, 2004, 43-49, edited by Georges Bohas and Djamel Eddine Kouloughli under the subtitle 'A propos du préambule au Kitāb de Sībawayhi', 7-79.

This section contains several other articles which are highly recommended, namely a review, re-edition and second translation by Djamel Eddine Kouloughli (which will be linked with this site eventually), and two articles on the terminology and theory of predication, one by Jean-Patrick Guillaume and the other by Georges Bohas and Salam Diab-Duranton.

An earlier French translation (ca. 2003), by Pierre Larcher, can be read and downloaded as a PDF file from this link. The original is on the Sorbonne website, but may not be there for ever. Note that this translation includes chapter 7, and will later be linked to the Base Text along with the other chapters.

PDF files are a dead end (or cul de sac, as they do not say in France) where links are concerned, but you can get back to your previous screen by clicking anywhere in the appropriate window, if necessary moving the PDF file out of the way. Later we will probably convert it to HTML.


The missing first volume of Rummānī's Commentary has been rediscovered and published. To our embarrassment this happened more than ten years ago but better late than never. Vol. I appeared in 1992, edited by al-Mutawallī ibn Ramaḍān Aḥmad al-Damīrī and printed in al-Manṣūra. It takes us only to the end of chapter 7 (! It's that Risāla again) but obviously it will be a major priority to add it to this website. So far that is all that has appeared, but we will check a few catalogues to see if this note needs updating.


At the inspiration of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which generously sponsored a follow-up visit of Dr. Lutz Edzard to Oslo, it was decided to undertake a complete review of as many files as possible.

This turned out to be a bigger task than expected, in other words, we found a depressingly high number of mistakes of content, links and formatting in the second stage, and the first thing we must do is apologise for the annoyance and inconvenience this must have caused.

There are more than a thousand files in this set of documents and at least five times that many links and bookmarks, so the Spring Clean was rather arduous. Part of the process involved pruning the files by stripping out innumerable redundant commands and hundreds of surreptitious advertisements for a software company which is currently before the courts accused of illegal business practices and so cannot be named here. We can only give you a hint: it begins with "Micro" and ends with "soft".

No doubt the source text can still be slimmed down further, but we hope at least that we have eliminated most of the typos and made sure that the links now work, and we have also tidied up the graphics of the manuscripts as best we can. It would be nice to claim that the displayed texts correspond exactly to the printed editions in every vowel, šadda and sukūn, but regrettably such accuracy cannot be guaranteed and there is still some work to do before Stage Two can be declared successfully completed.

However, thanks to the interest of the Humboldt Foundation the site is now considerably tighter and more reliable: see How to Get the Best out of this Demo for details of the revised version.

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