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Abstract

This article approaches the nature of Classical Arabic from the ideological discourse about it. More specifically, it investigates the controversy about “pure” and “Arabized” Arabs which was raised during the Umayyad period. The paper claims that underlying this controversy was an attempt by northern and southern Arabians to appropriate the symbolic capital of the sacred language. The tribal genealogies developed during the same period are also claimed to reflect political alliances. A third claim made in this connection is that Basran and Kufan grammarians were probably also involved indirectly by selecting data on which they based their linguistic analyses.
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