Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Interrogative Pronoun
(1,401 words)

The interrogative pronouns in Classical Arabic are man ‘who?’ and ‘what?’, which are indeclinable (Wright 1964:I, 274–275; II, 311–315; Fleisch 1979:74–78); the interrogative adjective is ʾayyun ‘which?’, which has a feminine form ʾayyatun and is declined (Wright 1964:I, 275–276; II, 315–317; Fleisch 1979:78–81). In combination with prepositions, is often shortened (bima, lima, etc.); before verbs, it is usually strengthened by ḏā: mā ḏā ṣanaʿta ‘what have you done?’.

According to Rabin (1951:189), the pronoun man was inflected in the pre-Islamic dialect of the Ḥi…

Cite this page
Kees Versteegh, “Interrogative Pronoun”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 24 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_SIM_vol2_0028>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831



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