The Concept of MA‘NÃ as the Production of Language Circles: The View
of ABU ‘UBAYDA (d.209/824) and AL-FARRA’ (d.207/826)
ANIMASHAUN, Maruf Suraqat, Ph.D
Lagos State University, Nigeria

BUSOERI, Muritala Alhaji, Ph.D
Lagos State University, Nigeria


Although at the previous stage of Arab literary criticism, the term ma’nã was used in a manner both close to and relevant to a literal use of the language, we cannot conclude that the term had indeed been known to fulfill a specifically literal functions.The term ma’nã appeared first in the Arab grammarians’ circle. They unanimously agreed on using the phrase X fi ma’nã Y or X wa Y fi al- ma’nã sawa’ that is X
‘means’ Y. One of the earliest classical Arabic sources that mentioned the term ma’nã was Sibawayhi’s al-Kitab. Sibawayhi1 (d. 180/793), the founder of Arabic grammar used the term ma’nã hundreds of times juxtaposing it into other technical terms to explain the role of a given grammatical function for a phrase or a sentence. For example, among the other terms was, ‘amal ‘syntactic action or role’. Sibawayhi usually used the phrase ma‘nahu wa ‘amaluhu ‘its meaning and syntactic action’, relating it to an active element or syntactic function. He also used the phrase hãdha mu‘malun fi al-ma‘na ghayru mu‘malin fi al-lafz ‘X is operating in meaning, but not in linguistic structure.2
The essence of this research paper is to bring to the fore, the linguistic applications of the term, Ma‘na, as being used in the language circles suffice it to mention its importance in the era of lexicographers. The views of Abu ‘Ubayda and al-Farra’ therein, worth enumeration.

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