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Le fā’ al-sababiyya vu par Raḍī l-Dīn al-Astarābāḏī : logique et pragmatique

Abstract : For the grammarian Raḍī al-Dīn al-Astarābāḏī (d. after 688/1289), the fā’ al-sababiyya (“causal”) constitutes an intersection between two of the three fā’ distinguished by the Arabic grammar: the fā’ of apodosis (fā’ al-ǧawab or al-ǧazā’), appearing between protasis and apodosis of a conditional system (in p fa-q) and assimilated systems, i.e. after circumstantial and relative clauses having a conditional meaning, and the fā’ coordinating two sentences (p fa-q). In both cases, fa- presents q as the consequence of p, which is the cause. The cause-consequence relationship is to be understood here in the broad sense of natural logic and not in the strict sense of logical implication: q may not be a statement, true or false. But Raḍī al-Dīn al-Astarābāḏī immediately neutralizes the meaning of the “causal” fā’, by observing that we can convert (‘aks) p-fa q (p therefore q) to q fa-p (q for p). And he goes further in the same direction, by connecting the “expletive” fā’ to the “causal” one. This fā’ is so called because it may or may not appear, either after a circumstancial clause, without conditional value, or a simple circumstantial phrase, or between the topic and the comment of a nominal sentence, the topic possibly being a relative unconditional clause or a simple noun phrase. For Raḍī al-Dīn al-Astarābāḏī, this fā’ indicates that what follows it is as “inseparable” (luzūm) from what precedes it as the apodosis is from the protasis, although what precedes it has no conditional value. Under a logical covering, he recognizes in fact that the three fā’ are one, having the same distribution / function (mawqi‘). This is easily reformulated in the terms of the “theory of enunciation” of the Swiss linguist Charles Bally (1865-1947): fā’ is a segmentator, delimiting the topic (either a sentence, or a clause, or a phrase) of the utterance from the comment.
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Pierre Larcher. Le fā’ al-sababiyya vu par Raḍī l-Dīn al-Astarābāḏī : logique et pragmatique. Arabica, Brill Academic Publishers, 2020, 67 (5-6), pp.593-610. ⟨10.1163/15700585-12341571⟩. ⟨halshs-03087269⟩



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