Verifying the Terminology of Arabic Rhetorical Tradition: The Case of ʾIltifāt

  • Emad Abdul-Latif Arabic Department, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar


The terminology of Arabic Balāgha suffers various problems, such as having multiple terms that refer to one concept and multiple concepts that have one term. These problems cause vagueness and misunderstandings in many modern and contemporary studies. This article aims to decrease the possibility of both ambiguity and misunderstanding by suggesting a comprehensive methodology to verify Arabic rhetorical terminology. This methodology consists of two procedures: (1) identifying and analyzing the various concepts that a one-term refers to, and (2) identifying and analyzing the different terms that refer to one concept. These procedures are applied to the term ʾiltifāt and the concept of 'shifting among first, second, and third pronouns'. The Arab classical rhetoricians used ʾiltifāt to refer to thirteen different figures, styles, and features. Similarly, they used seven different terms for one concept. The reasons behind this terminology disorder are investigated and the necessity of a contextual dictionary of Arabic Balāgha is argued for. Keywords: ʾiltifāt, balāgha, grammatical shift, Arabic tradition, terminology, rhetoric
How to Cite
Abdul-Latif, E. (2023). Verifying the Terminology of Arabic Rhetorical Tradition: The Case of ʾIltifāt. Lexikos, 33(1), 448-473.