Arabisch kayfa "wie" als Konjunktion: Em Beitrag zur Geschichte der arabischen Syntax. By WERNER DIEM. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ, 2011. Pp. 152. [euro]58.
This work traces the evolution of kayfa from its primary function as an interrogative adverb (Eng. "how?") to a secondary function as a conjunction with a wide range of temporal and modal senses ("how, while, when, since, in order to, because"), and finally to the pure nominalizer "that." Although some material is drawn from the standard reference grammars, the data presented are overwhemingly live specimens from Diem's own reading.
The first part of the work (pp. 19-91) is a documentation of the use of kayfa in literary Arabic, including substandard varieties. After establishing the general principal that kayfa has developed two distinct grammatical functions, corresponding to German wie "how" and the nominalizer da[beta] "that," Diem identifies four sentence types based on the meaning of the head verb: (1) expressions of emotion (thirteen subtypes, including Schadenfreude!), e.g. (using Diem's transliteration). 'inni la-a'jabu kayfa 'ahada l-nasu 'an hammad "I marvel at the way people have taken [poetry] from Hammad"; (2) verbs of perception, seeing, hearing. etc., e.g., fa-salli liana 'arcika kayfa tusalli ... "so pray, so that I can see how you pray ..."; (3) assertions. claims, admissions (including praise and blame), e.g., ... 'ahbirni kayfa kana qatluhu "... tell me how he was killed"; and (4) mental verbs, knowledge, understanding, etc., e.g., gad calimna kayfa nusallimu 'alayka "we know how to salute you."
The diagnostic for these four categories is as follows (retaining the German glosses, and grossly oversimplified): in group (1) kayfa is interchangeable with 'an or 'anna, and can always be translated (with greater or lesser elegance) as wieso or da[beta]; in (2) as v'ie but not da[beta] (unless the head verb is used rhetorically, see p. 52); in (3) as auf welche Weise or da[beta] depending on the head verb; and in (4) as wie, auf welche Weise or da[beta] depending on the head verb. The semantic shading in the German renderings is similar to their English equivalents, and it may be just as difficult for speakers of either language to make the delicate distinction between wieso and auf welche Weise or "how" from "in what way": a degree of subjectivity is unavoidable. and Diem does not hesitate to challenge the translations of others (e.g., pp. 35-38, 42, 45, 59, 67, 76, 82, 97 for...