by Michael G. Carter
Michael G. Carter's Sībawyhi's Principles: Arabic Grammar and Law in Early Islamic Thought is a corrected version, with considerable Addenda, of his 1968 Oxford doctoral thesis, "Sībawayhi's Principles of Grammatical Analysis." It systematically argues that the science of Arabic grammar owes its origins to a special application of a set of methods and criteria developed independently to form the Islamic legal system, not to Greek or other foreign influence. These methods and criteria were then adapted to create a grammatical system brought to perfection by Sibawayhi in the late second/eighth century. It describes the intimate contacts between early jurists and scholars of language out of which the new science of grammar evolved, and makes detailed comparisons between the technical terms of law and grammar to show how the vocabulary of the law was applied to the speech of the Arabs. It also sheds light on Sibawayhi's method in producing his magisterial Kitāb.