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Department 1

Interdisciplinary Studies


This article explores the criteria and standards of literary evaluation as used by linguists in the Arabic literary tradition. Linguists did not apply such standards for instructional purposes only, but they also used them to assess poetic aesthetics. Because poetry was the primary context in which language was assessed, this linguistic evaluation appeared in various forms throughout poetry criticism. For example, giving preference to one poet over another meant the poet had reached a more superior linguistic level according to the standards that linguists followed in their judgments. These standards, which linguists in the Arabic literary tradition used, were not identical. Some linguists examined linguistic production as a whole, while others isolated aspects of linguistic production for analysis. Linguists also assessed those from whom linguistic production was elicited, rejecting those whose language was not deemed appropriate according to their evaluation standards.

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