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Western Scholars' Opinions on Rendering the Tense by Means of the Participle in Arabic

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In the discussions of participles in relation with the issue of ‘tense’, different approaches occur with Western scholars, as far as the theme of ‘tense’ provokes great debates among the students of Arabic grammar, owing to some historic and theoretical factors. The approaches of some scholars to the occurrence of the categories of ‘tense’ and ‘aspect’ in Arabic have been significantly influenced by the traditional orientalistic view concerning Arabic having ‘aspect’ rather than ‘tense’. As for Classical Arabic, here the issue of tense in relation to the participle has not so far been studied sufficiently and, moreover, is not conceptualized as a separate issue, irrespective of the fact that ancient Arab grammarians have not disregarded it. They have repeatedly addressed the problem of tense reference by means of the participle. Several interesting studies have also been devoted to the discussion of the issue in contemporary Arabic dialects. One of my papers1, dealing with rendering of verbal properties by the participle, addressed some Western scholars’ opinions on the role of the participle in the verbal system, and, of course, dwelt upon the issue of the relation of ‘tense’ with the participle. As far as the present paper is aimed at discussing the latter one, I will try to present a much wider scale of opinions than earlier, and will analyze the approaches of the scholars who more or less paid attention to the issue in point.

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