Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Linguistic Theory & Typology

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Stump


Loanwords are integrated into Classical Arabic from various languages such as Latin, Greek, Persian, Syriac, Turkish, and others. When such words get borrowed into Arabic, they either get adopted, remaining as they are in the source language, or get adapted by undergoing certain phonological and morphological alterations. Such morphophonological changes would be defined within an adaptability scale which exhibits three different positions. The first position is occupied by merely adopted (MA) loanwords, like khurasān ‘cement’ (Persian), the second position is assigned for partially adapted (PA) loanwords, as shatarandj ‘chess’ (Persian chatrang), and the third position is for the fully adapted (FA) loanwords, like dirham ‘a silver coin’ (Greek dhrakhmi) which is analogical with the C1iC2C3aC4 pattern, as in hidjradj ‘naïve’. Among these various loanwords’ alterations, the most productive ones are the ones in the third position in the adaptability scale and they are the ones that are the most numerous. They are productive due to their conformity with the Arabic morphological patterns in contrast with the other ones. Many studies have been conducted to analyze the morphophonological alterations that loanwords in Arabic undergo, yet there hasn’t been a study conducted to investigate the factors governing the degree of integration or adaptability that loanwords in Arabic undergo. The current study, however, proposes a number of criteria that determine the degree of alteration that loanwords in Classical Arabic go through by analyzing an existing corpus of loanwords in Classical Arabic and comparing between the source language and the Arabic language.