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Genericity is commonly associated with two properties. The first is the reference to a kind or a genus, where the noun phrase does not designate a specific exemplar. The second is the description of a rule and not the expression of a specific episode or isolated fact or event. In this article I examine some of the syntactic/semantic features attributed to generic noun phrases such as definiteness vs. indefiniteness and singularity vs. plurality. I argue that the differentiation between the so-called D-generics (i.e., definite noun phrases referring to kind) and I-generics (i.e., indefinite noun phrases reporting a generalization) is not applicable to Qur'ānic cases since this differentiation depends on the type of predicate, whereas Qur'ānic generic noun phrases do not always precede or be followed by a verbal or nominal predicate. Instead I suggest distinguishing between concrete generic noun phrases which refer to a class or kind/species and the objects denoted by this noun, and abstract generic noun phrases which only refer to a concept and thus have multiple denotations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalJournal Asiatique
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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