The discourse particle’ammā in the Qur’ān

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In traditional Arabic linguistic thought, four functions of the particle’ammā are mentioned: first, a conditional particle or a particle semantically denoting condition; second, arfu btidā’ “particle indicating the start of a new speech”; third, arfu tafīl “particle indicating elaboration” and fourth, arfu tawkīd “particle denoting emphasis.” The Western research literature classifies’ammā – fa as a topicalisation structure, where’ammā establishes a specific component as a topic placed in a front position in the clause. This article shows that’ammā mostly serves as a discourse particle, contributing to the coherence of the text by establishing various logical-semantical relations between the parts of the discourse unit. Only in one case is no relation indicated, and’ammā marks a shift in topic. The first of this article’s three sections provides definitions of the classical Arab grammarians and Western scholars for the particle ammā. The second section defines the term discourse particle and shows how these particles are approached in cohesive-based study. The third part offers an analysis of representative Qurānic examples in which’ammā is introduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-75
Number of pages25
JournalAncient Near Eastern Studies
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Peeters Publishers. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Archaeology
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'The discourse particle’ammā in the Qur’ān'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this