The main purpose of the present article is to compare the logico-linguistic theories of Farabi with contemporary linguistic principles and theories. To this end, the writers initially review the history of the development of linguistics and its turning into an independe Full Text
The main purpose of the present article is to compare the logico-linguistic theories of Farabi with contemporary linguistic principles and theories. To this end, the writers initially review the history of the development of linguistics and its turning into an independent discipline. Then they introduce the most common fields and theories in contemporary linguistics. Finally, they compare Farabi’s logico-linguistic theories with more recent linguistic concepts and theories. Ten centuries ago, Farabi referred to linguistics as one of the sciences of his time and introduced certain fields, principles, and theories for it which bear amazing similarity to contemporary linguistic theories from several aspects. Moreover, in the science of the laws of singular words, which is the third part of his seven-part science of language, he studies letters, sounds, and words as discussed in the phonology and morphology of today. In the science of compound words (fourth part of his language science), he examines the syntactic structure of sentences and their components. His theories in this regard bear a strange similarity to Chomsky’s phrase structure grammar. By distinguishing grammar or syntax from logic, Farabi established a relationship between them which could be illuminating to the philosophers, logicians, and grammarians following him concerning some of the theories of contemporary linguistics such as the theory of the universal grammar and its principles and parameters, the theory of the language acquisition device and its innateness, and the theory of surface and deep structures. His ideas about syntax and logic and their relationship is extremely innovative and useful, and some clear traces about certain modern theories such as the concept of the phonological surface structure and semantic deep structure of sentences and the theory of the innateness of language can be found therein. This paper explains Farabi’s theories and their relationship with modern linguistic theories in order to reveal some aspects of the genius, breadth of knowledge, academic certitude, and magnanimity of this prominent Iranian and Islamic scientist, philosopher, and linguist following a scientific method.