Authors’ Forum of the Ministry of Culture hosted writer Fadl Muhammad Al-Humaidan to discuss his book “Semantics and meaning evolution principles in the lexicon”, within the framework of “A Writer and a Book” Initiative. This activity coincides with the celebration of the Arab Day of the Arabic Language, corresponding to the first of March of each year.
The discussion of this book, which was moderated by Professor Saleh Gharib, Program Manager at the Forum, is part of the ongoing celebration program in Arabic, launched by the Forum on 18 December 2021, in cooperation with the Qatar National Committee for Education, Culture and Science.
In his presentation, writer Fadl Muhammad Al-Humaidan explained that the importance of this book is reflected in two aspects. Firstly, it sheds light on the lexical meaning of Arabic vocabulary, exposing the subtle differences between its central and marginal connotations. Secondly, it provides the material that enables the Arab reader to understand the mechanisms whereby the connotations of the Arabic word develop historically and socially.
He pointed out that this book studies words whose meanings evolve over time. Therefore, the study of a historical literary work is possible only in its prose context, lexically, syntactically, and semantically in that particular era. He noted that many lexical entries have a central original meaning, and an additional marginal meaning that it takes on over time by dint of repeated usage.
Writer Al-Humaidan also noted the efforts made by Qatar to publish the Doha Historical Dictionary, a dictionary that investigates the etymology of words, their historical development and the transformations that their connotations have undergone diachronically. He underscored that it is not possible to read historical texts without knowing the semantic dimensions of the Arabic lexicon of that era, in order to ensure that the texts are understood properly. Only in this way can the readers overcome the numerous cognitive problems they may face in the interpretation process. Al-Humaidan indicated that translation has played a key role in developing the meaning of some vocabulary items and even changing their original denotation, which led to the emergence of new lexical terms that keep pace with developments in all fields.