Arabic language profile

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Arabic language profile

Post by evergreen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:37 am

The term 'Arabic' covers two families of languages. One is mainly written
(Litterary or Modern Standard Arabic), and the other encompasses a number
of spoken Arabic dialects. Anything written, including newspaper, books and the
Internet, will be in Modern Standard Arabic. Radio and Television, such as
Al-Jazeera, use the same language in order to be understood all over the Arab
world. But to speak with Arabs on the street, you will have to learn one of
the many 'Colloquial Arabic' dialects

is no question that culturally Arabic is an extremely important
language. However, it is not as useful as one may assume at first. The
first problem is that if you wish to converse on the street, you will
either have to learn one of the many colloquial dialects, which are
only spoken in a few countries. Thus the large number of countries
where 'Arabic' is spoken is actually misleading, since it is written
but not actually spoken. Second, if you wish to do business, most
Arabic businessmen will speak either English or French (in the
Maghreb). The business advantage of speaking Arabic is probably not as
strong as being a Muslim. Thus the reader would be advised to limit his
ambitions as to the use of Arabic and not assume he'll be able, from
the study of one language, to address each and every Arab in their
mother tongue

Chic factorSpeaking
Arabic is very chic, especially if you are able to speak one of the
Arabic dialects. I think it can also be anti-chic in some circles,
where anything Arabic or even Muslim is considered as barbaric and
deeply suspicious.

across its various dialects, is one of the most popular languages on
earth with no less than 25 countries where it is spoken : Saudi Arabia,
Somalia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Algery, Tunisia, Morroco, Kuwait,
Syria, Oman, Lybia, Lebanon, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrein, Iraq, Jordan,
Palestine, Comoros, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Mauritania and
Yemen. However, as explained on this page, you cannot assume that
learning one 'Arabic' will enable you to converse with the man on the
street in all of these countries.

SpeakersMoroccan Arabic is spoken by about 20,000,000 speakers
in Morocco and in immigrant communities in Western Europe.Algerian Arabic has 22,000,000 speakers in Algeria.Tunisian Arabic has 9,000,000 speakers in Tunisia.Lybian Arabic is spoken by 4,500,000 speakers mainly in
Lybia but also in Egypt.Egyptian Arabic is spoken by 84,000,000 Egyptians and understood
abroad thanks to Egyptian movies.North Levantine Arabic is spoken by about 15,000,000 Syrians and
Lebaneses, whereas South Levantine is used by an
additional 6,000,000 Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis.North Mesopotamian Arabic is spoken by 6,300,000 speakers mostly in Iraq but also in
Syria and Turkey.The Hijazi dialect is spoken by 6,000,000 people in Saudi
Arabia and the Nadji dialect is a spoken by a further 10,000,000 speakers mainly
in Saudi Arabia.

Arab world is vast and diverse, with many attractive landscapes of sea,
mountains, oasis and deserts. Some countries are worldly and modern
such a Lebanon, other are highly conservative and cut off like Sudan.
You can visit very religious countries like Saudi Arabia or relax in
secular countries like Tunisia. A knowledge of a local dialect will
greatly enhance your travel.

VariationsYou can learn several Arabic languages:

  • Modern Standard Arabic
    is the most popular with foreign students. This is a modernized version
    of the litterrary Arabic. It is used throughout the Arabic world for
    newspapers and television. The trouble is that nobody speaks it outside
    of books and medias. People speak in colloquial Arabic. Educated Arabs
    will know it, but you'd probably end up speaking English or French with
  • Litterary Arabic is the language used in the Quoran, the holy book of Muslims. This language is not spoken as it sounds a bit as Old English "Thou Art in a Shoppe".
    It is the most difficult of the three brands of Arabic to be learned.
    Unless you are a Muslim or a scholar, you will probably never study
    littterary Arabic.
  • Colloquial Arabic is the spoken
    language. It changes from country to country, although for example you
    can learn the Levantine dialect understood in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
    and Palestine. These dialects are almost exclusively spoken, people
    using Modern Standard Arabic when writing.
Going from
Litterary to Standard Arabic is not very difficult, and acquiring a
colloquial dialect thereafter is mainly a problem of vocabulary
learning.There are many Arabic dialects ('Colloquial Arabic')
spoken across the Arab world. Although the media uses the same Modern
Standard Arabic everywhere, most Arabs will either speak in their own
dialect or use French or Arabic. Dialects are slightly different from
city to city and change from one country to another. You can, however,
learn 'standard' dialects :

  • Gulf dialect is the closest to Classical or Modern Standard Arabic.
  • Levantine dialect is spoken in Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon
  • The Egyptian dialect is the most spoken Arabic dialect and widely understood outside Egypt thanks to the popularity of Egyptian movies
  • North African dialect spoken in the Maghreb (Tunisia, Algery and Morrocco)
differences between those Arabic dialects are similar to the
differences between Romance languages. This means they are very close
to each other and by knowing one you can learn another easily. It is
actually a better strategy to learn one Arabic dialect rather than
trying to speak Modern Standard Arabic with people. Although most
people nowadays understand Modern Standard Arabic, only a minority can
actually converse in it and those who can just don't do it. They'd
rather speak their own dialect, French or English than Standard Arabic.

CultureThere are many ways you can practice Arabic in a rewarding way, even from home.Arabic Music - plenty of popular songs in Arabic, modern and traditional. Try Raï, a type of music sung in the Maghreb by singers such as Khaled or Cheb Mami.Arab newspapersArab TV
many people now have access to either Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. If you
receive satellite TV, you can get many more Arab channels. They all
speak in Modern Standard Arabic and this is actually the only way to listen to this language

Last edited by evergreen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Arabic language profile

Post by evergreen on Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:39 am

DifficultyI rate this language as for Modern Standard Arabic, due to the difficult alphabetic writing system, complex vocabulary and difficult grammar.

is a difficult language to pronounce, with many, many unique consonants
that will put in motion parts of your mouth you did not know you had.
Achieving a correct pronunciation is not easy, and speaking with no
accent very difficult.

GrammarArabic uses a logical but difficult grammatical system, especially in Litterary Arabic.

VocabularyThe Arabic vocabulary is very large and is the biggest obstacle the student must overcome when learning the language.

uses an alphabet that you can learn in couple weeks. But the alphabet
is only half the story, since most texts do not write vowels. You need
to figure out the vowels by yourself based on your knowledge of
vocabulary and understanding of the phrase


الجنس : Female

عدد المساهمات : 1585
النقاط : 41214
التقييم : 34
تاريخ التسجيل : 2010-02-03

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