Saturday, October 16, 2004

Still want to learn Arabic ? .....#2


Although Arabic is descended from the Aramaic language, Arabic evoluated through the time for several reasons;

Foreign words in Arabic language and I mean the effect toke place in both dialect and classic Arabic, here are two examples for the both
In Iraq we use the word “CHAI” for “Tea” which originally a Chinese word pronounced the same as in Iraq, for classic Arabic the word “INGEEL”"أنجيل" which is used for the first time in the Quran as the name for the “Bible” is originally a Greek word for sacred (there are many others).

The marriage between the north Arabic codices (Middle East) and the south Arabic codices (Arab Peninsula) had a result which is modern classic Arabic now and that can be differs also between the Arabic regions, the word "sheep" is written in Jordan and Syria as "KHAROUF""خاروف" and in Iraq is written as "KHROUF""خروف", notice the absence of the "A""ا" in Iraq which is considered as a vowel but in Jordan and Syria as a letter.

Early Arabic writings had no vowels and no diacritical points (nuqaat)"نقاط" which makes it very hard to recognize the real meaning of the word, in the 8th century Arabic scholars felt the need to introduce rules for the Arabic writing so they went back to the Aramaic ancestor language and borrowed the diacritical points and the vowels making it much more difficult to write in Arabic but reading Arabic became much easier (the writers can deliver their accurate message to the readers).

Academically speaking, writing a perfect Arabic text (scripta plena in Latin) is a combination of three processes;

1- The basic or the drawing, the shape of the letter.
2- Diacritical points (nuqaat) which can be put under or above the letter to give the letter a function in the word.
3- Signs for vowels and this time to give the word a function in the sentence.

Perfectionate the three processes is something semi-impossible even for the Arabic linguistics especially with the last process, making one mistake in signs of vowels changing the whole meaning of the text.

If the readers getting bored or they find it too dry subject I will delete this post, please let me know and if I get enough feedback I will write ....#3 about the Arabic writers and teaching language in schools otherwise I will post it in my Blog.


#10/16/2004 05:30:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ihath

Ladybird, this interesting, please keep writing. I have enjoyed your posts so far. Are you a linguist? you clearly love language.

#10/16/2004 06:01:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Please keep posting this stuff. This is great! You just won an argument for me. I was debating a friend of mine and made the argument that Arabic was a "decendant" of Aramaic. HA HA!! I knew I was RIGHT!!
Thanks Ladybird!

#10/16/2004 07:21:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

that's very interesting, thank you

#10/16/2004 07:29:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Michael

Yes, please keep writing.

The history of tea is one of my favorite word borrowing stories. In the Middle East and Russia tea is called "shai" or "chai". In the West people say tea, thé, té, Tee. Everyone picked up the name from the Chinese, whose dictionaries have only one entry for the word tea (?). So how could this have happened? As it turns out, much like Arabic speakers, the Chinese also have many spoken dialects, in which words that are written in the same way may sound quite different. China's immediate neighbors followed the Great Silk Road to get their tea and did their shopping in northern China, where it is called "cha". But the Portuguese, English, and Dutch sailed all the way across India and set up a trading center at the sourthern island of Amoy, where the people of Fukien province pronounced the word as "te", not unlike how their descendants in Taiwan say it to this day.

Regarding أنجيل, I had always assumed that it came from the Greek "euangelion" which means "good tidings", but that's only a guess.

#10/16/2004 07:43:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Michael

Hmm, so you can't have Arabic and Chinese on the same page. Blogger should switch to Unicode to promote world peace and showboating.

Arabic isn't a descendant of Aramaic. They belong to different branches of the common Semitic stock, which also gave rise to Hebrew, Syriac, Akkadian, Canaanite, Amorite, Ugaritic, and Phoenician.

#10/16/2004 07:58:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird

I am not a linguistic truly I am a Medical Equipment Engineer but I am very interested in languages and literature and I speak till the day today 6 languages.

Connie and Michael
If Arabic is not descendant from Aramaic how come that I understood 40% of “The passion of the Christ” without reading the subtitles, the movie was in Aramiac.

#10/16/2004 09:05:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Michael


They're cousins. Here's a Semitic language family tree. But 40% is very impressive. I haven't seen Gibson's movie, but I tried to listen to some Assyrian on the internet (Assyrian-Aramaic, not Assyrian-Akkadian), and I didn't understand a thing. Did you have some prior exposure to it from Iraqi Chaldeans, maybe?

#10/16/2004 09:17:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird

Arabic script, family tree

Follow the line from Arabic you will see it's connected to Aramiac.

Arabic script, family tree/

#10/16/2004 10:45:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Michael

Thanks, Ladybird. That's a great chart. But we're talking about different geneaologies. Script borrowing can help in understanding another, even completely unrelated language if it was accompanied by extensive word borrowing, as with Arabic and Persian, or Chinese and Japanese. It's true that Syriac-Aramaic was an intermediate stage for translations from Greek into Arabic in the middle ages. There is also the whole can of worms about Aramaic influences in the Qur'an (some reviews of the "white raisin" book here, here, and here.) But I doubt it could have much of an impact at this level (or maybe it could -- I know very little about this.)

I think this usually corresponds to two different types of comprehension. When I listen an unfamiliar language tapping into lexical borrowing from another, unrelated language, I pick out mostly abstract content words. For instance, Farsi news basically sounds to me like:


When I listen to language that's genetically close to a language I know, it sounds to me like the familiar language spoken with a very thick accent and a bunch of funny words thrown in. This is how Dutch sounds to me (because of German), although I've had no exposure to it. You'll probably get a similar effect with Yiddish (try it). Oh, and for a real head trip, check out Maltese.

#10/17/2004 01:02:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Seeeeee: i knew these Arabic lessons would have to lead to Chinese! :) I pointed at it some blogcomments ago. (feeling great here!) And yes, i do enjoy reading these posts. cecile

#10/17/2004 03:07:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

not bored at all! keep writing, it's very interesting. i'm learning from it, thank you.

#10/17/2004 10:31:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird


Sorry for the late replay and thank you for the great links, we will go on the nice chat in .....#3

#12/10/2006 10:46:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Though going slightly off topic, just thought it was interesting to point that the Portuguese word for tea is ch?, unlike the exact borrowing of its Romance sister languages.


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