Learning Arabic

Evidently we should pause before attempting to learn Arabic. Aunt Najma (A Star from Mosul) explains the difficulty of the language. Example:
We have too many pronouns, some can be attached to the word itself, and some can't... The ones that can't, are called separated pronouns. We have pronouns that can be seen, and some that can't be seen which are called hidden pronouns.
And a sad note:
Ancient Arabic poems are so hard; they used difficult words that we don't use now... Poetry was taken care of then much more than now.
A language without poetry. That might explain some things.

Read her post. (Link at her name.)



I'm no linguist, but as a fluent speaker of Hebrew, and having taken at least one course on the origins of the Hebrew language, i think I can say the following.

Arabic and Hebrew are both Semetic languages, and they share a similar/common ancestry for the most part. They naturally split at some point on the language tree, but that's obvious.

Nonetheless, Hebrew shares a lot of those difficulties that Arabic does with the language. Now granted Modern Hebrew is a relatively "new" creation (that's a topic in and of itself), but the connect/disconnect between modern Hebrew and biblical Hebrew mirrors that of Modern Arabic and Classical (Qu'aranic Arabic) in that regards.

Plus with the large geographic distribution of Arabic speakers, the language has taken on numerous dialects and pronounciations--including slight differences even among similar words. There's the story of the "Tomato test" back during the Lebanese civil war (I'm not sure if it's true or not), but that terrorists would set up road blocks and ask you to say the arabic word for tomato, and if you said it in a certain dialect they'd kill you (b/c you were from an "enemy" demographic).

Just thought I'd share

By Blogger jaws, at November 11, 2004 at 12:03 PM  

Thanks for the background.

Najma makes a point similar to one of yours:

"Every country or city has found its own simple Arabic, and if the city had been occupied in the past, you might find them saying some words that are not Arabic at all... In Mosul, we sometimes say Turkish words!"

Arabic, she says, is mose useful for understanding the "Qura'an."

By Blogger Mark Kilmer, at November 11, 2004 at 2:08 PM  

I taught myself to read and write in Arabic but haven't really gotten serious about learning the spoken language very well yet. It's not Khanji, just another alphabet, but it does have some consonants that English speakers have to work on.

You might like to visit aramaic.org

By Blogger Jon, at November 12, 2004 at 5:39 AM  

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