Thursday, March 5, 2015

Challenge 52 in 52: Arabic

Written 31st of May, 2018

So... I don't like this language. I don't like how it sounds, I don't like how it looks, I don't like the culture. I have been subjected to plenty of discrimination, hate and nastiness by the people who speak this language. The only reason I want to learn it is that it's easier to find resources than it is for Maltese, and Maltese is Sicilo-Arabic language, and if I know Arabic, I get it easier to understand Maltese.
Another reason is, of course, that it is one of the biggest languages in the world.
Except that it isn't.

Nobody speaks standard Arabic all literature is written in. Everybody speaks their own dialect. These dialecs have evolved so that a Moroccan Arabic speaker doesn't necessarily understand what a Mesopotamian Arabic speaker says. People have learned standard Arabic and can't manage everyday conversations and situation in Arabic speaking countries. So it sounds to me that these "dialects" aren't even as close as Norwegian and Swedish that are counted as different languages...

So, let's forget the idea of that there is one Arabic language that is one of the biggest languages in the world. There isn't. There is the colloquial Arabic dialects and Maltese.
58 million Egyptian Arabic speakers
32 million Levantine Arabic speakers
42 million Peninsular Arabic speakers
some 21 million of Moroccan Arabic speakers
17 million of Sudanese Arabic speakers
15 million Mesopotamian Arabic speakers
There's 520,000 Maltese speakers

Now, one could say that Chinese is also a "macrolanguage", a collection of dialects. Sure. But there's almost a billion people speaking Mandarin Chinese alone. There isn't even 100 million speakers of ANY Arabic dialect. Which makes Egyptian Arabic; the biggest Arabic dialect SMALLER THAN ITALIAN.
There is more people who speak Italian as their native language than ANY ARABIC DIALECT.
So, no, Arabic isn't one of the biggest languages of the world.

Now, there are some 220 million people who can read and write the MSA, but most of them cannot speak it. Also, all literature and media is published in MSA or Classic Arabic... which basically makes all these Arabic dialects illiterate.

Naturally the Arabic calligraphy is beautiful, just like any calligraphy,
but most people don't write calligraphy, do they?
If you have a nice hand, you can get even the Arabic writing look nice,
but if you have a normal hand, Arabic writing is ugly.

The Arabic letters are... ugly and irrational. And then there's the single, beginning, middle and end forms, and quite a lot of letters look like European cursive i with dots around it in different places.

The names of the letters... *sigh*

Why haven't they developed a print version of the Arabic letters? Why are they using the cursive? Is it again the "Holy Language" thing, everything must remain the way they have "always" been? *sigh* That is killing a language. Languages should be alive, meaning they evolve, develop, CHANGE. Without change there is no life.

Also, Arabic is most likely younger than Hebrew and Aramaic. Hmm...

But, on with it.
 If you want to learn to SPEAK Arabic, learn Egyptian Arabic. If you want to learn Arabic for other reasons, it's MSA.

Here's Omniglot's page on Arabic

Here's some videos I like
Learn the correct pronunciation of Arabic letters
Learning Arabic alphabet for kids - I recommend that you learn the alphabet first before getting here, and use this to drill it in
A beautiful Arabic alphabet song - very Arabic :-)
more Arabic alphabet
Auntie Tasha's Arabic alphabet

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