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Off topic: Question about mutual intelligibility between Arabic variants
Thread poster: Arturo Mannino

Arturo Mannino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:44
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jun 13, 2007

Hi all,

I'm reading "Empires of the World, a Language History of the World" by Nicholas Ostler and it says, among many other interesting things, that considering Arabic as a homogeneous language is quite questionable from a linguistic point of view. The author says we should talk about different languages (Moroccan, Lebanese and so on), rather then about dialects of Arabic. He says that classic Arabic is still a medium for educated people from different arab countries to communicate, but it can be very difficult for common people to do the same using their local tongues.

I wonder if any of you could give me a couple of infos (or a hint on where to find some) about this question. I also would like to know which kind of Arabic is then used in the media (including books) which are targeted to a broader public from different arab countries.

I'm aware that such questions could appear dated or even naive to people who deals daily with this language, but please consider that my linguistic world is limited to the romanic and germanic areas.

Thanks in advance,

Arturo


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
info and link Jun 13, 2007

Hi Arturo,

Your question isn't naive of course. The term "Modern Standard Arabic" (MSA) is given to the language taught in all Arabic schools, used in most of the media (newspapers, TV news ...), but there are still several levels and variations of MSA. Even uneducated (or badly educated) people can follow the news on TV, or the sermon in the mosque, but may have difficulty following more complex versions of the language, or even local "varieties" of MSA (there are certain differences in terminology between e.g Moroccan and Iraqi versions of MSA).


You could check this link as a starter http://www.arabacademy.com/cgi-bin/library_courses/faq_e.htm






[Edited at 2007-06-13 21:34]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
PS Jun 13, 2007

Hi again - I just realised I didn't say anything about local dialects. Local dialects are widely used in local TV and radio programmes, and thanks to satellite TV, are becoming more and more widely understood in different parts of the Arab world.
Certain dialects are more widely understood than others (due to the historical influence of these countries on the media), such as the Egyptian and the Lebanese/Syrian dialects - and increasinly so, certain Arab Gulf dialects.
Most Arabs of the Eastern part of the Arab world will tell you that the Moroccan/Algerian/Tunisian dialects are extremely difficult to understand.
Printed media are usually in MSA, but local dialects are more common in certain literary genres (mainly poetry).
HTH


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Arturo Mannino  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:44
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 14, 2007

Hi Nesrin,

thank you very much for the information. Now I see the thing seems a bit more complicated than it is among the, say, spanish or english language community.

Ciao from Barcellona.

Arturo


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