Regional variations in Arabic pronunciation of Western loanwords
Thread poster: eoneo
eoneo
Local time: 21:46
Sep 26, 2011

Depending on their history, all Arabic varieties borrow Western loanwords from different sources, that is, Maghrebi Arabic from French, Spanish, Italian in descending order, and Gulf Arabic from English.

A book says that Arabic equivalents of hydrogen, microphone and vitamin have all diphthongs [ai] rather than long vowels [i:] because they are borrowed from (American) English.

But given that Arabic alphabet 'yod' can be pronounced as either [i:] or [ai] (am I right on this point?), I guess the words are differently pronounced in various Arabic varieties, for example, they are expected to be [i:] in Maghrebi Arabic including Libyan, and [ai] in Gulf and Iraqi Arabic.

But I'm not sure whether they are pronounced [ai] or [i:] in Egyptian Arabic and Lebanese Arabic, because even though they use considerable French loanwords, those varieties seem to use more and more English loanwords.

For example, in my Egyptian Arabic dictionary, إيديولوجيا (ideology) is pronounced ʔidyulojiyya, while according to some people the first vowel of this word is also [ai] in English-influenced Egyptian Arabic.

Where can I find more information about this confusing situation?

Thanks in advance for your help.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
Observations Sep 27, 2011

Hi -
Sorry I can't give you any reference that describes the phenomenon!
I can tell you that Egyptian Arabic is indeed mixed on that matter. Plus the same word may be pronounced differently by different Egyptians.
To take the example of the 3 words you mention: I'd say that "hydrogen" is the only one that everyone would pronounce with an [ai]. "Microphone", in spoke Egyptian, is often pronounced "mekrophone" (or even "mokrophone"!) with a short "e", other times with an [ai] (especially when reading a fusHa text that includes the word, I think it's seen as more proper!). "Vitamin", I'd say, is most commonly pronounced with a short "i"/"e" in Egypt.

Now, I think there's another thing to take into consideration other than the French/British vs. American influence here: The problem is with the Arabic transliteration of these words. Transliteration into Arabic is very often done letter by letter rather than phonetically, so for example a name like Thomas (which has a short "o" and a short "a" is spelt توماس which would have to be pronounced "toomaas" or "tawmaas"!). So a word like "vitamin" is universally transcribed as فيتامين in Arabic, even if the French/British pronunciation is with a short "i", and even if many Arabs pronounce it with a short "i". It's not spelt فتامين. And so anyone oblivious of how the word is pronounced in Western languages and just attempting to read the word فيتامين within the context of a fusHa text will find himself pronouncing it as an Arabic word "faytameen" (not so much "feetameen" with a long "ee" as the occurrence of a long vowel at the start of a multi-syllable word would be uncharacteristic of Arabic words).
That's my two cents!


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TargamaT  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 15:16
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
All these pronociations are French-derived Sep 30, 2011

@ eoneo:

it is simple to me to understand this as I hear French within the Arabic pronunciation of these words : hydrogen, microphone, vitamin and even ideology...

Take also the example of Psychology بسيكولوجيا، بسيوكولوجية you will understand the influence of French on the pronunciation... No reason other than the historical one, as French was the second language of most of the cultivated and intellectual Arab societies.


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Oum ayoub
Local time: 15:16
Arabic to French
French prononciation ? Oct 3, 2011

I live in Egypt since 7 years now, and i am french. I heard a lot of words take from french in the egyptian language (abat-jour, pantalon, cravate, assenceur, gâteaux, etc) and i took me a long time to realise that it was french words... Prononciation is very bad.

I think this is true what the brother said about the influence of the whriting. All the shorts voyels become long, Like Biberon that we prononce in French bibron become Biiberooonah! They added 'ah' at the end to make this word in Arabic a feminine word (while in French this is masculine).

Some words are so much different that it is hard to find the equivalent and take another meaning. Flanella, do you know what it is? For Egyptian, this is a kind of underware. In French, Flanelle is a kind of coton. Maybee this specific underware was made in the past with Flanelle, i do not know.

Also, they change the words to be able to make it feminine, masculine, double, plurial... They make verbs with nouns etc. This is very funny sometimes.

I think that the rule of pronunciation is not so much the influence of French or English, but a mix of the two language.

Wassalam
Suzanne Oum Ayoub


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TargamaT  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 15:16
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
French-derived... Oct 5, 2011

French-derived pronunciation means also French-derived deformation...

This deformation is not only in the Arab language... When I hear some Arab words in French I hear how they are deformed... Pastèque, Artichaut, benzine are some examples!

[Edited at 2011-10-05 21:55 GMT]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
Precisely! Oct 6, 2011

TargamaT wrote:

French-derived pronunciation means also French-derived deformation...

This deformation is not only in the Arab language... When I hear some Arab words in French I hear how they are deformed... Pastèque, Artichaut, benzine are some examples!




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