Why is Arabic considered by many to be one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world?
Although, my first intention with this post, it was not going to be in this format nor was I alone with my reflections. But the vicissitudes of life… the personal circumstances of my interlocutor did not allow it. I hope that in the future, the stars come together and we can talk about it together; (dear and appreciated doctor I wish you a speedy recovery).
( دكتوري واستاذي العزيز أتمنى لك الشفاء العاجل)
It will be an extraordinary event, in order to clarify as much as possible, and what people want to understand, about, the linguistic idiosyncrasy of Arabic.
I invite, above all; those people who are in contact as learners of their official language and work with it, to those who try to work with or through it, let them reflect and investigate the idiosyncrasy of the macrolanguage that we are going to talk about in this post.
But I would also beg you not to fall into simplicities, not to invent concepts, (calligraphic loan) nor make individual or group specific facts of generalities (the ejaculations), because they do not have scientific rigor from linguistics in general, nor from Arabic linguistics. in particular.
And all these recurrences will remain as an erroneous interpretation, one of the many that the language itself has suffered due to its ignorance, without contributing any new knowledge to the field that unites us; FORENSIC CALLIGRAPHY AND LINGUISTICS EXPERTISE.
Why is Arabic considered one of the most difficult languages to learn by some, but the most difficult by others?
-Because although, it is written by some and not all, it is not spoken by all, that is, the Arabic language is so complex that not even many of those who consider themselves Arabs speak it.
I could finish the post here, although the answer is very generic, it does not mean that it is true, but it would simplify the question too much and it is not such a simple question, or it takes most of the people who come into contact with this language in assimilate.
Diglossia according to the RAE:
1. f. Bilingualism, especially when one of the languages enjoys higher social or political prestige or privileges.
2. f. Anat. Arrangement of the tongue in double or bifid form.
As the oral tradition, is an intrinsic characteristic of the language we are talking about, in general to the linguistic group to which “the Semitic languages” belongs, the analysis will begin in this context from orality.
In order to reflect on the subject, it is essential to talk about «diglossia», a phenomenon that when you mention it, people are left as it sounds, but
they are not clear about its meaning, which is often confused with another term that is dysglosia.
Dysglosia According to the RAE:
1. f. Med. Alteration of the timbre of voice due to organic causes that are not neurological, such as the modification of the resonance cavities.
Diglossia, this linguistic phenomenon has been mentioned in all my writings that can be read on my website, I leave you the link so you can take a look at the various posts that I have dedicated to the subject:
The linguistic coexistence in the Arabic-speaking countries: Arabic dialects
DIALECTS IN ARABOPHONE COUNTRIES II: CHARACTERISTICS OF EASTERN DIALECTS
LOS DIALECTOS EN LOS PAÍSES ARABÓFONOS III: CARACTERÍSTICAS DE LOS DIALECTOS OCCIDENTALES
The different linguistic registers that occur that are initially classified into two: The elevated or eloquent fusha variant, register of the media, the written press and literature and, on the other hand, the register of daily and informal expression, called dialect (amiya, dariya or lahya) (Ferrando, 2001:13).
This linguistic duality is what is called diglossia or multiglossia, we could say that it is an intrinsic characteristic of the Arabic language throughout the ages.
Now, what similarities do these different registers have with each other with the Arabic fusha?
There are authors who affirm that the classical language or fusha is different from the dialect, since the latter in turn has no literary source (Zaidi 1983:326), there are others who, however, believe that there is a harmonious coexistence between the two (Dayf 1990:8).
What if it is true, it´s that no Arabic speaker constitutes classical Arabic as their mother tongue, while their vernacular languages or dialects do. Hence the denomination of Arabic as the (macrolanguage)
This issue of linguistic duality, far from disappearing, has created another element in this dialectal-cult binomial, which is called: «middle Arabic» or wusta(العربية الوسطى). Another register that has emerged through the social coexistence of Arabic with its environment and with the contact of other foreign languages…
With which, currently, the binomial becomes a trinomial, or quadrinomial (depending on the different dialects that a region has, for example, Morocco that has about 6 different languages plus classical Arabic, French, Spanish and lately English is having relevance).
This last register called “middle Arabic” deviates from the grammatical rules and with the vocabulary and idiosyncrasy of the dialect, with the creation of other terms and the disappearance of others.
Although, it is true that the Arabic language without Islam and the Koran would have developed similarly to the Latin of the Latin of eighteenth-century Europe, it is from this language that what are now known as Romance languages[i] were born.
However, its evolution has been different, the first grammatical compendiums were developed, the alphabet was perfected. The study and fixation of the language of the Koran through institutions such as the «House of Wisdom» or Bayt al-ḥikma (بيت الحكمة), in the Abbasid caliphate, it was possible to study works of pre-Islamic thought such as the mu ‘allaqāt (معلقات) “hanging odes”.
One of the most prominent grammarians who was responsible for making such adjustments to the Arabic language was Abū al-Aswuad al-Du´alī who was also credited with other innovations such as the ideas of the three vowels (fatḥa, ḍamma, kasra), the glottal pause (ḥamza) and the gemination (šadda) (Calvet, 2007, 196).
These grammatical compendiums that were carried out thanks to grammarians such as Ḥamād al-Rāwiyya who was able to return to the oral era of the ŷāhiliyya[ii] , not only to review his works but to provide them with a structure, classification, order and written dissemination. This linguistic development is due to the rise of Arabic calligraphy, a practice defined by experts as «the synthesis of the arts in Arab culture.»
PRACTICAL ANALYSIS OF MANUSCRIPT CALIGRAPHY IN ARAB ALPHABET
The closest antecedent of this contemporary diglossic or multiglossic phenomenon is neo-Arabic, which occurs right at the beginning of the expansion of Islam, when the conquerors had contact with other languages such as Persian, Berber, Latin, Greek, etc.…
The dialect has been and continues to be spoken by people outside the culture, since there are many people who do not have a basic cultural and educational level, which presents a problem of communication and understanding of the normative language, and is limited to memorization of some sura of the Koran, proverbs of the neighborhood or ejaculatories in the language of the Koran.
The ejaculations and their use in the oral and written language in Arabic; His pragmatic interpretation and correspondence with Spanish
Although it is also true that there are people who comply with this process of diglossia or multiglossia; using both registers, the cult and the dialect but this bilingualism has its linguistic interferences that occur with the use of both that I have already commented on in other posts, and that within the disciplines in which I have been training for years as it is; forensic linguistics, are of utmost importance to be able to build the idiolect of a specific subject, with the study and analysis of their way of writing.
The use of this linguistic register, at first it is oral, but it is also produced in an informal and formal written way, if we also add the development of new communication technologies in which the speed of communication prevails, it is in part what which is further developing the use of this “Middle Arab” which has already been discussed in this writing.
But this phenomenon, as I have tried to explain in this post, is not so current, but it was already given before and was called neo-Arabic. We have an example in the information compiled in the archives of Simancas and Sidonia published in a book called «Cartas Marruecas» where the correspondence between the Sa’adi dynasty of Morocco and that of the Habsburgs of Spain between the 16th and 16th centuries is shown. XVII, which presents dialectisms and incomplete adaptation to the norms of classical grammar.
In forensic linguistics in the Arabic language, we can examine what is called codes or code switching[iii] and bilingualism and they will provide us with very important data to know the identity of the person who speaks or writes.
CALLIGRAPHIC AND FORENSIC LINGUISTIC EXPERTISE IN ARABIC LANGUAGE
Lastly, I would like to comment that as the macrolanguage that we have been commenting on in this article, it is still alive and moving, other linguistic phenomena are taking place as a result of the development of technology, other linguistic codes are created that refer to the Arabic language, using its meaning, but modifying its signifier or form of writing.
This phenomenon is not new in the history of the language and has its antecedent in the Aljamiada script [iv]but in reverse, that is, the Romance language in Arabic script.
Thus, they use the Latin alphabet with modifications to express Arabic, which is used above all in WhatsApp messages, and is under study.
According to Wikipedia: Arabic chat alphabet
Arabici (عربيزي), Arabini (عربتيني), or Franco (فرانكو) refer to the Romanized alphabets for informal Arabic dialects in which Arabic script is transcribed or encoded into a combination of Latin script and Arabic numerals. These informal chat alphabets were originally used primarily by youth in the Arab world in very informal settings—especially for communicating over the Internet or for sending messages via cellular phones—though use is not necessarily restricted by age anymore and these chat alphabets have been used in other media such as advertising.
This phenomenon is known by a group of people of a certain generation, especially young people who share and know the linguistic code that we have referred to. To finish this writing, I hope and wish from the bottom of my heart that it will serve the professionals who have been involved in this field.
السعاده لا تعني انك تفعل ما تريده وإنما أن تحب ما تفعله
Happiness is not doing what you always want but loving what you do.»
[i] The Romance languages, less commonly referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the 3rd and 8th centuries. They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family.
[ii] The Age of Ignorance (Arabic: جَاهِلِيَّة, romanized: jāhilīyah, lit. ’ignorance’) is an Islamic concept referring to the period of time and state of affairs in Arabia before the advent of Islam in 610 CE. It is often translated as the «Age of Ignorance». The term jahiliyyah is derived from the verbal root jahala «to be ignorant or stupid, to act stupidly».
[iii] In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation or situation. Multilinguals (speakers of more than one language) sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other
[iv]Aljamiado (Spanish: [alxaˈmjaðo]; Portuguese: [aɫʒɐmiˈaðu]; Arabic: عَجَمِيَة trans. ʿajamiyah [ʕaʒaˈmij.ja]) or Aljamía texts are manuscripts that use the Arabic script for transcribing European languages, especially Romance languages such as Mozarabic, Aragonese, Portuguese, Spanish or Ladino.