22 June 2013

Arabic 101

The Economist's highly regarded language columnist Johnson posted an excellent overview of the Arabic language on 21 June under the heading Arabic
A language with too many armies and navies?


Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it's a good article on Arabic. I've been too busy to respond before. The comments by readers would make good material for a sociolinguist.

    One aspect not made clear, but of particular interest to me, is that all Arabs with even the most minimal education are BILINGUAL – that is, if you accept that Moroccan, Lebanese, Koranic, Modern Standard, etc., are different languages. Even if you treat them as dialects (as happens too with the varieties of Chinese), then Arabs are what the American linguist Ferguson termed DIGLOSSIC, i.e. natural users of more than one dialect, between which they switch intuitively according to circumstances. And this from childhood.

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