الأحد، 13 نوفمبر 2011

Why Arabic Language is So Rich!

This is not a patriotic post about my 'Arabism'; I have given up on it long time ago, not because 'Arabism' had let me down but maybe because 'Globalism' had won me over.

It took me a long while to start thinking in English when I'm writing in English, otherwise I'd be thinking in Arabic and making literal translation in my head to English which is 'no good'. That's all fine, until there would be an Arabic word urging to come out and the translation of this one word is a sentence! Yes, a sentence of noun, verb, object, preposition, etc... that's when I contemplate the beauty of the Arabic language, how rich and expressive! Just to clarify this case: a word in Arabic can be formed of a verb with the subject and object of the sentence attached to it as suffix and prefix. A word such as: 'Yakhossohom' means: 'It belongs to them' some might argue that it also means 'it's theirs'; well, not really, because that one single word is translated to the four English words; the latter (it's theirs) would be translated as 'Lahom'.

If you translate an English document to Arabic and it is as wordy as the English one, then it doesn't read well in Arabic and there can be lots of editing to do.

It's amazing how we have such an expressive language and we still manage to maneuver our ways out and not be straight forward to express exactly what we want. We don't use the Yes's and No's for the purpose they serve. But we use the 'Inshalla's' and 'We'll see' and 'Yeah sure' when we clearly mean No.

Start making the best of your language, use the words clearly to express your rights. Don't hide behind the '3aib' (Shame) veil and reword what you try to say to suit other people's likings while the whole meaning is diluted and the message is lost. Our attitudes should rise to measure up to the richness of our language and how precise and clear it is without the vagueness and uncertainty we carry around most of the times.

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  1. I agree. For a very long time, I used to translate from Arabic to English while writing until English occupied my thoughts. Now, it's an equal mix of both — at times one more than the other — but it makes me feel like a true bilingual.

    That said, I gained a whole lot of appreciation of the Arabic language the more I learned English. As rich as the English language can be, the words being comprised of disjointed letters makes me believe that there really is not much room for excitement. In Arabic, the shape of the word and the vowels and decorative ornaments make it quite a delight to read and write — though Arabic can be pretty obtuse in overly formal writing.

    I have to thank the music of yesterdecades for igniting the love of the Arabic language again. It's absolutely brilliant how you can express so much in very few words.