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Encyclopedia > Classical Arabic

Classical Arabic is the form of the Arabic language used in the Qur'an as well as in numerous literary texts from the same period. Modern Standard Arabic is a modern version, differing minimally in morphology and only to a small degree in its syntax and lexicon. Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... The Quran (Arabic , literally the recitation; also called or The Noble Quran; also transliterated Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... Modern Standard Arabic is the dialect of Arabic used in almost all writing and in formal spoken contexts. ...


Classical Arabic is often believed to be the parent language of all the spoken varieties of Arabic, but recent scholarship as Clive Holes (2004) questions this view, showing that other dialects were extant at the time and may be the origin of current spoken varieties. The Arabic language is classified as a Semitic language. ...

Contents


The History of Classical Arabic

Classical Arabic spread with the spread of Islam, becoming a language of scholarship and religious devotion as the language of the Qur'an. Its relation to modern dialects is somewhat analogous to the relationship of Latin and the Romance Languages or Middle Chinese and the modern Chinese languages. The Arabic language is classified as a Semitic language. ...


Morphology

Classical Arabic is one of the Semitic Languages, and therefore has many similarities in conjugation and pronunciation to Hebrew, Akkadian, Aramaic, and Amharic. It possesses similar conjugation to biblical Hebrew in its use of vowels to modify a base group of consonants. For example, k-t-b means "write", so out of this cluster, we get: 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... Hebrew (עִבְרִית ‘Ivrit) is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken by more than 7 million people, mainly in Israel, the West Bank, the United States and by Jewish communities around the world. ... Akkadian language city of Akkad or Agad Akkadian Empire Sargon of Akkad the Amarna letters and Amarna Letters EA 296(Yahtiru) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Amharic (አማርኛ) is a Semitic language spoken in Northern Central Ethiopia, where it is the official language. ...

  • kataba, "to write"
  • ya'k'tubu, "he writes"
  • kitāb, "book"
  • kutub, "some books"
  • maktaba, "library"
  • mi'k'tāb, "Writing Machine"

Phonology

There are three short vowels and three long vowels in Arabic, being A, I, and U in two different lengths each. The following table illustrates this:

Vowels Short Long
High i [i] u [u] ī [i:] ū [u:]
Low a [a] ā [a:]

There are as many constanant phonemes in Classical Arabic as there are in the modern form. They are: In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by an open configuration of the vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure above the glottis. ... A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. ... An open vowel is a vowel sound of a type used in most spoken languages. ...

Classical Arabic consonant phonemes
  Bilabial Inter-
dental
Dental Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn-
geal
Glottal
 plain  emphatic
Stop voiceless     t     k q   ʔ
voiced b   d ¹          
Fricative voiceless f θ s ʃ   x   ħ h
voiced   ð z ðˁ     ɣ   ʕ  
Nasal m   n              
Lateral     l ²          
Trill     r              
Approximant w         j        

See Arabic alphabet for further explanation of the IPA phonetic symbols found in this chart. In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. ... Interdental consonants are produced by placing the blade of the tongue against the upper incisors. ... Dentals are consonants articulated with either the lower or the upper teeth, or both. ... Postalveolar (or palato-alveolar) consonants are consonants articulated with the tip of the tongue between the alveolar ridge (the place of articulation for alveolar consonants) and the palate (the place of articulation for palatal consonants). ... Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). ... Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum). ... Uvulars are consonants articulated with the back of the tongue against or near the uvula, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants. ... The pharynx is the part of the digestive system of many animals immediately behind the mouth and in front of the esophagus. ... The vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, are composed of twin infoldings of mucous membrane stretched horizontally across the human larynx. ... Pharyngealisation is a secondary feature of phonemes in a language. ... The word stop has several possible meanings in the English language. ... In phonetics, a voiceless consonant is a consonant that does not have voicing. ... The voiceless alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. ... The voiceless velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless uvular plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The glottal stop or voiceless glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... The voiced bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiced alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... In phonetics, a voiceless consonant is a consonant that does not have voicing. ... The voiceless labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless alveolar fricatives are a type of consonantal sound. ... The voiceless postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless glottal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... The voiced dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiced alveolar fricatives are a type of consonantal sound. ... The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... (adj. ... The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The term lateral can refer to: an anatomical definition of direction. ... The alveolar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ... In music, a trill is a type of ornament; see trill (music) In phonetics, a trill is a type of consonant; see trill consonant In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Trill are two symbiotic races of aliens; see Trill (Star Trek). ... Approximants are speech sounds that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants. ... The voiced labiovelar (actually labialized velar) approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in certain spoken languages. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing in the Arabic language. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ...

  1. In modern arabic, [dʒ] is pronounced as [ɡ] by some speakers. This is especially characteristic of the Egyptian and southern Yemeni dialects. In many parts of North Africa and in the Levant, it is pronounced as [ʒ]. However, the true classical pronunciation is [dʒ].
  2. /l/ is pronounced [lˁ] only in /ʔalˁːɑːh/, the name of God, i.e. Allah, when the word follows a, ā, u or ū (after i or ī it is unvelarised: bismi l-lāh /bɪsmɪlːæːh/).
  3. /ʕ/ is usually a phonetic approximant.
  4. In many varieties (if not most), /ħ, ʕ/ are actually epiglottal [ʜ, ʢ] (despite what is reported in many earlier works). However, in classical arabic, they are pronounced as pharyngeals.

The consonants traditionally termed "emphatic" /tˁ, dˁ, sˁ, ðˁ/ are either velarised [tˠ, dˠ, sˠ, ðˠ] or pharyngealised [tˁ, dˁ, sˁ, ðˁ]. In some transcription systems, emphasis is shown by capitalizing the letter e.g. /dˁ/ is written ‹D›; in others the letter is underlined or has a dot below it e.g. ‹ḍ›. The Levant Levant is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ... For other uses, see Allah (disambiguation). ... Approximants are speech sounds that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants. ... An epiglottal consonant is a consonant that is articulated with the aryepiglottal folds (see larynx) against the epiglottis. ... A pharyngeal consonant is a type of consonant which is articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx. ... Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant. ... Pharyngealisation is a secondary feature of phonemes in a language. ...


Prounciation of Saad

The main difference of pronunciation between classical arabic and modern arabic is in the pronunciation of 'Saad', which is the emphatic "s" in Arabic. In Classical Arabic 'saad' was sometimes voiced making it an emphatic "z". The emphatic "z" is widely used in pronouncing the constanant 'DHaa', which in classical usage is correctly an emphatic "dh" sound. Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ...


Classical Pronunciation

To make an utterance sound like Classical Arabic take an Arabic sentence and abide by the following rules:

  1. Pronounce every letter correctly.
  2. always pronounce the "an" case ending at the end of an utterance (sentence) with a "aa"
  3. Do not pronounce certain letters. For example in the words baHr and jisr the r at the end should be silent, due to complex pronunciation rules.
  4. nasalize n sounds where appropriate (this is goverened by rules)
  5. Talk slowly. The main reason cartoons don't sound like classical arabic is because the words are pronounced quickly.
  6. pronounce jeem properly. It can be pronounced as "g" in classicalisms but usually this pronunciation is attributed to the non-traditional-arabs (example: Spanish characters in Andalus related dramas OR Byzantine king). Never pronounce it as "zh".
  7. Allow kaaf to be pronounced (voiced) as a hard "g" sound sometimes, provided that jeem is not pronounced with the hard "g" sound already.

Bibliography

  • Holes, Clive (2004) Modern Arabic: Structures, Functions, and Varieties Georgetown University Press. ISBN 1589010221
  • Versteegh, Kees (2001) The Arabic Language Edinburgh University Press ISBN 0748614362 (Ch.5 available in link below)

See also

Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... Fuṣḥa is a collective term referring to the standardized, non-spoken varieties of the Arabic language, as opposed to the spoken varieties of Arabic. ... Modern Standard Arabic is the dialect of Arabic used in almost all writing and in formal spoken contexts. ... Egyptian Arabic is a dialect of Arabic spoken in Egypt - and more specifically, the prestige dialect spoken in the northern Nile Delta region and its urban centers Cairo and Alexandria. ...

External links

  • The Development of Classical Arabic

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