Student Publications

Author: Al Amin Jalloh
Title: Introduction to Arabic

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Available for Download: Yes

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This book presents a comprehensive comparative analysis in Tenses between three
languages (Arabic, French and English). The objective is to make foreign language
acquisition easier for native speakers, comparing numerous linguistics and grammatical
aspects of each language to each other.
The Study is divided into eight chapters: The first chapter is introduction to Arabic
language, Arabic Non- Indo-European, Standard Arabic and Dialects. The second chapter
is linguistic comparison between the three languages in active and passive. The third
chapter is the characteristic of Arabic language in term of sentence structure and
conciseness. The fourth chapter is elements of grammar I deals with gender and plural,
personal pronoun, possessive adjective between the three languages. The fifth chapter is
elements of grammar II deals with background of Arabic syntax, tenses in Arabic, French
and English, interrogative and negative between the three languages. The sixth chapter is
elements of grammar III deals with definite and indefinite articles in the three languages
differences and similarities. The seventh chapter is elements of grammar IV which deals
with way of expressing "Almost" in Arabic, French and English. The Chapter eight is
grammar exercises which will be as a practical application for learning and understanding
tenses in all three languages (Arabic, French and English).


Table of Contents

1. Cover sheets....................................................................1
2. Abstract.........................................................................2
3. Table of contents...............................................................3
4. Introduction to Arabic........................................................4
5. Previous studies..................................................................5
6. The Important of Arabic language.........................................6
7. Non- Indo European language..............................................8
8. Modern Standard Arabic.....................................................8
9. Differences between Standard Arabic and Dialects Arabic............9
10. Conclusion......................................................................12
11. Bibliography....................................................................14


I- Introduction to Arabic
In the Name of Allah
The Most Gracious the Most Merciful

The Glory of Arabic Language is that; The Holy Qur'an has been revealed in
Arabic language.
"Verily, we have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that you may understand."1

"And among his signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference in your
languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge."
The Holy Koran (AL RUM;22).2

Language is the most important phenomenon in life. It is the way of expression and
communication between people, which is, in general, the case of all languages. However,
the Arabic language has other special characteristics; it is not only the language of
communication and dialogue but has also been chosen by The Almighty as the language
of The Holy Koran, the book which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be
upon Him (PBUH).

The Arabic language is a miraculous language in terms of style and eloquence. It has
unique specifications, which you cannot find in other languages. It is wide and deep in
meaning and can only be fully understood in its context.

In comparison with French and English languages are international languages which are
spoken worldwide. More than one and half billion people speak English and French as a
second language. Even the French, who are very proud of their mother tongue and more
sensitive and cautious towards foreign languages specially English, have eventually
realized the importance of English language and they have introduced intensive English
language courses in their schools.

Moreover, some departments at universities and colleges require English language
because most of the subjects are taught in English. Incidentally, we notice that English is
the most widely used language in the world. If a group of people from different countries
is gathered in one place, the only language of communication in that situation is English
not Chinese, or Indian or any European languages.

Learning foreign languages especially French and English can help us understand
different cultures. It also builds confidence in interacting with others. Nowadays English

1 The holy Qur'an, chapter12, verse 2
2 The Holy Qur'an, chapter30, Verse22


has reached its highest level of popularity by becoming the medium of communication
between millions of Internet users worldwide.

I would like to emphasize that language is not only a way of communication, but it's a
way of thinking as well. Research has shown that bilingual speakers have more
opportunities and choices than those who are monolingual. Research has also shown a
bilingual speaker has more opportunities to think broadly than a person who speaks one
Thus the need to learn a second language and understand its tenses is of vital importance.

Previous studies:

The importance of language and its usage is to understand its tenses. From this point we
find the Arabic language textbooks talk about tenses in general but not in sequence. From
here, the research becomes very important.
(Tenses in Arabic, French and English Comparative Analysis) to help students
understand between (morphological division and syntax) in Arabic, French and English.
I find myself motivated to write about this topic as a research proposal for my PhD to
facilitate the task of learning English, French or Arabic as a second language. The reason
why I choose this topic is that learning Arabic or French as a second language becomes
difficult because of the differences between languages, especially learning tenses. There
are also other obstacles to a successful language learning experience such as the Arabic
language textbooks and teaching styles of language teachers. Research in comparative
languages is very beneficial to facilitate the learning of a second language.

As a language teacher, I am very aware of the difficulties faced by second language
students. One of the difficulties is learning tenses and how to use them in writing or
speaking. Thus the importance of learning tenses through comparative analysis can helps
the students to quickly see the similarities and differences. The success will definitely
motivate and create a desire for the students to learn the target language.
The Arabic language is the key to understanding a group of 22 nations and over 200
million native Arabic speakers. There are also over a billion Muslims who use Arabic as
their liturgical language.


1. The important of Arabic Language:
1.1 Arabic is a Semitic language close to Hebrew Aramaic and Amharic, and more
distantly related to certain language families of North Africa.
Arabic has a vast literary heritage dating back to the pre-Islamic era (5th and 6th
centuries, A.D.). It is today the native language of over 200 million people as well as the
liturgical language for over a billion Muslims throughout the world.
1.2. The Arab world shows strong linguistic and cultural continuity. Arabic is the official
language of countries from North Africa to the Arabian Gulf (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt,
Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen). Although geography (including
great distances and topographical barriers such as deserts and mountain ranges) has
fostered diversity of regional vernaculars, a shared history, cultural and literary
background and (to a considerable extent) religion acts to unify Arab society and give it a
strong sense of cohesion.
1.3 Economic
In the past three decades the world has witnessed the emergency of the Arab world as a
centre of attraction and strategic place for business, development , industry and socio-
political, which has created a situation of competition for capturing the West Asian
markets and to establish economic and trade relations with the Arab countries. Here we
realized the important of learning and understanding the Arabic language.
1.4. Arabic literature
Arabic is the richest of all the Semitic family of languages. Arabic is known to have
originated from the south- west Semitic subfamily. It is divided into two branches: the
Northern and the Southern. Each of the subdivisions may be further subdivided into
minor dialects that developed, shaped and spread with distinct regional distinct regional
Spoken or colloquial Arabic is not generally written down; none of the dialects are
"taught" in the Arab world because they are acquired as mother tongues; therefore the
idea of teaching the spoken vernacular in a formal classroom setting is unfamiliar to most
native speakers of Arabic. Nonetheless, speaking skills are important and necessary for
students whose goals include travel to live, study or work in an Arab country, so some
universities offer courses in dialects such as Egyptian, Levantine, Peninsular, Gulf and
Iraqi. There is a fairly extensive range of materials available for teaching specific Arabic
Formal Spoken Arabic (FSA) or Educated Spoken Arabic (ESA) A pragmatic option for
teaching generalized Arabic speaking skills is to use the kind of Arabic spoken by native
speakers with each other when they come from different dialect areas, or when they


elevate their everyday colloquial language to a higher level (in speaking with a professor,
for example, or a dignitary on an official occasion). This type of Arabic has been
documented by both western and Arab authors.
Pertaining to its linguistic classification, Arabic linguists classify the language under
various categories e.g. Semitic, Afro-Asiatic, and Hamito-Semitic. The Arabic language
shares many phonological, morphological, lexical, and syntactic traits with other Semitic
languages such as Assyrian, and Hebrew (Barber 1964: pp.73-75, Brill 1960:p. 753,
Bakalla 1984: p.4)
The Quraishi Arabic was the major dialect of Mecca through which the Holy prophet
Mohamed Peace Be Upon Him, received the Quranic revelation. (Chejne 1968: pp.6-10,
Bakalla 1983:p.1)
The spread of Islam to the various regions of the world since the 7th century had had
much influence on the native languages which came directly or indirectly in contact with
it. Many languages in Asia, such like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei etc...Africa, and
Europe were influenced by Arabic at the levels of phonetics, grammar and vocabulary.
Numerous writers reported on the influence of Arabic on Islamic as well as non-Islamic
languages on various aspects; among these are Inayatullah (1942: pp52), Asmah (1975:
pp.39-40), Jadwat (1987: p.71), Abukhudairi (1990), Massignon (1950).
The extent to which one language can assimilate with another, as reported by Sapir
(1976: p.195) indicates the socio-cultural role that the particular language concerned will
play in the development of the other. This factor is apparently seen in the influence of
Arabic and South East Asian language such like Malay.
The prestige of the language of the Quran has brought about tremendous influence not
only on the Malay language but also on Malay culture. The Arabic script has been
adopted in the form of Jawi script and it represents an early form of Malay literacy.
Arabic as reported by Asmah (1979: p. 62-65: 1982: pp.123-129: 1987:pp.4-11), has also
enriched Malay on the phonemic, phonological, word; sentence level.
1.5. The Arabic language is a language of science, literature, politics, civilization, and
beside all these is the language of religion and worship. The Arabic language was able to
assimilate with different civilizations such like: Persian, Greek, and India, which are
contemporary to Arabic.


2. Non-Indo-European Origin
For English-speaking learners of Indo-European languages, foreign language input (both
written and spoken) is in some cases at least partially comprehensible because of cognate
lexical items (e.g., French industry for English "industry," the French verb denser for
English "to dance", etc.), familiar word structure and grammatical processes (e.g., making
nouns plural by adding a suffix such as '-s'). Arabic does not belong to the Indo-European
language family; it belongs to the Semitic family, which also includes Hebrew, Amharic
and Aramaic. It therefore has few cognates with English, and vocabulary learning is one
of the biggest challenges in learning Arabic. Moreover, there are striking structural and
conceptual differences (such as the internal plural for nouns and the existence of a "dual"
category for nouns, adjectives, verbs and pronouns) that take time for English or French
speakers to internalize.
2.1. Non-Roman Script
Arabic script is cursive and is read from right to left. Because it is cursive, letters within
words are connected, somewhat like English handwriting, and for a beginner, the script
may look impenetrable. Although it looks complicated, however, Arabic orthography is
actually more systematic than English and French, with much better "fit" or consistency
between spelling and pronunciation.
2.2. Description of Arabic
The Arabic and English phonological systems vary extensively, not only in the range of
sounds used, also in the relative importance of vowels and consonants in expressing
meaning. While English has 22 vowels and diphthongs to 24 consonants, Arabic has only
eight vowels and diphthongs to 32 consonants.

3. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)
Most Schools and Universities choose to focus on literacy in Arabic as the basic skill
when teaching Arabic as a Second Language. The modern written language is called
Modern Standard Arabic or MSA (in Arabic, FUSHAA). It is the language of all
contemporary Arabic written publications as well as the language of the Arabic broadcast
media. It contrasts somewhat with classical Arabic, the Arabic of the Qur'an and classical
Arabic literature, but the gap is reflected more in topic, vocabulary, and style than it is in
grammatical structure. A range of excellent MSA materials is available with sophisticated
video and audio support.
Arabic is an easy language to learn among many languages. You have always connection
between words and their derivatives and the grammar laws are logical. The problem
however is that most of the methods which have been in use over the year to teach Arabic
leave a lot to be desired. There is what one may call an obsession and impatience to teach


Arabic grammar to people who lack even rudimentary knowledge of basic Arabic sounds
and words (Al-aswaat- wa al-huruf). The result of this approach is that people are able to
memorize complicated Arabic grammar laws and yet they remain unable to construct
simple Arabic sentences in speech and writing. I have known renowned Muslim scholars,
mostly from Africa, South East Asia, and those teaching in the Indo-Pakistan seminaries
in the West, who have spent many years of their lives teaching difficult classical Arabic
texts and grammar books through their own languages (Urdu, , English, Bahasa Melayu,
African dialects etc) and yet are unable to speak a few sentences in fluent Arabic or write
a simple Arabic letter or paper.
A person needs working knowledge of a language before she can start learning the
grammar of that language. When a person is able to read and understand sentences in a
given language, it becomes easier to study the grammar of that language. It is difficult
enough learning to recognize the Arabic letters and sounds let alone understanding the
grammatical concepts of a language which one is not familiar with. There are thus five
stages that need to be followed in presenting Arabic to total beginners:3
Here I would like to emphasize little bit about the differences between Standard Arabic
FUSHAA and Dialects Arabic AMIYYAH to provide a better understanding between the
two for the acquisition of Arabic language.
4. Differences between Standard Arabic and Dialect Arabic
A- Arabic dialects
4.1. Dialect is derived from Classical Arabic, spoken daily across North Africa and the
Middle East, which constitute the everyday spoken language.
2- Dialects are not typically written, although a certain amount of literature (particularly
plays and poetry) exists in many of them. They are often used to varying degrees in
informal spoken media, such as soap operas and talk shows. Literary Arabic or classical
Arabic is the official language of all Arab countries and is the only form of Arabic taught
in schools at all stages.

4.2. The main dialectal division is between the North African dialects and those of the
Middle East, followed by that between sedentary dialects and the more conservative
Bedouin dialects. Speakers of some of these dialects are unable to converse with speakers
of another dialect of Arabic; in particular, while Middle Easterners can generally
understand one another, they often have trouble understanding North Africans (although
the converse is not true, due to the popularity of Middle Eastern- especially Egyptian
films and other media).

3 Introducing Arabic Michael Mumisa. P10-11


The major groups are: 4
- Egyptian Arabic
- Maghreb Arabic ( Algerian Arabic, Tunisian Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Maltese
and western Libyan )
- Levantine Arabic ( Western Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian and Western Jordanian,
Cypriot Maronite Arabic )
- Iraqi Arabic ( Khuzestani Arabic ) with significant differences between the
more Arabian- like gilit- dialecs of the south and the more conservative geltu-
dialects of northern cities.
- Gulf Arabic ( Saudi Arabian, Western Iraq, Eastern Syrian, Jordanian and parts of
Oman )
- East Arabian Arabic ( Bahrain, Saudi Eastern Province, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, and
Oman )
Other Varieties include:
- Hassaniyyah ( in Mauritania and Western Sahara )
- Andalusi Arabic ( extinct, but important in literary history )
- Sudanese Arabic ( with continuum into Chad )
- Hijazi Arabic ( West coast of Saudi Arabia, Northern Saudi Arabia, Eastern
Jordan, Western Iraq )
- Najdi Arabic ( Najdi region of central Saudi Arabia )
- Yemen Arabic ( Yemen to Southern Saudi Arabia )
- Maltese, which is the spoken Mediterranean island of Malta, is the only one to
have established itself as a fully separate language, with independent literary
norms. It falls within the Maghreb Arabic group although numerous sound
changes have rendered it phonologically very different from its nearest relative,
Tunisian Arabic. It also contains a large number of Italian and English
Among all these dialects the famous one is the Egyptian dialect, because of its broad
exposure in entertainment across the Arabic world.
B- Standard Arabic
4.3. The Standard Arabic or MSA (in Arabic, FUSHAA) Is the language of all
contemporary Arabic written publications as well as the language of the Arabic
broadcast media. It contrasts somewhat with classical Arabic, the Arabic of the
Qur'an and classical Arabic literature, but the gap is reflected more in topic,
vocabulary, and style than it is in grammatical structure.
4.4. The Standard Arabic is the universal language of all Arabic-speaking worlds
which is understood by all Arabic speakers.

4 Arabic dialects Dr Ibrahim Anees, Egypt Cairo


4.5. Classical Arabic is the language of The Holy Qur'an and classical literature. It is
differs from standard Arabic mainly in style and vocabulary, some of which is
4.6. Standard Arabic is not acquiring as a mother tongue, but rather it learned as a
second language.
4.7. Standard Arabic is written in Arabic script. The earliest Arabic inscriptions is
date back to the 4th century AD, but the basis for Standard Arabic was laid down with
writing down of the Qur'an (probably 7th- 8th Centuries AD ). In the course of the 8th
and 9th Centuries the Holy Qur'an underwent standardization as a result of extensive
work by medieval Arabic grammarians. 5

5 Bakalla 1994, Belova1998a &1998b, Holes 1994, Suleiman 1994


Language is a human phenomenon, identity and the result of the human brain and body.
It's a way of expressing oneself, our surroundings and communicating with each other.
There is no doubt language has connection with all human activities and has effects on
It's impossible for someone to be proactive in a society without language to express
himself. Language is a distinctive human phenomenon amongst the creations of God.
Besides, animals use language as well but in a different way. Human beings have been
endowed with the power of speech. God has singled them with the power of thinking,
which makes them different from the rest of the creatures. God has given human beings
the power of mother tongue language acquisition, which usually takes place between the
age of two and five. There is an exception in case of illness or isolation which upsets the
language acquisition process.

Language is like a library you meet him in the society where God prescribe you to live. If
you live in a French society, you'll speak French; if you live in an Arab society you'll
speak Arabic.

Language is a voice. Voice is an auditory effect and the result of one's articulation parts
from gesticulation or motion. That will appear in a form of vibration in the outside air
from the mouth to the nose with correspond to those gesticulation, and the audition will
receive those vibration, then move through nerve to the brain to strengthening all the
symbols and to drawing out the meaning.
Language is rules and words like drawing, music, dancing, signals, motion etc.....
Language changes from time to time and place to place. The changes occur according to
laws. The changes happen in the sound or voice in words in sentences in its semantics

Language is a social phenomenon, which society imposes on one. It is a way of thinking
and behavior. Thus the language acquisition of an individual in a given society affects the
way he or she thinks and behaves.

Language has a relation with the values, cultures and beliefs of society.

Language has a strong relation with mind and culture. Without language there will be no
mind. Language provides one a picture of a particular society.

Language has a relation with the mind because when we talk we express ideas, also when
we think we talk but without words. It's impossible to have ideas without words to
express those ideas.

De Saussure "tries to give the difference between "speaking and language".

Speaking is an act or performance and language is the border of that movement.
Speaking is a behavior and language is the measurement of that behavior.
Speaking is a movement and language is the law of that movement.


There is a relation between language and culture "Dr Ahmad Amin". Language shows the
mind of a particular society. Language of each society shows the lifestyle of that society.

Here are some of the points of this assignment
1- The Glory of Arabic Language is that; The Holy Qur'an has been revealed in
Arabic language.
2- The Arabic language is the key to understanding a group of 22 nations and over
200 million native Arabic speakers.
3- There is also over 1.5 billion Muslims who use Arabic as their liturgical language
4- Arabic is a Semitic language close to Hebrew Aramaic
5- The Arabic language is a language of business, development and communication
6- Arabic is the richest of all the Semitic family of languages.
7- Modern Standard Arabic MSA (in Arabic, FUSHAA) is the language of all
contemporary Arabic written publications as well as the language of the Arabic
broadcast media.
8- Classical Arabic is the language of The Holy Qur'an and classical literature it is
differs from standard Arabic mainly in style and vocabulary, some of which is
9- Dialects are not written and there is no dictionary for dialects
This introduction provides a basic understanding of Arabic language to non-Arabic
speakers. It gives also a clear understanding between MSA and Dialects Arabic


1- The Noble Qur'an. English Translation of the meanings and commentary Dr
Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Dr Muhammad Muhsin khan. King Fahd
complex Saudi Arabia
2- Arabic dialects Dr Ibrahim Anees, Egypt Cairo 1965
3- Arabic Syntactic Errors: An investigation into the written composition of Malay
learners. Dr Abu el basher Ali Adam. Kl Phd. 1998
4- Bakalla, M.H Arab and Persian phonetics the encyclopedia of languages and
linguistics, Oxford 1994
5- Bateson, M C. 1967. Arabic Language Handbook. Washington: Center for
Applied Linguistics.
6- Farihah Anees, lectures in Arabic dialects Arab league 1955
7- Formal Spoken Arabic Georgetown Karin c. Ryding, David J. Mehall 2005
8- Introducing Arabic Michael Mumisa, Good word Books, New Delhi, 2003
9- Mariikh Adel. The old Arabic and dialects Abu-Dhabi
10- Standard Arabic. Eckehard Schulz Gunther Krahl Wolfgang Reuschel Cambridge
11- Sulaiman, M. Y. I. H. 1994. "Arabic Linguistic Tradition". In: Asher, R. E.,
editor-in-chief. "The Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics". Vol. 1, pp.
194202. Oxford:
12- Time in Language, Malik Yousif Al- Muttalabi, PhD1994 University of Baghdad


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