Arabic -- qawsitaliyya?

13 views
Skip to first unread message

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 3:59:18 AM6/21/04
to
qawsTaliyya? qaaSTali9a?
kaSDali9a? (It sounds more like qaaf though.)

It's driving me crazy -- this word is used by Al Jazeera during
each "programming preview" and I think it means something
like "commercial" or "commercial break" or just "break" or
if Tala9 is in the root, maybe it means "coming up".

I am uncertain as to the spelling of course, and there are
so many consonant sounds I suspect it might be two words
or even (the rare) compound.

[Please supply the root letters too if you know them....thanks]

Does anyone have any Internet links to "media word lists" such
as would be peculiar to Arabic radio/television etc?

Good book recommendations? (I have seen one or two focused
on media words but no nothing of their quality.)


BTW: I have obtained "Arabic Key Words" by David Quitregard.
This vocabulary is derived from: "fiction, drama, essays,
historical/geographical/scientific works, magazines from 9
countries, films from seven countries, radio from 12 countries,
television from 8 countries, children's books, and literary histories".
MINUS: "...removed words considered offensive, borrowings
from foreign languages, slang, and colloquial terminology of
purely local or regional interest."

It would be excellent, except it suffers from one of the most
atrocious transliteration schemes ever devised -- one suitable
for tourists who do not care about differences in H and h, D and
d or DH, or even hamza versus 'ain.

Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"
this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.

I am converting it (slowly) to decent transliteration and vowelled
script but that is going to take me quite some time.

--
Herb Martin

Ruud Harmsen

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 4:08:42 AM6/21/04
to
Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:59:18 GMT: "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>: in
sci.lang:

>Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"
>this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
>two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.

Moreover, Hans Wehr is not arranged aphabetically, but by root. A good
thing, I think, but it can make it difficult to find words.

--
Ruud Harmsen <r...@rudhar.com> - http://rudhar.com

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 8:21:23 AM6/21/04
to
"Ruud Harmsen" <realemail...@rudhar.com> wrote in message
news:eq5dd0df0q2v6evet...@4ax.com...

> Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:59:18 GMT: "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>: in
> sci.lang:
>
> >Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"
> >this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
> >two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.
>
> Moreover, Hans Wehr is not arranged aphabetically, but by root. A good
> thing, I think, but it can make it difficult to find words.

Sorry for the poor humor, that's what I meant by Alef-Baa....

I don't have much trouble with roots when I can hear them clearly.

There are times -- and listening to radio or tv are offer the most
common exaples -- when a transliterated/English alphabetic
Arabic dictionary would be preferrable.

[I don't own a decent such dictionary however.]

When searching for "just" the derived word, English-transliteration
order would make sense.

--
Herb Martin

Raymond Roy

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 11:10:26 AM6/21/04
to
Le Mon, 21 Jun 2004 10:08:42 +0200, Ruud Harmsen
<realemail...@rudhar.com> écrivit :

>Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:59:18 GMT: "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>: in
>sci.lang:
>
>>Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"
>>this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
>>two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.
>
>Moreover, Hans Wehr is not arranged aphabetically, but by root. A good
>thing, I think, but it can make it difficult to find words.
>

All serious Arabic dictionaries list words according to roots. This
method compels you to understand the profound nature of the language and
allows you to *tremendously* enrich your vocabulary with a minimum
effort.

I have bought at the beginning and by mistake a dictionary where for
instance the word 'maktaba' is listed under the letter 'm', instead of
under 'k', as it should be. If you ever possess one, consider using it
to light your charcoal this summer.

Raymond


Raymond

Ruud Harmsen

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 12:59:12 PM6/21/04
to
Mon, 21 Jun 2004 15:10:26 GMT: belami...@sympatico.ca (Raymond
Roy): in sci.lang:

>All serious Arabic dictionaries list words according to roots. This
>method compels you to understand the profound nature of the language and
>allows you to *tremendously* enrich your vocabulary with a minimum
>effort.
>
>I have bought at the beginning and by mistake a dictionary where for
>instance the word 'maktaba' is listed under the letter 'm', instead of
>under 'k', as it should be. If you ever possess one, consider using it
>to light your charcoal this summer.

I agree. Still, it can be difficult. E.g. for a long time, I didn't
manage to find 'intifada', because I failed to realise that the t is
an infix. Especially in the case of transcriptions in French or
English, looking up the underlying Arabic word can be hard. Not if you
know the langauge very well already, but then you don't need the
dictionary as often.

If electronic dictionaries are or become available, I suppose they'll
have both methods, e.g. an alfabetically ordered index that points to
the root-ordered entries. There could also computer-aided lookups of
all candidate words based on ambiguous transliterations, so that a d
is looked up as d, dh, and .d etc. Doing this by hand in a paper
dictionary greatly enhances looking-up times.


--

Herman Rubin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 1:07:04 PM6/21/04
to
In article <7pABc.11372$M96....@fe2.texas.rr.com>,

Herb Martin <ne...@LearnQuick.com> wrote:
>"Ruud Harmsen" <realemail...@rudhar.com> wrote in message
>news:eq5dd0df0q2v6evet...@4ax.com...
>> Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:59:18 GMT: "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>: in
>> sci.lang:

>> >Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"
>> >this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
>> >two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.

>> Moreover, Hans Wehr is not arranged aphabetically, but by root. A good
>> thing, I think, but it can make it difficult to find words.

However, considering the structure of Semitic languages,
it can be much easier. I do not understand Arabic, although
I can sometimes get some from the relation to Hebrew, but
I find that the Hebrew written without vowels is usually
easier than the spoken. There is much less to learn in
the grammar-based approach.
--
This address is for information only. I do not claim that these views
are those of the Statistics Department or of Purdue University.
Herman Rubin, Department of Statistics, Purdue University
hru...@stat.purdue.edu Phone: (765)494-6054 FAX: (765)494-0558

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 2:09:01 PM6/21/04
to
> All serious Arabic dictionaries list words according to roots. This
> method compels you to understand the profound nature of the language and
> allows you to *tremendously* enrich your vocabulary with a minimum
> effort.
>
> I have bought at the beginning and by mistake a dictionary where for
> instance the word 'maktaba' is listed under the letter 'm', instead of
> under 'k', as it should be. If you ever possess one, consider using it
> to light your charcoal this summer.

Send it to me?

I thoroughly agree about the preference for the root order
dictionary, but the value of phonetic dictionary while less
is much greater than zero, especially where the goal is to
find a word rapidly (my example is watching TV) and
perhaps look it up later in a root order dictionary.

Another responder mentioned "computer dictionaries" and
I have one that organizes searches by first letter (Arabic order
which is find) and it is quite useful although I use it less than
another one that requires me to "get the letters correct."

Ideally, a dictionary would let you look up words by all of
these: root, phonetic, pattern-match (grep), synonyms, etc.

With paper dictionaries that is impractical for serious
dictionaries but for computer versions we will hopefully
see a quality Arabic dictionary like this.


--
Herb Martin


"Raymond Roy" <belami...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:40d6f87b...@news1.sympatico.ca...


> Le Mon, 21 Jun 2004 10:08:42 +0200, Ruud Harmsen
> <realemail...@rudhar.com> écrivit :
>
> >Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:59:18 GMT: "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>: in
> >sci.lang:
> >
> >>Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"
> >>this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
> >>two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.
> >
> >Moreover, Hans Wehr is not arranged aphabetically, but by root. A good
> >thing, I think, but it can make it difficult to find words.
> >
>

Raymond Roy

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 2:45:09 PM6/21/04
to
Le Mon, 21 Jun 2004 18:09:01 GMT, "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>
écrivit :

>> All serious Arabic dictionaries list words according to roots. This
>> method compels you to understand the profound nature of the language and
>> allows you to *tremendously* enrich your vocabulary with a minimum
>> effort.
>>
>> I have bought at the beginning and by mistake a dictionary where for
>> instance the word 'maktaba' is listed under the letter 'm', instead of
>> under 'k', as it should be. If you ever possess one, consider using it
>> to light your charcoal this summer.
>
>Send it to me?

Sorry, but the didactic part (history, grammar, etc.) rescue the value
of the book. The 'dictionary' part is a waste of paper.


>I thoroughly agree about the preference for the root order
>dictionary, but the value of phonetic dictionary while less
>is much greater than zero, especially where the goal is to
>find a word rapidly (my example is watching TV) and
>perhaps look it up later in a root order dictionary.
>
>Another responder mentioned "computer dictionaries" and
>I have one that organizes searches by first letter (Arabic order
>which is find) and it is quite useful although I use it less than
>another one that requires me to "get the letters correct."
>
>Ideally, a dictionary would let you look up words by all of
>these: root, phonetic, pattern-match (grep), synonyms, etc.
>
>With paper dictionaries that is impractical for serious
>dictionaries but for computer versions we will hopefully
>see a quality Arabic dictionary like this.

I never had the opportunity to use an Arabic electronic dictionary, but
I am anxious to do so. Ideally, such a dictionary should be able to
extract the root of any word, disregarding prefixes like 'ist-', 'int-',
'ma-', 'mi-', etc. Seeing all related words on the same page is a great
advantage for a learner.

Raymond

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 4:09:14 PM6/21/04
to
> >Ideally, a dictionary would let you look up words by all of
> >these: root, phonetic, pattern-match (grep), synonyms, etc.
> >
> >With paper dictionaries that is impractical for serious
> >dictionaries but for computer versions we will hopefully
> >see a quality Arabic dictionary like this.
>
> I never had the opportunity to use an Arabic electronic dictionary, but
> I am anxious to do so.

You can try a very complete but limited functionality one online:
<
http://dictionary.ajeeb.com/idrisidic_2.asp?Site=1&Src_L=eng_eng1&DestLang=Ar >
<
http://dictionary.ajeeb.com/idrisidic_1.asp?Site=1&Src_L=eng_ara1&DestLang=En >

This offers some slight correction if you type a similar word but
no signicant

--
Herb Martin


"Raymond Roy" <belami...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message

news:40d72a83...@news1.sympatico.ca...


> Le Mon, 21 Jun 2004 18:09:01 GMT, "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com>
> écrivit :
>
> >> All serious Arabic dictionaries list words according to roots. This
> >> method compels you to understand the profound nature of the language
and
> >> allows you to *tremendously* enrich your vocabulary with a minimum
> >> effort.
> >>
> >> I have bought at the beginning and by mistake a dictionary where for
> >> instance the word 'maktaba' is listed under the letter 'm', instead of
> >> under 'k', as it should be. If you ever possess one, consider using it
> >> to light your charcoal this summer.
> >
> >Send it to me?
>
> Sorry, but the didactic part (history, grammar, etc.) rescue the value
> of the book. The 'dictionary' part is a waste of paper.
>
>
> >I thoroughly agree about the preference for the root order
> >dictionary, but the value of phonetic dictionary while less
> >is much greater than zero, especially where the goal is to
> >find a word rapidly (my example is watching TV) and
> >perhaps look it up later in a root order dictionary.
> >
> >Another responder mentioned "computer dictionaries" and
> >I have one that organizes searches by first letter (Arabic order
> >which is find) and it is quite useful although I use it less than
> >another one that requires me to "get the letters correct."
> >
>

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 4:27:26 PM6/21/04
to

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 21, 2004, 4:27:25 PM6/21/04
to
[I accidentally sent one version of this message before I finished editing;
please excuse if you saw that one.]

"Raymond Roy" <belami...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message

news:40d72a83...@news1.sympatico.ca...

> >Ideally, a dictionary would let you look up words by all of
> >these: root, phonetic, pattern-match (grep), synonyms, etc.
> >
> >With paper dictionaries that is impractical for serious
> >dictionaries but for computer versions we will hopefully
> >see a quality Arabic dictionary like this.
>
> I never had the opportunity to use an Arabic electronic dictionary, but
> I am anxious to do so.

You can try a very complete but limited functionality one online:
<
http://dictionary.ajeeb.com/idrisidic_2.asp?Site=1&Src_L=eng_eng1&DestLang=Ar >
<
http://dictionary.ajeeb.com/idrisidic_1.asp?Site=1&Src_L=eng_ara1&DestLang=En >

This offers some slight correction if you type a similar word but

no sign morphological analysis nor any pattern matching
search.

> Ideally, such a dictionary should be able to
> extract the root of any word, disregarding prefixes like 'ist-', 'int-',
> 'ma-', 'mi-', etc. Seeing all related words on the same page is a great
> advantage for a learner.

This is the real of morphological analysis -- there are some efforts on
this being made, and there may even be some (very expensive) dictionaries
(Sakhr I believe) based on these ideas.

Note: These would not be expensive for a "professional" Arabist perhaps,
but for my casual use they are, i.e., in the $200-$2000 (or more) range.

I have the very cheap Ectaco dictionary which offers Arabic-Alphabetical
searches and pure "find match" queries, but with no pattern matching or
wildcarding -- e.g., you can search for all words with KTB, but you will
miss KTAB etc. while you will find MKTB etc. (short vowels are not
significant nor shown in this dictionary which hurts it.)

Fonts are too small (and not adjustable.) It's really a crappy old Win98
program that hasn't been updated nor does it offer a standard user
interface,
but the dictionary is fairly large.

Ectaco's main advantage is the same dictionary runs on my PDA (and
my phone is a PocketPC) so that I take it with me wherever I go.)

I am considering writing a (simple) Perl search tool for the downloadable
dictionaries and words lists that I do have -- something that would do
D/d T/t DH/dh A-a etc. matching and allow true regular expressions,
e.g. "Find all words starting with [Optional M], then Q or K with some
more optional letters then L then Y, while ignoring short vowels".

Perl does this rather handily, and I just have to deal with the character
encodings (Perl's pretty good at this too) and build the "sounds like
table" so that one doesn't need to enter them every time.

It would be nice to merely have Hans Wehr searchable 'as-is' by
computer. <grin>

I saw an Computer Al Mawrid for ~$60 (US) and wonder if that is any good.

Maybe some one will comment on the best/most affordable Arabic
computer dictionaries.

--
Herb Martin


LEE Sau Dan

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 4:39:26 AM6/22/04
to
>>>>> "Herb" == Herb Martin <ne...@LearnQuick.com> writes:

Herb> Ideally, a dictionary would let you look up words by all of
Herb> these: root, phonetic, pattern-match (grep), synonyms, etc.

Herb> With paper dictionaries that is impractical for serious
Herb> dictionaries

Why not? Except for pattern-match, all the others are possible. Root
can be the primary order. Then, an index can be added for the
phonetics. Synonyms? Add a "see also" clause to each entry.


Herb> but for computer versions we will hopefully see a quality
Herb> Arabic dictionary like this.

Pattern-match is possible with computers. Otherwise, a paper-based
one can do the job. I don't like having to turn on a computer just to
look up a word. I'd rather not look it up.

--
Lee Sau Dan 李守敦 ~{@nJX6X~}

E-mail: dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de
Home page: http://www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/~danlee

LEE Sau Dan

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 4:36:26 AM6/22/04
to
>>>>> "Herman" == Herman Rubin <hru...@odds.stat.purdue.edu> writes:

Herman> However, considering the structure of Semitic languages,
Herman> it can be much easier. I do not understand Arabic,
Herman> although I can sometimes get some from the relation to
Herman> Hebrew, but I find that the Hebrew written without vowels
Herman> is usually easier than the spoken.

So, the vowel-less writing system isn't deficient. It simply fits the
nature of the languages: word roots are consonant based. So, words
become easier to recognize when they're free of the "pollution" of
vowel markers.


I have for some time felt mysterious about how the consonant-based
root system works. How the maktabu, kitab, ... work. But after
studying German, I've realized that the Semitic languages are not
alone:

German: fahren, fährt, fuhr, gefahren

are different conjugations of the verb "to travel/go". They share the
same "root consonants". Only the vowel changes. The noun form is:

German: Fahrt

Again, it's based on f-r. This is not an isolated example. German
has lots of such things:

geben, gibt, gab, gegeben, Gabe
fangen, fängt, fing, gefangen, Fang
sprechen, spricht, sprach, gesprochen, Sprach


Having realized this, I started to rediscovered that English has
similar things (English is Germanic!):

speak, spoke, spoken, speech
give, gave, given, gift
...

Myb, ths lnggs wld bcm sr t rd ftr drpng th vwls (nd ftr th rdr s
rtrnd). :)

Herman Rubin

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 12:18:11 PM6/22/04
to
In article <m3hdt4x...@mika.informatik.uni-freiburg.de>,

LEE Sau Dan <dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de> wrote:
>>>>>> "Herman" == Herman Rubin <hru...@odds.stat.purdue.edu> writes:

> Herman> However, considering the structure of Semitic languages,
> Herman> it can be much easier. I do not understand Arabic,
> Herman> although I can sometimes get some from the relation to
> Herman> Hebrew, but I find that the Hebrew written without vowels
> Herman> is usually easier than the spoken.

>So, the vowel-less writing system isn't deficient. It simply fits the
>nature of the languages: word roots are consonant based. So, words
>become easier to recognize when they're free of the "pollution" of
>vowel markers.

It is not quite that simple. The vowel-less system is
somewhat deficient, and even with the vowel sounds, but
not other markings, can still be ambiguous. And even
with the vowel sounds, there are nouns and verbs which
are completely identical.

>I have for some time felt mysterious about how the consonant-based
>root system works. How the maktabu, kitab, ... work. But after
>studying German, I've realized that the Semitic languages are not
>alone:

> German: fahren, fhrt, fuhr, gefahren

>are different conjugations of the verb "to travel/go". They share the
>same "root consonants". Only the vowel changes. The noun form is:

> German: Fahrt

>Again, it's based on f-r. This is not an isolated example. German
>has lots of such things:

> geben, gibt, gab, gegeben, Gabe

> fangen, fngt, fing, gefangen, Fang


> sprechen, spricht, sprach, gesprochen, Sprach


>Having realized this, I started to rediscovered that English has
>similar things (English is Germanic!):

> speak, spoke, spoken, speech
> give, gave, given, gift
> ...

>Myb, ths lnggs wld bcm sr t rd ftr drpng th vwls (nd ftr th rdr s
>rtrnd). :)

The strong verbs in German, and almost all the irregular
verbs in English come from them, are of this form. I have
read that originally Indo-European had more vowel changing
and less in endings. Semitic verb conjugations have prefixes,
suffixes, and possibly an infix, all rather regular in Hebrew,
taking into account changes made necessary by certain letters
in certain places. Even the vowels are mostly regular, but
different vowels can mean different modifications.

But the Indo-European languages can have roots with the
same consonants but different vowels, and no common
origin. For example, consider the English words pat, pet,
pit, pot, put, peat, pout. I am not quite sure if all of
them have different roots, but there are enough of them
that a vowel-less system is clearly deficient.

Shorthand systems in English tend to leave out vowels,
but usually will find ways to insert them if necessary.

Alexander Magidow

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 12:52:06 PM6/22/04
to
I've found the following free online dictionary to be reasonably
useful(moreso for English->Arabic, since I didn't have such a dictionary
until fairly recently(Its the Al-Mawrid English->Arabic, though I think
it might not be designed for English speakers, but rather for Arabic
speakers reading English texts.) Ajeeb often works pretty well, but they
tried charging for it recently, so its not quite as reliable as it once
was.
http://www.almisbar.com/dict_page_a.html

As for alphabetical dictionaries, at a certain stage(including now) I've
found myself occasionally confounded by words from strange patterns with
weak vowels, and an alphabetical dictionary would be a godsend in those
situations- there are times when trying to extract the root can be
incredibly difficult. It doesn't help that so many schools use the
Al-Kitaab series, which really don't have a strong emphasis on the
various patterns that people will encounter(They just take too long to
teach any large amounts of grammar. And the vocabulary is inexplicable.
They teach you the words for overcrowding and humidity before they get
to a lot of much more useful words. ) which makes it harder to figure
out a root from an unusual word.

Alex

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 2:54:40 PM6/22/04
to
"LEE Sau Dan" <dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de> wrote in message
news:m3hdt4x...@mika.informatik.uni-"LEE Sau Dan"
<dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de> wrote in message
news:m3hdt4x...@mika.informatik.uni-> So, the vowel-less writing system

isn't deficient. It simply fits the
> nature of the languages: word roots are consonant based. So, words
> become easier to recognize when they're free of the "pollution" of
> vowel markers.

That's just a load of "rationalizing".

It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
language.

The writing was frozen in time 1200 years or so ago and has not
evolved as most language elements do to improve clarity in the
contexts in which the language is used.

All languages have something silly, this is just part of the burden
of Arabic.

English has the infamous fish=ghoti problem.
(and: tough, through, though, thought, bough, cough, sough, etc)


Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 3:04:41 PM6/22/04
to
> I've found the following free online dictionary to be reasonably
> useful(moreso for English->Arabic, since I didn't have such a dictionary
> until fairly recently(Its the Al-Mawrid English->Arabic, though I think
> it might not be designed for English speakers, but rather for Arabic
> speakers reading English texts.) Ajeeb often works pretty well, but they
> tried charging for it recently, so its not quite as reliable as it once
> was.
> http://www.almisbar.com/dict_page_a.html

That link is also Arabic-English (if it were free) so did you mean to
post another link for Al Mawrid?

That link above now charges -- and the Ajeeb links
I gave which remain free of charge:

<
http://dictionary.ajeeb.com/idrisidic_2.asp?Site=1&Src_L=eng_eng1&DestLang=Ar >
<
http://dictionary.ajeeb.com/idrisidic_1.asp?Site=1&Src_L=eng_ara1&DestLang=En >

Ajeeb is charging to "web page" and "sentence" translation -- it's
modest if you need it and if it works (I haven't paid or tried it because
the free demo is broken and that is not a good sign.)

So with Ajeeb it is important to enter it through the SIMPLE free
link pages rather than the "context translation" pages.

> As for alphabetical dictionaries, at a certain stage(including now) I've
> found myself occasionally confounded by words from strange patterns with
> weak vowels, and an alphabetical dictionary would be a godsend in those
> situations- there are times when trying to extract the root can be
> incredibly difficult. It doesn't help that so many schools use the
> Al-Kitaab series, which really don't have a strong emphasis on the
> various patterns that people will encounter(They just take too long to
> teach any large amounts of grammar. And the vocabulary is inexplicable.
> They teach you the words for overcrowding and humidity before they get
> to a lot of much more useful words. ) which makes it harder to figure
> out a root from an unusual word.

I intend to memorize that "Arabic Keywords" (2000 words) as one of
my next/current study steps and I am working on a list of 1800+ Iraqi
(mostly standard or close) verbs, 1000 verbs extracted from The
Rosetta Stone Arabic Levels I and II, and the companion diskette for
"Elementary Modern Standard Arabic" and "Intermediate Modern
Standard Arabic"

I may decide to do the Al Kitaab vocabulary lists (others have
already extracted this and offered lists on the Internet.)

Lest anyone misunderstand, this is merely my vocabular work; I am
working other sources/methods for conversation, reading, grammar,
etc.

After almost seven months of Arabic study Al Jazeera still largely
escapes my understanding but it seems to get a bit easier each day or so.

I can read and type Arabic, although my reading is very slowly,
and vowels are certainly necessary for any hope of being correct.

All help anyone can offer is solicited and appreciated.

--
Herb Martin


Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 3:14:43 PM6/22/04
to
"LEE Sau Dan" <dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de> wrote in message
news:m3d63sx...@mika.informatik.uni-freiburg.de...

> >>>>> "Herb" == Herb Martin <ne...@LearnQuick.com> writes:
>
> Herb> Ideally, a dictionary would let you look up words by all of
> Herb> these: root, phonetic, pattern-match (grep), synonyms, etc.
>
> Herb> With paper dictionaries that is impractical for serious
> Herb> dictionaries
>
> Why not? Except for pattern-match, all the others are possible.

Sorry, size is the main problem, either repeating everything or
using "limited indexing" which separates index from the body of
the definitions.

Paper is inherently two dimensional -- computers can be programmed
to work in arbitrary dimensions.

Ideallly, all human languages would be linked through hypertext
dictionaries so that you may search any subset or crosslink from one
to another -- look up an English word in Arabic, click to link on an
Arabic word in that definition to see it's meaning in either/both Arabic
and English side by side.

Then of course there is pattern matching which just isn't feasible on
paper.

> Root
> can be the primary order. Then, an index can be added for the
> phonetics. Synonyms? Add a "see also" clause to each entry.

One can improve on the current dictionaries but paper has limits
past which it isn't possible to progress without additional and
unconnected volumes.

> Herb> but for computer versions we will hopefully see a quality
> Herb> Arabic dictionary like this.
>
> Pattern-match is possible with computers. Otherwise, a paper-based
> one can do the job. I don't like having to turn on a computer just to
> look up a word. I'd rather not look it up.

I (almost) never turn on compters -- leaving them running keeps
them happy. <grin>

--
Herb Martin


>
>
> --
> Lee Sau Dan ??? ~{@nJX6X~}

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 6:53:22 PM6/22/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <Qf%Bc.14799$M96....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:
: "LEE Sau Dan" <dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de> wrote in message

: news:m3hdt4x...@mika.informatik.uni-"LEE Sau Dan"
: <dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de> wrote in message
: news:m3hdt4x...@mika.informatik.uni-> So, the vowel-less writing system
: isn't deficient. It simply fits the
:> nature of the languages: word roots are consonant based. So, words
:> become easier to recognize when they're free of the "pollution" of
:> vowel markers.

: That's just a load of "rationalizing".

: It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
: Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
: language.

part of the problem is diglossia.

: The writing was frozen in time 1200 years or so ago and has not


: evolved as most language elements do to improve clarity in the
: contexts in which the language is used.

: All languages have something silly, this is just part of the burden
: of Arabic.

vowelled arabic exists, there is some reluctance to use it for general
use. the main objection is that it puts a burden on the writer, who must
worry about case endings and details of pronounciation of words that may
vary in the colloquials. not requiring vowels sweeps many issues of
recitation under the rug, so to speak. otherwise the orthography has quite
adapted itself to the language, at least to the standard one.

mb

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 7:15:10 PM6/22/04
to
"Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> wrote

> That's just a load of "rationalizing".
>
> It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
> Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
> language.

How is that "trouble" greater than, say, the abysmal performance of
American children in a vowelled alphabet?

> The writing was frozen in time 1200 years or so ago and has not
> evolved as most language elements do to improve clarity in the
> contexts in which the language is used.

Vowel signs are routinely used when an an ambiguity is expected, even
in newsprint. After all, the primary purpose of writing for the native
speakers is surely not that of making life easy for foreign learners.
Those can still use elementary schoolbooks and vowelled special
publications.

Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 7:36:44 PM6/22/04
to
Herman Rubin wrote:

> Shorthand systems in English tend to leave out vowels,
> but usually will find ways to insert them if necessary.

Shorthand reporters are counseled to transcribe their notes within a day
or two, or they won't be able to reconstruct the materials accurately.
--
Peter T. Daniels gram...@att.net

Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 7:39:28 PM6/22/04
to
Herb Martin wrote:

> English has the infamous fish=ghoti problem.
> (and: tough, through, though, thought, bough, cough, sough, etc)

It may be infamous, but it's not a problem. <gh> does not indicate [f]
syllable-initially, <ti> does not indicate [S] finally, and <o> does not
indicate [I] except in the word <women>.

mb

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 12:06:57 AM6/23/04
to
Yusuf B Gursey <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote
> In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote
....

> : It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
> : Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
> : language.
>
> part of the problem is diglossia.

But that very is different from the diglossia that has plagued, say,
Greek: a popular standard could be developed easily to replace the
non-spoken high language, making the latter totally superfluous almost
overnight. In Arabic, even if intermediary areal standards could
develop, the need to continue learning and practicing international
standard Arabic as a high language would remain, wouldn't it?

Nigel Greenwood

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 10:58:23 AM6/23/04
to
"Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> wrote in message news:<qzwBc.10765$M96....@fe2.texas.rr.com>...

> qawsTaliyya? qaaSTali9a?
> kaSDali9a? (It sounds more like qaaf though.)
>
> It's driving me crazy -- this word is used by Al Jazeera during
> each "programming preview" and I think it means something
> like "commercial" or "commercial break" or just "break" or
> if Tala9 is in the root, maybe it means "coming up".
>

Back to the topic: does anyone have any suggestions?

Nigel

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 12:10:18 PM6/23/04
to
In sci.lang mb <azyt...@hotmail.com> wrote in <668d6151.04062...@posting.google.com>:
: Yusuf B Gursey <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote
:> In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote
: ....
:> : It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
:> : Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
:> : language.
:>
:> part of the problem is diglossia.

: But that very is different from the diglossia that has plagued, say,
: Greek: a popular standard could be developed easily to replace the
: non-spoken high language, making the latter totally superfluous almost
: overnight. In Arabic, even if intermediary areal standards could

educated varieties of colloquials are informally promoted by the media,
such as radio or TV talk shows or movies.

: develop, the need to continue learning and practicing international


: standard Arabic as a high language would remain, wouldn't it?

yes, as long as there is social and / or political sentiment in favor of
unity (and in this cultural sphere it has been getting more and more
succesful). I was talking about the nature of the difficulty children
face.

mb

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 8:36:49 PM6/23/04
to
Yusuf B Gursey <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote

> :> part of the problem is diglossia.


>
> : But that very is different from the diglossia that has plagued, say,
> : Greek: a popular standard could be developed easily to replace the
> : non-spoken high language, making the latter totally superfluous almost
> : overnight. In Arabic, even if intermediary areal standards could
>
> educated varieties of colloquials are informally promoted by the media,
> such as radio or TV talk shows or movies.
>
> : develop, the need to continue learning and practicing international
> : standard Arabic as a high language would remain, wouldn't it?
>
> yes, as long as there is social and / or political sentiment in favor of
> unity (and in this cultural sphere it has been getting more and more
> succesful). I was talking about the nature of the difficulty children
> face.

Right. I just doubt that it is any more than the difficulty of any
learning in a "high" language with a considerable distance from the
vernacular. Not anything inbuilt in the alphabet, as originally
suggested. All I have as Arabic is my EMSAs and regular newspaper
reading so I might be dead wrong, but it certainly looks as if, once
you master vocabulary and official grammar, voweling is irrelevant.
Not a different situation than that of Greek kids who had to plunge
into Katharevousa or Swiss Germans who still do into standard German,
with fully vowelized alphabets. The problem, i.e. mastery of a
different vocabulary and a substantially different grammar, remains.
Also, correct me if I am wrong, I believe that elementary-school
children in Arabic countries start with fully vowelized material as
training wheels (I don't know if they now also face the additional
difficulty we had in the bad old times, that of a total interdiction
of the vernacular in primary school).

I don't think it can be compared in any way to the old problem with
Osmanli, where the divorce of spelling from sound and the accumulation
of multiple layers of spelling conventions, with few rules and a lot
of ad-hoc learning, had made reading into a particulary complicated
task. Not the alphabet itself, again, but the spelling conventions.

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 8:41:04 PM6/23/04
to
"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message
news:cbca1a$j17$1...@pcls4.std.com...

I am convinced that you are both correct - as Yusuf said, "part of the
problem is diglossia" and yes, this extends from colloquial dialect
to modern spoken 'standard' Arabic to "modern standard" and into
classical Qur'anic Arabic.

It is my opinion that the word 'diglossia' itself ignores a large portion
of the problem -- it is really closer to 'triglossia' since most Arab
speakers
are also Muslim and required to study the Qur'an as well.

Even "standard" Arabic and the Arabic of TV and radio are probably
farther apart than in written and spoken English, unless we compare
some rather "lax English dialect" to national newscasters.

Another issue in Arabic is the lack of a truly "printed" form of the
writing. Computers are alleviated some of the affect of this, but
in English we find it much easier to teach young children to read
and write PRINT at first, and then introduce cursive only when they
are (semi) literate.

And this continues into adulthood where practially everything we
read is in printed format. Even the art of "letter writing" by hand
is falling to email and the Laserjet.


--
Herb Martin

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 8:41:08 PM6/23/04
to
> > It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
> > Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
> > language.
>
> How is that "trouble" greater than, say, the abysmal performance of
> American children in a vowelled alphabet?

Articles that I have read -- not scientific studies however -- have
indicated that lack of a printed and fully vowelled 'alphabet' makes
teaching Arabic children much harder and is responsible for some
portion of the higher illiteracy rates.

One would have to carefully factor poverty and other issues to determine
the amount but common sense (which can be wrong) agrees that just
the problem of teaching with this disadvantage is obvious.

> > The writing was frozen in time 1200 years or so ago and has not
> > evolved as most language elements do to improve clarity in the
> > contexts in which the language is used.
>

> Vowel signs are routinely used when an ambiguity is expected, even


> in newsprint. After all, the primary purpose of writing for the native
> speakers is surely not that of making life easy for foreign learners.
> Those can still use elementary schoolbooks and vowelled special
> publications.

But reducing the ambiguity is only part of the problem for the new
reader -- a large portion of learning to read is to recognize the
characters on the page correlated with some auditory information
already possessed by the reader.

If removing ambiguity were the issue, then teaching adults to read
English would be trivial.

Not that the ambiguity doesn't make it worse, but the lack of vowels
and the cursive script are a significant handicap.


--
Herb Martin


"mb" <azyt...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:668d6151.04062...@posting.google.com...

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 8:41:10 PM6/23/04
to
"Peter T. Daniels" <gram...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:40D8C3...@worldnet.att.net...

> Herb Martin wrote:
>
> > English has the infamous fish=ghoti problem.
> > (and: tough, through, though, thought, bough, cough, sough, etc)
>
> It may be infamous, but it's not a problem. <gh> does not indicate [f]
> syllable-initially, <ti> does not indicate [S] finally, and <o> does not
> indicate [I] except in the word <women>.

It's a joke to make a point -- which it does nicely.

Perhaps you prefer the study of (English) puhaniks?


Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 8:51:13 PM6/23/04
to
"Nigel Greenwood" <ndsg...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7a31b7bf.04062...@posting.google.com...

Please it is still driving me nuts.

If you watch Al Jazeera you will hear it just before the end of
almost every "coming attractions" advertisement break.

Generally if follows within a few seconds of the word
"mubashsheratun" (directly)-->>>(something) kawsitalya.

I have searched all (?) likely roots in Hans Wehr and in
the online Ajeeb, my Ectaco computer dictionary, and even
my Iraqi dictionary (Georgetown) which is very clear and cleanly
organized.


--
Herb Martin


Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 9:47:45 PM6/23/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <AqpCc.4060$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:
: "Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message

"classical Qur'anic Arabic" as opposed to another form of Qur'anic
Arabic??? :)


the Qur'an is a unique text, it has its own peculairities. no one is
expected to reproduce its idiom completely.

as for classical arabic vs. modern standard arabic, the differnces are not
too great, less than reading an english text of any age, and most people
are not expected to reproduce (old style) classical arabic in daily life,
except theologians.

: It is my opinion that the word 'diglossia' itself ignores a large portion


: of the problem -- it is really closer to 'triglossia' since most Arab
: speakers
: are also Muslim and required to study the Qur'an as well.

see above.

: Even "standard" Arabic and the Arabic of TV and radio are probably


: farther apart than in written and spoken English, unless we compare
: some rather "lax English dialect" to national newscasters.


there are various registers in reciting arabic. flexibility is usually
considered a plus in favor of ease.


: Another issue in Arabic is the lack of a truly "printed" form of the


: writing. Computers are alleviated some of the affect of this, but
: in English we find it much easier to teach young children to read
: and write PRINT at first, and then introduce cursive only when they
: are (semi) literate.

I don't find this a problem.


: And this continues into adulthood where practially everything we

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 10:05:43 PM6/23/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <qzwBc.10765$M96....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:

any ideas?

: qawsTaliyya? qaaSTali9a?


: kaSDali9a? (It sounds more like qaaf though.)

: It's driving me crazy -- this word is used by Al Jazeera during
: each "programming preview" and I think it means something
: like "commercial" or "commercial break" or just "break" or
: if Tala9 is in the root, maybe it means "coming up".

: I am uncertain as to the spelling of course, and there are
: so many consonant sounds I suspect it might be two words
: or even (the rare) compound.

: [Please supply the root letters too if you know them....thanks]

: Does anyone have any Internet links to "media word lists" such
: as would be peculiar to Arabic radio/television etc?

: Good book recommendations? (I have seen one or two focused
: on media words but no nothing of their quality.)


: BTW: I have obtained "Arabic Key Words" by David Quitregard.
: This vocabulary is derived from: "fiction, drama, essays,
: historical/geographical/scientific works, magazines from 9
: countries, films from seven countries, radio from 12 countries,
: television from 8 countries, children's books, and literary histories".
: MINUS: "...removed words considered offensive, borrowings
: from foreign languages, slang, and colloquial terminology of
: purely local or regional interest."

: It would be excellent, except it suffers from one of the most
: atrocious transliteration schemes ever devised -- one suitable
: for tourists who do not care about differences in H and h, D and
: d or DH, or even hamza versus 'ain.

: Given that the author recommends using it with "Hans Wehr"


: this is especially irritating since one must frequently look in
: two, four, or more places Alef-Baa-tically.

: I am converting it (slowly) to decent transliteration and vowelled
: script but that is going to take me quite some time.

: --
: Herb Martin

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 10:07:04 PM6/23/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <5ApCc.4066$OX2...@fe2.texas.rr.com>:
: "Nigel Greenwood" <ndsg...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message

: news:7a31b7bf.04062...@posting.google.com...
:> "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> wrote in message
: news:<qzwBc.10765$M96....@fe2.texas.rr.com>...
:> > qawsTaliyya? qaaSTali9a?
:> > kaSDali9a? (It sounds more like qaaf though.)
:> >
:> > It's driving me crazy -- this word is used by Al Jazeera during
:> > each "programming preview" and I think it means something
:> > like "commercial" or "commercial break" or just "break" or
:> > if Tala9 is in the root, maybe it means "coming up".
:> >
:>
:> Back to the topic: does anyone have any suggestions?

: Please it is still driving me nuts.

: If you watch Al Jazeera you will hear it just before the end of
: almost every "coming attractions" advertisement break.

: Generally if follows within a few seconds of the word
: "mubashsheratun" (directly)-->>>(something) kawsitalya.

muba:$aratan

sounds like a place name, garbled up?


: I have searched all (?) likely roots in Hans Wehr and in

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 1:48:30 AM6/24/04
to
No, it means "directly" or in this context I believe "immediately"
As in "coming up next".

It's off the root < bSHr > which has some slightly unpredictable
meanings (in my view at least) from 'rejoice' to 'bring good
news' to 'proselytize' to 'human' to 'direct' and thus 'directly.'


--
Herb Martin


"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message

news:cbdd08$vt4$3...@pcls4.std.com...

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 1:48:32 AM6/24/04
to
It's the 'qawsitalliyya' that is unknown.

--
Herb Martin


"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message
news:cbdd08$vt4$3...@pcls4.std.com...

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 1:48:34 AM6/24/04
to
"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message
news:cbdctn$vt4$2...@pcls4.std.com...

> In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in
<qzwBc.10765$M96....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:
>
> any ideas?
>
> : qawsTaliyya? qaaSTali9a?
> : kaSDali9a? (It sounds more like qaaf though.)

No, I am stuck with guesses about "episode" (TV),
"commercial" (advertisement), "break" (interuption),
since it seems to arise with almost clocklike regularity
right at the end of the "preview" short announcement,
and occurs even on other than the "standard" such
announcment.

After a while of watching any cable news channel one
develops a rythm and familiarity with the standard
announcements -- the dissonance this missing meaning
causes is of course the reason this word or phrase is
to irritating.

Too bad one of you "Arabic experts" doesn't listen to
Al Jazeera regularly.

--
Herb Martin


"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message

news:cbdctn$vt4$2...@pcls4.std.com...

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 1:58:36 AM6/24/04
to
"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> wrote in message
news:cbdbs1$vt4$1...@pcls4.std.com...

> : I am convinced that you are both correct - as Yusuf said, "part of the
> : problem is diglossia" and yes, this extends from colloquial dialect
> : to modern spoken 'standard' Arabic to "modern standard" and into
> : classical Qur'anic Arabic.
>
> "classical Qur'anic Arabic" as opposed to another form of Qur'anic
> Arabic??? :)

Admittedly redundant but redundancy is one of the methods
of all human language communication that eliminates much of
the opportunity for misunderstanding.

I wanted anyone reading it -- not just you -- to understand the
reference.

> the Qur'an is a unique text, it has its own peculiarities. no one is


> expected to reproduce its idiom completely.

> as for classical Arabic vs. modern standard Arabic, the differnces are not


> too great, less than reading an english text of any age, and most people
> are not expected to reproduce (old style) classical arabic in daily life,
> except theologians.

Of course and at the same time they must be able to understand the
older meanings and nuances of the classical even though their dialect
and modern Arabic differ.

> : It is my opinion that the word 'diglossia' itself ignores a large
portion
> : of the problem -- it is really closer to 'triglossia' since most Arab
> : speakers
> : are also Muslim and required to study the Qur'an as well.
>
> see above.
>
> : Even "standard" Arabic and the Arabic of TV and radio are probably
> : farther apart than in written and spoken English, unless we compare
> : some rather "lax English dialect" to national newscasters.
>
>
> there are various registers in reciting arabic. flexibility is usually
> considered a plus in favor of ease.

I don't fully understand but I suspect (knowing you) that there
is something interesting to learn here if you elaborate.

>
> : Another issue in Arabic is the lack of a truly "printed" form of the
> : writing. Computers are alleviated some of the affect of this, but
> : in English we find it much easier to teach young children to read
> : and write PRINT at first, and then introduce cursive only when they
> : are (semi) literate.
>
> I don't find this a problem.

That was never the point -- that others do, especially in teaching
children is the issue.

Even among adult, you seem to be something of an exception
judging from your posts.

What is your native language? In how many languages are you
fluent or even an "expert linguist"?

How many other languages do you have at least limited fluency?

I deal with the alphabet fairly effectively and actually only took
about a week to learn it and a few months to stop making most
errors of reading, but my impression is that even that is slow
by your own personal standards....

> : And this continues into adulthood where practically everything we


> : read is in printed format. Even the art of "letter writing" by hand

> : is falling to email and the LaserJet.


--
Herb Martin


mb

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 2:35:31 AM6/24/04
to
"Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> wrote
> Another issue in Arabic is the lack of a truly "printed" form of the
> writing. Computers are alleviated some of the affect of this, but
> in English we find it much easier to teach young children to read
> and write PRINT at first, and then introduce cursive only when they
> are (semi) literate.
>
> And this continues into adulthood where practially everything we
> read is in printed format. Even the art of "letter writing" by hand
> is falling to email and the Laserjet.

I fail to see any contribution of the cursive character to an alleged
difficulty in learning. If this concerned the rules for initial,
medial and final characters, all it takes is learning the few rules.
Not an obstacle to recognition. If it is about the cursive forms
themselves, printing has standardized the characters and reading
printed matter does not impose a greater variety than reading any
printed text in, say, Latin or Greek or Cyrillic or any other
alphabet. What you say continues into adulthood is not "print" in the
sense of handwritten capitals. The relative recognizability of the
print (i.e. standardized) characters is greater than that of, say,
usual Armenian fonts.

If it is about the variability of handwriting (which is the reason for
using capital letters under the name of "print"), it would be
surprising to hear that elementary teachers do not take pains to form
them large and clear enough to avoid ambiguity in the first months.

123

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 4:41:39 AM6/24/04
to
Do you mean, at the end of a program commercial preview : "moubasharatan fi
l'awqa't taliya" ?

This means : live (literaly : in direct) at these times
fi : at, in
al awqat : plural of "al waqt" : the time
at'taliya : the following

they use the plural for "time" as they present different cities times
(greenwich, mecca...).


"Yusuf B Gursey" <y...@TheWorld.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:cbdctn$vt4$2...@pcls4.std.com...

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 4:49:17 AM6/24/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <OWtCc.4127$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:
: No, it means "directly" or in this context I believe "immediately"

: As in "coming up next".

muba:$aratan was the correction to your "mubashsheratun" (see "123")

the other was a guess to your word in question, but thanks to "123" it
seesm cleared up.

: It's off the root < bSHr > which has some slightly unpredictable


: --
: Herb Martin

:>
:>


Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 4:51:40 AM6/24/04
to
In sci.lang 123 <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in <40da93ed$0$30919$626a...@news.free.fr>:

thanks.

: Do you mean, at the end of a program commercial preview : "moubasharatan fi


: l'awqa't taliya" ?

the sign ' is usually used in most romanization schemes to transliterate
the hamza in arabic, not to indicate a long vowel.

: This means : live (literaly : in direct) at these times

:>
:>
:>


Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 7:47:35 AM6/24/04
to

Unfortunately, to Shaw it wasn't a joke. It was just refusal to look at
the bigger picture.

Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 7:50:19 AM6/24/04
to
Herb Martin wrote:
>
> > > It's a crummy system, evidenced by the trouble that even
> > > Arabic children have learning to read and write their own
> > > language.
> >
> > How is that "trouble" greater than, say, the abysmal performance of
> > American children in a vowelled alphabet?
>
> Articles that I have read -- not scientific studies however -- have
> indicated that lack of a printed and fully vowelled 'alphabet' makes
> teaching Arabic children much harder and is responsible for some
> portion of the higher illiteracy rates.

By "printed," do you simply mean 'non-cursive'?

Surely comparative studies have been done on Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking
children in Israeli schools.

> One would have to carefully factor poverty and other issues to determine
> the amount but common sense (which can be wrong) agrees that just
> the problem of teaching with this disadvantage is obvious.
>
> > > The writing was frozen in time 1200 years or so ago and has not
> > > evolved as most language elements do to improve clarity in the
> > > contexts in which the language is used.
> >
> > Vowel signs are routinely used when an ambiguity is expected, even
> > in newsprint. After all, the primary purpose of writing for the native
> > speakers is surely not that of making life easy for foreign learners.
> > Those can still use elementary schoolbooks and vowelled special
> > publications.
>
> But reducing the ambiguity is only part of the problem for the new
> reader -- a large portion of learning to read is to recognize the
> characters on the page correlated with some auditory information
> already possessed by the reader.
>
> If removing ambiguity were the issue, then teaching adults to read
> English would be trivial.
>
> Not that the ambiguity doesn't make it worse, but the lack of vowels
> and the cursive script are a significant handicap.
--

Peter T. Daniels gram...@att.net

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 1:58:17 PM6/24/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <g4uCc.4133$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:

:> the Qur'an is a unique text, it has its own peculiarities. no one is


:> expected to reproduce its idiom completely.
:> as for classical Arabic vs. modern standard Arabic, the differnces are not
:> too great, less than reading an english text of any age, and most people
:> are not expected to reproduce (old style) classical arabic in daily life,
:> except theologians.

: Of course and at the same time they must be able to understand the
: older meanings and nuances of the classical even though their dialect
: and modern Arabic differ.

arabs are hardly unique in being taught older literature, and fo rthose
who are good at MSA older varieties of standard arabic are less of a
problem than those dealing with many other languges in simialr situations.

:> : It is my opinion that the word 'diglossia' itself ignores a large


: portion
:> : of the problem -- it is really closer to 'triglossia' since most Arab
:> : speakers
:> : are also Muslim and required to study the Qur'an as well.
:>
:> see above.
:>
:> : Even "standard" Arabic and the Arabic of TV and radio are probably
:> : farther apart than in written and spoken English, unless we compare
:> : some rather "lax English dialect" to national newscasters.
:>
:>
:> there are various registers in reciting arabic. flexibility is usually
:> considered a plus in favor of ease.

: I don't fully understand but I suspect (knowing you) that there
: is something interesting to learn here if you elaborate.

avoiding all the nuances of classical arabic is socially acceptable in
many situations, making accpetable reading easier.

:>
:> : Another issue in Arabic is the lack of a truly "printed" form of the


:> : writing. Computers are alleviated some of the affect of this, but
:> : in English we find it much easier to teach young children to read
:> : and write PRINT at first, and then introduce cursive only when they
:> : are (semi) literate.
:>
:> I don't find this a problem.

: That was never the point -- that others do, especially in teaching
: children is the issue.

: Even among adult, you seem to be something of an exception
: judging from your posts.

the cursive nature of the script was not a problem when I had learned it
relatively early, neither is it commonly cited as a problem.


Ben Zimmer

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 4:55:15 PM6/24/04
to
"Peter T. Daniels" wrote:
>
> Herb Martin wrote:
> >
> > "Peter T. Daniels" <gram...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
> > news:40D8C3...@worldnet.att.net...
> > > Herb Martin wrote:
> > >
> > > > English has the infamous fish=ghoti problem.
> > >
> > > It may be infamous, but it's not a problem. <gh> does not indicate [f]
> > > syllable-initially, <ti> does not indicate [S] finally, and <o> does not
> > > indicate [I] except in the word <women>.
> >
> > It's a joke to make a point -- which it does nicely.
> >
> > Perhaps you prefer the study of (English) puhaniks?
>
> Unfortunately, to Shaw it wasn't a joke. It was just refusal to look at
> the bigger picture.

There's no firm evidence that Shaw ever brought up "ghoti", jokingly or
not. There have been numerous investigations over on alt.usage.english
[1], and no one has found a solid attribution to Shaw. The first known
appearances of "ghoti" are not attached to Shaw at all -- here is the
earliest I've found using the ProQuest database:

In Lighter Vein
Christian Science Monitor, Aug 27, 1938, p. 17
A foreigner who insisted that "fish" should be spelled
"ghoti" explained it in this fashion: "Gh" is pronounced
as in "rough," the "o" as in "women," and the "ti" as in
"nation" -- so maybe he's right.

The following year James Joyce published _Finnegans Wake_, with the line
"Gee each owe tea eye smells fish." Then in 1943, the (London) Times
attributed "ghoti" directly to the phonetician Daniel Jones:

A Hard Spell For Fish
Professor Jones On Sounds And Letters
The Times, Nov 2, 1943, p. 2
Dr. Daniel Jones, Professor of Phonetics in University
College, London, speaking on "Reform of English Spelling,"
astonished his audience at the college last night by
suggesting the word "fish" could be spelled "ghoti."
According to our present standards, he said, "gh" was the
sound of "f" in "rough"; the letter "o" in "women" sounded
like "i"; and "ti" in "nation" was like the last two
letters in "fish."

It's odd that Jones would have used "ghoti" as an example of the
irrationality of English spelling for the reasons PTD mentioned, but
perhaps the Times exaggerated the significance of the anecdote in its
reporting. In any case, Jones and Shaw were probably linked in the
public consciousness by 1943 (Jones was said to a model for Shaw's Henry
Higgins; they served together on the BBC's Advisory Committee on Spoken
English; they both took an interest in spelling reform). So it's easy
to see how the "ghoti" story might have shifted from Jones to Shaw.

The first attribution to Shaw that I've found is (not surprisingly) from
Mario Pei:

Sidelines
Los Angeles Times, Jan 27, 1946, p. E2
Contributor Mario Pei, the well-known philologist, tells
us this story about George Bernard Shaw. Mr. Shaw has
long advocated spelling reform, and to back his stand,
it is said that he writes down the word "ghoti" and asks
people to pronounce it. After they give up he announces
"ghoti" spells fish -- the "gh" as in "enough," the "o"
as in "women," the "ti" as in "nation."

Pei repeated the Shaw attribution in his 1965 book _The Story of
Language_ ("Shaw is said to be responsible for the statement that 'fish'
could be spelled 'ghoti'"). Note that in both cases Pei does not give a
direct attribution to Shaw. But as with so many linguistic canards, it
looks like we have Pei to thank for linking Shaw to "ghoti".


[1] http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxwhat04.html
http://groups.google.com/groups?th=450fc4d4d80d9f69
http://groups.google.com/groups?th=6fc52bde36161da7

(Cross-posted to a.u.e to share the new information on Pei.)

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 7:18:39 PM6/24/04
to
"123" <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in message
news:40da93ed$0$30919$626a...@news.free.fr...

> Do you mean, at the end of a program commercial preview : "moubasharatan
fi
> l'awqa't taliya" ?
>
> This means : live (literaly : in direct) at these times

Are you certain that the sense is "live" rather than directly/immediately?
(moubasharatan, mubasharatan).

Wehr gives: mubaashir=direct, immediate

but also: iDaa'a mubaashira(t) as "live" in TV/radio context

And: mubasharatan=immediately/directly

> fi : at, in
> al awqat : plural of "al waqt" : the time
> at'taliya : the following
>
> they use the plural for "time" as they present different cities times
> (greenwich, mecca...).

That makes sense as the times are for Mecca, Greenwich, and
New York usually visible on the screen when this phrase is heard.

It would seem if the times are in the future, that "live" is more
likley since it would NOT be "coming up directly" but rather "later."

--
Herb Martin

Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 1:26:17 AM6/25/04
to
Ben Zimmer wrote:

> Pei repeated the Shaw attribution in his 1965 book _The Story of
> Language_ ("Shaw is said to be responsible for the statement that 'fish'
> could be spelled 'ghoti'"). Note that in both cases Pei does not give a
> direct attribution to Shaw. But as with so many linguistic canards, it
> looks like we have Pei to thank for linking Shaw to "ghoti".

Ghotiy or not, Shaw's rationale for spelling reform was pure snobbery.

Ben Zimmer

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 1:47:34 AM6/25/04
to

Yes, but will the eagerly awaited second edition of _The World's Writing
Systems_ appropriately emend the reference to "G.B. Shaw's specious
<ghoti>" (p. 654)?

Brian M. Scott

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 4:16:00 AM6/25/04
to
On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 05:26:17 GMT "Peter T. Daniels"
<gram...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in
<news:40DBB7...@worldnet.att.net> in sci.lang:

> Ben Zimmer wrote:

That's 'ghotioe', with 'oe' as in 'oenology'.

Brian

123

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 8:04:45 AM6/25/04
to

"Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> a écrit dans le message de
news:jjJCc.8876$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com...

> "123" <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in message
> news:40da93ed$0$30919$626a...@news.free.fr...
> > Do you mean, at the end of a program commercial preview : "moubasharatan
> fi
> > l'awqa't taliya" ?
> >
> > This means : live (literaly : in direct) at these times
>
> Are you certain that the sense is "live" rather than directly/immediately?
> (moubasharatan, mubasharatan).
>
> Wehr gives: mubaashir=direct, immediate
>
> but also: iDaa'a mubaashira(t) as "live" in TV/radio context
>
> And: mubasharatan=immediately/directly
>

It depends on the use of the word, its place in the phrase and the context.

When covering a live event (on CNN or BBC : Live), we can use different
expressions on arabic channels :
"naql hay" (live transmission) or "naql hay wa mubaashir" (live and direct
transmission) or "hay wa mubaashir" (live and direct)or "mubaashir" (live or
direct : it might have a difference as far as broadcasting technics are
considered, but, for the audiance, it means the same in this context)

In the phrase on aljazeera, the speaker says : "ya'atiikom haada lbarnaamaj
mubaasharatan fi l'awqaati ttaaliya"

--- the following explanation is based on some arabic lessons that I can
remember at this time as a native arabic speaker---
"mubaashir" in this sentence must be "mansoub" (sorry, I don't know how to
translate this into another language) as it is "tharf zaman" (~ time
condition).. so we must use "mubashiran" or "mubasharatan".
using "mubashiran" sounds strange in this sentence ; so we use the second
option that has become widely spread in the media.

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 9:09:50 AM6/25/04
to
"Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> wrote in message news:<jjJCc.8876$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com>...

> "123" <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in message
> news:40da93ed$0$30919$626a...@news.free.fr...
> > Do you mean, at the end of a program commercial preview : "moubasharatan
> fi
> > l'awqa't taliya" ?
> >
> > This means : live (literaly : in direct) at these times
>
> Are you certain that the sense is "live" rather than directly/immediately?
> (moubasharatan, mubasharatan).
>
> Wehr gives: mubaashir=direct, immediate
>
> but also: iDaa'a mubaashira(t) as "live" in TV/radio context
>

one is literal, the other context dependent.

> And: mubasharatan=immediately/directly
>
> > fi : at, in
> > al awqat : plural of "al waqt" : the time
> > at'taliya : the following
> >
> > they use the plural for "time" as they present different cities times
> > (greenwich, mecca...).
>
> That makes sense as the times are for Mecca, Greenwich, and
> New York usually visible on the screen when this phrase is heard.
>
> It would seem if the times are in the future, that "live" is more
> likley since it would NOT be "coming up directly" but rather "later."

the future is implied.

>
> --
> Herb Martin

Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 9:26:41 AM6/25/04
to

Sure. Do you suppose you can explain to the publisher that a second
edition is needed?

Ben Zimmer

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 9:50:56 AM6/25/04
to

Even more difficult to justify now that Amazon allows free full-text
searches: <http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0195079930/>.

Peter T. Daniels

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 10:11:18 AM6/25/04
to

? How is it up to Amazon to "allow" such a thing? (And where would you
get all my fonts? It was done before there was such a thing as Unicode,
even.)

Herb Martin

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 11:17:23 AM6/25/04
to
> In the phrase on aljazeera, the speaker says : "ya'atiikom haada
lbarnaamaj
> mubaasharatan fi l'awqaati ttaaliya"
>
> --- the following explanation is based on some arabic lessons that I can
> remember at this time as a native arabic speaker---
> "mubaashir" in this sentence must be "mansoub" (sorry, I don't know how to
> translate this into another language) as it is "tharf zaman" (~ time
> condition).. so we must use "mubashiran" or "mubasharatan".
> using "mubashiran" sounds strange in this sentence ; so we use the second
> option that has become widely spread in the media.

Thanks --- I really appreciate the help. (no probably about 'mansoub');
"Arabic as a Foreign Language" (AFL) books usually mention "nisba"
(adjectival or attributive nouns is probably closest), unlss 'mansoub'
has a different technical meaning or nuance.

You have helped a lot.

--
Herb Martin


"123" <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in message

news:40dc1506$1$30921$626a...@news.free.fr...

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 11:20:49 AM6/25/04
to
In sci.lang 123 <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in <40dc1506$1$30921$626a...@news.free.fr>:

: "Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> a écrit dans le message de


: news:jjJCc.8876$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com...
:> "123" <pifpa...@free.fr> wrote in message
:> news:40da93ed$0$30919$626a...@news.free.fr...
:> > Do you mean, at the end of a program commercial preview : "moubasharatan
:> fi
:> > l'awqa't taliya" ?
:> >
:> > This means : live (literaly : in direct) at these times
:>
:> Are you certain that the sense is "live" rather than directly/immediately?
:> (moubasharatan, mubasharatan).
:>
:> Wehr gives: mubaashir=direct, immediate
:>
:> but also: iDaa'a mubaashira(t) as "live" in TV/radio context
:>
:> And: mubasharatan=immediately/directly
:>

: It depends on the use of the word, its place in the phrase and the context.

: When covering a live event (on CNN or BBC : Live), we can use different
: expressions on arabic channels :
: "naql hay" (live transmission) or "naql hay wa mubaashir" (live and direct
: transmission) or "hay wa mubaashir" (live and direct)or "mubaashir" (live or
: direct : it might have a difference as far as broadcasting technics are
: considered, but, for the audiance, it means the same in this context)

: In the phrase on aljazeera, the speaker says : "ya'atiikom haada lbarnaamaj
: mubaasharatan fi l'awqaati ttaaliya"

: --- the following explanation is based on some arabic lessons that I can
: remember at this time as a native arabic speaker---
: "mubaashir" in this sentence must be "mansoub" (sorry, I don't know how to


manSu:b ; accusative.


: translate this into another language) as it is "tharf zaman" (~ time

Zarf Z = *DH*

adverb of time.

: condition).. so we must use "mubashiran" or "mubasharatan".


: using "mubashiran" sounds strange in this sentence ; so we use the second
: option that has become widely spread in the media.

:>


Ben Zimmer

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 11:22:05 AM6/25/04
to

Well, technically speaking, your publisher allowed it. And if you're
registered with Amazon, you can view page images where the search terms
occur, so there's no need to reproduce the fonts.

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 11:26:03 AM6/25/04
to
In sci.lang Herb Martin <ne...@learnquick.com> wrote in <7mXCc.9307$OX2....@fe2.texas.rr.com>:
:> In the phrase on aljazeera, the speaker says : "ya'atiikom haada

: lbarnaamaj
:> mubaasharatan fi l'awqaati ttaaliya"
:>
:> --- the following explanation is based on some arabic lessons that I can
:> remember at this time as a native arabic speaker---
:> "mubaashir" in this sentence must be "mansoub" (sorry, I don't know how to
:> translate this into another language) as it is "tharf zaman" (~ time
:> condition).. so we must use "mubashiran" or "mubasharatan".
:> using "m