Talk:Modern Standard Arabic

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"...'give away' their national or ethnic origins...though other traits may show the speaker's region"[edit]

This is ambiguous to me. To "give away" often means to belie, or to indicate something despite one's intentions not to do so. I think the writer of this sentence meant for "give away" to mean "lose"? Can someone confirm? framed0000 18:38, 1 June 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Framed0000 (talkcontribs)

I have the same understanding as Framed0000. "lose" or "put aside" may be better ideas that "give away". I am not a native speaker of English though. Philippe Magnabosco (talk) 00:47, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
I am a native English speaker and "give away" is not correct. "Renounce" or "deny" might be a better word. Also, I question NPV in the statement. Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 16:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I am also a native English speaker. I agree that "give away" is not correct here, but "renounce/deny" have equally strong emotional connotations. Of the phrases mentioned to date, "put aside" or "set aside" is probably what is intended in the context of professional broadcast communication. 24.166.211.194 (talk) 06:34, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Classical Arabic vs MSA[edit]

There seems to be a small edit war going on here. This is not the way. Disparaging scholars in or out of the Arab world is not the way, either.If there are in fact differences between Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic, this article is the place to say what they are. Let readers decide for themselves whether the two are separate or not. Cbdorsett (talk) 03:32, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I have added a nearly exact quote from a reputable, scholarly source. (Taivo (talk) 07:13, 22 May 2008 (UTC))
Classical Arabic should be merged here and differences described, IMHO. --Atitarev (talk) 02:09, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Knowledge and usage of CA/MSA by country[edit]

The article doesn't give much information about this subject. Could someone provide this information? It is related to education levels of a given country but perhaps to the attitude to standard Arabic versus a spoken variety. E.g., they know fuṣ-ḥā better in Saudi Arabia and Syria than Egypt and Lebanon.

I am also interested if the MSA is used in any entertainment - movies, songs, games. What is being done to promote the usage of standard Arabic outside the formal or religious contexts. --Atitarev (talk) 22:41, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


Actually all News-Media are talking in MSA, even in the local regional channels , TV works and Series are made in MSA when they are talking about Historical stories or figures, and even some Forign Series dubblages to MSa like some Mexican series, There is alot of concentration on MSA after the invention of Satellite broadcasting as such works could be understood fully in most Arabic countries. Satellite media also made the Egyptian , Syrian , Lebanese accent is understood in most Arabic World , Gulph and Mgharibi accents are still less understood by other Arabs , but also Songs with Gulph accent becomes so familiar even in Syria and Egypt --Chaos (talk) 11:09, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Formal Spoken Arabic[edit]

I added a half-section on Formal Spoken Arabic. The resources on this new term are numerous, mostly coming from the commercial web-sites and inside the texts itself. Today I had trouble deciding, which source would be more appropriate. I could use some help on expanding this section. For now I will refer to the books I currently possess, e.g. Focus on Contemporary Arabic (Conversations with Native Speakers) (with transcripts and DVD) and Formal Spoken Arabic: Fast Course. (The latter is not the best choice, perhaps but there book titles with the same name. The first one actually provides the proof how this is spoken by native speakers.

The term is used by Georgetown University and Foreign Services Institute. --Anatoli (talk) 04:22, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

This section is way too much biased!
  • Using words like educated, المثقفين are very biased and unrealistic. They suggest that the cultured/educated people tend to insert more Modern Standard Arabic language while speaking, which is false! Educated/cultured people tend to insert more English or French words and expressions while speaking, whether with themselves or with people from other places of Arab League. The reason is because well educated people attend private education and have learned a foreign language very well. People who are only literate in Modern Standard Arabic, have attended governmental schools which are very low in standard and are not concerned to educate students foreign languages well.
  • That's why people who are only literate in Modern Standard Arabic are considered very poorly educated.
  • The way described in the section applies only to pan-Arabist shows or news casts in Modern Standard Arabic. The use of Modern Standard Arabic in speech is only limited to some formal speeches and Islamic clerical speeches. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 09:29, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
It honestly depends on what circles you travel in, and they don't have to be particularly pan-Arabist (although pan-Arabism is directly correlated with age and higher education, since political pan-Arabism was historically stronger than it is now and pan-Arabism is most often picked up in university in countries where it is not state policy). `Ammiyyat al-muthaqqafin is quite standard in current Arabic-language linguistic discourse (i.e. when linguists, particularly sociolinguists, talk about Arabic in Arabic), and has been since the publication of al-Badawi's dictionary of ECA. You shouldn't consider Formal Spoken Arabic (FSA from now on) to be "what's on the news" and that's that; Newscaster Arabic is a highly MSA-ized form of FSA (but often not completely--or have you not noticed the gīming on al-'Ūlā?). When we speak of `ammiyyat al-muthaqqafin in a linguistic sense, the real standard is the language spoken in an official academic or business meeting: the language used is not precisely MSA, because, well, it isn't, but it wouldn't be recognizable as the same language spoken out on the street, either. It's in the middle, usually both in terms of stratum and geography: the use of colloquial words and constructions is sufficient to identify the discourse as not-MSA, but not so great that a foreign Arab would regard it impossible to understand, if difficult to follow at times. This second point goes double if the target colloquial Arabic is Egyptian, since practically the entire Arab world understands ECA by virtue of over seventy years of Egyptian film, music, and television flooding their media markets.
Now to another point, much of which has to do with the peculiar Egyptian culture war that tires me to no end. You are correct in indicating that FSA tends to include a great deal more foreign vocabulary, but much of this is because of a lack of well-accepted "purely" Arabic term (e.g. almost everything to do with computers). Even in cases where this is not so, we must also take care to distinguish FSA from what al-Badawi calls `ammiyyat al-mutanawwirin, which is different from FSA. `Ammiyyat al-mutanawwarin is the language of those soft-focus profiles on the cinema channel, and of literate people with a bit of leisure. Middle-class, bourgeois, comfortable but not too-, too busy to read and to worry about the state of the Arabic language. Using foreign terms makes them seem less fellahi; and since they tend to either have been born in the countryside or to recent migrants from there, the last thing they want to be seen as is fellahi. (See Galal Amin's Whatever Happened to the Egyptians--it'll be "Madha Hadatha lil-Misriyun" if you look for it in Arabic, in the unlikely event you've never heard of it--for details; it's 15 years old but still a good resource). FSA is not this dialect. FSA is, for better or for worse, the language of (more or less) academia and the surviving bits of the old upper crust, uncomfortably adopted by politicians and businessmen out of a lack of something more appropriate for certain situations. It's professors discussing their subjects informally, say at an ahwa--you can hardly talk about academic subjects, be it economics or electronics or mathematics or what have you, without getting some serious fusha in your ammiyya. And that's about all I have to say. Lockesdonkey (talk) 01:52, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Hi Copana2002, I agree that a clean-up was required, links were just added and always to the top of the list. Can we leave one more link, please? : the Yamli editor. It has been in the news several times and it's a really important tool for users/learners of Arabic, including Wiki editors, although it has competitors.

Yeah, by all means add it if it meets criteria. I was just trying to avoid a situation similar to Arabic language. It seems when you include one transliteration keypad, the rest soon follow. Copana2002 (talk) 20:31, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for understanding. I've put a comment there asking to discuss before adding more. If someone will want to add another keyboard, we will have to agree. IMHO, only Google Arabic Transliteration is a comparable competitor for the moment. --Anatoli (talk) 21:24, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Literary Arabic -> Standard Arabic[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was moved to Modern Standard Arabic, with Standard Arabic redirecting to Modern Standard Arabic for now. Aervanath (talk) 05:11, 20 March 2009 (UTC)


Standard Arabic is by far a more common term for this variety of Arabic online both on discussions and news, besides Literary Arabic is a bit incorrect, as it is not strictly just a written language.

I suggest to move the page. Any supporters? Anatoli (talk) 00:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I support moving it to Standard Arabic as this term is more common[1] but I think the whole article needs work; for example why do we have a separate article on Classical Arabic whereas we don't have a separate one on Modern Standard Arabic? MSA is also a register of Literary/Standard Arabic, just like CA is. We either create a separate article on MSA or merge CA here, and I prefer the second choice because the first choice would mean that this article (Literary/Standard Arabic) would be very short containing only a few lines explaining that Standard Arabic may refer to either MSA or CA. MassimoAr (talk) 08:32, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Because most readers who are looking for Standard Arabic actually mean to look for Modern Standard Arabic, I think it's okay if we move this article to Standard Arabic and leave the Classical Arabic article separate, so I withdraw my merge proposal. And I have added a request to move the page at WP:RM. MassimoAr (talk) 12:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support a move to Standard Arabic but prefer Modern Standard Arabic. I generally support a move because Literary Arabic is a bit vague and could refer to Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic is also a spoken form. Prefer Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) becuase it is more precise. See ethnologue entry here where both Classical and MSA are listed as subsets of Standard Arabic.— AjaxSmack 16:08, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support a move to Standard Arabic. The subsets - Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic ad the difference can be described in a paragraph. No need to repeat the same information and have 2 articles. The important paragraphs from Classical Arabic have to move here. For example, the Arabic phonology applies more to the current situation but the reconstructed classical pronunciation can be added. We had a heated and unresolved discussion about the phonology, not sure if this going to work. The result could be just one article. Anatoli (talk) 01:26, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support a move to Standard Arabic, per Atitarev. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 01:48, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support a move to Modern Standard Arabic, per AjaxSmack. Also because Modern Standard Arabic is the term used ubiquitously by English-speaking researchers and pedagogues in the field today. Even other languages use a translation of the term (German: moderne arabische Standardsprache, Spanish: Árabe estándar moderno, French: Arabe standard moderne etc.) Szfski (talk) 20:36, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
  • To AjaxSmack and Szfski. It is true, Modern Standard Arabic is the most common word for the modern Arabic but what happens to Classical Arabic (article)? The idea was to merge the 2 standard versions of Arabic (MSA and CA), with sections devoted to both. Obviously, MSA would get more focus, if it's better studied and understood. Currently, Classical Arabic has sections, which would fit more into MSA (phonology, morphology, grammar, special symbols), although, there is a difference, of course. Can we merge the two together? Anatoli (talk) 02:55, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
I would keep Classical Arabic on its own. While CA and MSA have a largely identical morphology, I do not think one could say the same about grammar, and certainly not about phonology. For example, the letters ش، ض، ج had radically different realizations in classical Arabic before the 10th century than they do now in MSA. Szfski (talk) 03:33, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
The article outlines a number of important differences between CA and MSA. Why should the two be merged? At present the two seem to be pretty good articles that deal with their respective domains quite well. — AjaxSmack 01:01, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support a move to Modern Standard Arabic since that is the standard term in use in English for the living language. Classical Arabic should focus on Koranic Arabic and not be side-tracked into the changes that make the modern literary language. (Taivo (talk) 03:11, 16 March 2009 (UTC))
  • I don't oppose a move to Modern Standard Arabic, but before we move the article we should think of what to do about the Standard/Literary Arabic pages: do we create a third article (or alternatively a disambiguation page) describing what Standard Arabic means, or, if they were to be redirects, which article they should redirect to: MSA or CA? MassimoAr (talk) 05:44, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


  • I must be feeling a bit inclined toward contrariety today, because while I support support a move to Modern Standard Arabic, I don't think Classical Arabic should focus on the language of the Qur'an, at least not exclusively. What Arabists normally mean when they refer to "Classical Arabic" is hard to define exactly. When one refers to the Phonology of Classical Arabic one is usually referring to Arabic phonology as it existed before the consonants ض، س، ش، ج etc shifted to their modern value and before the sounds denoted by ا and فتحة underwent امالة imâla (slanting) in certain environments during the time of Sibawayhi toward the end of the Umayyad period. However, the term Classical Arabic in other contexts refers to the Arabic of the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries exclusively. In yet other contexts, it can refer to the entire temporal swathe of Arabic between the era of Pre-Islamic poetry and the end of the Islamic Golden Age. In yet other contexts Classical is more or less synonymous with Qur'ânic. There is an argument (though I don't buy it) to be made for why CA and MSA don't really have separate terms in Arabic. What I'm trying to say is that we, for the purposes of Wikipedia, need to clearly delineate the boundaries between the two. Szfski (talk) 00:14, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

"literary Arabic continues to evolve"[edit]

In what way does literary arabic continue to evolve? Also the following in the article requires reference. Personally, I thought the Journalists were unhappy that arabic was not evolving. Faro0485 (talk) 14:16, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Fusha and Classical Arabic/MSA[edit]

There is clearly quite a confusion about the Arabic language in the Wikipedia articles concerning the subject, as well as a misrepresentation where the sources cited are mostly western sources and very few. To get straight to the point, the Distinction made between MSA and Classical Arabic is not there in the Arab World. In the Arab world it is one language and is known as the "Fusha". This view of the Arabs, and it is their language may I remind you, is not as pronounced in these Wikipedia articles. However, as per the "Wikipedia's" request I am assuming good faith, and acting accordingly I wish to make some clarifications.

The "Arabic Language" can be "categorized" if you like into Dialect and Fusha. Dialect is not the same as Fusha, far from it, however it is "derived" from it, but hardly the same. However, because of this derivation Arabs from different countries usually, but not always, can understand each other and even learn to speak in each other's dialect in very short time. I personally can speak in three different dialects, but the switch from one dialect to another is no where near the same as the switch between say, Arabic and English. Why? Because the dialects have the same root, and that is the Fusha. The articles in Wikipedia are not too at odd with I just said, but there is clearly a lot of confusion especially in the discussion pages. And because the western voice is more pronounced on Wikipedia (after all English is your Language, not the Arab's) I am posting this little "discussion" and making it as clear and complete as possible in hope to reason with you.

The real problem with these Wikipedia articles is the distinction between alleged two types of Fusha. This distinction is not in the Arabic World. Ask any Arab, not some Arab who lived all his life in the west and graduated in some western Universtiy, no, but a true Arab. Someone who lived and studied in the Arabic World. There is simply no distinction. The confusion? The articles on Wikipedia claim that MSA is what is spoken by the media outlets and taught in school, but the Arab will tell you that is Fusha, and Classical Arabic is what ancient texts like the Quran are written in, but the Arab will also tell you that is Fusha. What the westerner seems unable to understand is that the Fusha is extremely vast and rich, however it is not a black and white matter of "you can speak it" or "you can speak it not", no. It is simply a matter of "you can speak it" and "you can speak it better." In plain English, the differences between one speaker/writer and another simply reflects his Skills, and like English his Style. The westerner is pointing at the media outlets and is saying that to look at how they speak, and then points at the work of great Arab scholars, or the Quran, and says that to look how they speak. Well I am telling you that this is a reflection of skill and style; the foundations are the same. The Arabic language is simply very vast. If you look at the Arabian history and study the rivalry that existed between poets throughout the ages, you will find that each was with different style, and skill. It is remarkable. About 1400 years ago, in the Ka'aba (the structure Muslims visit in Saudia Arabia during pilgrimage) people would hang the best poetic verses ever made. Until the time they were finally taken down during the Islamic era, only seven verses (if my memory serves me right) ever made it on its walls. People were incredible with the language, and more importantly they had the tool; the language.

What I am trying to point out to you is the complexity of the language, not rigidity. There is a difference. Its complexity is what gives rise to the countless number of different styles of writing and speaking; rigidity would do the opposite. What the Western scholars point out in the media is simply a reflection of that. No Arab can master the whole language, and no Arab ever did, with emphasis on "ever". If you are a linguist, I dare you to prove me wrong. Going back to the articles, this confusion is clearly presented with statements in the articles like "On the whole, Modern Standard Arabic is not homogeneous; there are authors who write in a style very close to the classical models and others who try to create new stylistic patterns." Which is what I am saying to you, but the way the articles are presented give you the impression that the are two different "Fusha". Some articles even state that there exists not a standard definition of "Modern Standard Arabic"; I hope you see the irony in that. And such statements are the result of the confusion I am trying to clear.

To put it another way. Is the English English-speaking people speak the same as the English they learn in school? No. Do not say yes, because currently I live in North America and I know exactly what I am talking about. The Spoken English language here is very weak, and different from the language taught at schools. For example, the people's use of the vocabulary is extremely limited, for one thing a few number of profane words replace half the "spoken dictionary". There are other examples, far more serious. For example "going to" becomes "gonna", or "Are you not going to eat?" becomes "Aren't you going to eat?" (pay attention to the position of the pronoun). Should we now say this is a new English. Would you like that? Calling it "Modern Standard English" which is complete rubbish? No, of course not. But not are you yourselves doing that, but you are taking it a step further with MSA by claiming in the articles that it is what is taught in school, not Classical Arabic. I am asking you Why? If non-English nations were to create something called "Modern Standard English" and claim publicly that this is what you are teaching at your school, with "gonna" and "ain't", and "bro", and upside grammar, and half the vocabulary replaced by profanity, how would you take this? Would these non-English speakers have not a point? They would. Not only can they point out a change of vocabulary set, but a change of the grammar. You might say what nonsense, why would they do that? Well that is what you are doing, and all will this lead to is unnecessary resentment and hate.

In summary, the Arabs are learning Fusha in schools (Classical Arabic) not what you want to call MSA. There is no such thing, Fusha is Fusha. Our scholars spend decades studying the Arabic, and then some non-Arab, or an Arab who studied outside for a few years wants to claim some sort of "Intellectual Supremacy"?!; Is it "My view matters and no one else's"? If anything, and with all due respect, it is the Arab's view that matters in this matter, not yours. After all it is his language. Now, does that mean your point of view matters not? No! But it is what the Arab says about his language that needs to made clear first, and then your point of view can be explained in a subsection. Not the other way around. Otherwise, you will create unnecessary hate without knowing. And if you can not comprehend this much, you are an arrogant fool.

Also, I like to add, if I may, that when you present MSA that you point out the differences between it and Classical Arabic. "New vocabulary" is not a difference. Otherwise we would have a new English language everyday. Using comma's in a list, instead of the Arabic 'and' is also not a difference. That is simply a style. Subject-initial sentences being more common in MSA than in Classical Arabic is also not a difference. This last statement is the most ridiculous of the three; I doubt it was even by a linguist. Anyways these are my personal views; "MSA" is your topic, the Educated Westerner. I understand that you have your own views regarding the subject.

If you read this far, thank you very much.--173.32.129.241 (talk) 21:14, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

The article is written for native English speakers and is oriented accordingly. It also references Arab views on the subject where these views might diverge. Just as it would be inappropriate for native English speakers to rewrite the Arabic article on English to reflect their biases and beliefs, so it is inappropriate for native Arabic speakers to rewrite this one. I also noticed your desire to force your views about images of Muhammad on our readers, and that is equally inappropriate. Rklawton (talk) 15:26, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
For the interested reader: in the above response by Rklawton, "force your views about images of Muhammad on our readers" is referring to my contribution on the wiki talk page: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Muhammad/images", under the heading "Remove the Pictures" under the paragraph signed ("—Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.32.129.241 (talk) 15:12, 28 January 2010 (UTC)"). He might also be referring to the paragraph signed ("—Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.32.129.241 (talk) 14:43, 28 January 2010 (UTC)"), which was a comment to correct some claim made earlier by another author.--173.32.129.241 (talk) 17:52, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Modern Standard Arabic vs. Classical Arabic[edit]

I'm a Western linguist and I'm a bit surprised to see comments asserting that Classical Arabic, Koranic Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic are separate languages. Undoubtedly they are not the same thing, but the variance hardly seems to go beyond normal range for what is considered dialects. AFAIK, for example, I've never seen the claim that Vedic and Classical Sanskrit are separate languages, or that Plautine, Classical and Medieval Latin are separate languages, either. In fact I'd very much like to see the sources that assert that Classical and MSA are separate languages. I suspect that some Wikipedia editors are overreacting to the incessant Arab claims that there is no difference between Classical and MSA, and misinterpreting what the specialists actually say. Benwing (talk) 04:28, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Topic-Comment Structure in Arabic[edit]

Many of the articles on Arabic have mentioned a shift from VSO word order in Classical Arabic to SVO word order in Modern Standard Arabic and the modern Arabic dialects. However many prominent linguists specializing in Arabic strongly disagree with this assertion. Their explanation is that the apparent shift from VSO word order to SVO word order is actually the result of topic-comment structure, which is found in all varieties of Arabic, and the different types of discourses that are available and analyzed in historical texts versus modern texts and speech. For example, Dr. Kristen Brustad's "The Syntax of Spoken Arabic: A Comparative Study of Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian and Kuwaiti Dialects", Georgetown Univ. Press, 2000, states "However, no frequency studies of modern Arabic have yet been undertaken to either support or challenge this assumption. Both VSO and SVO are common enough in all varieties of Arabic to be considered "basic;" a thorough study of word order typology in all varieties and registers of Arabic would be necessary to show if or how the basic typologies of Arabic have changed over time. Until such a study is conducted, the discussion must remain limited to indirect evidence.” Dr Brustad proceeds to present evidence that VSO remains a basic word order in the modern Arabic dialects and that fronting of nouns (subjects and objects) in all varieties of Arabic is best explained by a topic-comment structure of a topic-prominent sentence structure rather than the contrasting the subject-prominent sentence structure of the VSO word order.

Many others have also suggested similar analyses and this may even be becoming the more-accepted view among linguists specializing in Arabic. Although the topic-comment structure in all Arabic varieties is widely recognized, the articles on Arabic only mention VSO vs. SVO and increased usage subject initial sentences in MSA and dialects. It would be beneficial if someone could please add information about the topic-comment sentence structure in Arabic. (The article on Tuareg Languages mentions the option for the topic-comment sentence structure in those languages/dialects that may be a useful example that could be expanded.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.88.72.211 (talk) 17:57, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Deleting Article[edit]

There is no modern arabic language, the formal arabic language that people speak in 6th century and even now is the "Fusha" and it is the only standard language ! So i think this article should be deleted because it's only misleading people.--Qirooo1 (talk) 01:50, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Common Phrases Table[edit]

I have a question. I wonder if a question mark "?" is missing at the end of the entry for "How are you?" in the Common Phrases table. The "Romanization" column (last column) for the translated phrase "How are you?" says "kayfa ḥāluka / -ki". Shouldn't it say "kayfa ḥāluka? / -ki?"? That is, with a question mark at the end?Inygo (talk) 07:18, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Yes. You can make such a small change yourself without consulting others. I would, however, recommend putting in only one question mark, at the very end, after the -ki, as was done in the case of masmuka. — Eru·tuon 19:30, 24 August 2013 (UTC)