Talk:Modern Standard Arabic/Archive 1

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What is meant by the "energetic mood"?


This article could be much better. It does not answer basic questions like "Who made up MSA?", "When was MSA created?", and "Who sets the standards for MSA?"

It would be good if someone more knowledgable than myself could address these deficiencies.

No one "creates" a natural language, and with respect to standards, Arabic does not have a single standard setting body - not unlike most langauges - so I am afraid these are somewhat silly questions. That being said, the article is poorly written as an explanation of Modern Standard Arabic as a "langauge" or "register" of the Arabic language. I also agree with the critic belong, Hasan that there are a number of peculiar statements. (Collounsbury 21:03, 31 January 2006 (UTC)).

presentation of the word fuSHa

How come there the dot shows up underneath the letter "s" and the letter "a". It should show up underneath the "s" and "h" in the word. Is this just a problem with my computer. Or did someone misspell it.

This page is all-wrong!! (sorry)

What is referred to here as "Modern Standard Arabic" is really the same Arabic Language of the Quran and (Al-Fus-haa), the difference can be said to be merely the "style" and the word choices.
I'm a native Arabic speaker, by the way.

The page presents five differences,
1 Influence from Dialects
2 Pronunciation
3 Syntax
4 Vocabulary

Let's examine them:
First is "Influence from Dialects", the writer(s) say:
((It is inevitable that an artificially maintained language coexisting with naturally-spoken forms of the same language will allow elements of the latter to creep into the former. This has occurred in Modern Standard Arabic.))

I think this is not true, can you provide an example of where this happened? I can't think of any, and I didn't notice any.

The second point is "Pronunciation"
((When spoken extemporaneously, case endings and mood endings are not observed. The final short vowels on past-tense verb forms drop or change in a way that is similar to the spoken forms.))

This is not a feature of the langauge, this is an error often committed by newscasters and such, but it's not a part or a feature of the language.

For "Syntax", several points are made:
((The verb, as often as not, comes between the subject and object.))
This is not new, it's also present in the "Classical Arabic".

((An existential "There is..." construction has been introduced by calquing the word هناك (hu-naa-ka) or هنالك (hu-naa-li-ka), both meaning "there", in imitation of English sentences such as "There were three problems".))
I cannot really assert that this is false, because I'm not sure about it, but I'd say that I doubt it very much.

((The energetic mood no longer exists in Modern Standard Arabic.))
Sorry, what's the energetic mood?

((Secondary object pronouns were attached directly onto the verb complex in Classical Arabic, but use a separate helper إيا ('iyyaa-) in Modern Standard Arabic.))
Sorry again, what are Secondary object pronouns?! I tried google, but all I got was copies of this wiki page!

The next point is "Vocabulary":
((Much Koranic vocabulary has disappeared or become less commonly used in secular contexts, and Classical Arabic words for common terms often have different Modern Standard Arabic equivalents. This is often due to dialect borrowing.))
Well, again this is a matter of word choice! It's still the same language!!

If you can provide references to reliable sources that back up your points, then go ahead and change the article. Using reliable references is critical because the fact that you are a native speaker is good, but in and of itself it does not mean you are correct about all facets of the language. Lots of native English speakers have no idea about the details of the language. So do some good research to a variety of sources and see if you can coordinate all the material in the various articles on the various Arabic languages. - Taxman Talk 16:27, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, you see, I think it's the actual page that needs reliable sources, specially the first and the second points (influence from dialects, and pronounciation).
You're right though; I specially need confirmation for the Syntax part.
For the Vocabulary though, I'm not saying it's false, I'm just saying it's not a valid "difference" between MAS and Classical Arabic, i.e. not something that makes MSA different from FusHa.
First, the complaining party, "Hasan" has some valid points here, the MSA article does make a number of assertions and use technical language which requires explanation for clarity (an encyclopedia entry should be reasonbly clear for the non-specialist). However, as an Arabic speaker myself, I am afraid I can't agree with "Hasan"'s sweeping comments. A few points then.
First re "What is referred to here as "Modern Standard Arabic" is really the same Arabic Language of the Quran and (Al-Fus-haa), the difference can be said to be merely the "style" and the word choices" - that certainly is the interpretation of most Muslim Arabs, a highly ideological one. However, outside scholars reasonably identify important changes in syntax, usage and vocabulary between Quranic, Classical, and Modern usage. A matter of interpretation, to be sure, but not something that is "wrong." I personally would agree with the standard non-religious scholars' differentiation between Quranic, Classic and Modern Standard.
Regarding influences of "dialects" and "Hasan"'s complaint:
"((It is inevitable that an artificially maintained language coexisting with naturally-spoken forms of the same language will allow elements of the latter to creep into the former. This has occurred in Modern Standard Arabic.))
I think this is not true, can you provide an example of where this happened? I can't think of any, and I didn't notice any."
I would agree the wording in the article is pejorative ('artificially maintained') and should be restated, however to my understanding the flow of dialect innovations into "standard arabic" is not controversial. Except of course to those with an ideological reason to deny it.
For reference to changes, this online reference seems to be reasonably readable and a standard:
"Hasan"'s main problem appears to be ideological - the assertion of unchanging Arabic langauge. I am afraid that objective scholars do not take that idea seriously. On the other hand, the article does contain some highly pejorative styling, as in "Modern Standard Arabic has always been an artificially regulated language, and has not evolved as a naturally-spoken language might." 'Artificially regulated' is a value judgement, and given a lack of any real 'regulators' - other than common literary usage - seems factually stretching the point. The section on idiom also sounds pejorative and dismissive. Certainly Modern Standard is absorbing new idioms, some of which are direct translations, but why the bit about 'misinterpretation' - a questionable judgement. It also would be nice to have the article be clear as to some technical vocab, as in "energetic mood" - I personally learned Arabic grammar in Aragic and have no clue as to what "energetic mood" is - clarification would be nice.
(Collounsbury 21:29, 31 January 2006 (UTC)).

I don't claim any sort of knowledge on Arabic, as I'm just a beginning student, but all works I've read published on Arabic (MSA) say that the endings (-un, -an, etc.) are often not pronounced. If this practice is widespread enough that people learning the language are encouraged to imitate it, then it's a part of the language and not an error. In English, saying "I'm" instead of "I am" is accepted, and the shortening of vowels is a feature of the language. The assimilation of stop-nasal clusters isn't explicitly written, but we do it too. I've never heard anything that says that saying "muHammad rasuulu-l-lah" instead of "muHammadan" or something similar will somehow render the Salat invalid. Arabic pronounces the long final 'alif as "an" and others as a short fatHa, and that's also standard. That's exactly why it's called Modern Standard Arabic. 02:19, 13 June 2006 (UTC)


Ok, I stated above that the info on this page is not correct, and I was asked to provide a reliable source.
Well, I'm not the one making claims here .. the page (or its author(s), therof) is the one making several claims that needs reliable sources.
Are there any sources that support what this page says?!
Really, this is a joke .. any Arabic person can see that. -Hasan

Point is that the article needs references anyway, so why not add them to support your changes. Is it that hard to get ahold of references on the language? If you don't use references to support your changes it's bascially just being changed from what someone else thinks to what you think, which isn't terribly helpful. If you feel strongly enough about it just make the changes, but solicit some input from other editors by leaving messages on the talk pages of other articles on the Arabic language. - Taxman Talk 17:07, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I did not make any changes, except by adding a "disputed" tag.
The accuracy of an article may be a cause for concern if:
* it contains a lot of unlikely information, without providing references.
* it contains information which is particularly difficult to verify.
Both points hold in this case. -Hasan
I'm well aware of the policy. But it doesn't matter at all if you're not going to do anything about it. Just fix the darn article and make sure you're right by getting some sources. - Taxman Talk 05:39, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Not everyone may have time to fix an article, particular wiki conceit that is, it is useful he's flagged it as problematic. He's wrong about a number of things, but the article is also dodgey. (Collounsbury 21:34, 31 January 2006 (UTC)).

Energetic Mood

The energetic mood is definitely classical, however it's use pops into MSA. It is formed by adding a noon at the end of any verb. An example would be "لأضربن هذا الولد" - "li-aDribna hadha al-walad" which means roughly "I'm gonna whoop the crap out of this boy" instead of just لأضرب هذا الولد which is closer to "I'm gonna beat/hit this boy." I'm not native, but fairly fluent in MSA. I've seen this consruction in my studies, the news, and the occasionall fiery/flowery speech given from the pulpit/manbar.

Pops up when? I've never seen or read anything with the energetic mood which was not met with people giving weird looks to the person or text. What news channel exactly would use that?


Just peeking my head in to find a mess! I'll be back with help. Hold on!!!!!

  • Our hero bolts out of the room quickly, a bead of sweat trickling down his cheek, swept up by the urgency of the situation* Angrynight 06:59, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
This article keeps getting progressively worse with every edit! Are there no editors who know about about the subject to write a good balanced article in proper English? Each time the page is edited, it requires even more copyediting for language and format. It's also very heavy on the political talk. The Wikipedia:WikiProject Languages/Template provides a rough guideline to writing a good language/linguistics article. — Zerida 09:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Is that correct man?

About the MSA article

A reply to Zerida's edit.

You believe there is political propoganda in this article. I agree: But for the most part, what I wrote is what many Arabs believe. That should probably go under its own heading.

I apologize for the inconsistencies in the article, and shall work to remove them, in an effort to help clean up the article.

" Foreign students usually learn both MSA and the spoken language of their choice. Arabic language education produces good reading, comprehension and writing skills in both. Some countries include MSA "conversation" classes, though the felt inappropriateness of spoken MSA in most situations prevents them from being conducted regularly. "

But I would like to point out something you keep editing incorrectly: The first sentence in the following paragraph is not related to the second sentence. The first sentence is about foreign students and the other sentneces are about how Arabs learn MSA in school.

I think the paragraph should be removed.

" There is no significant vernacular influence on written MSA. The MSA used in Iraq is virtually the same as that in Morrocco (technical vocabulary might differ). However, Egyptian Arabic, the spoken and national language of Egypt, has increasingly gained prestige within Egypt and has become better understood across the Middle East in the last 50 years due to the Egyptian film industry. " -This paragraph should be removed as well. The article is supposed to be about MSA. And the first line needs explanation.

This following part is also unnecessary, because there is no proof presented, and it doesn't give the reader information. " which might be due to Aramaic or Egyptian influence."

I agree with these changes and the most recent edits. Perhaps it's a better idea to keep the article strictly focused on MSA. Also, if it's necessary to provide information on how Arabs use MSA (such as info on sociolinguistics) a separate section sounds like a far better idea. Thanks for your help. — Zerida 20:22, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Completely stupid

This article is completely stupid. Modern_Standard_Arabic doesn't exist it is the same 15 centuries old classical arabic. It uses the same grammar rules, the same spelling rules, the same dictionaries. For example, new arabic books used in arab schools are made from very old linguistic books (about 2 century after hijra) and one of the most used dictioanries in arabic is Lissanu AlArab by Ibn Mandur is also very old. Well, this article is completely wrong (and of bad quality).

By the way, why not create Modern_Standard_English, Modern_Standard_French? The differences will be very very much big than those cited about Arabic.

Hmm. I don't know anything about Arabic (or French, for that matter), but I suggest you check out the History of the English language page, and you will find that, in fact, there is a whole timeline of classifications describing the evolution of the English language. It seems that your suggestion has already been implemented for the English language. So, um, good idea! --Nomenclaturist 00:42, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. The author of this article probably tought that arabic evolved in the same way english did, but it didn't. For example, any arab can easily understand a Hadith but with some very few exceptions.

Arabs cut the politics

MSA does exist, all the assertions above are sensationalistic with no backing. The existance of MSA is proved by observation and example, I don't see any valid argument as to why it shouldn't be considered different (even if slightly) from CA.

The assertion that a modern Arab can read mediaeval texts with ease is abdurd. Anyone who went to high school in Arab countries will attest to the frustration of enigmatic words and unusual constructs. I can clearly remember some poems which required reference to a vocabulary list every other word. Can someone explain why I can't understand a single line of the mo3alaqat while I can read a thick contemporary novel in a couple of hours? The reason is that the language has developed, whether we like this fact or not.

As to backflow from dialects, the easiest example is in technical terms, Arabic language academy notwithstanding.

I can't, though, think of any case where SVO looks or sounds normal in MSA, I read a whole Egyptian pulp fiction book looking for a single example, I couldn't. -

Egyptian Arabic is different, even in some basic words ("yes"- MSA "na3am," EA "'aywa") so that might be it. I've seen some regular-looking SVO all over the place.

From "Arabic, Verbs and Essentials of Grammar"-

(hiya) naamat fii sariir 'ummha.

(she) she-slept in bed mother-her's.

So there you go. I think. 02:29, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Classical texts use some difficult vocabulary, but that doesn't make it a different language. The fact that people have a hard time understanding it just shows that even the Arabs themselves aren't fluent in Classical/Standard/Fus-ha Arabic. -Hasan aljudy 16:04, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Request for Arabic Alphabet

Can anyone please add the Arabic alphabet equivalents of the words and letters represented in this article? Basawala 03:55, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Proposal: Change title to "Standard Arabic"

Move everything to a page entitled "Standard Arabic" instead of "Modern Standard Arabic". We can leave the page "Modern Standard Arabic" for indicating differences between "Classical Arabic" and "Modern Standard Arabic".

I believe that would solve the problems Arabs have with the title of "Modern Standard Arabic". Note that the title is somewhat controversial as can be seen by posts above, and that many scholars don't agree on the title of "Modern Standard Arabic". Although the title could be considered equivalent to " فصحى العصر", the capitilization of the word "Modern" could be the source of the problem. Most of those people who denied the existance of Modern Standard Arabic above, most likely believe in the existance of modern Standard Arabic (If they didn't it would mean that they believe the Standard Arabic is not used anymore or that it is ancient despite modern times).

--TwoThirty 06:56, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't agree with the proposal: MSA is the standard term used by Western academics, along with most Arab academics working in English. So it's the right term to use: wikipedia reflects current usage, rather than trying to bring in new terms. There is an interesting issue here: using MSA and CA as labels is in no way meant to imply that these are different languages, but they are different varieties with different norms. It's not quite the same situation as American English vs. British English, but most people happy to use those terms are not claiming they are different languages, rather different versions of English, again with a few norms that differ. But some people don't understand that the implication is not there... --Drmaik 08:36, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Well stated, Drmaik. The fact that the implication isn't there should be added into the article.--TwoThirty 08:48, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Modern Standard Arabic usage!

I disagree on the usage of Literary Arabic in conversation between two claimed Arabs! In fact, both of them try to change his dialect to Egyptian or to the more understood dialect. The last thing they try to do, is speaking Literary Arabic.

This topic is politically oriented! Literary Arabic is on it's way to be dead & only the Quranic Arabic would be used for Islamic teachings. Our countries must recognize themselves & recognize their languages, as all self-respecting countries. Many countries did so & our countries are waiting to do so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, 25 June 2008 (UTC)