Classical Arabic

Classical Arabic

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Classical Arabic also known as Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic
or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes
Tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia refers to Arab clans hailing from the Arabian Peninsula.Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy and therefore questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Arab genealogy...

. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the direct descendant used today throughout the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 in writing and in formal speaking, for example, prepared speeches, some radio broadcasts, and non-entertaining content. While the lexis
Lexis (linguistics)
In linguistics, a lexis is the total word-stock or lexicon having items of lexical, rather than grammatical, meaning. This notion contrasts starkly with the Chomskian proposition of a “Universal Grammar” as the prime mover for language...

 and stylistics
Stylistics (linguistics)
Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own...

 of Modern Standard Arabic are different from Classical Arabic, the morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 have remained basically unchanged (though MSA uses a subset of the syntactic structures available in CA). The vernacular dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

, however, have changed more dramatically. In the Arab world
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, little distinction is made between CA and MSA, and both are normally called (‎) in Arabic, meaning 'the clearly spoken one' or the 'language of eloquence'.

Because the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is written in Classical Arabic, the language is considered by most Muslims to be sacred
Sacred language
A sacred language, "holy language" , or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life.-Concept:...

. It is mostly the language in which Muslims recite their prayers, regardless of what language they use in everyday life.

History


Classical Arabic has its origins in the central and northern parts of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, and is distinct from Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian is the term used to describe four extinct, closely related languages spoken in the far southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. There were a number of other Sayhadic languages , of which very little evidence survived, however...

 languages that were spoken in the southern parts of the peninsula, modern day Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. Classical Arabic is the only surviving descendant of the Old North Arabian languages. The oldest inscription so far discovered in Classical Arabic goes back to 328 AD and is known as the inscription, written in the Nabataean alphabet and named after the place where it was found in southern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in April 1901.

With the spread of Islam, Classical Arabic became a prominent language of scholarship and religious devotion as the language of the Qur'an (at times even spreading faster than the religion). Its relation to modern dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

 is somewhat analogous to the relationship of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 or Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese , also called Ancient Chinese by the linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Southern and Northern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties...

 and the modern Chinese language
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

s.

Morphology


Classical Arabic is one of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

, and therefore has many similarities in conjugation and pronunciation to Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, and Amharic
Amharic language
Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Thus, it has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working...

. Its use of vowels to modify a base group of consonants resembles similar constructions in Biblical Hebrew.

For example:
  • kataba, he wrote
  • yaktubu, he writes
  • maktūbun, written (words)
  • kitābun, book
  • kutubun, books (broken plural)
  • kitābatun, writing
  • kitābātun, writings (feminine sound plural)
  • maktabun, desk
  • maktabatun, library
  • kātibun, writer
  • kātibūna, writers (masculine sound plural)
  • kuttābun, writers (broken plural)
  • miktābun, writing machine

These words all have some relationship with writing, and all of them contain the three consonants KTB. This group of consonants k-t-b is called a "root." Grammarians assume that this root carries a basic meaning of writing, which encompasses all objects or actions involving writing, and so, therefore, all the above words are regarded as modified forms of this root, and are "obtained" or "derived" in some way from it.

Grammar


Grammar in Arabic (‎, meaning "rules"), underwent development in the late 700s. The earliest known Arabic grammarian is
{{Contains Arabic text}}

Classical Arabic (CA), also known as
Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic
or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes
Tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia refers to Arab clans hailing from the Arabian Peninsula.Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy and therefore questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Arab genealogy...

. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the direct descendant used today throughout the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 in writing and in formal speaking, for example, prepared speeches, some radio broadcasts, and non-entertaining content. While the lexis
Lexis (linguistics)
In linguistics, a lexis is the total word-stock or lexicon having items of lexical, rather than grammatical, meaning. This notion contrasts starkly with the Chomskian proposition of a “Universal Grammar” as the prime mover for language...

 and stylistics
Stylistics (linguistics)
Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own...

 of Modern Standard Arabic are different from Classical Arabic, the morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 have remained basically unchanged (though MSA uses a subset of the syntactic structures available in CA). The vernacular dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

, however, have changed more dramatically. In the Arab world
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, little distinction is made between CA and MSA, and both are normally called {{Unicode|al-Fuṣ-ḥā}} ({{lang|ar|الفصحى}}‎) in Arabic, meaning 'the clearly spoken one' or the 'language of eloquence'.

Because the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is written in Classical Arabic, the language is considered by most Muslims to be sacred
Sacred language
A sacred language, "holy language" , or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life.-Concept:...

. It is mostly the language in which Muslims recite their prayers, regardless of what language they use in everyday life.

History


Classical Arabic has its origins in the central and northern parts of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, and is distinct from Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian is the term used to describe four extinct, closely related languages spoken in the far southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. There were a number of other Sayhadic languages , of which very little evidence survived, however...

 languages that were spoken in the southern parts of the peninsula, modern day Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. Classical Arabic is the only surviving descendant of the Old North Arabian languages. The oldest inscription so far discovered in Classical Arabic goes back to 328 AD and is known as the {{transl|ar|Namārah}} inscription, written in the Nabataean alphabet and named after the place where it was found in southern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in April 1901.

With the spread of Islam, Classical Arabic became a prominent language of scholarship and religious devotion as the language of the Qur'an (at times even spreading faster than the religion). Its relation to modern dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

 is somewhat analogous to the relationship of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 or Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese , also called Ancient Chinese by the linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Southern and Northern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties...

 and the modern Chinese language
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

s.

Morphology


Classical Arabic is one of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

, and therefore has many similarities in conjugation and pronunciation to Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, and Amharic
Amharic language
Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Thus, it has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working...

. Its use of vowels to modify a base group of consonants resembles similar constructions in Biblical Hebrew.

For example:
  • kataba, he wrote
  • yaktubu, he writes
  • maktūbun, written (words)
  • kitābun, book
  • kutubun, books (broken plural)
  • kitābatun, writing
  • kitābātun, writings (feminine sound plural)
  • maktabun, desk
  • maktabatun, library
  • kātibun, writer
  • kātibūna, writers (masculine sound plural)
  • kuttābun, writers (broken plural)
  • miktābun, writing machine

These words all have some relationship with writing, and all of them contain the three consonants KTB. This group of consonants k-t-b is called a "root." Grammarians assume that this root carries a basic meaning of writing, which encompasses all objects or actions involving writing, and so, therefore, all the above words are regarded as modified forms of this root, and are "obtained" or "derived" in some way from it.

Grammar


{{Arab culture}}
{{main|Arabic grammar}}

Grammar in Arabic ({{lang|ar|قواعد}}‎, meaning "rules"), underwent development in the late 700s. The earliest known Arabic grammarian is
{{Contains Arabic text}}

Classical Arabic (CA), also known as
Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic
or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes
Tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia refers to Arab clans hailing from the Arabian Peninsula.Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy and therefore questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Arab genealogy...

. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the direct descendant used today throughout the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 in writing and in formal speaking, for example, prepared speeches, some radio broadcasts, and non-entertaining content. While the lexis
Lexis (linguistics)
In linguistics, a lexis is the total word-stock or lexicon having items of lexical, rather than grammatical, meaning. This notion contrasts starkly with the Chomskian proposition of a “Universal Grammar” as the prime mover for language...

 and stylistics
Stylistics (linguistics)
Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own...

 of Modern Standard Arabic are different from Classical Arabic, the morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 have remained basically unchanged (though MSA uses a subset of the syntactic structures available in CA). The vernacular dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

, however, have changed more dramatically. In the Arab world
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, little distinction is made between CA and MSA, and both are normally called {{Unicode|al-Fuṣ-ḥā}} ({{lang|ar|الفصحى}}‎) in Arabic, meaning 'the clearly spoken one' or the 'language of eloquence'.

Because the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is written in Classical Arabic, the language is considered by most Muslims to be sacred
Sacred language
A sacred language, "holy language" , or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life.-Concept:...

. It is mostly the language in which Muslims recite their prayers, regardless of what language they use in everyday life.

History


Classical Arabic has its origins in the central and northern parts of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, and is distinct from Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian is the term used to describe four extinct, closely related languages spoken in the far southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. There were a number of other Sayhadic languages , of which very little evidence survived, however...

 languages that were spoken in the southern parts of the peninsula, modern day Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. Classical Arabic is the only surviving descendant of the Old North Arabian languages. The oldest inscription so far discovered in Classical Arabic goes back to 328 AD and is known as the {{transl|ar|Namārah}} inscription, written in the Nabataean alphabet and named after the place where it was found in southern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in April 1901.

With the spread of Islam, Classical Arabic became a prominent language of scholarship and religious devotion as the language of the Qur'an (at times even spreading faster than the religion). Its relation to modern dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

 is somewhat analogous to the relationship of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 or Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese , also called Ancient Chinese by the linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Southern and Northern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties...

 and the modern Chinese language
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

s.

Morphology


Classical Arabic is one of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

, and therefore has many similarities in conjugation and pronunciation to Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, and Amharic
Amharic language
Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Thus, it has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working...

. Its use of vowels to modify a base group of consonants resembles similar constructions in Biblical Hebrew.

For example:
  • kataba, he wrote
  • yaktubu, he writes
  • maktūbun, written (words)
  • kitābun, book
  • kutubun, books (broken plural)
  • kitābatun, writing
  • kitābātun, writings (feminine sound plural)
  • maktabun, desk
  • maktabatun, library
  • kātibun, writer
  • kātibūna, writers (masculine sound plural)
  • kuttābun, writers (broken plural)
  • miktābun, writing machine

These words all have some relationship with writing, and all of them contain the three consonants KTB. This group of consonants k-t-b is called a "root." Grammarians assume that this root carries a basic meaning of writing, which encompasses all objects or actions involving writing, and so, therefore, all the above words are regarded as modified forms of this root, and are "obtained" or "derived" in some way from it.

Grammar


{{Arab culture}}
{{main|Arabic grammar}}

Grammar in Arabic ({{lang|ar|قواعد}}‎, meaning "rules"), underwent development in the late 700s. The earliest known Arabic grammarian is {{transl
Abi Ishaq
' , an Arab grammarian and is the earliest known grammarian of the Arabic language. He compiled a prescriptive grammar by referring to the usage of the Bedouins, whose language was seen as especially pure .Two students of Abi Ishaq's were and...

. The efforts of three proceeding generations of grammarians culminated in the book of the Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 scholar {{transl
Sibawayh
Abū Bishr ʻAmr ibn ʻUthmān ibn Qanbar Al-Bishrī , commonly known as Sībawayh , was an influential linguist and grammarian of the Arabic language. He was of Persian origin born ca...

. Recent efforts aim to annotate the entire Arabic Grammar of the Quran
Quranic Arabic Corpus
The Quranic Arabic Corpus is an annotated linguistic resource consisting of 77,430 words of . The research project is led by at the University of Leeds, and is part of the Arabic language computing research group within the School of Computing, supervised by...

, using traditional syntax:

Phonology


{{See also|Arabic phonology}}

Classical Arabic had three pairs of long and short vowels: /a/, /i/, and /u/. The following table illustrates this:
Vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s
Short Long
High /i/ /u/ /iː/ /uː/
Low /a/ /aː/


Like Modern Standard Arabic, Classical Arabic had 28 consonant phonemes:
Classical Arabic consonant phonemes
  Bilabial Inter-
dental
Dental Palatal Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Uvular Pharyn-
geal
Pharyngeal consonant
A pharyngeal consonant is a type of consonant which is articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx.-Pharyngeal consonants in the IPA:Pharyngeal consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet :...

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

 plain  emphatic
Velarization
Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant.In the International Phonetic Alphabet, velarization is transcribed by one of three diacritics:...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

m   n            
Plosive voiceless     t ˠ   k ˠ   ʔ
voiced b   d   ɟ 2        
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

voiceless f θ s 1 ˠ ɕ   ˠ ħ h
voiced   ð z ˠ     ˠ ʕ  
Lateral
Lateral consonant
A lateral is an el-like consonant, in which airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth....

    ˠ 3 ˠ        
Tap     ˠ 4            
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

        j w      

  1. Non-emphatic /s/ may have actually been [ʃ], shifting forward in the mouth before or simultaneously with the fronting of the palatals (see below).
  2. As it derives from proto-semitic *g, /ɟ/ may have been a palatalized velar: /ɡʲ/
  3. /l/ is emphatic ([lˤ]) only in /ʔalˤːɑːh/, the name of God, i.e. Allah
    Allah
    Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

    , except after i or ī when it is unemphatic: bismi l-lāhi /bismillaːhi/ ('in the name of God').
  4. /ɾˠ/ (velarised [ɾ]) before "i" is pronounced without velarization.

The consonants traditionally termed "emphatic" /tˤ, ɮˤ, sˤ, ðˤ/ were either velarised
Velarization
Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant.In the International Phonetic Alphabet, velarization is transcribed by one of three diacritics:...

 [tˠ, ɬˠ, sˠ, ðˠ] or pharyngealised [tˤ, ɮˤ, sˤ, ðˤ]. In some transcription systems, emphasis is shown by capitalizing the letter, for example, /sˤ/ is written ⟨S⟩; in others the letter is underlined or has a dot below it, for example, ⟨{{unicode|ṣ}}⟩.
The consonants /[ɾˠ, qˠ, ʁˠ, χˠ] are pronounced with velarization.

There are a number of phonetic changes between Classical Arabic and modern Arabic dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

. These include:
  • The palatals /ç/ /ɟ/ (⟨ش‎⟩‎ ⟨ج⟩‎) shifted. /ç/ became postalveolar
    Postalveolar consonant
    Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...

     /ʃ/, and /ɟ/ became postalveolar /dʒ/ or /ʒ/ or velar {{[ɡ]}}.
  • The uvular fricatives /χˠ/ /ʁˠ/ (⟨خ⟩‎ ⟨غ⟩‎) became velar or post-velar: /x/ /ɣ/ (⟨ض‎⟩‎) became /dˤ/ (Certain Tajweed traditions actually preserve the original value of this sound synchronically.) See also Voiced alveolar lateral fricative


See Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 for further details of the IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

 representations of contemporary Arabic sounds.

The language of Classical Arabic is essentially that of the so-called poetic koine of the pre-Islamic poets, a standardized prestige dialect
Prestige dialect
In sociolinguistics, prestige describes the level of respect accorded to a language or dialect as compared to that of other languages or dialects in a speech community. The concept of prestige in sociolinguistics is closely related to that of prestige or class within a society...

 based on conservative Bedouin dialects of the eastern Arabian peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

. A similar but slightly different koine had been adopted in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, in a form adapted somewhat to the phonology of the spoken Meccan dialect of the time, and it was in this form that the Koran was given. The Koran was later rephonemicized into the standard poetic koine. Two of the differences between these dialects are represented in the modern Arabic writing system:
  • The original poetic koine had preserved the Proto-Semitic glottal stop
    Glottal stop
    The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

     in all positions, whereas the Meccan variant had eliminated it everywhere except initially, following the spoken Meccan dialect. (Similar changes occur in all the modern varieties of Arabic
    Varieties of Arabic
    The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

    .) Depending on the surrounding vowels, the glottal stop was either deleted entirely, converted to /w/ or /j/, or deleted after lengthening a preceding short vowel. The Koran as originally written down represented these changes; since the document was considered sacred, the letters were not changed. Instead, the letter representing the "incorrect" /w/, /j/ or long vowel that ought to be pronounced as a glottal stop had a diacritic (termed hamza) written over it to cancel out its inherent sound; if no such letter existed, the hamza was written between the existing letters. This is the origin of the complex rules regarding the writing of the glottal stop.
  • In the dialects underlying the poetic koine, original word-final /aja, aji, aju/ had developed into /aː/, merging with final /aː/ from other sources. In the spoken Meccan dialect, however, these word-final sequences did not merge in this way, instead remaining as a separate vowel, perhaps pronounced /eː/. Correspondingly, the Meccan koine variant split the standard koine's final /aː/ in two, in ways that corresponded with the spoken dialect. In writing the Meccan variant, final /aː/ was written with the letter alif
    Alif
    ALIF may be an abbreviation for:* Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, a type of spinal fusionAlif may have more than one meaning:* Aleph, the first letter of many Semitic alphabets* Alif, the eighth consonant of the Thaana abugaida used in Dhivehi...

    , while final /eː/ was written with the letter {{transl|ar|yāʾ}}, normally used for /j/. When rephonemicized into the standard poetic koine, the occurrences of {{transl|ar|yāʾ}} meant to be pronounced as /j/ or /aː/. Only recently, two dots was created to be written under the final {{transl|ar|yāʾ}} in order to distinguish it from the pronunciation of /aː/. This invention was not adopted by all Arabic speaking nations, as for example, Egypt and Sudan never add two dots under the final {{transl|ar|yāʾ}} in handwriting and print, even in printed Koran. {{transl|ar|Yāʾ}} for /aː/ was named alif maqṣūrah "broken alif
    Alif
    ALIF may be an abbreviation for:* Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, a type of spinal fusionAlif may have more than one meaning:* Aleph, the first letter of many Semitic alphabets* Alif, the eighth consonant of the Thaana abugaida used in Dhivehi...

    " or alif layyinah "flexible alif". This is why, final /aː/ can be written either with a normal alif or alif maqṣūrah.

Special symbols


A variety of special symbols exist in the Classical Arabic of the Qur'an that are usually absent in most written forms of Arabic. Many of these serve as aids for readers attempting to accurately pronounce the Classical Arabic found in the Qur'an. They may also indicate prostrations (Sujud), surahs (Ayah
Ayah
Ayah or Aayah is the Arabic word for sign or proof:"These are the Ayat of Allah, which We recite to you with truth...

), or the ends of chapters (Rub al Hizb).
style="font-weight: bold; font-size: 1.1em; margin-bottom: 0.5em"| Qur'anic annotation signs in Unicode
Code Glyph Name
06D6 {{script/Arabic| ۖ }} SMALL HIGH LIGATURE SAD WITH LAM WITH ALIF MAKSURA
06D7 {{script/Arabic| ۗ }} SMALL HIGH LIGATURE QAF WITH LAM WITH ALIF MAKSURA
06D8 {{script/Arabic| ۘ }} SMALL HIGH MEEM INITIAL FORM
06D9 {{script/Arabic| ۙ }} SMALL HIGH LAM ALIF
06DA {{script/Arabic| ۚ }} SMALL HIGH JEEM
06DB {{script/Arabic| ۛ }} SMALL HIGH THREE DOTS
06DC {{script/Arabic| ۜ }} SMALL HIGH SEEN
06DD {{script/Arabic| ۝ }} END OF AYAH
06DE {{script/Arabic| ۞ }} START OF RUB AL HIZB
06DF {{script/Arabic| ۟ }} SMALL HIGH ROUNDED ZERO
06E0 {{script/Arabic| ۠ }} SMALL HIGH UPRIGHT RECTANGULAR ZERO
06E1 {{script/Arabic| ۡ }} SMALL HIGH DOTLESS HEAD OF KHAH = Arabic jazm • used in some Qur'ans to mark absence of a vowel
06E2 {{script/Arabic| ۢ }} SMALL HIGH MEEM ISOLATED FORM
06E3 {{script/Arabic| ۣ }} SMALL LOW SEEN
06E4 {{script/Arabic| ۤ }} SMALL HIGH MADDA
06E5 {{script/Arabic| ۥ }} SMALL WAW
06E6 {{script/Arabic| ۦ }} SMALL YAA
06E7 {{script/Arabic| ۧ }} ARABIC SMALL HIGH YAA
06E8 {{script/Arabic| ۨ }} SMALL HIGH NOON
06E9 {{script/Arabic| ۩ }} PLACE OF SAJDAH
06EA {{script/Arabic| ۪ }} EMPTY CENTRE LOW STOP
06EB {{script/Arabic| ۫ }} EMPTY CENTRE HIGH STOP
06EC {{script/Arabic| ۬ }} ROUNDED HIGH STOP WITH FILLED CENTRE
06ED {{script/Arabic| ۭ }} SMALL LOW MEEM
From: Unicode Standard – Arabic

See also

  • Arabic language
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

  • Modern Standard Arabic
  • Ancient North Arabian
    Ancient North Arabian
    Ancient North Arabian is a language known from fragmentary inscriptions in modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, dating to between roughly the 6th century BC and the 6th century AD, all written in scripts derived from Epigraphic South Arabian...

  • Quranic Arabic Corpus
    Quranic Arabic Corpus
    The Quranic Arabic Corpus is an annotated linguistic resource consisting of 77,430 words of . The research project is led by at the University of Leeds, and is part of the Arabic language computing research group within the School of Computing, supervised by...

  • Arabic–English Lexicon
    Arabic-English Lexicon
    The Arabic–English Lexicon is a 19th-century Arabic dictionary compiled by the British Orientalist Edward William Lane. Writing in 1998, a critic says, "Every serious classical Arabic scholar, for the last hundred years and more, has been indebted to Lane's work [the Lexicon]."In 1842, Lane, who...


External links


{{Wiktionary|Classical Arabic}}
{{Wiktionary|Modern Standard Arabic}}
{{Wiktionary|Fus-ha}}
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{{Arabic language}}
{{Varieties of Arabic}}
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