Today: Jun 18, 2024

Arabic language and its impact on other languages

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6 mins read
    Umer Riyaz

The Arabic language has utmost importance to the followers of the religion of Islam as it is the language of the two main sources of legislation in Islam: the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith. It is also the main liturgical language of a number of Christian churches in the Arab world and most of the important Jewish religious and intellectual works of the Middle Ages were written in it. Besides the spread of Islam and its establishment of states the status of the Arabic language rose and it became the language of politics, science and literature for centuries in the areas ruled by Muslims.

The Arabic language is considered one of the oldest living languages on the earth and one of the Semitic languages ​​that witnessed development and a great change in its internal stages. The Qur’an has great merit over the Arabic language because of which this language has become the only branch of the Semitic languages ​​that has preserved its glow and universality. While most of the Semitic languages ​​have disappeared and the remaining of them became languages ​​with a narrow scope, such as: Hebrew, Amharic, the language of the people of Abyssinia and in an interview with the orientalist Massignon in 1949 he talked about its composition by explaining  that Arabic prefers Hebrew and Syriac because of its ability to combine Semitic characteristics and the special features represented in the amplitude of its vocal ranges from the farthest throat to beyond the lips, which led to vocal harmony with balance and constancy in addition to the strong bond between its words and For every sound of the Arabic language there is an adjective, a way out, an explanation, Significance, meaning, echo and rhythm. The Arabic language gained its name from (airab) parsing, (uroobah) Arabism, which means eloquence, clarity, and statement. For this reason, the Arabs called themselves Arabs and all other nations (Ajams) That is (they do not understand what they say).

Arabic is an official language of 25 countries spoken by 422 million people as a mother tongue and it is also spoken by a large number of non-Arab Muslims same as a second language. The United Nations recognized the Arabic language as the sixth official language in the world on 18th December 1973, which is the International Day for this ancient language.

Features of the Arabic language:

  1. It is one of the oldest living languages ​​on earth containing twenty-eight letters written from right to left and is characterized by the richness of its balance of words, vocabulary, formulas. Al-Khalil bin Ahmad counted in the year 114 AH the words of the Arabic language and found six million six hundred ninety-nine thousand and four hundred words (6699400), of which only seventy-six percent were used at that time and is a distinct language in terms of phonetics as it also contains the letter “Dhad”, which is not possessed by any other language in the world.
  2. The principle of moderation: Most of its words are composed of three letters, and a few of them have a four-letter or five-letter origin in order not to make the pronunciation long and difficult.
  3. The Arabic language possesses the characteristic of derivation and its harmonious roots as each word has an original root that distinguishes it from other languages. it is intended to deduct a branch from an origin and to take a formula from a formula and a word from a word.
  4. The Arabic language is characterized by the possibility of parsing which is considered one of the strongest elements of the Arabic language and one of its strongest feature is a change in the typical and grammatical state of the word after changing the factors that enter it.
  5. Distinguish between gender is depend on pronouns which is specific to each containing masculine and feminine.
  6. One of the means of increasing the linguistic wealth in the Arabic language is summarizing the sounds of nature and simulating them. In the Arabic language there are many significant words on the sounds of animals and the noises of things and there are expressions that indicate pronunciation and speech such as (ta ta) stuttering, i.e. (hesitation in speech). This transition affected the thought and the emergence of the need for expression.
  7. Lightness and gracefulness: As the Arabs flip some letters to ease because one is lighter than another as they do not combine two consonants. While we find in some languages ​​the combination of three consonant letters, just as the Arabs do not combine dissonant letters so the (ha) does not meet with the (ain) nor (Qaf) with (Kaf).
  8. The increase in the morphological construction of the word to increase its meaning and this is evident in many places including exaggeration. There are also specific weights in Arabic language for some things such as time, noun instrument etc.
  9. The strange linguistic trinity which is: verbal co-expression: which is the indication of a single utterance with two meanings or more, like (ainun) means eye and spring.

Synonymy: it is the indication of the two terms on one meaning. Such as (al- assal and al-shahad) for honey (abu&walid) for father, (ami& Walidah) for mother.

The accomplice: It is the indication of the word having two opposite meanings such as (Al-Jown) on black and white, (aswadain) on water and dates.

  1. Briefness in words: By comparing the writing of some words between Arabic, French and English, we find the clear difference: In English and French, we have: mother (6 letters in english) and mere (4 letters in french) while in Arabic we have UM (2 letters) and for father we have (6 letters in english) and pere (4 letters in french) while in Arabic we have AB (2 letters)

The French orientalist Louis Massignon said: “The Arabic language is the one that introduced the method of scientific expression in the West and Arabic is one of the purest languages as it was unique in the methods of scientific and artistic expression.”

Dr.Rushdi Ahmad Tuaima said: “’Arabic is a container for wide-ranging, deep impact and long history civilizations. It conveyed to humanity at a certain period the foundations of civilization and the factors of progress in all natural sciences, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and music.

The impact of the Arabic language on other languages:

There are so many Arabic words in other languages such as German, Italian, English, Persian French and Urdu. Its influence on other languages ​​was through sounds, letters, vocabulary, meanings and structures. Arabic provided them with a torrent of civilized terms and terminology, refined their methods and formulas, and modified their structures, especially the Persian, Turkish, Swahili, Somali, and Berber languages, and the number of Arabic utterances in some of these languages ​​exceeded the number of words of the same language. The collision of Arabic with other languages ​​led to the extinction of some languages ​​and the substitution of Arabic for them resulted their isolation such as berber.

However, the most prominent thing that Arabic provided to these languages ​​is the written system represented by the Arabic letter, which some of these languages ​​still retain until now, especially the Persian language, the Urdu language, the Pashto language, the Kurdish language, and some languages ​​of Africa. Until recently, most of the languages ​​of the Islamic world were written in the Arabic script. Its number has exceeded forty languages, including: Turkish, Tajik, Uzbek, Somali, Swahili, Hausa, Indonesian, some languages ​​in the Indian continent, etc. Arabic left clear traces in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, infusing them with civilized terms that were not known in the languages ​​of Europe, especially the terms of science and knowledge, the names of clothes, foods, dwellings, and the words of economics and politics.

There are words of Latin, Greek and Persian origins, which were transferred to the Spanish language from the Arabs, not from their original owners, such as: palace, path, elephant, sugar, and so on.

The Arabic words in this language have exceeded two hundred root words, which forms more than two thousand Spanish words and is noticeable that many Spanish words of Arabic origin have preserved their full Arabic forms, including antecedents such as the alif and lam, and suffixes such as feminine signs, and they include nouns, verbs and letters.

Many Arabic words have entered into the English, French, German and Urdu languages, such as: Coffee, Alcohol, giraffe, saffron, palace, sugar chair, pen etc. As for the Arabic words in the German language, they exceeded three hundred words, most of them in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, astronomy, chemistry, food and drink which German writer (Sigrid Hunke) mentioned in her book: (The Arab Sun shining on the West) which was printed in 1960 AD. In addition to That is, there are Islamic expressions, which are difficult to enumerate in this regard, which entered the languages ​​of Muslims in eastern Europe, especially the languages ​​of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of these expressions were transferred to these languages ​​directly, and some of them were transmitted to them through other languages.

The writer is Research Scholar, Department of Arabic BGSB University, Rajouri. Email: [email protected]