MODERN STANDARD ARABIC (MSA;
Arabic : اللغة العربية
الفصحى _al-lughat ul-ʻArabīyat ul-fuṣḥá_ 'the most
Arabic language'), STANDARD ARABIC, or LITERARY ARABIC is the
standardized and literary variety of
Arabic used in writing and in
most formal speech throughout the
Arab world to facilitate
communication. It is considered a pluricentric language .
Most Western scholars distinguish two standard _(al-)fuṣḥá_
(الفصحى) varieties of Arabic: the CLASSICAL ARABIC (CA)
(اللغة العربية التراثية _al-lughah al-ʻArabīyah
al-turāthīyah_) of the
Quran and early Islamic (7th to 9th
centuries) literature , and MODERN STANDARD ARABIC (MSA) (اللغة
العربية المعيارية الحديثة _al-lughah
al-ʻArabīyah al-miʻyārīyah al-ḥadīthah_), the standard
language in use today. MSA is based on classical Arabic, and
differences between the two varieties of the language are directly
related to modernizing and simplification, both in speaking and
writing styles. Most
Arabic speakers consider the two varieties to be
two registers of one language, although the two registers can be
referred to in
Arabic as فصح
ى العصر _fuṣḥá l-ʻaṣr_
(MSA) and فصح
ى التراث _fuṣḥá t-turāth_ (CA).
* 2 Modern Standard
* 3 Phonology
* 3.1 Consonants
* 3.2 Vowels
* 4 Differences between Modern Standard
* 4.1 Differences in syntax
* 4.2 Differences in terminology
* 4.3 Differences in pronunciation
* 4.4 Differences in punctuation
* 4.5 Differences in style
* 5 Regional variants
* 6 Speakers
* 7 Grammar
* 8 Common phrases
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 External links
Classical Arabic, also known as Quranic
Arabic (although the term is
not entirely accurate ), is the language used in the
Quran as well as
in numerous literary texts from
Abbasid times (7th to 9th
centuries). Many Muslims study
Classical Arabic in order to read the
Quran in its original language. It is important to note that written
Classical Arabic underwent fundamental changes during the early
Islamic era, adding dots to distinguish similarly written letters, and
adding the Tashkeel (diacritical markings that guide pronunciation) by
Abu al-Aswad al-Du\'ali ,
Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi , and other
scholars. It was the lingua franca across the
Middle East , North
Horn of Africa during ancient times.
MODERN STANDARD ARABIC
Arabic (MSA) is the literary standard across the
Middle East ,
North Africa ,
Horn of Africa and is one of the six
official languages of the
United Nations . Most printed material by
Arab League —including most books, newspapers, magazines,
official documents, and reading primers for small children—is
written in MSA. It was developed in the early part of the 19th
Arabic refers to the many regional dialects
Classical Arabic spoken daily across the region and
learned as a first language , and as second language if people speak
other languages native to their particular country. They are not
normally written, although a certain amount of literature
(particularly plays and poetry (including songs)) exists in many of
Arabic (MSA) is the official language of all Arab
League countries and is the only form of
Arabic taught in schools at
all stages. Additionally, some Christian
Arabic speakers recite
prayers in it, as it is considered the literary language , Bibles are
written in MSA aside from Classical Arabic. MSA is also used in
modernized versions of literary forms of the Qur'an, and some Muslim
Arabic speakers recite prayers in it; revised editions of numerous
literary texts from
Abbasid times also are written in MSA.
The sociolinguistic situation of
Arabic in modern times provides a
prime example of the linguistic phenomenon of diglossia – the use of
two distinct varieties of the same language, usually in different
social contexts. This diglossic situation facilitates code-switching
in which a speaker switches back and forth between the two dialects of
the language, sometimes even within the same sentence. People speak
MSA as a third language if they speak other languages native to a
country as their first language and colloquial
Arabic dialects as
their second language. Modern Standard
Arabic is also spoken by people
of Arab descent outside the
Arab world when people of Arab descent
speaking different dialects communicate to each other. As there is a
prestige or standard dialect of vernacular Arabic, speakers of
standard colloquial dialects code-switch between these particular
dialects and MSA.
Classical Arabic is considered normative; a few contemporary authors
attempt (with varying degrees of success) to follow the syntactic and
grammatical norms laid down by classical grammarians (such as Sibawayh
) and to use the vocabulary defined in classical dictionaries (such as
the _Lisan al-Arab_ ِلِسَان العَرَب).
However, the exigencies of modernity have led to the adoption of
numerous terms which would have been mysterious to a classical author,
whether taken from other languages (e. g. فلم _film_) or coined
from existing lexical resources (e. g. هاتف _hātif_ "caller" >
"telephone"). Structural influence from foreign languages or from the
vernaculars has also affected Modern Standard Arabic: for example, MSA
texts sometimes use the format "A, B, C, and D" when listing things,
Classical Arabic prefers "A and B and C and D", and
subject-initial sentences may be more common in MSA than in Classical
Arabic. For these reasons, Modern Standard
Arabic is generally
treated separately in non-Arab sources.
Arabic sources generally tend
to regard MSA and
Classical Arabic as different registers of one and
the same language. Speakers of Modern Standard
Arabic do not always
observe the intricate rules of
Classical Arabic grammar. Modern
Arabic principally differs from
Classical Arabic in three
areas: lexicon, stylistics, and certain innovations on the periphery
that are not strictly regulated by the classical authorities. 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. Add to this regional
differences in vocabulary depending upon the influence of the local
Arabic varieties and the influences of foreign languages, such as
French in Africa and
Lebanon or English in Egypt, Jordan, and other
countries. As MSA is a revised and simplified form of Classical
Arabic, MSA in terms of lexicon omitted the obsolete words used in
Classical Arabic. As diglossia is involved, various
freely borrow words from MSA, this situation is similar to Romance
languages , wherein scores of words were borrowed directly from formal
Latin (most literate Romance speakers were also literate in Latin);
educated speakers of standard colloquial dialects speak in this kind
Reading out loud in MSA for various reasons is becoming increasingly
simpler, using less strict rules compared to CA, notably the
inflection is omitted, making it closer to spoken varieties of Arabic
. It depends on the speaker's knowledge and attitude to the grammar of
Classical Arabic, as well as the region and the intended audience.
Pronunciation of native words, loanwords, foreign names in MSA is
loose, names can be pronounced or even spelled differently in
different regions and by different speakers. Pronunciation also
depends on the person's education, linguistic knowledge and abilities.
There may be sounds used, which are missing in the Classical Arabic
but may exist in colloquial varieties - consonants - /v /, /p /,
/t͡ʃ / (often realized as +), these consonants may or may not be
written with special letters; and vowels - , (both short and long),
there are no special letters in
Arabic to distinguish between and
pairs but the sounds o and e (short and long) exist in the colloquial
Arabic and some foreign words in MSA. The differentiation
of pronunciation of informal dialects is the influence from other
languages previously spoken and some still presently spoken in the
regions, such as Coptic in Egypt, French , Ottoman Turkish , Italian ,
Spanish , Berber , Punic or Phoenician in North Africa, Himyaritic ,
Modern South Arabian and
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian in
Yemen and Aramaic in the
Main article: Modern Standard
Arabic Consonant phonemes
x ~ χ خ
ɣ ~ ʁ غ
* the marginal phoneme /ɫ / only occurs in the word الله
/aɫːaːh/ ('The God') and words derived from it.
Modern Standard Arabic, like
Classical Arabic before it, has three
pairs of long and short vowels: /a/, /i/, and /u/:
Arabic Vowel phonemes
North Africa and West Asia, /i/ may be realized as
before or adjacent to emphatic consonants and , , , . /u/ can also
have different realizations, i.e. . They are distinct phonemes in loan
words. Sometimes with one value for each vowel in both short and long
lengths or two different values for each short and long lengths. In
Egypt, close vowels have different values; short initial or medial: ,
← instead of /i, u/. /i~ɪ/ and /u~ʊ/ completely become /e/ and /o/
respectively in some other particular dialects. Allophones of /a/ &
/aː/ include and text-decoration: none">jīm_
ج as by
Egyptians), though other traits may show the speaker's region, such as
the stress and the exact value of vowels and the pronunciation of
other consonants. People who speak MSA also mix vernacular and
Classical in pronunciation, words, and grammatical forms.
Classical/vernacular mixing in formal writing can also be found (e.g.,
in some Egyptian newspaper editorials); others are written in Modern
Standard/vernacular mixing, including entertainment news.
See also: Literacy in Arab league countries
People who are literate in Modern Standard
Arabic are primarily found
in most countries of the
Arab League . It may be assumed that the
number of speakers of the language to be the number of literate people
in this region, because it is compulsory in schools of most of the
Arab League to learn Modern Standard Arabic. People who are literate
in the language are usually more so passively, as they mostly use the
language in reading and writing, not in speaking. It is also spoken by
Muslims in Northern Nigeria by people with Islamic education
(especially the Hausa and Fulani people).
The countries with the largest populations that mandate MSA be taught
in all schools are, with rounded-up numbers:
Egypt (84 million; 74% literacy)
Algeria (32 million; 80% literacy)
Iraq (31 million; 79% literacy)
Sudan (31 million; 72% literacy)
Saudi Arabia (28 million; 87% literacy)
Yemen (24 million; 65% literacy)
Morocco (22.6 million; 68.5% literacy)
Syria (22 million; 84% literacy)
مرحباً, أهلاً وسهلاً
/marħaban, ˈʔahlan wa ˈsahlan/
marḥaban, ahlan wa-sahlā
peace with you (lit. upon you)
how are you?
How much/How many?
(may vary) al-inglīzīyah
What is your name?
(may vary)masmuka / -ki?
I don't know
* Asia portal
* Africa portal
* Languages portal
Varieties of Arabic
Geographic distribution of Arabic
Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic
Arabic English Lexicon
* ^ Spelling for the final letter _yāʼ_ differs in Egypt, Sudan
and sometimes other regions as Yemen. It is always undotted
ى , HENCE
* ^ Pronunciation varies regionally. The following are examples:
Levant : , colloquially:
* East central Arabia: , colloquially:
* Egypt: , colloquially:
* Libya: , colloquially:
* Tunisia: , colloquially:
* Algeria, Morocco: , colloquially:
* ^ Modern Standard
Arabic at _
Ethnologue _ (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ Wright, 2001, p. 492.
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank,
Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Standard Arabic". _
Glottolog 2.7 _. Jena: Max
Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
* ^ Alaa Elgibali and El-Said M. Badawi. _Understanding Arabic:
Essays in Contemporary
Arabic Linguistics in Honor of El-Said M.
Badawi_, 1996. Page 105.
* ^ "العربية المعيارية الحديثة".
_msarabic.com_. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
* ^ Farghaly, A., Shaalan, K.
Arabic Natural Language Processing:
Challenges and Solutions, ACM Transactions on Asian Language
Information Processing (TALIP), the Association for Computing
Machinery (ACM), 8(4)1-22, December 2009.
* ^ Alan S. Kaye (1991). "The Hamzat al-Waṣl in Contemporary
Modern Standard Arabic". _Journal of the American Oriental Society_.
American Oriental Society. 111 (3): 572–574.
JSTOR 604273 . doi
* ^ http://www.londonarabictuition.com/lessons.php?type=2 London
* ^ https://asianabsolute.co.uk/arabic-language-dialects/ Arabic
* ^ Wolfdietrich Fischer. 1997. "Classical Arabic," _The Semitic
Languages_. London: Routledge. Pg 189.
* ^ Watson (2002 :16)
* ^ "العربية المعيارية الحديثة".
_msarabic.com_. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
* ^ الأرابيك, مؤسسة. "الدراسة". _msarabic.com_.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Arabic, AL. "White Paper". _msarabic.com_.
* ^ محمد, د. علي. "ورقة عمل حول التعريب
اللفظي في اللغة العربية". _al-arabic.com_.
* ^ Official Egyptian Population clock
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ The World Factbook. Cia.gov.
Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
* ^ Population of
Algeria by CIA World Factbook
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ "World Population Prospects, Table A.1" (PDF).
United Nations Department of Economic and Social
Affairs . 2009: 17. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
* ^ http://www.cbs.gov.sd 2008 Sudanese census
* ^ Population of Marocco by CIA World Factbook
* Holes, Clive (2004) Modern Arabic: Structures, Functions, and
Varieties Georgetown University Press. ISBN 1-58901-022-1
Look up CLASSICAL ARABIC _ in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up MODERN STANDARD ARABIC _ in Wiktionary, the free
Look up FUS-HA _ in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
* Modern Standard Arabic
Classical Arabic Reader
* Yamli Editor - The Smart
Arabic Keyboard (with automatic
conversions and dictionary for better selections)
* Rule-based analysis and generation of Modern Standard Arabic
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