Classical, Modern Standard and spoken Arabic

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized

GET ARABIC TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS. CALL 080-3753-1249, 081-1445-6164.
E-mail: hello@novatiatranslations.com.ng

Front Page


Arabic usually designates one of three main variants: Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial or dialectal Arabic. Classical Arabic is the language found in the Quran, used from the period of Pre-Islamic Arabia to that of the Abbasid Caliphate. Theoretically, Classical Arabic is considered normative, according to the syntactic and grammatical norms laid down by classical grammarians (such as Sibawayh) and the vocabulary defined in classical dictionaries (such as the Lisān al-ʻArab). In practice, however, modern authors almost never write in pure Classical Arabic, instead using a literary language with its own grammatical norms and vocabulary, commonly known as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).

MSA is the variety used in most current, printed Arabic publications, spoken by some of the Arabic media across North Africa, and the Middle East, and understood by most educated Arabic speakers. “Literary Arabic” and “Standard Arabic” (فُصْحَى fuṣḥá) are less strictly defined terms that may refer to Modern Standard Arabic or Classical Arabic.

Some of the differences between Classical Arabic (CA) and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) are as follows:

Certain grammatical constructions of CA that have no counterpart in any modern dialect (e.g., the energetic mood) are almost never used in Modern Standard Arabic.

No modern spoken variety of Arabic has case distinctions. As a result, MSA is generally composed without case distinctions in mind, and the proper cases are added after the fact, when necessary. Because most case endings are noted using final short vowels, which are normally left unwritten in the Arabic script, it is unnecessary to determine the proper case of most words. The practical result of this is that MSA, like English and Standard Chinese, is written in a strongly determined word order and alternative orders that were used in CA for emphasis are rare. In addition, because of the lack of case marking in the spoken varieties, most speakers cannot consistently use the correct endings in extemporaneous speech. As a result, spoken MSA tends to drop or regularize the endings except when reading from a prepared text.

The numeral system in CA is complex and heavily tied in with the case system. This system is never used in MSA, even in the most formal of circumstances; instead, a significantly simplified system is used, approximating the system of the conservative spoken varieties.

GET ARABIC TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS. CALL 080-3753-1249, 081-1445-6164.
E-mail: hello@novatiatranslations.com.ng

Front Page