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Classical Arabic VS Modern Standard Arabic

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1 Classical Arabic VS Modern Standard Arabic on Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:10 pm

I am always asked the question, "what is the difference between Classical and Modern Standard Arabic?" and I thought the following is a good summary to attend to such a question.




Arabic: Classical or Modern?


Arabic is somewhat unique in the sense that the classical and modern dialects are not too different from one another. The divergences are largely limited to the lexical meanings of words, a few grammatical constructions, and some stylistic elements. Other than this, the two are quite similar.


Classical Arabic is roughly considered to have ended at around the mid-19th century. Of course the transition from classical to modern was very gradual, but it was during the industrial revolution that linguists began to systematically create new words and take advantage of the language’s framework in order to express new concepts like engines, steam, and factories.


But the similarity between the two only means that a speaker of one brand will need minimal instruction to learn the other brand. It does not mean that a speaker from the seventh century will completely understand a modern speaker, or that a modern speaker can pick up the Qur’an and start analyzing it without proper training. By no means.


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