[Foundation-l] How to dismantle a language committee

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Mon Jan 12 05:23:44 UTC 2009

Most of the grammatical features you cited are shared with Standard
Arabic... that's not a list of differences, it's a general description
of Egyptian Arabic with a couple of differences noted. Written in
Arabic script, short vowels aren't distinguished most of the time, so
that's irrelevant anyhow.


2009/1/11 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>:
> On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 5:12 AM, Tim Starling <tstarling at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> Arabic may have spread from Morocco to Malaysia, but Cairo is quite close
>> to the Arabian peninsula, so I wonder if you're not overgeneralising.
> From: http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?menu=004&LangID=51
> "Egyptian Arabic is distinguished by a larger vowel inventory than
> Classical Arabic, with four short vowels (plus epenthetic schwa) and
> six long vowels, compared to three short vowels and six long vowels in
> Classical Arabic. Consonantal changes have included the loss of
> interdental fricatives. Egyptian Arabic is also characterized by two
> regular phonological processes lacking in Standard Arabic. First, all
> long vowels become shortened in unstressed positions and before
> consonant clusters. And second, many instances of short i and u are
> dropped by a process known as high vowel deletion. For example, when
> the feminine suffix -a is added to the participle kaatib "having
> written (masc.)", the i is deleted, resulting in katba.
> Like other varieties of Arabic, Egyptian Arabic derives the bulk of
> its vocabulary by applying a number of patterns or templates to a
> stock of consonantal roots. For example, from the triliteral root
> (three-consonant root) g-w-z with the basic meaning of "pair" is
> derived gooz "pair; husband", yiggawwiz "to get married", gawaaz
> "marriage", and migwiz "double". As an example of a template, the
> template maCCaC is used to derive many nouns referring to a place
> where an activity is done by substituting the C's in the template with
> the consonants of a triliteral root, such as: maktab "office" (a place
> where one writes) and maTbax "kitchen" (a place where one cooks).
> Verbs occur in two aspects: the perfective and the imperfective. The
> perfective is usually translated as a past tense or present perfect.
> Its conjugational morphology consists entirely of suffixes, for
> example: katab "he wrote", katabit "she wrote", katabt "I wrote",
> katabna "we wrote". The plain imperfective form is used much like an
> infinitive or subjunctive, as yiktib "he writes" in biyHibb yiktib"he
> likes to write".  The imperfective also serves as the basis for the
> present and future tenses with particles bi and Ha, as in biyiktib "he
> writes" and Hayiktib "he will write". The conjugational morphology of
> the imperfective employs both prefixes and suffixes.
> For example, from the imperfective stem ktib we get yiktib "he
> writes", tiktib "she writes", and yiktibu "they write". The imperative
> is formed by leaving off the prefix of the imperfective. Verbs, and
> certain other elements, are usually negated by simultaneous use of the
> particles ma- and -š. Sometimes these particles are affixed to either
> side of the verb, as in the past tense makatabš "he didn't write",
> while in other cases, the particles combine to form the separate word
> miš "not" which occurs before the verb, as in the future miš Hayiktib
> "he won't write".
> In addition to the direct object clitics found in Standard Arabic,
> Egyptian Arabic also has indirect object clitics which follow any
> direct object clitic but precede negative -š. For example, "he wrote"
> is katab, "he wrote it (fem.)" is katabha, "he wrote it to you" is
> katabhaalak, and finally "he didn't write it to you" is makatabhalakš.
> As in Standard Arabic, nouns are either masculine or feminine, and
> either singular, dual, or plural, and plurals are either sound
> (regular) or broken (irregular) employing a suffix or broken
> (irregular) employing a different template, as described in the Arabic
> Overview. Broken plurals are not restricted to a small subset of the
> vocabulary and are frequently used even with loanwords having three or
> four consonants, such as the English loanword sikšin "section" >
> sakaašin"sections". Many adjectives also have broken plural forms.
> Egyptian Arabic is much less averse to borrowing than Standard Arabic,
> and the sources from which it has borrowed reflects the influence that
> different peoples have had in Egypt over its history. Many borrowings
> remain from Coptic, a Cushitic language which has been dead for
> several centuries but which was the dominant language in Egypt when
> the Arabs first arrived. Borrowings from Coptic are concentrated in
> fields of activity for which were foreign to Peninsular Arabic
> culture, such as agriculture. Later borrowings came primarily from
> Greek, Italian, French, and English. Most new borrowings are from
> English.
> Like other modern dialects, though unlike Standard Arabic, the
> predominant word order in Egyptian Arabic is Subject Verb Object
> (SVO)."
> This is a lot. Not like difference between Hittite and English, but it
> is like differences between Old Church Slavonic and Serbian or between
> Latin and Italian.
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

More information about the foundation-l mailing list