The Case for Latinizing the Arabic Language

Arabian typography in a international press card ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world with 315 million native speakers and may well be the lingua franca, or vehicular language, of the White world if it were to unite to form a single country. It’s true that Arabic is sub-divided into many distinct dialects but in all Arabic speaking countries, a uniform language called ‘Modern Standard Arabic’ or MSA for short, is largely spoken and understood and a Morrocan would be able to converse with a Qatari without any problems. The Arabic alphabet, like the Latin alphabet, evolved out of the Phoenician alphabet but unlike the Latin aphabet it shares certain features with the Phoenician alphabet, namely being written right to left and the absence of characters representing vowels. It is important to note, with all due respect, that its’ alphabet is an integral part of the identity and heritage of the Arabic language, however it makes it difficult for a new learner to read and write in Arabic. Switching to the Latin alphabet, or at least using the two alphabets side by side, would simplify reading and writing in the language which would make it easier for non Arabic speakers to learn it, and would more easily incorporate new words into the language. Arabic isn’t the only tongue that is spoken in many Arabic-speaking countries; Turkish and Kurdish is also spoken in Iraq and Syria and Tamazight in the Maghrebi countries. All these languages use the Latin alphabet. Arabic wouldn’t be the first language to switch from Arabic to Latin alphabet; Turkish, Kurdish and Somali have all switched from the Arabic to the easier Latin alphabet. As I’ve already mentioned, Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world behind English, Spanish (mostly spoken in the New World), Mandarin and Hindi; with the vast wealth of the Gulf States, who knows, Arabic may ovetake English as the International language of commerce and culture if it were made easier to learn with a simplified alphabet.

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