[ExI] Arabs don't read

Harvey Newstrom mail at harveynewstrom.com
Sun Jul 20 15:56:00 UTC 2014

On Saturday, July 19, 2014 3:22 PM, John Clark wrote,
> but even though it's more than twice as old written Arabic has changed 
> very little since the Quran was written

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, this claim is only made for political and religious purposes.  Literary scholars actually consider the Classical Arabic (of the Quran) and the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) to be two separate languages. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language#Arabic_and_Islam)

- The alphabet is radically different.  The original alphabet changed and evolved from Nabatean, lacked modern consonants for /t/d/h/g/z/, had a dot-consonant system that was not standardized until the 8th century, did not have standardized vowels until the 7th century.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language#History)

- The grammar, cases, word endings and word order are radically different.  Arabic words used to have different forms for different cases, but now a single form is used.  Word order was not as important with cases, but now a different word order shows different meanings.  The old and new Arabic had different grammar structures and language constructions such that they would be considered different languages by literary scholars and are only considered the same language due to political and religious reasons.

So it appears that when a modern Arabic non-Muslim reader encounters the original (nontranslated) text of the Quran, they are faced with a different alphabet, different word order, different forms of words, different grammar rules, different cases (and maybe tenses), to the point that they would conclude it is a separate (but apparently related) language.

Harvey Newstrom   www.HarveyNewstrom.com

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