A very good reason to learn the Arabic script

Learning a language with a script other than the Latin alphabet can be a little scary. Many people opt to transliterate the language rather than take the time to learn the script. This approach works if you only want to learn to speak the language. If you want more however, you just got to put in the work and learn the script.

Scripts like Hangul (Korean) or Cyrillic (Russian) are very straightforward and relatively easy to learn. Others like the Thai abugida take a little more effort to learn and more complex scripts like the hanzi (kanji in Japan) of China can take a considerable amount of time to learn. I put the Arabic script with Hangul and Cyrillic. It looks daunting but once you get into it you see it’s quite manageable.

At any rate, when you begin to learn Arabic (I’m learning Egyptian Arabic) you encounter the root system right away. That is, in Arabic, you build vocabulary around root consonants. For example, the Arabic word for book is kataab. The root consonants are ktb now check this out:

ب (kataba) he wrote
كتاب (kataab) book
مكتب (maktab) office
يكتب (yaktub) he writes
كاتب (kaatib) writer

See how all the words related use the three consonants? Well, I found that it was hard for me to see the pattern using the transliterated version of the word BUT when one uses the Arabic script, the root letters jump right at you. BAM! This is because arabic script uses diacritic marks to mark the vowels u, i, and a and the lines you are writing are mostly consonants. This means that the vowels are sort of out of the way ; thus the root consonants become obvious.

This is a super simplified explanation of the subject of root consonants in Arabic but this makes my point: Learning the Arabic script actually makes it easier to learn the language.

Discuss among yourselves 🙂


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