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Author Topic: Liturgical Arabic  (Read 3585 times) Average Rating: 0
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The_Convert
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« on: July 05, 2013, 09:56:33 PM »

I understand that Church Slavonic, as much as it sounds like Russian, is different enough to be barely comprehensible to a Russian speaker. Is it the same case with the Arabic used by Antiochian churches?
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Samn!
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2013, 08:58:23 AM »

Not at all. Arabic is diglossic anyways-- that is, the written Arabic used in newspapers or that is spoken on formal occasions is about as different from the everyday spoken Arabic dialects as Latin is from the Romance languages. The language used in the liturgy is basically the standard written Arabic, and so it's easily comprehensible to Arabic speakers with an average level of education....
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2013, 09:28:32 AM »

Not at all. Arabic is diglossic anyways-- that is, the written Arabic used in newspapers or that is spoken on formal occasions is about as different from the everyday spoken Arabic dialects as Latin is from the Romance languages.

What's the point and/or history behind this?
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Samn!
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2013, 10:02:16 AM »

Spoken language changes faster over space and time than written language does.... German is also similar to this-- the spoken languages in Austria, Bavaria, and Switzerland are pretty wildly different from Hochdeutsch... Greek was also basically diglossic until 20th century language reforms.
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The_Convert
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2013, 10:02:36 AM »

So, in technical terms, would it be Modern Standard Arabic?

I ask because the Antiochian church I've been attending uses a fair amount of Arabic in the Liturgy (particularly in Orthros), so I'm hoping to learn at least enough not to get lost.
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2013, 10:04:53 AM »

I mean, "Modern Standard Arabic" is a bit of a pedagogical construction... but yeah, if you learn textbook Arabic you'd be fine following the services, once you got used to their vocabulary (just like learning any genre of written Arabic).
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 02:38:04 PM »

I mean, "Modern Standard Arabic" is a bit of a pedagogical construction... but yeah, if you learn textbook Arabic you'd be fine following the services, once you got used to their vocabulary (just like learning any genre of written Arabic).

If you are in the USA be careful of the source you are learning from. Many of the teach yourself spoken Arabic books that you find at your local Barnes & Nobles are geared for either Egyptian Arabic (which sounds very different) or Gulf Arabic. If you are taking it in college they will teach you the written form first, and thus the Arabic that is used in the services.

Anyone have experience with Rosetta Stone to know what dialect of Arabic they teach?
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Joseph
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2013, 05:43:40 PM »

Anyone have experience with Rosetta Stone to know what dialect of Arabic they teach?
It teaches you Standard Arabic. I wouldn't recommend it, though. I heard Arabic Rosetta Stone is quite bad.
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The_Convert
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2013, 05:58:13 PM »

What would be a good resource for learning Arabic - at least enough to get by in the Liturgy?
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Severian
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2013, 06:10:05 PM »

What would be a good resource for learning Arabic - at least enough to get by in the Liturgy?
I find that for me personally, understanding, reading, and following along with the Liturgy in Arabic is much less challenging than reading classical Arabic works, the newspaper, or even the Bible in Arabic. This is mostly because the Liturgy uses much easier and less diverse vocabulary than these other works.

I would suggest familiarizing yourself with Liturgical terminology and prayers in Arabic. I also recommend buying a Liturgy book with Arabic on one side and an English translation on the other. You will have to learn the Arabic alphabet if you want to be able to read along and get the proper pronunciation down, it's really not that difficult. Also, listen to hymns and prayers in Arabic either in Church or on the Internet and then follow along with the written text as this will increase the speed of your reading.

Btw, do you have any background in Arabic at all or are you starting from scratch?

In Christ
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 06:10:49 PM by Severian » Logged


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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2013, 06:13:23 PM »

start with a 'modern standard arabic' phrasebook, till you know the letters well and a lot of basic phrases.
get some relatives of friends to give you arabic lessons in return for food, help at work or something similar.
then take a bilingual (or trilingual for us copts!) liturgy book home and sit down with it and your arabic dictionary for 2 or 3 years. go to church a lot.
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(that's how i did it, i never found a really good arabic course. i am still on lesson 14 in my 'teach yourself arabic' cd course as lesson 13 was about business and economy in the gulf, which was so boring i spent 3 years on one lesson!)

edit - also severian's post is very useful.
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 06:27:22 PM »

Spoken language changes faster over space and time than written language does.... German is also similar to this-- the spoken languages in Austria, Bavaria, and Switzerland are pretty wildly different from Hochdeutsch... Greek was also basically diglossic until 20th century language reforms.
That, on top of the fact that Arabic was never a monolith to begin with, even in early Islamic and pre-Islamic times. Different Arab tribes spoke varying forms of Arabic. When the different Arab-Muslim tribes conquered various lands, the natives of these lands adopted their particular dialects of Arabic, and mixed vocabulary from their native languages with it (e.g. The Egyptian Arabic word "huwsa" meaning "noise" or "ruckus" derives from Coptic). Over time these dialects evolved even further, becoming what they are today.
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The_Convert
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 06:58:49 PM »

Btw, do you have any background in Arabic at all or are you starting from scratch?

In Christ

I have no prior experience with Arabic, aside from hearing it used in the Liturgy. I'm actually rethinking my plan. I've only got a little over a month left going to this parish; the church I'll be attending most consistently uses 99% English. Thanks for the advice, nonetheless.
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