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Arab vs. non-Arab countries: Chad, Iran, Somalia, etc.

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Samo, Dec 31, 2005.

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  1. Samo Junior Member

    Usa English
    Why is Chad not included as an Arabic country official languages are: French and Arabic and approximately 50 % consider Arabic as a 1st language. Many others as a language of trade.
    Also when I was in Chad the Libyans had control. I heard people say Goum or goumi what are they? From context I think it is get up or
    stand up. The ibaya of Libya and Tunisia is all white and in the golf Abaya is all black. Chadians called ibaya to prints of many designs or colours.
     
  2. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    If you mean why isn't Chad a member of the Arab League, that's a question I'm not sure I can answer. Maybe they just didn't apply for "membership". Countries have to submit some form of application to ask for being considered as member in any international organisation.
    As for languages, it's true Arabic is one of 2 official languages of Chad (the other one is French).
    Goum (for masculine) and goumi (for feminine) is the imperative form of the verb yaquum (and you're right; it means stand up). the (g) sound is a sort of colloquial pronounciation of the (q).
    I didn't very much understand what you mean by ibaya (is it the dress ? we call it in Egypt 3abaya (3= ع) The colors of abaayaat عـبايات do differ from a country to another. Of course white is better for desert places (to ease the heat a little)
    I'm not sure if I was of any help to you. So if you have any questions don't hesitate to post them.
     
  3. NICE-LADY Junior Member

    ARABIC
    I am not sure what Samo means by ibaya. He has to explain it more in order to understand. But my impression is that he means the woman's 3abaaya, i.e. the women's dress, you know how women in the Gulf wear black dresses, what we call in my accent Dishdaasha, 3abaaya, or even Jilbaab. But women in the Gulf countries always wear it black. I think it's something in their tradition. Maybe I confused things more, but I really hope it helped a little.
     
  4. Samo Junior Member

    Usa English
    Cherine:
    Yes ibaya is the womans dress
    don't egyptians pronounce the q as ain. which is the best pronunciation?When i look up arabic countries I do not see Chad listed but Somalia Which uses Arabic as a second languague is listed. And Iran which has some Arabic speakers was rejected for membership.
     
  5. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    In Egypt the word Ibaya is pronounced 3abaaya عَـباية . we don't pronounce the q as ain but as hamza (i.e. qaal - aal, qalb - alb...) (and sometimes we keep the sound q; i.e. qaamous, qaanoun...) , some regions in Egypt pronounce the (q) as (g)

    As for Arab countries : I still don't know why isn't Chad a member of the Arab league, nor why Somalia is considered an Arabic country.
    As for Iran, it can't be considered as an Arab country for the simple reason that it is not :) I mean they speak Iranian, which is a different language from Arabic which they only use, to my knowledge, to read Qur'an and do the prayers. I'm not sure Iran was rejected for I don't even think it ever applies for membership in the first place. Iran is NOT an Arab country, just as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those are Muslim countries, but not Arabic.
     
  6. Samo Junior Member

    Usa English
    Thanks both of you. Iran has an Arabic minority.As you probably know Iran applied for membership in the Arab league but was rejected. Farsi is the largest minority but it was less than 50% at the time. Politics I guess can be the reason.
     
  7. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Actually, I never knew that Iran applied for the membership, but I understand why it was rejected : as I said, Arabs don't consider Iran an Arabic country (whatever the Arabic minority there may be, it sure isn't big enough to be accounted for) but Iran is considered, and IS, and Islamic country. It goes in the same group with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malysia.... : Islamic non-Arab countries.
    Politics have nothing to do with this issue.

    I don't understand what you say about Farsi being "the largest minority" ! to my knowledge it's the largest majority.
    Can you please let me know about your sources of information ?
    Thank you
     
  8. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Iran is not an Arabic country just as Djibouti and Somalia, who are members of the Arab league Arabistan province is where most Arabs are. I believe what Samo said "largest minority" means Farsi or Persian made up less than 51% ( majority) in 1948-50 although they were aproximately 50% (largest minority). Today they are in the 60 or more percentage. News update http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/?NewsCode=20295&NewsKind=Current+Affairs one of several cites on current situation to admit Iran and Turkey as observers. I believe Iran was rejected sometime between 1948-50. Why Chad an Arabic country(like many others not all residents speak Arabic) is not a member I also do not know.
     
  9. Jhorer Brishti Senior Member

    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    The present day country of Iran was known as Persia before the name change. Iran has a number of "ethnic" groups and what's surprising is that the number of "persians" is only about 20-30 percent I believe... However the official language is Persian/Farsi and most everyone is required to learn it.. Iran has had a separate history since ancient times and as such is not an arab country as Cherine indicated. However it is probably the most arab influenced non-arab country in the world. I think Persian holds an almost equal status to Arabic as a "muslim" language(in particular with the number of literary works written in relation to the religion) and it has had an enormous influence on south asian/southeast asian muslim countries where the words relating to prayer,etc are derived from persian and not arabic..
     
  10. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I wouldn't say Iran was arab-influenced, it was rather Islam as a religio and culture that influeced that country, mixed with its ancient and great civilisation and produced an even greater one. During the Arabic dominace of Iran, the Muslim states profited a lot from the Persian scientists, philosopher, men of literature...
    I didn't understand what you meant by "muslim language".
    Could you please explain?
    Thank you
     
  11. Jhorer Brishti Senior Member

    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    Sorry Cherine, I should have been clearer. What I meant by "muslim" language was that Persian has been mainly spoken by muslims for a very long time(excepting certain "Parsi" populations across the world who left Iran with the Zoroastrian religion) and a number of its literary works are as important to the concept of the "middle east and Islam" as much as Arabic. Take for example the "Thousand and One Nights" better known as "The Arabian Nights", this is actually based off a medieval Persian book called "Hazar Afsana". In addition as I said before, the Persian language has influenced South and South-east asian muslims greatly and Iranian Sufis(wandering meditative saints) were probably responsible for the bulk of the conversions in the stated region. So in essence what I am trying to say is that Persian has been as important a tool as arabic in disseminating Islam.
     
  12. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Ok, now I uderstand what you mean, though I still find the expression "muslim language" a bit strange, but I sure agree with you about the persian influence on the Islamic civilisation.
    Still, in what concerns this thread, I still don't think Iran is to be considered as an Arab country. It IS muslims, but sure ain't Arab.
     
  13. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I agree that Iran is not an Arab country. Iranians are not Arab. The word "Iran" doesn't even mean anything in Arabic (to my knowledge).

    I don't know about Chad. Are Chadians Arabs?

    By the way, let's try to remain on topic and talk about Arab vs. non-Arab countries in this thread. Feel free to start a new thread to discuss various words for traditional garb.
     
  14. Fernando Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain, Spanish
    My knowledge is very limited but:

    - Possibly Chad is not a member of the League because of the war against Lybia (member, or used to be). I think S Chad is not Muslim. Just guessing. Correct me if otherwise.

    - Iran means "aryan". As a matter of fact I think the Western name "indo-aryan" is constructed over the persian name. Again correct me.

    - I would say Arabs are only people from Arabian peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Emirates...) and possibly (from an "ethnic" point of view) palestinians, jordan, palestinian and syrians.

    I would say African countries (Maghreb, Egypt and Lybia) are "Arabs" only in language and religion (for these Westerners that identify Arab=Muslim).
     
  15. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi Fernando, I don't think I have exact answers or "corrections" to what you said, so i'll simply add what I know :

    Being Muslim or Christian has nothing to do with being Arab. Lebanon is a Christian country and it's member of the Arab league. As for the struggle with Lybia I don't think it're enough reason either, for the simple reason that struggles are, sadly enough, a "normal" thing between countries. It's even stated in the League's regulations that one of its roles is to try to solve any struggles between the members peacefully.See article V or the charter.

    I'm not sure about that.

    Mainly yes. But the word extended with the extension of the Arab state itself, in the Middle-Ages to englobe other countries too (from Egypt to Morocco and Mauritania, and this answers part of your next remark)

    Again not all Muslims are Arabs, nor all Arabs are Muslims.
    Egypt, I'll only speak of my country to avoid giving wrong information, is a North-African country, but we consider ourselves Arabs AND Africans. We have Muslims and Christians, and until recent times there were also many Jews.
     
  16. kianone New Member

    IRAN PERSIAN
    Iran is not an arab country and didnt apply to. If you talk to Iranians they dont like to be known as arab. Islam is not mailw religion of Iran, Zoroastrians were original Iranians but were force to be muslim by arabs. Egyptians are not arabs as well. they just speak arabc.
    thanks all
     
  17. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Actually the land now called Iran was an Arabic speaking land, from the time of the Islamic conquests until about the 1500's when it was reconquered by the Safawids, who then reintroduced Persian language and culture. Iran during that period was about as Arabic as 3iraq and in fact there was no real distinction between these two lands in that time.
     
  18. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Iran is a common country to Persians Arabs, Turks, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Turkmen and Kurds. Sunni and a shia majority .Under Shah Iran wanted too are in the Arab league and act is the policeman of the Middle East.
     
  19. Ander Senior Member

    France
    I think you mean that the administration of pre-1500's Iran used Arabic instead of present-day Farsi/Persian.

    The various ethnic groups of Iran always used their Persian, Kurdish, Azeri, Balochi, Armenian, etc, languages and never switched to Arabic.

    Except of course the Arabic speaking group along the Gulf who eventually had to learn Persian after the 1500's.
     
  20. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    The language of administration actually changed well before that. Basically this thread is a good example of how it's best not to rely on web forums for learning history.
     
  21. Ander Senior Member

    France
    I did not even know that Iranians used only Arabic as an administrative language. It must be more plausible that they used Arabic and Pehlevi (the ancestor of Farsi I guess) together, until Pehlevi remained alone.

    The same process must have happened with Arabic-Syriac or Arabic-Greek or Arabic-Coptic, but in the latter examples Arabic remained as the sole language.
     
  22. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Ander,

    The language of administration was probably the only thing that remained Persian. As the Islamic civilisation moved into an area, it generally kept the ruling classes in power, and so administrative affairs were often conducted in the previous language. For instance in ash-Sham (Levant) Greek was still used for some time after the Islamic conquest.

    What I'm speaking about is the language of trade, of education, of the mosque, of pretty much every level of society. It began shifting over to Arabic, and within a short time, ash-Sham, 3iraq, Faaris and Misr were all speaking Arabic. Yes pre-existing languages co-existed to some extent for a short time, but after a generation or so, they were pretty much gone. All of the great Persian Islamic scholars were raised and schooled speaking Arabic, yes some would've still learnt Persian at home, but the language of society was Arabic, not Persian, not Pashto or Baluchi.
     
  23. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    What many people are unaware of is that the Arabs didn't rule Iran for that long. Iran was ruled entirely by Persian dynasties starting from from the Tahirids in the early 8th century, followed shortly by the Samanids and the Buyids. That's why even the Arab tribes that migrated to Iran and Central Asia became "Persianized" (these are different from the Arabs of Ahwaz today).
     
  24. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    This is not correct. Those dynasties were all Arabised, and were culturally and politically subservient to the central government in Baghdad, although militarily they were superior, and they in effect imposed themselves upon the central-government because of that.
     
  25. Spectre scolaire Senior Member

    Moving around, p.t. Turkey
    Maltese and Russian


    If my memory serves me well, the number of Arabic speakers among all Muslims in the world amounts to 28,6% - according to a reportage in Le Monde diplomatique some months ago.
    :)
     
  26. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    Nope, these dynasties are the ones who revived the Persian culture and language. The Samanids patronized Persian poetry and literature, and the Buyids even revived the Sassanid title "Shahanshah" ("King of Kings"). There's really no evidence that Arabic ever became more than a literary or scholarly language for most Iranians (similar to Latin in most of Europe), although there were some cities that were entirely settled by Arabs, initially, such as Qomm; I imagine Arabic was spoken there for a while.
     
  27. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    The main page in Wikipedia on Arabic language shows a map of Arabic countries including those where Arabic is widely spoken or is one of official languages (Iraq, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Chad, Israel and Comoros).

    Mali and Senegal are also mentioned as having Arabic as their national language.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic

    See also the map on the same page.
     
  28. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    That's a lot different to widespread language reform. as-Sulateen al-3uthmanieen also used the title Shahinshaha, doesn't make them Persian speakers. Those are just a few ssymbolic issues, the fact is it remained 3abbaasid territory and the language of learning and culture and later politics was that of the Qur'an. Iran was rapidly being Arabised as were ash-Sham and Misr and 3iraq (which was actually part of Faris), those lands all had literary traditions as well, and probably some titles which remained into the Islamic period, that doesn't change anything.

    You are judging this issue more on the final outcome, than what existed at the time. Because Iran is a non-Arabic country today, you make the assumption that it was always so, but this is false.
     
  29. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    Well no, that's not what my conclusion is based on. However, I think this discussion has reached the point where we "agree to disagree" :).
     
  30. suma Senior Member

    USA
    English, USA
    ??? that's not right, is it?
    Certainly Lebanon has the largest indeginous Christian population of any Arab country by far, but I wouldn't categorize it as a "Christian country". The sunni and shiite Muslims there make up 50% of the population.
     
  31. Ander Senior Member

    France
    According to Wikipedia Lebanese Christians make up 40% of the population.

    I heard from other sources that the Christians may only be around 30-35% (in part due to emigration).
     
  32. SofiaB Senior Member

    English Asia
    What criteria should be used to determine that a country is Arab?
    • Member of Arab league.
    • Percentage of Arabic speakers.
    • One of the official languages.
    • Self identification.
    • Ethnic :There are too many types
    Israel has 19% (including Druze not always identified as Arabs) , UAE 20% natives+ foreign Arabs. Maltese is as much Arabic as most dialects, but Arabic identity varies. Many African countries which are not classified as Arab have significant amount of Arabic speakers.
     
  33. suma Senior Member

    USA
    English, USA
    I seriously doubt that native speakers can understand spoken Maltese. But I could be wrong, for that matter most eastern and gulf Arabs cannot understand the dialects spoken in maghrib (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, ect.)
     
  34. kianone New Member

    IRAN PERSIAN
    You are totally wrong, Iranian never spoke Arabic with themselves, they were smart and learnt Arabic so quickly after Iran was occupied by Arabs (like French when France got occupied by England) to communicate with them, Persian have word P. GAF. ZHE and CHEH which Arabs can not even pronounce them. How you say Persian main language is Arab. They had different culture. Persian culture is from 3000 years ago which I don't know any Arab was living those years. Arab culture is Islam and is from 1500 years ago. Befor Islam Iranian had their own religion which is the first of them believing in One God. After 1500 years, Iranian still speak Persian.
     
  35. SofiaB Senior Member

    English Asia
    Maltese is closest to Tunisian. There was a discusion here about Maltese,also mutual understanding of colloquial languages.
     
  36. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Moderator Note:

    Please stick to the topic!

    If this thread continues to wander off-topic (i.e. Iranian history, etc.), it will be closed.

    Thanks for understanding.
     
  37. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    suma,

    I think it's more to do with the political reality there than the % of the population. Christian Lebanese are the major political force in the country, and it's even inscribed in their constitution that the President *must* be a Maronite Christian.

    The language is quite similar to the situation of English with regards to the Germanic languages. English is a Germanic language infused with a lot of Romance vocabulary, Maltese is Arabic infused with a lot of Romance vocabulary also.

    I am able to understand quite a lot of common phrases from my friend who is Maltese. Here's a few common phrases listed on Wikipedia which I'm sure almost every speaker of Arabic will recognise:

    Note: "x" = ش & "j" = ي in Maltese alphabet

    How are you? - Kif int?
    Do you speak English? - Titkellem bl-Ingliż?
    Good luck - Ir-riżq it-tajjeb (or) Xewqat Tajba
    Good night - Il-lejl it-tajjeb
    Goodbye - Saħħa
    Happy birthday - Għeluq sninek it-tajjeb
    Happy new year - Is-sena t-tajba
    What do you do? - X'tagħmel?
    What's your name? - X'jismek?
    Where are you from? - Minn fejn int?
    Where are you going? - Fejn sejjer?
     
  38. Tajabone Senior Member

    Paris
    French, Berber (Kabyle), Arabic (classical and dialectal)
    In sociolinguistics, there is a dichotomy that helps to think the relationship population/language:

    linguistic community Versus ethnic community

    And it is known that the first group is generally larger than the second one.
    In short, you can be an Arabic-speaking individual without being yourself an Arab, which is the case of the majority of the countries in Africa or Asia which did not wait for the Arabs to have their own history or civilisation.

    We know for sure, say from Ibn-Khaldun to Charles-André Julien that North Africa was not a kind of Far West to repopulate (16 millions inhabitants in 200 AD); that the conquest of Spain was done by Berbers and that the majority of the "Arabs" in North Africa are only "Arabic-speakers" as Pierre Bourdieu mentioned it in his work on Algeria (Sociologie de l'Algérie, Que sais-je? 1958).

    And since we are in sociolinguistics, I'd like to add another concept which is symbolic efficacy (Bourdieu). That means, in this case, by naming (with authority) a country "Arabic", it symbolically becomes Arabic, even if its real constituents are not so (this view also relies on Austin's speech acts: How to do things with words, 1956).

    Indeed, Panarabism was a fierce force of unicity and reductionism, a nationalism based on a Jacobean perspective: one people, one language, one religion and one leader.

    And through Decolonisation, some countries found themselves "Arabic" within a day and decided to "reeducate" its people (a bit in the Chinese way) and accelerate the erasing of multimillenary cultures.

    So it's no wonder if names and things do not match in these cases, mainly when you consider those who have the authority of naming disconnected from the people they should represent through diversity and not through ontology.
     
  39. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Previous thread in the Cultural Discussions forum: Which are the Arab countries?

    It seems M. Bourdieu assumes that ethnicity is real, and language isn't; or that ethnicity is somehow more real than language. Sounds a little circular and biased to me...
     
  40. suma Senior Member

    USA
    English, USA
    With all due repsect, but that list looks hand-picked to get the most obvious and recognizable phrases. I still doubt the majority of Maltese would be intelligible to the average native Arabic speaker.
     
  41. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Maltese is a Semitic language and the closest Semitic language to it is Arabic, namely Western dialects. I am just a learner but I was able to pick out clear Arabic words when listening to Maltese radio mixed with English and Italian. I wouldn't call Malta an Arabic country because of their self-identification. Besides, there are a number of more similar languages, which are called distinct languages, not dialects or varieties.
    From Wikipedia:
    Native Arabic speakers may have a go and judge, how close to Arabic it is (you need to know what letters stand for):
    http://www.kunsilltalmalti.gov.mt/
     
  42. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Correct I did hand pick the list. But it's about 50% of the phrases listed. Some others were quite Arabic also, but had latin-based words most might not recognise.

    Also I could list things like the numbers, the pronouns, and other particles which are almost entirely Arabic. I think you underestimate just how Arabic Maltese is, I know i did also, until I actually looked at it deeper.
     
  43. SofiaB Senior Member

    English Asia
    Maltese is Arabic it contains foreign words as all colloquial Arabic does. Malta has signd agreements with the Arab league where it emphasizes its connection with the Arab world without declaring itself an Arab country. Malta does not have fus7a as an official language. Again what criteria do we use? Nearly all Maltese speak it as their native language a higher percentage than some Arabic countries.
    Also some Arabic speaking Jews self identify as Arabic others do not for political reasons. Nasser said anyone whose native language is Arabic is an Arab.
     
  44. beclija Senior Member

    vienna
    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    But then, what do you define as Arabic? For linguistic purposes, Maghribi Arabic, Maltese, or Soqotri are languages in their own right, and sometimes even Egyptian and Lebanese vernacular, as they follow their own regularities. For socialogical purposes, Maltese is not an Arabic dialect for the plain reason that the Maltese don't define themselves as Arabs (even though Maltese may well be closer to MSA than Moroccan Arabic is, at least as long as we ignore the Italian influence on the former). So, under which definition are Arabic and Maltese one language? Definitely not the linguistic one (according to which there are about a dozen, at least "Arabic languages",, to the extent that linguistics is able to distinguish a "language from a "dialect").
     
  45. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Beclija, I agree with you. The main reason, IMHO, is what the nation's perception is.

    1) Germans and Austrians speak German - same language. They can both call themselves German speakers but their ethnicity is different. Austrians don't call themeselves Germans.
    2) Chinese speak various dialects (some with much less similarity in the spoken language than between Arabic dialects), similarly to the Arab world. They call themseves ethnic Chinese, no matter what dialect they speak and whether they live in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or in a Chinese community abroad.

    Maltese don't identify themselves as Arabs, so they are not Arabs.
     
  46. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    The point of the debate is what do we use to detrmine that, it was asked already. You do not need to ignore the Latin influences in Maltese it still is Arabic like several other dialects with loan words even if they do not say they are Arabs. Soqotri is distinct from Arabic it antidates Arabic.
    The Arabic dialects are considered Arabic and if looked at in detail are more closely related than one might think. The relation of Arabic dialects to fus7a is that of disglossia.
     
  47. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    Nasser was merely reiterating what was said by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 1400 years ago, when he stated that an Arab is someone who speaks the Arabic language and lives the Arabic culture. This is by no means a new definition, and it possibly predates Islam too.
     
  48. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Well, now that we can't stay on one topic, which I understand, it is -as we say in Arabic- موضوع متشعِّب , I think we'd better close this thread, specially that it's not directly a linguistic topic. We are not discussing the Arabic language, but trying to define the Arab countries, which better be left to the peoples and their governments to decide.

    Those who want to discuss the Iranian History, or any other country's History, may do so in the proper place (i.e. in a History forum).
    Those who'd like to discuss the similarities between Arabic and Maltese, may join this thread.
    Precise linguistic questions are welcomed to have their own threads :)

    Thank you all.
     
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