do arabs also sometimes have difficulties in judging a text when just reading?


Senior Member

as it is known, mostly texts are provided without harrakas. so when the text is provided (without any pronunciation assuming just reading a textbook) i wonder whether native arabs also have difficulty to judge the content (the easiest sample is form i-ii-iv for present tense (not future) but not limited to this sample of course)

  • In general, no, not really. If the word is newly Arabaised the reader is not familiar with it then it might be a little difficult, that’s probably why most Arabisied words have even the short vowels written as long (بيل for Bill for example).

    Deriving words in Arabic is quite formal so most people have no trouble reading it.

    However, The final حركات, the ones that relate to إعراب, is a different matter. Most don’t pronounce them anyway so I don’t think it’s a big deal for them.
    @Mahaodeh oddly, the words I have the hardest times to read (when I meet them for the first time) are often transcribed borrowings from other languages I don't recognise on the spot, whatever it is, a character name, a toponym, etc.
    There is some guessing involved based on context, and occasionally a word will still be ambiguous, even for "native" Arabic words. This is just the price we pay for using a relatively 'deep orthography', but we do get other advantages in return.
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    an explanation:

    I point out to only grammatical aspect or view.
    also, the communication I imply should be between Arabs only.(i.e. the mentioned resource (here textbook) should be written by an Arab and the reading operation should also be done by another Arab. but there is no specific time period , for instance the textbook may have been written in 1400s and being read in 2023 and so on.)

    there is no specific dialect for question. ,Thus, the source may be written in moroccoan arabic but may be assessed by saudian Arab.
    This is just the price we pay for using a relatively 'deep orthography', but we do get other advantages in return.

    Ah, this video makes me nostalgic for SOAS.

    Related to this video, and also on the subject of textual ambiguity (so hopefully this is on-topic enough), I was once translating a letter from an Iraqi widow and it was mainly in فصحى so I just went along translating it, until I came to the phrase بالقوة. Since my brain was in فصحى mode I read it as bil-quwwa, which made no sense in the context. I spent a little while pouring over the text, trying to work out if I'd misunderstood something that would make it make sense. After about fifteen minutes I realised it was bil-guwa and I massively face-palmed.
    bil-quwwa = 'by force'.
    bil-guwa = 'only just', for example bil-guwa laḥḥagna = 'we only just managed to make it on time'.
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