What is the closest language to Arabic?

< Previous | Next >

Ali.h

Banned
Farsi
Is it Farsi or Urdu or Daari or another language? My own guess would be Farsi. What do you guys think?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Masjeen

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    is it farsi or urdu or daari or another language? my own guess would be farsi what do you guys think?
    Urdu is Amazing its Full of Arabic words and also Farsi wich I learn it by myself in less than a month
     
    Last edited:

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Upt to my knowledge, Hebrew is the closest language to Arabic with Aramaic a close runner up.

    While Urdu and Persian have a lot of Arabic loan words, the languages are so different that most of the time comparing between them does not make sense.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Arabic is classified together with Northwest Semitic langaues as a Central Semitic language (see this recent discussion in this forum on Central Semitic languages). Members of the Northwest-Semitic have been named above. Other close relatives are South Arabian and Ethiopic (notably Ge`ez) languages. None of the languages you mentioned (Farsi, Urdu and Daari) is a Semitic language.
     

    Masjeen

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Arabic is classified together with Northwest Semitic langaues as a Central Semitic language (see this recent discussion in this forum on Central Semitic languages). Members of the Northwest-Semitic have been named above. Other close relatives are South Arabian and Ethiopic (notably Ge`ez) languages. None of the languages you mentioned (Farsi, Urdu and Daari) is a Semitic language.

    Well, who cares about the classifications. As long as 30% of the Persian words is a Arabic words. Languages are words per se.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Abu Rashid

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    well who cares about the Classifications


    Is English a Romance language because much of its vocabulary is of Romance-origin??

    Languages are words per se


    No they are not. Without grammar syntax etc. you've got no idea what's going on in a language. You may get a vague idea of the meaning of a text/conversation, or the topics it touches on but you will not really understand.
     

    Masjeen

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Is English a Romance language because much of its vocabulary is of Romance-origin??
    No they are not. Without grammar syntax etc. you've got no idea what's going on in a language. You may get a vague idea of the meaning of a text/conversation, or the topics it touches on but you will not really understand.
    Here in Kuwait we are also studying French in our schools and I was understand French quickly even without Explanation because it is so similar to English So who cares about the classifications.

    And yes the words are so important If you understand the whole speech you will understand gradually the grammars as you did when you was a child.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    relativamente

    Senior Member
    catalan and spanish
    Well, who cares about the classifications. As long as 30% of the Persian words is a Arabic words. Languages are words per se.
    Another language with a lot of Arabic words is Swahili. Even the noun Swahili is from Arabic origin meaning the language of the coast,سَاحِل since was used in the coast of Kenia Tanzania and other East african countries. But Swahili is a Bantu language, and the words taken from Arabic are treated like Bantu words. Nothing to do with Arabic apart from a lot of lexic borrowings.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Well, who cares about the classifications. As long as 30% of the Persian words is a Arabic words. Languages are words per se.
    First, one should understand the criteria used in the classification of languages and language families.
    Secondly, it's rather naive to say that "languages are words per se".
    Thirdly, the lexicon is only one of the parameters used in language classification, and not necessarily the most important one. Both Arabic and Persian have a long history and we can classify them (mainly in these cases) on historical (and obviously grammatical) grounds. The role of the lexicon of a language in this classification should not be overrated. Neither should the historical aspects (as far as they can be studied) be underestimated. The presence of an overwhelming amount of Arabic words in Persian (or, as mentioned earlier, the amount of Romance words in English) is not a reason to classify Persian as Arabic or Semitic (or English as Romance).

    But I do agree with you in one respect and up to a certain degree: although I am 100% sure that the classification of a language can be a very handy tool (or rather, a shortcut), its importancy shouldn't be exaggerated.

    And no, for the average student studying this or that language, the classification isn't that important. As a topic for discussion on this forum, however, it is. I hope you notice the different context (the clue is in the name of this forum).

    I do realise it's not a very good comparison, but I think one could look at e.g. "Central Semitic" as the coordinates of a place on a map. The coordinates are very handy to find back the location very quickly, maybe give a first impression of what the location looks like (what to expect and what not to expect), but that's it.
    Of course that classification doesn't tell us anything about how the people at that location interact(ed) with its neighbours economically and culturally.
    [Edit]And in the case of Arabic and Persian, the classification, the whole branch/tree indeed reflects their history, albeit very very partially. [/Edit]

    This relative importancy is quite well reflected in the average Wikipedia article (to give just one very accessible example), where the bulk of the article is about the language itself. The classification can often be found somewhere on the right (or left) in small print.

    Frank
     
    Last edited:

    Ellis91

    Member
    Welsh & English
    Here in Kuwait We are also studying French in our schools and i was understand French quickly even without Explanation because it is so similar to English So who cares about the Classifications..

    and yes the words are so important If you understand the whole speech you will understand gradually the grammars as you did when you was a child
    There's more to it than just classification. Farsi didn't evolve from Proto-Semitic or Afro-Asiatic and so it's not related to Arabic. English didn't evolve from Latin so it's not Romance.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England

    Well, who cares about the classifications. As long as 30% of the Persian words is a Arabic words. Languages are words per se.
    Any system of classification to be used in a discipline has to be scientific. You could classify animals according to the number of legs they have, but that would not be scientific; zoologists classify animals according to how they are related genetically. It is the same with languages. Like any system of classification it can produce results that appear to the non-specialist to be odd.

    The English language is a prime example. It is classified as Germanic. However any monolingual English speaker is going to find almost any text in a Germanic language other than English opaque to the point of being virtually incomprehensible. On the other hand, presented with a text in a Romance language he is likely to recognise many words, the number depending on the subject matter of the text; in some cases he may even get a fairly good idea of what the text is about even if he is uncertain of what is being said. None of that makes English a Romance language.
     

    koniecswiata

    Senior Member
    Am English
    Good point made by Frank06. But, I think, for a learner, or a non-linguist, the lexicon is more important at the end of the day than the grammar.
    Languages are classified as belonging to groups of languages with whom the share a "genetic" relationship, yet, the whole issue of "borrowing" (a stupid term, I think) confuses things. So, you can end up with a situation where Farsi is classified as being more related to English, yet, for all practical purposes, especially in the lexis, it is more similar to Arabic.
    What's at the root of things: Lexicalized grammar or grammaticalized lexis?
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,

    We think that the issue of genetic classification in itself, and questions like why, how, what's its use, for whom (and for whom not) deserves a thread on its own.

    So, we'd like to ask to concentrate upon the main topic of this thread (though I think the original question has been answered) and we'd like to invite people to open a new thread on the topic of genetic classification.

    The moment such a new thread has been started, we cross-link to this thread (and probably to a dozen of other threads in which this issue popped up).

    Groetjes,

    Frank
    Moderator EHL
     

    arbelyoni

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I'd say that the closest living relative of Arabic is Aramaic (or in its modern form: Syriac), with Hebrew right after it.

    Farsi, Turkish and Urdu may have some loanwords and similar script, but they originate from different groups of languages.
     

    JGreco

    Senior Member
    Native of: English, Portuguese (oral) , and Spanish (oral)
    I agree that technically, by far Maltese is the closest. I also can understand some who point out the same situation with my experience with monolingual speakers of English that especially exist in The United States. There was a survey done at my school that took different texts from Germanic languages (German, Dutch, and Danish), Romance texts (Spanish, French, and Italian) and made the monolingual students try to cold read and figure out what each text was saying. Furthermore, they made the students listen to the spoken form of each language. The texts and spoken verse were completely different to keep the students from logically deducing the texts and so that they would simply try to figure out the texts and recordings using their general knowledge of English. . Overwhelmingly, the texts that came out as the most understandable were the Spanish and French texts while in spoken form, the Spanish and Italian recordings came out way ahead of every other recording. The least understandable both spoken and written were German and Danish with Dutch fairing pretty well, but below all the Romance languages. We studied this for two semesters in are Language and Culture classes. It was fascinating to hear the results, but it also reveals that close genetic relationship has no relation to intelligibility.

    Sorry I strayed but here is my complete point as it relates to the discussion. Like one has pointed just because Maltese maybe the closest to Arabic, but it does not mean that at a colloquial level, they can understand each other. I have spoken to a few Maltese that say they can understand Italian, English, and Spanish far better than they can understand Arabic simply because of the distant cultural relationship they have with the Arab world versus the close ties the Maltese have with Europe especially with Italy and The U.K, and the influx of Telenovelas that they receive in the country that closes ties to Europe furthering the distance from the Arab world.

    weeew...long post:)
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I'd say that the closest living relative of Arabic is Aramaic (or in its modern form: Syriac), with Hebrew right after it.
    I'm no linguist and I don't speak Aramaic, Syriac or Hebrew, but I would vote for Hebrew from personal experience. I live in the region and I commonly hear people speaking Hebrew as well as several dialects or descendants of Aramaic, although I never really fully understand but as a native Arabic speaker I always find that I can understand more out of a Hebrew conversation than the other Semitic languages. Now while there are some loan words between all the languages but they are not so much. I think it's simply the similarity (rather than borrowing) of the languages in lexicon as well as in grammar.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Sorry I strayed but here is my complete point as it relates to the discussion. Like one has pointed just because Maltese maybe the closest to Arabic, but it does not mean that at a colloquial level, they can understand each other. I have spoken to a few Maltese that say they can understand Italian, English, and Spanish far better than they can understand Arabic simply because of the distant cultural relationship they have with the Arab world versus the close ties the Maltese have with Europe especially with Italy and The U.K, and the influx of Telenovelas that they receive in the country that closes ties to Europe furthering the distance from the Arab world.

    weeew...long post:)

    Well in writing, if Tunisians or Algerians adopted Maltese orthographic style to write their dialect, they would be able to have very fluid pen conversations with Maltese, especially if everyone used mostly Arabic words and less Italian or French loan-words.

    However, part of the issue with saying "Maltese is closest to Arabic" is that Arabic is a macrolanguage, and though Maltese is now considered a language in its own right, it is within the variation of other Arabic dialects. So in a way, Maltese is part of the umbrella that we call "Arabic." In a different world, Arabic dialects might also be called separate languages.

    Maltese is as close to Iraqi Arabic or Egyptian Arabic as Tunisian or Algerian is. The only difference is that the Maltese do not maintain the legacy of Classical Arabic, which other Arabic speaking peoples share. This legacy of Classical Arabic also serves to minimize regional colloquial differences, especially among urban speakers. These differences might be much greater without this common "glue".

    I think when it comes to Maltese it's more productive to speak of which Arabic dialect it is most similar to, rather than all of Arabic as a whole. In that case, we must look to other Semitic systems like Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, Tigrinya, etc. and see what we regard as "closest to Arabic."

    However, if what we call a language is something sociologically recognized as a separate language, then yes I'd have to agree that Maltese is closest to Arabic.

    After that I'm not sure. I wonder how similar Modern South Arabian is to Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, in terms of intelligibility.

    To me Hebrew and Arabic sound quite distant from one another, but I'm not a native speaker of either. I think if someone was speaking Hebrew, an Arabic speaker who was unfamiliar with Hebrew would only be able to pick out isolated words. Which leads me to:

    I'm no linguist and I don't speak Aramaic, Syriac or Hebrew, but I would vote for Hebrew from personal experience. I live in the region and I commonly hear people speaking Hebrew as well as several dialects or descendants of Aramaic, although I never really fully understand but as a native Arabic speaker I always find that I can understand more out of a Hebrew conversation than the other Semitic languages. Now while there are some loan words between all the languages but they are not so much. I think it's simply the similarity (rather than borrowing) of the languages in lexicon as well as in grammar.
    If you hear Hebrew (spoken at moderate speed of course), can you pick out more than isolated words? Can you understand whole phrases even?
     
    Last edited:

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    To me Hebrew and Arabic sound quite distant from one another, but I'm not a native speaker of either. I think if someone was speaking Hebrew, an Arabic speaker who was unfamiliar with Hebrew would only be able to pick out isolated words. Which leads me to:

    If you hear Hebrew (spoken at moderate speed of course), can you pick out more than isolated words? Can you understand whole phrases even?

    Mutual ineligibility by untrained speakers is in extremely poor measure of closeness of languages. I think it is almost meaningless. Simple systematic sound shifts can already prevent mutual intelligibility. E.g. for a untrained German understanding Swiss German is almost impossible. I remember, when I first came to Graubünden in my life, I sat in a train next to two people talking their rural dialect. It took me 15 minutes only to find out they were talking German and not e.g. Rumantsch – not that I understood a single word. When I came, many years later, to live in the country, I watched the local Swiss German news on TV, though I never lived in the German speaking area of the Country, just to get used to the dialect. After a few weeks just watching a TV program for 20min two or three times a week, I understood almost everything (except a handful of hard-core dialect expressions) and wondered what problems I ever had with it.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Mutual ineligibility by untrained speakers is in extremely poor measure of closeness of languages. I think it is almost meaningless. Simple systematic sound shifts can already prevent mutual intelligibility.
    Yes that's actually a good point. I've asked here because it seems to have been brought up in this thread.

    I am curious now of course, if an Arabic speaker who has become habituated with Hebrew could understand much of it. Of course we know on paper that Hebrew and Arabic are not grouped together taxonomically.

    Systematic sound changes are the major reason why Eastern Arabic speakers have trouble understanding Western dialects (like Moroccan). This gets commonly attributed to "French loan-words" but the primary reasons for the lack of intelligibility are differences in vowel quality, vowelization of words and position of stress.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    If you hear Hebrew (spoken at moderate speed of course), can you pick out more than isolated words? Can you understand whole phrases even?
    Mostly isolated words but sometimes I can pick out two or three consecutive words; however, there are never enough words to actually understand the conversation.
     

    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I think Chaldean Neo-Aramaic also shares quite a lot with Arabic but can’t say how it compares with Maltese in its closeness to Arabic.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    As Clevermizo has explained, Maltese is at most a daughter language of Arabic. Sure, we can take the fact that Maltese is the only descendant of Arabic to be fully recognized as a separate language and conclude from that that it is the closest language to Arabic, but that does not tell us anything really interesting about either Arabic or Maltese.

    I think this thread should be restricted to languages that are NOT descended from Arabic.

    The Ancient North Arabian dialects (in the Safaitic, Hasaitic, Thamudic, etc. scripts) are the closest to Arabic (though, again, as with Maltese, some argue that these were simply older dialects of Arabic). I know that linguists nowadays class Hebrew, Canaanite, Aramaic and Arabic (or "North Arabian") together as "Central Semitic" (?) languages, with the former three forming one sub-branch and North Arabian (Arabic and Ancient North Arabian) forming the other. So, I presume the answer would be either Hebrew, Canaanite or Aramaic. I don't think Arabic-speakers can understand any Hebrew at all through listening. But when transcribed in Arabic letters (with the sound shifts like ش > س explained), I think some words can come through.

    I'm no linguist, but I suspect Hebrew to be closer to Arabic than Aramaic because Hebrew has a definite article "ha-" that is not present in Aramaic but exists in Ancient North Arabian (along with "hal-" and "han-"), and I have seen plausible theories for a common origin for Arabic "al-" and Hebrew "ha-" from an older "hal-."

    Regarding the question about Mehri, the answer is 'no,' Mehri is not mutually intelligible with Arabic in any way and does not appear to have any closer relationship with Arabic than any other Semitic language, dead or living.
     
    Last edited:

    k8an

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    As a speaker of Hebrew, I can say that there are many Arabic words and phrases that can be understood - especially basic body parts and simple verbs.

    Upon first listening, Arabic is very hard for a Hebrew speaker to understand (actually impossible). However, after some brief consideration of the shifts in phonology and grammatical shifts, there is quite a bit which can be understood without any further explanation (in writing). Also, many verb conjugations are similar or identical. For example:

    Hebrew - Arabic

    Lev - Qalb (Heart)
    Ahava - Hob (Love)
    Ktb - Ktb (root consonants of words relating to the concept of "writing")
    Ayin - Ayin (Eye)
    Rosh - Ras (Head)
    Shem - Esm (Name)
    Shemesh - Shams (Sun)
    Lechem - Lahme - [Ethiopian - cow] (In Hebrew this means "bread" an in Arabic it means "meat" - I have heard theories that all derived from a common word meaning "food")
    Av - Ab (Father)
    Bayit - Bayt (House)
    Shalom - Salam (Peace)

    I acknowledge that to people who cannot speak a Semitic language that these words may not look very similar - however once you understand the root system of Semitic languages and identify a few phonological shifts (s-sh, b-v etc) and see them written in their own alphabet, the similarities are very clear.

    There are countless others. The verb conjugation (prefixes and suffixes) is also very similar - although Modern Hebrew seems to have changed a bit more in this regard.

    The orthography is also similar in some regards, although definitely not mutually intelligible.
     

    rayloom

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    As a speaker of Hebrew, I can say that there are many Arabic words and phrases that can be understood - especially basic body parts and simple verbs.

    Upon first listening, Arabic is very hard for a Hebrew speaker to understand (actually impossible). However, after some brief consideration of the shifts in phonology and grammatical shifts, there is quite a bit which can be understood without any further explanation (in writing). Also, many verb conjugations are similar or identical. For example:

    Hebrew - Arabic

    Lev - Qalb (Heart)
    Ahava - Hob (Love)
    Ktb - Ktb (root consonants of words relating to the concept of "writing")
    Ayin - Ayin (Eye)
    Rosh - Ras (Head)
    Shem - Esm (Name)
    Shemesh - Shams (Sun)
    Lechem - Lahme - [Ethiopian - cow] (In Hebrew this means "bread" an in Arabic it means "meat" - I have heard theories that all derived from a common word meaning "food")
    Av - Ab (Father)
    Bayit - Bayt (House)
    Shalom - Salam (Peace)

    I acknowledge that to people who cannot speak a Semitic language that these words may not look very similar - however once you understand the root system of Semitic languages and identify a few phonological shifts (s-sh, b-v etc) and see them written in their own alphabet, the similarities are very clear.

    There are countless others. The verb conjugation (prefixes and suffixes) is also very similar - although Modern Hebrew seems to have changed a bit more in this regard.

    The orthography is also similar in some regards, although definitely not mutually intelligible.
    Certainly the cognates are endless, with some varying in meanings and most varying in vocalization. However, it still needs someone educated in the other language to fully realize them (in speech or in writing).
     

    k8an

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Certainly the cognates are endless, with some varying in meanings and most varying in vocalization. However, it still needs someone educated in the other language to fully realize them (in speech or in writing).
    This is true.

    After having some of these shifts and basic grammar explained to me, I was able to recognise quite a few words in Arabic when written (especially Levantine Arabic). The pronunciation is very different, however.
     

    Abu Rashid

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    k8an said:
    As a speaker of Hebrew, I can say that there are many Arabic words and phrases that can be understood - especially basic body parts and simple verbs.
    There are thousands of cognate words between Arabic and Hebrew. Some of them more obvious than others. As Hebrew has lost about 5 or 6 letters before it was ever written by merging them into others it is often very difficult to spot. For instance, the word for 3 is shalosh in Hebrew and thalatha in Arabic. As the letter 'tha' merged into shin very early on in the development of Hebrew such a similarity is easily overlooked. All words with the letter 'tha' in them will have shin in Hebrew, and so knowing these kinds of letter-merges will help to recognise the cognates.

    k8an said:
    Lechem - Lahme - [Ethiopian - cow] (In Hebrew this means "bread" an in Arabic it means "meat" - I have heard theories that all derived from a common word meaning
    In Hebrew it can also mean meat as well. For instance in the Tanakh:

    כָּאֵלֶּה תַּעֲשׂוּ לַיֹּום שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לֶחֶם אִשֵּׁה רֵֽיחַ־נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה עַל־עֹולַת הַתָּמִיד יֵעָשֶׂה וְנִסְכֹּֽו

    After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. (Numbers 28:24)

    In Akkadian it means food, and in the Tanakh as well it's used generally for food a few times too. In Ugaritic it means bread/food and the verb it's derived from means to eat.

    There is a verb in Hebrew לָחַם meaning to engage in battle with a secondary meaning of to eat, this was probably originally two roots, one l-H-m (to eat) and one l-kh-m (engage in battle), but when Haa and Khaa merged in Hebrew, the two roots ended up as one.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    In Hebrew it can also mean meat as well. For instance in the Tanakh:

    כָּאֵלֶּה תַּעֲשׂוּ לַיֹּום שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לֶחֶם אִשֵּׁה רֵֽיחַ־נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה עַל־עֹולַת הַתָּמִיד יֵעָשֶׂה וְנִסְכֹּֽו

    After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. (Numbers 28:24)
    This occurance of לחם can also be understood to mean food. Actually, most translators understand it this ways. The KJV is the only one I am aware of translating it as meat. And in this 400 year old translation, the word meat is very likely used in its historical meaning which is, you've probably guessed it by now:D, food.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    any monolingual English speaker is going to find almost any text in a Germanic language other than English opaque to the point of being virtually incomprehensible
    While modern German itself is quite difficult, it is easier for me to read and verbally understand Dutch than French even though I've taken a little bit of French in school. West Frisian is even easier if you can find it.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    A sacrifice would refer quite specifically to meat, and that's probably why it's been translated as such.
    No, it hasn't. Not if you define "meat" as "flesh as food". This is only the modern meaning of the word "meat". In 1600 the original meaning "food" was still alive, though the narrower meaning "flesh as food" already existed. Modern English speakers are generally not aware of the historical meaning of the word and therefore newer English translations use "food" in this passage and not "meat".


    As to the logic of the interpretation of this passage: We have an object X of which we know it is meat (in the modern sense of the word). Because every meat is also food, X is also food. Now we have the word lehem and we have three hypotheses concerning its meaning:
    H1(y): In context y. lehem means bread.
    H2(y): In context y. lehem means food.
    H3(y): In context y. lehem means meat.

    Now we are confronted with the statement
    X is lechem.

    We want to know the possible meanings of lechem in this statement. The given evidence is compatible with H2(X is lechem) and H3(X is lechem) but not with H1(X is lechem).

    As a result, the passage can serve as evidence to reject Vy:H3(y), i.e. it does prove that lehem did not always mean bread. But it cannot be use to discriminate between Ey:H2(y) and Ey:H3(y), i.e. it does not prove (nor does it even constitute evidence*) that there are attestations where lehem means meat rather than the more general term food.
    ________________________________________
    *Unless you share Hempel's definition whereby any object X fulfilling the relation R(X) would constitute evidence for the Statement Vx:R(x). But this would lead to Hempel's paradox, where finding a white shoe would constitute evidence for the statement all ravens are black: Because all ravens are black is logically equivalent to all non-black objects are non-ravens and there is a white shoe logically implies there is a non-black object which is not a raven, the statement there is a white shoe corroborates the hypothesis all non-black objects are non-ravens and because with one formulation of a hypothesis all logically equivalent formulations are corroborated as well, the hypothesis all ravens are black is also corroborated.
     
    Last edited:

    jimmyjimjam

    New Member
    English
    Here in Kuwait we are also studying French in our schools and I was understand French quickly even without Explanation because it is so similar to English So who cares about the classifications.

    And yes the words are so important If you understand the whole speech you will understand gradually the grammars as you did when you was a child.
    Linguists care about the classifications.

    I studied Japanese in university. Japanese and Korean grammar have certain similarities. I have now learned some Korean words. I have attempted to "insert" Korean words into Japanese grammar with little success.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Generally people don't sacrifice bread :)
    Actually, sacrificial loaves of bread were a very normal practice in the ancient Jewish Temple cults. They were an offering of Shavu'ot (Pentecost) and a type of Qorban Minħa. Some of the Qorban Minħa was to be burnt at the altar; the remaining amount was eaten by the priests. Raw grain is offered on Pesaħ (Passover) while leavened bread on Shavu'ot. Furthermore, Qorban Minħa was the general offering of someone who was too poor to bring animals. In fact, when the meal offering stands in the place of an animal for a normal Qorban Olah (Burnt Offering), the priests have to eat some of it and the reason for this is that it is to show the poor person that their offering is not cheapened or lessened by not being animal meat (which is burnt up entirely and not consumed). This is not to mention of course the twelve loaves of "Showbread" (לחם פנים) which were regularly present as an offering and replaced every week on the Sabbath.


    In Hebrew it can also mean meat as well. For instance in the Tanakh:

    כָּאֵלֶּה תַּעֲשׂוּ לַיֹּום שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לֶחֶם אִשֵּׁה רֵֽיחַ־נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה עַל־עֹולַת הַתָּמִיד יֵעָשֶׂה וְנִסְכֹּֽו

    After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. (Numbers 28:24)
    The proper modern translation of לֶחֶם in this context is in fact "food" and this is actually the first time for me reading it as "meat" but it makes sense if this is a more archaic English sense in the KJV. Perhaps you neglected to read on to verses 27 and 28?

    כז וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם עוֹלָה לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ, לַיהוָה--פָּרִים בְּנֵי-בָקָר שְׁנַיִם, אַיִל אֶחָד; שִׁבְעָה כְבָשִׂים, בְּנֵי שָׁנָה. 27 but ye shall present a burnt-offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD: two young bullocks, one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year;
    כח וּמִנְחָתָם--סֹלֶת, בְּלוּלָה בַשָּׁמֶן: שְׁלֹשָׁה עֶשְׂרֹנִים, לַפָּר הָאֶחָד, שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים, לָאַיִל הָאֶחָד. 28 and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for each bullock, two tenth parts for the one ram,

    The leħem of the burnt offering is an inclusive term, referring to the meats and grains depending on what is being offered.

    Typically the bread offering is made by taking the flour, oil (שָּׁמֶן is probably Arabic سمن) and frankincense and making basically a sort of pancake.

    Aside meat and bread/grains, I actually am unaware of any offerings involving fruits and vegetables. I think in ancient Israelite/Jewish culture it may have only been these two.

    To steer this back on topic (kind of?), I agree with the poster above who said that both meanings may have originated from a common word for food, and in fact the Biblical verse above lends support to that.
     
    Last edited:
    Maltese is probably the closest to Arabic, but since Maltese is influenced by the Romance languages and to a lesser extent Greek, a day-to-day conversation between a Maltese man and a Arabic man would be impossible. Hebrew is close, but also not intelligible. Aramaic is also related. The Berber languages are also part of the Afro-Asiatic family, which would relate it to Arabic. A large vocabulary of Farsi is from Arabic, but is Indo-European, not Afro-Asiatic.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Hebrew is the closest to Arabic.
    And to people who think vocabulary is the core of one language: it's not. The essence of a language is its syntax and not vocabulary, do you want an example?

    Speakers of Portuguese cannot understand Cape Verdean creole even tho' they share 95% of vocabulary. Cape Verdean creole has 95 % African grammar and that's why it's impossible for speakers of Romance languages to understand it without learning. Were it vocabulary the basis of linguistic classification, Cape Verdean Creole (or even Papiamentu) would be a Romance language while Romanian would not! :eek:
     

    Abu Rashid

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Istrian said:
    Hebrew is the closest to Arabic.
    Why do you say that? I'd say the Ancient South Arabian languages (Sabaic etc) are closer than Hebrew. And Hebrew is probably no more closer to Arabic than Aramaic. Also there is another Canaanite language which shares probably just as much similarity with Arabic as Hebrew, but which also still retains a more conservative set of phonemes as Arabic does, and that is Ugaritic.
     

    elianecanspeak

    Senior Member
    English - EEUU
    Actually, sacrificial loaves of bread were a very normal practice in the ancient Jewish Temple cults. They were an offering of Shavu'ot (Pentecost) and a type of Qorban Minħa.. . .


    Aside meat and bread/grains, I actually am unaware of any offerings involving fruits and vegetables. I think in ancient Israelite/Jewish culture it may have only been these two.
    Weren't the seven species (olives, figs, grapes, and pomegranates as well as wheat and barley) part of bikkurim brought on Shavuot and I think maybe also at other times?
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    So what is the consensus nowadays? Ancient South Arabian or Northwest Semitic? Or is the matter unresolved (because it bears the same similarity to each)? From a cursory look at short sample texts and descriptions, Ancient South Arabian *feels* more familiar, but I'm obviously not well placed to judge.

    And what is the status of Ancient South Arabian for that matter? Is it closer to the NW Semitic group or to the group (or groups) that include Ethiopic and Modern South Arabian languages?
     

    momai

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Syria
    So what is the consensus nowadays? Ancient South Arabian or Northwest Semitic? Or is the matter unresolved (because it bears the same similarity to each)? From a cursory look at short sample texts and descriptions, Ancient South Arabian *feels* more familiar, but I'm obviously not well placed to judge.

    And what is the status of Ancient South Arabian for that matter? Is it closer to the NW Semitic group or to the group (or groups) that include Ethiopic and Modern South Arabian languages?
    Old South Arabian didn't undergo much sound shifts as Canaanite and Aramaic languages did, thus it gives you the impression it is more similar to Arabic but in fact grammar-wise is (relatively) different than Arabic.
    For example in OSA the article is suffixed as in Aramaic, in Arabic it is prefixed as in Hebrew. The conjugation of verbs is slightly different. So instead of qataltu it is -as far as I can remember- qatalku while in Hebrew it is qatalti. It had meemation instead of nunation. So for an Arab it would be confusing to know that rajuln is THE man and rajulm is A man. I chose the word rajul just for demonstration purposes.
     
    Last edited:

    k8an

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    So what is the consensus nowadays? Ancient South Arabian or Northwest Semitic? Or is the matter unresolved (because it bears the same similarity to each)? From a cursory look at short sample texts and descriptions, Ancient South Arabian *feels* more familiar, but I'm obviously not well placed to judge.

    And what is the status of Ancient South Arabian for that matter? Is it closer to the NW Semitic group or to the group (or groups) that include Ethiopic and Modern South Arabian languages?
    I still know nothing about Ancient South Arabian, so I'm still in the dark.

    But having studied Assyrian more, and definitely being more proficient in Arabic than I was in 2010 (wow), I feel that Hebrew is definitely closer to Arabic than Aramaic is. Hebrew almost feels like a halfway point between Aramaic and Arabic. That being said, the Aramaic I speak of (Assyrian) is highly influenced by Iranian languages, Akkadian and also somewhat by Turkish and Arabic, while Arabic dialects are of course highly divergent as well.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Old South Arabian didn't undergo much sound shifts as Canaanite and Aramaic languages did, thus it gives you the impression it is more similar to Arabic but in fact grammar-wise is (relatively) different than Arabic.
    For example in OSA the article is suffixed as in Aramaic, in Arabic it is prefixed as in Hebrew. The conjugation of verbs is slightly different. So instead of qataltu it is -as far as I can remember- qatalku while in Hebrew it is qatalti. It had meemation instead of nunation. So for an Arab it would be confusing to know that rajuln is THE man and rajulm is A man. I chose the word rajul just for demonstration purposes.
    But what about morphology? South Arabian languages apparently had broken plurals, like Arabic. It seems they also had almost the same case markers as Arabic. They had mimation instead of nunation, but the NW languages have neither.

    Also, does Aramaic say qatalti or qatalki? Which is considered the more 'conservative' variant (t or k)? And is it true that Himyaritic had a prefixed definite article am-? I've always thought it was an Arabic phenomenon (a variant of al-) but I've started to see some mixed information on this.

    This Himyaritic sentence from Wikipedia is very striking:

    رأيك بنحلم كولدكُ ابناً من طيب

    Granted, the n-article being prefixed rather than suffixed is unusual, but if you substitute a t- for the k- it sounds almost Arabic.

    I still know nothing about Ancient South Arabian, so I'm still in the dark.

    But having studied Assyrian more, and definitely being more proficient in Arabic than I was in 2010 (wow), I feel that Hebrew is definitely closer to Arabic than Aramaic is. Hebrew almost feels like a halfway point between Aramaic and Arabic. That being said, the Aramaic I speak of (Assyrian) is highly influenced by Iranian languages, Akkadian and also somewhat by Turkish and Arabic, while Arabic dialects are of course highly divergent as well.
    Yes, I'm fairly convinced that Arabic is closer to Hebrew than it is to Aramaic, but would you agree that Hebrew and Aramaic are still closer to each other than either of them is to Arabic?

    There is also Cypriot Arabic, an endangered language.
    Wow, just reading those example sentences is amazing. It's so different to any other dialect of Arabic, and you can slightly sense a similarity to western dialects of neo-Aramaic along with the Greek words.
    It looks more like a Greek-inflected version of Maltese to me. But like I said (years ago), languages like Maltese, Cypriot Arabic and the even more exotic Arabic dialects of central Asia are all part of what we call "Arabic" so bringing them into this discussion doesn't make much sense.

    The way I understand the thread's topic is: languages that share the most recent common ancestor with Arabic or that share the most linguistic features with Arabic (due for example to 'areal' influence). I'm starting to think we can't say much other than that Arabic is in the same large branch that includes both Ancient South Arabian and Northwest Semitic. It shares many features with both, whether as common retentions from an ancient West Semitic ancestor, common retentions from Proto-Semitic itself, or as a result of some 'areal' influence.
     
    Last edited:

    momai

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Syria
    But what about morphology? South Arabian languages apparently had broken plurals, like Arabic. It seems they also had almost the same case markers as Arabic. They had mimation instead of nunation, but the NW languages have neither.
    Akkadian has also the same case markers but it is in terms of grammar ( conjugation and almost all prepositions are different) and vocabulary very special. Broken plurals as far as I understand are not an original thing of Semitic languages and mainly developed in the south of Arabia and in some Ethiopic languages as some kind of Sprachbund. Note that even Hebrew has broken plurals, but it consistently adds either -im or -ot to the plural e.g sefer -> sefarim على وزن فِعل التي تصبح فِعال. This phenomenon even exist in some Syrian words e.g. قرقوعة (scrap or useless thing) -> قراقيع qraaqee3 -> قراقعين qraaq3een

    The way I understand the thread's topic is: languages that share the most recent common ancestor with Arabic or that share the most linguistic features with Arabic (due for example to 'areal' influence). I'm starting to think we can't say much other than that Arabic is in the same large branch that includes both Ancient South Arabian and Northwest Semitic. It shares many features with both, whether as common retentions from an ancient West Semitic ancestor, common retentions from Proto-Semitic itself, or as a result of some 'areal' influence.
    I highly recommend you to follow Ahmad Al-Jallad on Twitter if you have not already. Here is him reading some Sabaic if you are interested.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top