Now I can tell my Alif Ba Ta, ...

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mingshey
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Now I can tell my Alif Ba Ta, ...

Post by mingshey » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:02 pm

I'm initiated to the Arabic alphabet. :D Similar characters for completely different pronunciations, varying shapes, stray(?) dots, etc. had kept me from learning Arabic alphabet by heart.
But after an hour's practice with this software:
http://www.theiling.de/schrift/learn-sp ... lig;prot=3, I can now distinguish all the characters. It took about 600 trials for me.

Am I going to learn Arabic language? Well, let me see... :roll:

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AgoNxRuS
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Post by AgoNxRuS » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:00 pm

I recommend you to give up. I, too, once tried learning it. Stopped soon after learning all the alphabet, and have no regrets. I hate the language. Do your brain a favor and stop while you still can. The reason being that I tend to not give up, so it's really a common thing for me to start and either I leave it forever because it's not worth it, or I finish the damn thing if it hold a true value.
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Post by annis » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:22 pm

AgoNxRuS wrote:I recommend you to give up.
Telling people on Textkit not to study some language is a fruitless pastime.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by Bert » Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:08 pm

AgoNxRuS wrote: Stopped soon after learning all the alphabet, and have no regrets. I hate the language.
That would be a little early to determine if you hate or love the language.
You hate whatever was in the textbook right after the Alphabet. :)

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Post by Interaxus » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:50 am

Hi Mingshey,

Arabic's definitely a fun language to learn! I remember the thrill I felt when I first started to unravel how it worked many years ago, For example:

1. Different juxtapositions of DEFINITE and INDEFINITE nouns and adjectives create phrases OR sentences without using the verb 'to be', Newcomers take note: Arabic has no indefinite article ('a/an'), while the definite article ('the') is 'al', which may be prefixed to noun or adjective.

kitaab kabeer (INDEF + INDEF: 'book big') = a big book
al-kitaab al-kabeer (DEF + DEF: 'the-book the-big') = the big book
al-kitaab kabeer (DEF + INDEF: 'the-book big') = the book (IS) big

Similarly, since a NAME is by definition DEFINITE:

Alexander al-kabeer (DEF + DEF) = Alexander the great; but ...
Alexander kabeer (DEF + INDEF) = Alexander (is) great

2. You can practise Arabic verbs daily by checking out car number plates, since most Arabic verbs are based on three-consonant 'stems'. For example, KTB 123 would provide the three basic consonants K-T-B associated with the idea of 'reading'. Varying the vowels between the consonants gives: KiTaaB = a book, KuTuB = books, Kaatib = a writer, KaTaBa = he wrote, etc. Vowels are not normally indicated in written Arabic except for certain long vowels. The reader is expected to provide them automatically as part of the reading process - as though someone were to write in English: 'Ystrdy I flw t Nw Yrk. Th frst thng I dd ws vst the Mtrpltan Msm f Art' ...

3. Learning to read and write 'backwards' is cool, as is mastering which letters may be connected and which may not.

4. There's some really ancient poetry out there.

Good luck!

Cheers,
Int

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Post by Arvid » Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:21 am

I find Arabic interesting for two basic reasons:

1) Arabic is the most accessible of the Afro-Asiatic languages, and their mechanics, as Interaxus pointed out, is extremely different and fascinating.

2) Taking just the Semitic branch into account, Arabic is much more conservative than any of the other candidates you might learn, like Hebrew or Amharic. This takes you back closer to Akkadian, and it's written in a script that, while difficult, as Mingshey can testify, is at least learnable.

Why am I interested in Akkadian? Well, because Sumerian is even harder to get into; but give me time!
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Post by AgoNxRuS » Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:48 am

You'll find nothing but despair! I give you my word.
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Post by mingshey » Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:23 am

Another difficulty of learning Arabic alphabet is its order, which is quite scrambled from the Phoenician order, according to the shapes of the letters. Learning Hebrew-Aramaic alphabet was quite straight-forward after Roman alphabet, and Greek, too, all of which follow more or less to the Phoenician alphabetic order.

Arabic has drawn my attention strongly after my learning that the major part of Apollonius of Perga's "Treatise on Conic Sections" was preserved in Arabic, -- Of the eight books of Conics, Book 8 is lost forever. Greek texts of Books 1-4 are preserved. Greek texts of Books 5-7 are lost and only preserved in Arabic. Arabic had been the language of science (and of pseudo-science, too) for centuries.

Anyway learning a language opens up a whole new world. If the new world seems larger and more explorable, the language is more attractive.

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Post by annis » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:15 pm

AgoNxRuS wrote:You'll find nothing but despair! I give you my word.
It's not that bad. Go study Sanskrit or Old Irish for a while.

Mingshey, what materials are you using for your Arabic studies?
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by mingshey » Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:56 pm

annis wrote: Mingshey, what materials are you using for your Arabic studies?
I have a textbook published at Hankuk(that's Korean word for "Korean") University of Foreign Studies, the title could be put "Basic Arabic Language" in English.

Besides that there are FSI materials.

Now the Summer Vacation's over and I'd be put to work and it's a bit regrettable I've started on Arabic too late. But I was focusing on the "Greek Boy at Home" and modern Greek studies in the meanwhile.

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Post by thesaurus » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:34 am

I feel your pain Mingshey!

It's not Arabic, but I've just started Beginning Farsi and the alphabet is almost the same. From what I understand, the sounds differ somewhat, Farsi has a few added characters, but not too much is different.

My professor has given us exactly TWO days to learn the Persian alphabet by heart and I'm still on day one. It can be done. As those who have studied Greek know, the alphabet is the easiest part of any language. I've been practicing transcribing words for a few hours today and I can now slowly write almost any word on my own. (I'd be able to pronounce it if they didn't insist on excluding vowels from their alphabet :( ) After tomorrow I should be golden.

Conclusion: Don't give up!

I'm really looking forward to reading some ultra-fine Persian literature.

On the topic of alphabets, I might be studying Korean pretty soon in order to teach English there. The Hangul (Korean alphabet) is ingenious! You should be proud of it. Seriously, give King Sejong the Great a pat on the back. It looks very alien to a westerner, but I studied it lightly for under an hour and began to feel very comfortable with it.

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Post by mingshey » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:49 am



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Post by Arvid » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:44 am

Mingshey:

Whether the Hangul is an example of diffusion or just idea diffusion, a phonetic system or a featural system, etc.; it really was a work of genius, especially for its time.

We know that they use it exclusively in North Korea, but I've had different people tell me different things about the situation in the ROK: do you still use the system with 2000 or so Chinese characters and hangul to spell out suffixes and whatnot, or have you also switched to hangul alone?
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Post by mingshey » Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:18 am

Arvid wrote:Mingshey:

Whether the Hangul is an example of diffusion or just idea diffusion, a phonetic system or a featural system, etc.; it really was a work of genius, especially for its time.

We know that they use it exclusively in North Korea, but I've had different people tell me different things about the situation in the ROK: do you still use the system with 2000 or so Chinese characters and hangul to spell out suffixes and whatnot, or have you also switched to hangul alone?
All the newspapers and publications (including textbooks) use Hangul exclusively, except in case the author wants to avoid confusions by homophones or want to clarify the meaning of a coined word. But there are still exams for children and adults on Chinese character(Hanja) literacy, by levels. Many of Korean vocabulary come from Chinese loan words or Chinese based words but they are now spelled in Hangul. Since the Chinese characters spelled in Hangul makes many a homophones, Some people claim to use Hanja in textbooks, etc. But it is largely objected that it will increase the illiteracy ratio.

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