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Its a shame you have no understanding of History

Reader comment on item: Arabist Snobs
in response to reader comment: Better had stick to petty insults...

Submitted by Peter Hall (Australia), Dec 21, 2011 at 21:12

I was amused by one of your statements

Here again - you go on to make your own baseless conclusion - wildly plucked from thin air. Virtually all no virtually no one in the Arabic world speaks English as a Again all evidence points against this - given that Muslim at large have greater birth rate and is likely the world biggest religion because of it - Muslim study and will keep on learning it because of the Quran and adopt it within their cultures - as far wide as China. Virtually all Prestigious Western Universities study it - and the number of departments are going up in UK. After fellow European languages it has the biggest department. And qualification levels from Secondary School to Phd's. *******************************************************************************************************************

Your argument is that due to the high birth rate of Muslims, that the Arabic of the Koran will prevail? But the proponents of Classical Arabic insist on it not changing, so how will clinging to an outdated and stagnant language work in a modern society? Also, as the vast bulk of Muslims are not Arabic speakers, and the practice of Islam usually involves memorising the Qu'ran, not understanding, how does that prove Arabic is a strong language? Is it not true that Most Muslims do not understand Arabic? So except learning Arabic by rote, there is no true understanding, nor does Islam promote that understanding? Any student of history will tell you that the reason Latin died out as a language was that Latin stagnated, and as a tool was no longer as versatile and the users needed. Any student of History can also tell you that the catholic Church, still the biggest religion in the world, clung onto Latin well after the rest of the world stopped using it.

The Christian Bible was translated into the native tongues of its believers, and Christianity is still the biggest faith in the world. With more and more Muslims not speaking nor understanding Arabic, and fewer and fewer Arabs being able to understand classic Arabic, you argument is obviously flawed. Islam is following the exact same path as Christianity, its a shame it does not seem to learn from the mistakes that Christians have made and learnt. You are correct that Latin is a wonderful classical language, but it is dead as a language of first tongue. Classical Arabic and Arabic, stagnated 600 years ago and will go the same way as Latin. The reason that the Catholic Church does not hold most of its services in Latin, is that NO ONE SPEAKS LATIIN as a first language. Classical Arabic is exactly the same, the number of people who speak Classical Arabic as a first language is shrinking, the reason is that is is an inadequate tool for modern society. It is a weak language the same as Latin is.

Urdu is not a strong language at the moment, but the demands that Indians are placing upon Urdu and the volume of books and education undertaken by Indians in Urdu means that it is improving, it does not have the constraints of Arabic, in that Arabists actually fear change. You cannot see that in a modern society, any tool that does not work is not as valuable as a tool that works. English works well in modern society, it produces a huge amount of scientific material, it produces a huge amount of literature, it produces a huge amount of intellectual material. Arabic is a weak tool, it does not produce literature, it is not the tool of education, it is not the tool of trade, it is not the tool of the arts. It is easily shown that there is no current material, only lame references to the Islamic Golden Age of 600 years ago before Arabic stagnated and became weak. Your clinging to the fact that Universities have Arabic Departments does not show that Arabic is not weak, Universities has History Departments too, but except for the the narrow and stagnated use by Muslims, Classical Arabic for all intense and purpose is a dead language, just as Latin is.

As an Arabist snob, you cling to the complexities of Arabic as a virtue, I say the complexities of the language shows its weakness and why it is dying. All languages are tools, and successful tools are user friendly, do the job they were intended to do, and can be adapted to other uses. When Cassettes became available vinyl record sales dropped, when CDs became available, the sale of vinyl records dropped more. The purists and DJs still clinged to the older formats, but the vast bulk of people moved to the new formats. How often do you see Vinyl records for sale Amin? Can you see where I am going with this? If Arabs have abandoned Arabic as a tool, how long do you really think it is going to last? Or are you still sticking to the flint tools?

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