Languages We Speak

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
I've heard a Moroccan and Palestinian speaking English to each other, as neither could understand the other's Arabic. And I've had an interpreter give up on me when he couldn't cope with the Moroccan speaker's dialect, saying he could only do Middle Eastern ones.

But the writing system is objectively difficult, when compared with other alphabets. All those letters with multiple forms, or which look similar to others. And, of course, the lack of written vowels is a massive hindrance to a foreign learner.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It didn't take much time for me to recognize the letters easily, though it would perhaps be harder if I had to handwrite them. The lack of vowels is slightly more annoying, but I think I'm on the way to getting used to it.
 

Clemens

Member
I've heard a Moroccan and Palestinian speaking English to each other, as neither could understand the other's Arabic. And I've had an interpreter give up on me when he couldn't cope with the Moroccan speaker's dialect, saying he could only do Middle Eastern ones.

But the writing system is objectively difficult, when compared with other alphabets. All those letters with multiple forms, or which look similar to others. And, of course, the lack of written vowels is a massive hindrance to a foreign learner.
The Maghrabi dialects are outliers. A Palestinian would have had no problem with any Middle Eastern dialect and probably not with Sudanese Arabic either.

Learning a new writing system in any language is hard if it uses different symbols than your own language. But the system itself is far simpler than any language written with the Latin alphabet that I've encountered (I don't know Finnish, but it may be a contender) in that there's very little actual "spelling," the words are written as they are pronounced and pronounced as they are written. No silent letters, no digraphs or trigraphs, no letter serving multiple duties, etc.
 

Clemens

Member
It didn't take much time for me to recognize the letters easily, though it would perhaps be harder if I had to handwrite them. The lack of vowels is slightly more annoying, but I think I'm on the way to getting used to it.
Your grammar knowledge ends up filling the vowels in for you, as most words, especially verbs, fall into very predictable patterns. A word, for example, that starts with م and has و as the the fourth letter is likely a passive participle and will have vowels accordingly.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Now, of course, my troubles with pronunciation mean that I'll sometimes misremember whether a word has س or ص etc.
 

Clemens

Member
Now, of course, my troubles with pronunciation mean that I'll sometimes misremember whether a word has س or ص etc.
Which is remarkably similar to the difference between slender and broad consonants in Irish or Scots Gaelic. Or even hard and soft in Russian, I suppose.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Cur non in proprio filo?
Quia in illo filo semper aliquid scribendum est, et haec visa sunt sat idonea — ibi enim quaevis idonea sunt — nec putabam filum ei rei proprium multos esse lecturos. Ceterum iam XXXV paginas conscriptas habeo, nondum quidem relectas... Num filum proprium factura sim nescio; fortasse dum relego in novo filo per partes ponam.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Patrius sermo est mihi Russicus. Etiam loquor, quamvis imperfecte, Lusitanice, seu Portugalice, Anglice, Francogallice. Olim Hispanice cum amico confabulari solitus sum. Ut vero Latine loquar, exercitatione opus est.
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Patrius sermo est mihi Russicus. Etiam loquor, quamvis imperfecte, Lusitanice, seu Portugalice, Anglice, Francogallice. Olim Hispanice cum amico confabulari solitus sum. Ut vero Latine loquar, exercitatione opus est.
Memoria tene amice te quoque satis bene polonice loqui.
 
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