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The Arabic Language by Kees Versteegh

The Arabic Language

by Kees Versteegh

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This book is a "must have" for the Arabic linguist. Well-researched and provides a solid background on the history and development of the Arabic language. I picked this up in Monterey, California back in 1998 and have found it to be a valuable addition to my collection. ( )
  BLyda97112 | Jan 1, 2011 |
This was an excellent, well researched book. It was full of history, which added context to the discussion of the dialects, and despite being a speaker, I found it full of new information. Personally, I enjoyed most the parts on the mass bedouin migrations to Egypt and the Maghreb, the story of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym, and the great amount of information on Bedouin migrations, which help explain how certain characteristics spread.
A basic knowledge of Arabic is definitely required, or it will be a tedious book to complete, and I would also say that a knowledge of linguistics would also be helpful, as the book is filled with linguistic terminology such as dipthongs, verbo-nominal compounds, infinitives, suffixes, subjunctives, etc. It would have been useful to have a glossary at the end.
The only drawback of the book is that all of the Arabic is transliterated into English. I would have found the book much easier if the words had been left in Arabic. For the next edition, I would recommend keeping the words in Arabic, and adding footnotes to the bottom of the page with the English transliterations for those who need them.
All in all, an excellent non-Arab study into the language.

A- ( )
1 vote ts. | Apr 17, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0748614362, Paperback)

This general introduction to the Arabic Language, now available in paperback, places special emphasis on the history and variation of the language. Concentrating on the difference between the two types of Arabic - the Classical standard language and the dialects - Kees Versteegh charts the history and development of the Arabic language from the earliest beginnings to modern times. The reader is offered a solid grounding in the structure of the language, its historical context and its use in various literary and non-literary genres, as well as an understanding of the role of Arabic as a cultural, religious and political world language. Intended as an introductory guide for students of Arabic, it will also be a useful tool for discussions both from a historical linguistic and from a socio-linguistic perspective. Coverage includes all aspects of the history of Arabic, the Arabic linguistic tradition, Arabic dialects and Arabic as a world language. Links are made between linguistic history and cultural history, while the author emphasises the role of contacts between Arabic and other languages. This important book will be an ideal text for all those wishing to acquire an understanding or develop their knowledge of the Arabic language.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:31 -0400)

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