Arabic Writing & Pronunciation (6)

traffic analysis


To know a language is to know the mentality, the way of thinking and of expressing himself, the customs, and the life style of the person who speaks that language.  It is never possible to know and understand a people without knowing its language, even basically, even if you live with that people all your life.  However, if you learn its language, you can know and understand the people, and so love it, without necessarily living among it.  By studying its language and its culture, you can identify with it and become an integral part of its heritage.  All the prejudices, the preconceived ideas, the reproaches, and the criticisms vanish.  Often the French think that Arabs are rude when they use the familiar form of address (tu) or when they use the first person first, saying I and you instead of you and I.  When they learn Arabic, they understand that the person is only beginning to study French and is not yet familiar with their culture, that the polite form of address used in French does not exist in Arabic, and that it is usual to start with the first person.*

In the same way, a beginner of Korean or Japanese, for example, may shock the people he is speaking to, if he does not take into account who is speaking to whom.  In many languages of the world, especially in the Far East, the same sentence can be very different according to the social relations of the speakers.9

It is possible to know in depth any people by learning its language, not only existing peoples, but also people who lived thousands of years ago but who have totally disappeared, such as the ancient Egyptians.


* The personal pronoun for the second person plural (
you) exists in Arabic.  There are even three types of plural you: (a) you two men or you two women, or you two, a man and a woman; (b) you three or more men; (c) you three or more women.  That is why it is advisable for a French speaker, if he wishes to invite an Arab friend or colleague, to use the appropriate personal pronoun (singular or plural) or say clearly you and your wife, if he wishes to invite a couple.  If he says I invite you, using the polite form of address, he takes the risk of finding the whole family on his doorstep!

Arrow Left


Arrow  Right