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A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Arabic-English)

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Item Code: BAG049
Author: Hans Wehr
Publisher: Librairie Du Liban Publishers
Language: Arabic and English
Edition: 1980
Pages: 1127
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.00 X 6.50 inch
Weight 1.67 kg
Book Description

Shortly after the publication of Professor Hans Wehr's Arabisches Worterbuch fur die Schriftsprache der Gegenwart in 1952, the Committee on Language Programa of the American Council of Learned Societies recognized its excellence and began to explore means of providing an up-to-date English edition. Professor Wehr and I readily reached agreement on a plan to translate, edit, and enlarge the dictionary. This task was considerably lightened and hastened by generous financial support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Arabian American Oil Company, and Cornell University.
This dictionary will be welcome not only to English and American users, but to orientalists throughout the world who are more at home with English than with Gorman. It is more accurate and much more comprehensive than the original version, which was produced under extremely unfavorable conditions in Germany during the late war years and the early postwar period.


This dictionary presenta the vocabulary and phraseology of modern written Arabic. It is based on the form of the language which, throughout the Arab world from Iraq to Morocco, is found in the prose of books, newspapers, periodicals, and letters. This form is also employed in formal public address, over radio and television, and in religious ceremonial. The dictionary will be most useful to those working with writings that have appeared since the turn of the century. The morphology and syntax of written Arabic are essentially the same in all Arab countries. Vocabulary differences are limited mainly to the domain of specialised vocabulary. Thus the written language continues, as it has done throughout centuries of the past, to ensure the linguistic unity of the Arab world. It provides a medium of communication over the vast geographical area whose numerous and widely diverse local dialects it transcends. Indeed, it gives the Arab people of many countries a sense of identity and an awareness of their common cultural heritage.
Two powerful and conflicting forces have affected the development of the modern Arabia lexicon. A reform movement originating toward the end of the last century in Syria and Lebanon has reawakened and popularized the old conviction of educated Arabs that the ancient 'arabiya of pre-Islamic times, which became the classical form of the language in the early centuries of Islam, is better and more correct than any later form. Proponents of this puristic doctrine have held that new vocabulary must be derived exclusively in accordance with ancient models or by semantic extension of older forms. They have insisted on the replacement of all foreign loanwords with purely Arabic forms and expressions. The purists have had considerable influence on the development of modern literary Arabic although there has been widespread protest against their extreme point of view. At the same time and under the increasing influence of Western civilization, Arab writers and journalista have had to deal with a host of new concepts and ideas previously alien to the Arab way of life. As actual usage demonstrates, the purists have been unable to cope with the sheer bulk of new linguistic material which has had to be incorporated into the language to make it current with advances in world knowledge. The result is seen in the tendency of many writers, especially in the fields of science and technology, simply to adopt foreign words from the European languages. Many common, everyday expressions from the various colloquial dialects have also found their way into written expression.
From its inception, this dictionary has been compiled on scientific descriptive principles. It contains only words and expressions which were found in context during the course of wide reading in literature of every kind or which, on the basis of other evidence, can be shown to be unquestionably a part of the present-day vocabulary. It is a faithful record of the language as attested by usage rather than a normative presentation of what theoretically ought to occur. Consequently, it not only lists classical words and phrases of elegant rhetorical style side by side with new coinages that conform to the demands of the purists, but it also contains neologisms, loan translations, foreign loans, and colloquialisms which may not be to the linguistic taste of many educated Arabs. But since they occur in the corpus of materials on which the dictionary is based, they are included here.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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