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Posted On: 27 January 2015 04:08 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

Mind your bad Arabic!

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The idea is to preserve the purity of the Arabic language amid the use of many foreign languages that are spoken by different expatriate communities in Qatar.

The proposed law also seeks to make sure that the status of Arabic as Qatar’s national language is not diluted or eroded by foreign languages.

The draft law has been prepared by the Doha-based International Organisation for the Advancement of Arabic Language.

The Organisation is part of Qatar Foundation and was set up in 2013 as a non-profit body. The draft law was discussed in a recent meeting of the trustees of the organisation.

One of the aims of the organisation is to fight the use of so-called dialects of Arabic in which corrupted forms of Arabic words and foreign words and sentences are used.

The draft law would discourage mixing of Arabic with any other language and its use in public — in educational institutions, business establishments and offices, service institutions and the media.

Shops and business establishments would need to pay special attention since signboards and letterheads used by them would have to use impeccable Arabic.

The organisation feels that the Arabic spoken by many in Qatar is not proper, so there is a need to take corrective measures, and hence the draft law.

The prestige of the Arabic language is to be maintained at any cost so that people feel proud of it, and the draft legislation aims at that.

The draft law would also encourage translation of Arabic works into other languages and vice versa.

Additionally, it would encourage research to develop Arabic technical and scientific terms and the language’s use in modern technology and eventually set up an Arabic Academy.

Meanwhile, an expert told this newspaper that once the draft law sees the light of day, Asians speaking their version of Arabic would need to be careful.

They wouldn’t be able to, for example, say: “Mafi Maloom (for “I don’t know”). That’s improper Arabic. The proper Arabic for “I don’t know” is “La Alam”.

Similarly, some Asians say “Inta rafiq maal ana” (“You are my friend”). This is improper Arabic. The correct Arabic is: “Anta Rafiqui”.

The language expert said that because of their large and long-time presence here, Asian expatriates had introduced terms such as ‘seedha’ (for ‘alatool’ or straight), ‘dravel’ (for ‘saiq’ or driver) and ‘Baba’ for sponsor.

“These are just a few examples. There are many such foreign words and corrupted sentences used in spoken Arabic in Qatar,” said the expert.

It is time that ends, and the use of proper Arabic language and words is encouraged, he said, adding that he welcomed the draft law since the Arabic language is being wrongly influenced by the other languages.