Posted by: Sarah Standish | March 1, 2012

Why study Arabic?

The Economist’s online editor for the Middle East and North Africa makes an argument in favor of studying Arabic over easier languages:

It is hard. The first years of Arabic are frustrating, like doing a jigsaw of a cloudy night sky. […] [But] when you understand how beautifully Arabic fits together – why the root meaning “west” leads to the words for “sunset” and “strange” – the sense of illumination is sublimely satisfying. No mere French subjunctive or Russian instrumental can do that. And the pleasure will never dim. Fluency may long elude you, but there will always be a fascination in picking your way through Arabic’s intricacies.



  1. Hebrew also has this same concept of words relating to other words with shared roots, and the example of “west” and “sunset” in Arabic also it is the same in Hebrew. This concept is also very beautiful in Hebrew.

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