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Can Arabic Be Romanized?

Can Arabic Be Romanized?
can arabic be romanized

Humans are stubborn by nature, which is why they think that every problem can be solved. They fail to see that some issues are not problems at all, which is why they cannot be solved. Our inability to see things different from our culture as normal is what keeps us busy with useless wars. Just because something doesn’t make sense to us doesn’t mean that it is unimportant. We have always tried to make things easier for ourselves, but there are some aspects of life that can’t be tampered with. If we try to change them, we will affect their meaning.

The Arabic Language:

Named after the Arabs, this language has its origin sometime between the 1st and 4th centuries CE. It has come a long way since then and has been changed into a simplified form. It is the liturgical language of Muslims because both the Quran and Hadith are written in it. It is also the official language of all Arab countries. This makes it the lingua franca of the Arab world. Although the modern variety is different from the classical version, the types spoken in all the Arab countries today are more or less the same. This is why people from the region can communicate with each other so easily.

During the Middle Ages, Muslim scientists and philosophers were making all kinds of discoveries and introducing new concepts. Due to this, their language gained popularity in Europe, and plenty of its words ended up being a part of the regional tongues. During the Muslim rule of the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish came in close contact with Arabic. It was during that time that Spanish borrowed from its vocabulary heavily. Over the course of centuries, Arabic has influenced various languages throughout the world. Some of these are Urdu, Kashmiri, Persian, Pashto, Hindi, Punjabi, Malay, and Bengali.

arabic language

What is the Romanization of Languages?

Roman or Latin script is the name of a writing system. The conversion of a writing system into Latin script is known as romanization. Many processes are part of romanization. In some instances, it helps in reading a foreign language. But generally, it is used to simplify a vernacular. It helps those who speak a Latin-based language understand other tongues. It is also useful for those learning a new vernacular because it makes pronouncing words easier.

Can Arabic be Romanized?

There are many different vernaculars with a vowel system similar to the one used in Latin-based languages. But Arabic is a bit different, which is why it’s impossible to carry out its romanization properly. There is also the confusion between transliteration and romanization when it comes to Arabic. Some people think that the former will do the job of explaining the pronunciation of Arabic, but that isn’t correct. Transliteration, in most cases, is the direct representation of Arabic letters. What we need is the transcription of the language to be able to understand it properly.

Despite the uses of various systems and strategies to make the romanization of Arabic possible, there are still many problems that keep it from happening. For instance, there aren’t similar phonemes in English and other European languages that could properly represent Arabic sounds. There are also definite articles that are written the same way but pronounced each time differently in Arabic. There is no way to represent them in Latin script.

All of these problems don’t mean that the linguistic experts haven’t tried their hands at Romanizing this vernacular. In fact, there are various examples of the tongue being written in the Latin script. However, the rendition isn’t correct and can create confusion for non-native speakers. Only native speakers can understand the romanization of Arabic properly.

romanized arabic

Where Does it Work?

Despite the problems, there are a few examples where the romanization seems to work properly. For instance, the names of Arabic countries are made easier by writing them in the Latin script. If the method of transliteration had been used, it wouldn’t have made any sense to non-native speakers. They will not have been able to pronounce the words at all. But Arabic is a complicated language. Like every other vernacular, names are different than the rest of the vocabulary, which is why it is easier to write them in Latin script.

There is a chance that linguists can come up with a better system in the future and write this vernacular in a way that will be understandable for everybody. But for now, it is not suitable to use the romanization in everyday writings. It will raise more questions than provide answers. The vernacular is quite complicated as it is, but adding this additional factor will make it more difficult. For the students of Arabic, it is better to learn the script as well. They can learn to read and pronounce it with the help of its original script in a lot better way. It is also worth remembering that the current script is a lot simpler than the previous one.

In our quest to make the world easier, sometimes we can make mistakes too. If we realize those mistakes in time and don’t repeat them in the future, we will be able to save ourselves from confusion. All the languages are unique and have different structures. Although some of them can be compared with each other, there are also those who have a unique identity. It is better to let those vernaculars be.

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