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Why do English transliterations of Arabic names have so many Qs in them?

In Arabic, in fact, they've always been separate sounds! The sound we write "K" is spelled with the letter ك in Arabic, and is pronounced a little bit further forward in the mouth; the sound we write "...
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29 votes
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Why do Arabic names still have their meanings?

Cross-culturally, names having transparent meanings is the norm. Europe, and the non-Arabic-speaking Muslim world are notable exceptions and in those cases religion is one of the big motivating ...
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21 votes

Why do Arabic names still have their meanings?

First, it is not just black and white. Not all English names are opaque, there are transparent names like Hope, Faith, or Grace but also Rose that are current in English and American naming. And there ...
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20 votes
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Reversal of kinship terms when speaking to a child

Is there a name for this phenomenon? There are several in fact, but there doesn't seem to be a single unified term, which is quite a problem because it makes looking it up a real pain in the neck. ...
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14 votes

Can or has the comparative method be used in current Arabic dialects to reconstruct Classical Arabic?

Applying the comparative method to contemporary dialects (not MSA) would not result in Classical Arabic, since the contemporary dialects have lost features found in Classical Arabic, such as case. ...
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13 votes

Borrowing words along with the articles or other grammatical parts (like Spanish from Arabic)

This is a linguistic process called rebracketing, and more specifically juncture loss. Rebracketing is when word or morpheme boundaries are re-analyzed, especially when a word is borrowed from one ...
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13 votes
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Which is closer to Biblical Hebrew - Modern Hebrew, or Modern Arabic?

Modern Hebrew is closer to Biblical Hebrew than modern standard Arabic is, by almost any measure of closeness. Educated modern Hebrew speakers can read Biblical Hebrew, typically better than educated ...
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13 votes

Why do English transliterations of Arabic names have so many Qs in them?

I was going to propose Julius Klaproth, in his 1823 book Asia Polyglotta. He notates the difference between ك and ق as k versus q. In earlier works such as Hamer 1806 Ancient alphabets both were ...
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13 votes

Why do English transliterations of Arabic names have so many Qs in them?

The answer to this question has multiple layers. Draconis has already noted that the two sounds are distinct (phonemic) in Arabic and user6726 has added that the convention of writing one using k and ...
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12 votes

Teaching my son Arabic

I understand you to be saying that you are a native Arabic speaker living in America. Is that correct? In that case I think this teacher has given you extremely bad advice. All professional linguists ...
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12 votes

Why do Arabic names still have their meanings?

Part of the reason is that people with Muslim names tend to have a better knowledge of Arabic. But most people have very little knowledge of Old English, and don't know what "Harold" or &...
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10 votes

What is the concept of verb agreement with passive-active level in Hebrew?

Although I haven't heard of the term "degrees of passive/active" before, they are almost certainly talking about the verbal stems. This is a concept indeed alien to Western European (or broader) but ...
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10 votes
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Unicode points for Arabic dotless letters

By policy, UNICODE does not assign code points for contextual variants. Some contextual variants are in by exception—their purpose is to guarantee round-trip equivalence with some older legacy ...
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9 votes
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Why do transcriptions from Arabic contain numbers instead of letters?

The numbers represent Arabic letters of similar shapes, which mostly don't have an intuitive Roman equivalent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_chat_alphabet For example, 7 is ح and 3 is ع, which ...
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9 votes

Why does ISO 639-3 have many language codes for Arabic but only one for English?

Are the languages spoken in various Arabian countries actually mutually intelligible? If no then it makes more sense to regard them as separate languages. In China the government likes to officially ...
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9 votes
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What about the hypothesis that the Hebrew and Arabic definite articles both evolved from a proto-Semitic word for "god"?

The present answers are in principle correct, but do not explain the fundamental issues with this idea. In short: The "God" lexeme is relatively infrequent to develop into a definite article. ...
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8 votes

Why does ISO 639-3 have many language codes for Arabic but only one for English?

Unifying and subdividing speech forms under an ISO code is not a rigorous ontological claim: it is the standardization statement "this linguistic thing is to be abbreviated that way". "Quechua", "...
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8 votes

Unicode point for Alef with a cap above?

آ U-0622. It is called Alef with madda.
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8 votes
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How do you break words across lines in Arabic?

You don't break words in Arabic. Instead of breaking words, the Arabic script uses optional stretching of words to justify text columns. You can stretch the inter-letter joins and also some individual ...
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8 votes

Origin of the ا that ends the past tense of Arabic verbs for هُم?

In fact, alif ا does not mean anything particular and that differs it from the rest of the Arabic letters. It is a kind of a service letter, now it is a support for hamza, now it is written as a ...
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7 votes
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Why is the number 7 often used in Twitter usernames of Arabic speakers?

7 represents ħ (voiceless pharyngeal fricative). This is referred to as the Arabic Chat alphabet.
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7 votes

Reversal of kinship terms when speaking to a child

I wondered about this and answered my own question on the German StackExchange. The phenomenon exists in German dialects, but not Standard German (with the possible exception of Pate; see below). I ...
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7 votes
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Can Semitic (Hebrew & Arabic) roots have vowels?

This is one of the topics addressed by Mike Brame in his MIT dissertation Ch. 5, for Classical Arabic, however I have to say that I find his discussion inconclusive. The prosodic pattern of verbs and ...
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7 votes
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What is the difference between ðˤ and ðʕ in Arabic?

The call for minimal pairs is inappropriate, a call for evidence is appropriate. Before giving evidence you gotta say what the evidence is evidence of. The gist of your question is that perhaps, the ...
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6 votes

Is there a relationship between Arabic ka'b and Greek kybos?

The etymology of Greek kubos is unknown, but it is thought to be a loanword. A word like dice is of a kind that's easily borrowed, just like the game itself -- compare e.g. chess and its similar-...
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6 votes
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How many languages are there which use the Arabic Script, besides Arabic?

SIL has lists of two varieties of Arabic script and languages that use them: mostly here, some here. This give about 250 languages, subject to the usual language-inflation that they engage in, and ...
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6 votes

How to transliterate the following Arabic letters in English

There are several transcription systems from Arabic into Latin letters. Wikipedia provides a comparison table of several transcription systems in one place. You need to decide yourself which system ...
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6 votes
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Etymological origins of the Hindi word Afeem

The ultimate origin of that word is Ancient Greek ὄπιον (ópion, "opium") which is a diminutive form of ὀπός (opós, “juice”). It was borrowed into Persian as اپیون (apiyūn) and from Persian it was ...
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6 votes
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Why do we add a vovel "a" in the word "kitab" in arabic? Alif is already there

Convention, really. You're right that a medial alif with no diacritics unambiguously means ā. However, some books like to use harakat "fully"—that is, putting a vowel marker or sukun on ...
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6 votes

Why do Arabic names still have their meanings?

As with many words in English, also a lot of proper names come from the Romans, which in turn served as a vector for Hebrew ("Michael"), Aramaic ("Thomas") and Greek ("Peter&...
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