What does the blog title mean?
The endless diversity of the Arabic language fascinates me. I came across the following explanation when trying to decide on a blog title…and given my language skills, the idea of “colloquial of the basically educated” (4th on the list) struck a chord with me. This is what I hope to learn in Qatar, since I’ve only formally studied Modern Standard…
“The notable Egyptian linguist, Al-Said Badawi, made the following distinctions in ‘levels of speech’ regarding the mixing of vernacular and formal Arabic in Egypt:
فصحى التراث – ‘heritage classical’:
The Classical Arabic of Arab literary heritage and the Qur’an. This is primarily a written language but it is heard in its spoken form on at the mosque or in religious programmes on TV.
فصحى العصر – ‘contemporary classical’:
This is what western linguists call Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), a modification and simplification of Classical Arabic created for the modern age. Aside from being principally a written language, it is also read aloud from text. Highly skilled speakers can also produce it spontaneously, though typically in extremely formal contexts.
عاميات المثقفين – ‘colloquial of the cultured’:
This is vernacular language influenced by MSA which can be used for serious discussion but is generally not written. This is used by well-educated people, principally on the TV. It is also becoming the language of instruction at universities.
عاميات المتنورين – ‘colloquial of the basically educated’:
This is the everyday language that people use in informal contexts, and that is heard on TV when non-intellectual topics are being discussed.
عاميات أميين – ‘colloquial of the illiterates’:
This is very colloquial speech characterized by the absence of influence from MSA.”