English and Arabic Syntax: A Comparative Linguistics Approach (PDF)
Comparative Linguistics in English and Arabic: A Guide for Language Learners
If you are interested in learning English or Arabic, or both, you might want to know more about comparative linguistics. Comparative linguistics is the study of the similarities and differences between languages, especially their sounds, words, and sentences. By comparing languages, you can gain a deeper understanding of their structure, history, and culture. You can also improve your language skills by noticing the patterns, rules, and exceptions that govern each language.
In this article, we will compare some of the main aspects of English and Arabic linguistics, such as phonology, morphology, and syntax. We will highlight some of the common features and distinctive characteristics of each language. We will also provide some benefits of learning both languages, as well as some tips for language learners to enhance their comparative linguistic abilities.
Phonology is the study of the sounds of a language, or phonemes. Phonemes are the smallest units of sound that can make a difference in meaning. For example, changing the first phoneme in cat to /b/ results in a different word: bat. Phonemes can be classified into two main categories: consonants and vowels.
Common consonants and vowels
English and Arabic share some consonants and vowels that have similar sounds and symbols. For example, both languages have the consonants /b/, /d/, /f/, /k/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /s/, /t/, /w/, /y/, /z/. They also have some vowels that sound alike, such as /a/ (as in father), /i/ (as in see), /u/ (as in too). However, there are some differences in how these phonemes are pronounced or written in each language.
Consonants restricted to English
English has some consonants that do not exist in Arabic, such as /g/ (as in go), /p/ (as in pen), /v/ (as in vase). These consonants can be difficult for Arabic speakers to pronounce, as they tend to replace them with similar sounds, such as /k/, /b/, or /f/. For example, an Arabic speaker might say kood instead of good, or bark instead of park.
Consonants restricted to Arabic
Arabic has some consonants that do not exist in English, such as /q/ (a deep sound produced at the back of the throat), /x/ (a harsh sound similar to clearing the throat), /r/ (a trilled sound made by vibrating the tongue), /d/ (a sound similar to /d/ but with more pressure on the tongue), /s/ (a sound similar to /s/ but with more pressure on the tongue), /t/ (a sound similar to /t/ but with more pressure on the tongue). These consonants can be difficult for English speakers to pronounce, as they tend to replace them with similar sounds, such as /k/, /h/, /r/, /d/, /s/, or /t/. For example, an English speaker might say kalam instead of qalam (pen), or halib instead of xalib (student).
English and Arabic have different vowel systems, both in terms of quantity and quality. English has more vowels than Arabic, as it has 12 monophthongs (single vowels) and 8 diphthongs (double vowels), while Arabic has only 6 monophthongs and 2 diphthongs. Moreover, English vowels vary in length and stress, while Arabic vowels are mostly short and unstressed. For example, in English, the word bit has a short vowel, while the word beat has a long vowel. In Arabic, the word bint (girl) has a short vowel, while the word bint (daughter) has a long vowel.
A diphthong is a combination of two vowel sounds in one syllable. For example, in English, the word boy has a diphthong that consists of /o/ and /i/. In Arabic, the word bayt (house) has a diphthong that consists of /a/ and /i/. However, there are some differences in how diphthongs are formed and pronounced in each language. In English, diphthongs are usually made by gliding from one vowel to another within the same syllable. In Arabic, diphthongs are usually made by adding a semivowel (/w/ or /y/) after a vowel in the same syllable. For example, in English, the word loud has a diphthong that glides from /a/ to /u/. In Arabic, the word sawt (voice) has a diphthong that adds /w/ after /a/.
Syllables and consonantal clusters
A syllable is a unit of sound that consists of one or more phonemes. A syllable usually has a vowel as its nucleus, and may have one or more consonants as its onset or coda. For example, in English, the word speak has one syllable that consists of an onset (/s/), a nucleus (/i/), and a coda (/k/). In Arabic, the word kataba (he wrote) has two syllables: ka-ta-ba.
A consonantal cluster is a group of two or more consonants that occur together in a syllable. For example, in English, the word splash has a consonantal cluster of four consonants (/s/, /p/, /l/, and /sh/) at the beginning of the syllable. In Arabic, the word maktub (written) has a consonantal cluster of two consonants (/k/ and /t/) at the end of the first syllable.
The main difference between English and Arabic in terms of syllables and consonantal clusters is that English allows more complex and varied combinations of consonants within a syllable than Arabic. English can have up to three consonants at the beginning or end of a syllable, while Arabic can have only two. Moreover, English can have some consonants that are not allowed in Arabic syllables, such as /v/, /g/, or 71b2f0854b