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Critical Thinking (English & Arabic)

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Tarq View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 March 2007 at 2:34pm

The Critical Thinking Process Between English and Arabic.

            

             English language plays a big role in today’s business world, especially in the critical thinking process. For a person who speaks different language specially Arabic speakers it is very difficult to express his or her thought, to persuade; to do that an Arabic speaker must have good command pronunciation and spelling. It is a process that our social and cultural knowledge shares many of the properties of linguistic knowledge. 

             First and most important, the Arabic and English sound system not a like in many range of sounds used, also in the relative importance of vowels and consonants in expressing meaning. English has twenty two vowels and diphthongs to twenty four consonants, Arabic has only eight vowels and diphthongs to thirty two consonant. English has far more consonant clusters than Arabic. “In English an onset can consist of a cluster of consonants, like flit, thrive,  and spring, as long as they follow certain restrictions”(Pinker, S. 1994, p. 173).  Some initial two-segment clusters which Arabic does not have corresponding equivalent to, for example pr, pl, gr, thr, thw, and sp. The three segment initial consonant clusters are entirely absent in Arabic language, for example, cluster such as spr, skr, str, and spl. Arabic speakers faced with the challenge of such consonant clusters. Arabic speakers will often insert short vowels in order to assist pronunciation in the following manner:

‘perice’ or ‘pirice for price

‘ispring’ or ‘sipring’ for spring

For Arabic speakers it is difficult to express him or her thought in English. Because of these consonants and vowels which are hard for an Arabic person to squeeze out his thought into his mouth which makes it very hard to think critically.

             Next, it’s not easy for an Arabic speaker to persuade an English speaking person. The reasons are the acquisition of vocabulary is particularly difficult for Arab learners of English. Only few number of words in English are borrowed from Arabic.  A small range of mainly technical words are the same, for example computer, radar, helicopter, and television, have been taken into Arabic language. But these words are common to most languages. “Pre-symbolic functions of language have this characteristic in common: their effectiveness does not depend on the use of words”(Hayakawa, S.1964, p. 77).  Arabic speakers have very few aids to reading and listening comprehension by virtue of the first language, and they should not be expected to acquire English at anything like the same pace as European learners. In Europe most people have the same alphabet and writing. The Arabic orthography is a cursive system, running from right to left. There is no upper and lower case distinction. In order for an Arabic speaker to think critically he or she must learn an entirely new alphabet for English, and master its rather unconventional spelling patterns.

             Finally, there are no similarities between Arabic and English writing systems. Arabic spelling within owns system is simple and virtually phonetic. Letters stand directly for their sounds. Arabic speakers attempt; therefore, to pronounce English words using the same phonetic methodology. Add to this the salience of consonants in Arabic and you get sever pronunciation problems caused by the influence of the written form:

‘istobbid’ for stopped ( the ‘p’ sound does not exist in Arabic).

‘forigen’ for foreign.   

Arabic speakers can have big problem grasping the unpredictable nature of English language. For an Arab person think critically in the English language is very hard. He or She must do lots of thinking before having a conversation with English speaker.

             English language play big role in today’s business world, especially in the critical thinking process. For a person who speaks different language specially Arabic speakers it is very difficult to express his or her thought, to persuade; to do that an Arabic speaker must have good command pronunciation and spelling. It is a process that our social and cultural knowledge shares many of the properties of linguistic knowledge. 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct. William Marrow and Company.  New York.

Hayakawa, S.I. (1964). Language in thought and action. Harcourt, Brace & world

We are all from Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve
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nur1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nur1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2007 at 8:23pm

Assalamu alaykum,

i can't really agree with this post because linguistic research shows that we are all born with the same ability to pronounce all kind of sounds and letters, regardless in which language our parents raise us.

The problem is that over the years we lose the ability to pronounce certain sounds for the simple reason that we don't practice them. i don't claim that you can get back the ability of a child/infant at the age of let's say 30 or 20 (that's why we should teach our children foreign languages early in life) but with some practice and effort you are able to achieve a lot.

You wrote : "Next, it’s not easy for an Arabic speaker to persuade an English speaking person. The reasons are the acquisition of vocabulary is particularly difficult for Arab learners of English. Only few number of words in English are borrowed from Arabic."

i am neither a native speaker of Arabic nor English but i use my knowledge of English to learn Arabic. Why ? Because of things like :

kubaya - cup

miraya - mirror

tarabisa - table

rigl - leg (r and l are interchangeble letters in English)

Arabic is a very powerful language and culture, that made its way in all the European languages. Why would the cur'an be in Arabic, if that wasn't the case. My advice, look for the familiar not for the "foreign" in a language and things will be easier to remember.

It's always more difficult to express yourself in a language that isn't yours and to focus on what you actually want to say at the same time. Just take your time to think before you start talking and keep it simple, especially in English people like to get to the point. They are mostly not interested in following long speeches (especially in the American culture). 

 And : "For a person who speaks different language specially Arabic speakers it is very difficult to express his or her thought, to persuade; to do that an Arabic speaker must have good command pronunciation and spelling."

Usually you convince by facts, not by pronounciation and spelling. 

 

Last, the alphabet - here i agree it takes some work and time to get accustomed to read "coded" language plus the problem of print and handwritten, capital letters... That might seem truely challanging. But did you know that languages like Chinese don't have any alphabet at all. You basicly have to learn a picture with every word that you learn in order to be able to read and to write it, and then you still don't know how to pronounce it. So cheer up, English isn't so bad after all, i think. 

maca salam

nur
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UmmTaaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 September 2007 at 9:45pm

Bismillah hir Rahman ir Rahim

 

Interesting topic.

I know 3 languages, and they are all very different from each other.  I dont think my problem in learning any of the other two was the limitations of my mother tongue.

Human brain is a very powerful computer, with huge megabites of memory space all empty because we use only 1% of the total in our lifetime.  It is true that a child's potential is greater than that of an adult, but this does not mean adults have lost their ability to learn :)

Learning Arabic should be a life time project for all Muslims because it is the language of the Quran. Anyone who knows any two languages can understand how some of the meanings are lost in translation from one to another.  Even with very little knowledge of arabic one can enjoy the beauty of verses, and find a new connection with the holy book.  This can be a powerful incentive even if in today's world Arabic is not the language of business.

This does not mean one should not learn English, and I would say, Englsih is the easiest language to learn. An arab, who know so many rules of grammar, should actually find it much much easier than an English speaker who tries to learn arabic.

Ramadan Kareem!



Edited by UmmTaaha
Adab with Allah is the proper fruit of obedience - Habib Ali Jifri
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anas h View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anas h Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 August 2008 at 8:08am
i need arabc SPL
 


Edited by icforumadmin - 13 August 2008 at 7:51pm
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