Arabic script or transliteration

Hi all! I’d like to know your opinion on writing system for dialects, I mean Egyptian in particular.

In my opinion it’s better to learn it in Arabic script. But I know that there are opinions that the Arabic script is not adequate to the dialects, and that it’s better to use transliteration. I also read many times that young Egyptian tend to use more Latin script, especially in social media and SMS.

What’s your opinion?

I think both are useful. Working with the script helps you to quickly recognize words by sight which is to say that it helps with reading. Written materials such as newspapers are typically in MSA; dialect is a matter of spoken, not written language. At one time, I was very skilled at gaining information by reading newspaper articles but wasn’t at all good at conversation or listening.

Transliteration can be helpful because short vowels are almost never indicated in script. Words in dialect often differ from MSA only by different short vowel sounds and a good transliteration can tell you when certain sounds are added or elided.

The best study materials offer you a phase in Arabic script, transliteration, spoken audio by a native speaker and English translation. This is why I find the TalkInArabic materials so useful.

My opinion is that there’s no reason why a person shouldn’t learn the Arabic alphabet.

It looks intimidating to new learners but it’s something that can be learned in a very short period of time as with just about any other alphabet (with the exception of character-based writing systems like Chinese).

You could certainly learn a spoken dialect without it but you’d be limiting yourself in terms of available materials and if you ever do decide to travel to the Mid East you’ll find it difficult since a lot of signage, menus, etc. are written in Arabic only. For convenience sake, just having basic reading skills helps a lot.

I agree with Saalim too. The transliteration does help with recognizing vowels (we don’t use tashkeel much on this site for instance so the transliteration is helpful).

In fact, I can read in Arabic, as I’ve learned MSA for a year now. I was just curious what’s your opinion about books teaching a dialect in Latin script, because it seems that many materials for eg. Egyptian use this method. Although there are more and more of them in Arabic script.

I’m glad you don’t use tashkeel in the material you post because I think it’s better to learn words as they are being written by natives, which means without vocalization.

It can be useful and interesting to learn Arabic handwriting, though for most of us I imagine this is lower on the list of priorities after listening, conversation and reading.

You quickly learn that Arabic script was designed to be written fluently. Its as if the language is written in cursive and there are no printed characters at all! Imagine if all English writing were typeset in cursive. That would look very strange.

Writing Arabic isn’t that hard thought the right-to-left definitely takes some getting used to. Reading the handwriting of native Arabs can be gruesomely difficult because they use a number of shortcuts that differ from the printed script. For example, the three dots over “tha” will be written like ^ or maybe left out entirely!

I agree with Donavon that trying to learn the language all in romanization is a fool’s errand. Like learning the Greek or Cyrillic alphabets, picking up the Arabic script happens remarkably quickly.

I am learning transliterated speech but also to use the Arabic alphabet. My reading and writing is poor, but I intend to practice until I get it. My main goal is to be a confident conversationalist so I am focusing on that primarily.

The arabic fluent kids at my local library laughed at me when I found the children’s book in arabic hard to read! I’m a beginner, no shame in that. If a five year old can learn it, so can I.

It’s not that different from our alphabet, it shares most of the consonants save for a few you’ll recognise from other languages (the kh in ‘bach’ in German etc.) It is possible to learn how the letters look at the start, middle and end of a word and get the general meaning without spending lots of time on it.

Arabic letters are really beautiful too.

العربي سهل يا جماعه متحسسونيش ان انا السبب