What is the influence of the Arabic on the French language?
In his book Our ancestors the Arabs, what our language owes them, Jean Pruvost, professor of lexicology and history of the French language, shows the direct correlation between history and language. Having also written “Le Dico des dictionnaires”, Jean Pruvost traces the history of French words borrowed from the Arabic language in several lexical fields. He also points out that Arabic is the third most popular foreign language after English and Italian.
Some French words of Arabic origin
The Arabic influence on the French language is very obvious be it in food, fashion or art. Thus, words like “algèbre” (الجبر), “caliphate” (خلافة), “gazelle” (غزال), “sorbet” (شربة), “alcool” (الكحول), “ aubergine” (باذنجان), “caïd” (قائد), “artichaut” (أرضي شوكة), “guitare” (قيثارة) are samples of French words originating from the Arabic language.
Moreover, during the period of French settlement in Maghreb, the French used common Arabic words to communicate with the region’s inhabitants. Migrants from North African countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, have also brought new Arabic words into Europe.
If you’d like to delve further into the influence of Arabic on the French language, you may use Hans Wehr’s transcription system in his Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic.
Why learning the Arabic language is so important?
Beyond the strict linguistic interest, learning Arabic has many cultural, educational, economic and strategic benefits. However, it is not easy to speak modern standard Arabic, as it requires learning the basics of Arabic grammar and a specific vocabulary. The peculiarities of Arabic writing must also be taken into account.
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