ENGLISH BORROWINGS IN ARABIC
Have you ever wondered how many English words you can find in the Arabic language? In fact, there are plenty of them! What was the main reason of it? How are they conveyed in a language with a different alphabet?
First of all, there are multiple processes that caused Arabic language to become enriched by foreign terminology, and the borrowings themselves come from a variety of sources. Scientists generally agree that the main reason why contemporary Arabic dictionaries are getting richer in loanwords is known to Arabs as the West. It is important to remember that the exchange of words between languages and cultures is progressing in both directions.
The transfer of foreign ideas and terminology from Western languages to the Arabic, has given birth to different methods of creating loanwords. Those methods were introduced in the medieval times, when the Western cultures began to influence the Arabic vocabulary on a great scale. There are two major schools of creating new words:
Taˁrīb known also as arabization, is focused on transcribing the form of foreign vocabulary using the letters of Arabic alphabet. Even though nationalist scholars generally oppose this method, claiming that it may cause the overflow of foreign words into Arabic, it is still frequently used, especially in technical terminology. Examples of this method are words such as تليفون /tilīfūn/, راديو /rādiū/, الفيسبوك /al-fīsbūk/, سينما /sīnamā/, كامرة /kāmira/, أفاتار /afātār/ and other words that in their form reflect the English pronunciation of borrowed units.
Ištiqāq is a method of coining equivalents of foreign vocabulary using Arabic roots. The opponents of this method claim, that overusing Arabic words to explain foreign phenomena may lead to confusion. Examples of ištiqāq are words such as: بريد إلكتروني /barīd ‘iliktrūnī/ meaning e-mail, رافعة الأثقال /rāfiˁat al-aṯqāl/ as elevator or هاتف /hātif/ meaning telephone.