Linguistic Typology and Arabic’s Place Among World LanguagesAhmet Şen, Soner Akdağ
As one of the most important disciplines of today, linguistic typology is a science that examines and classifies languages through many aspects. Typology focuses more on the structural features of languages and examines languages withing certain parameters to determine and reveal the differences and similarities between languages. In this respect, Arabic is one of the most important living languages and occurs here as the subject of typological research. This research will define linguistic typology in general terms and then attempt to reveal Arabic’s place among the world languages with regard to various aspects. The last part of the study will discuss some important typological features of Arabic and list the findings in the conclusion section. Some of the findings are that Arabic’s phylum is included in the Nostratic languages, that Arabic’s language family is Afro-Asiatic and language group is Semitic, and that Arabic is among the top 4 languages of the world in terms of the population of native speakers.
Dilbilimsel Tipoloji Ve Arapçanın Dünya Dilleri Arasındaki YeriAhmet Şen, Soner Akdağ
Dilbilimin önemli disiplinlerinden biri olan dilbilimsel tipoloji, dilleri birçok açıdan inceleyip sınıflandıran bir bilimdir. Dillerin daha çok yapısal özelliklerine odaklanan tipoloji, belirlediği bazı parametrelerle dilleri incelemekte ve diller arasındaki farklılık ve benzerlikleri incelemektedir. Bu açıdan Arapça tipolojik araştırmalara konu olan yaşayan dillerden biridir. Bu araştırmada önce dilbilimsel tipoloji genel hatlarıyla tanımlanmış, sonra da Arapçanın çeşitli açılardan dünya dilleri arasındaki yeri ortaya konulmaya çalışılmıştır. Çalışmanın son kısmında ise Arapçanın bazı önemli tipolojik özellikleri ele alınmış ve dâhil olduğu filumun Nostratik olması, içinde bulunduğu dil ailesinin Afro-Asyatik olması, bünyesinde yer aldığı dil grubunun Semitik olması, ana dili konuşurlarının nüfusu açısından dünyanın en büyük ilk 4 dili arasında yer alması vb. gibi ulaşılan bulgular, sonuç bölümünde listelenmiştir.
Typology classifies languages through many aspects, determines the ties between languages, reveals the similarities and divergences of languages with scientific methods, and thus sheds light on identifying languages’ universal points. After presenting the typology in general terms, This study will discuss some situations that will determine the position of Arabic among the world languages. Lastly, the study will emphasize some of the prominent typical features of the Arabic language and thus reveal the typology of one of the most important and currently most spoken languages in general terms as well as its position among the world languages. The linguistic definition of typology is as follows: “Typology refers to the structural features of languages—without reference to their history; It is especially the study and classification of phonology, morphology and syntax patterns.” Linguistic typology evolved in the 19th century from an attempt to classify the world’s languages and identify the possible variations among them. The central concept in typology is classification. Languages can be classified according to various criteria, such as the number of speakers a language has, the formality of the situation in which a language is used, the area in which a language is spoken, or the genetic relationships a language may have. In other words, any parameter can be taken as a basis when classifying languages or revealing a language’s typology. This parameter could be about many things such as the types of words (الكالم أجزاء ,(word order in sentences or phrases (الكلمات ترتيب ,(case (حالة ّة إعرابي ,(subject (إليه مسند ,(and causative structure (التعدية صيغة .(Typology can be about many things, and a typologist may examine any, several, or all of these parameters. Upon looking at Arabic, which is the subject under study here, it is the official language of 21 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, from Oman in the east to Mauritania in the west. This includes Israel, where Arabic is the second official language after Hebrew. Significant Arab minorities are also found, and therefore Arabic-speaking people are found in Iran, Turkey, Chad, and Nigeria, as well as in Western Europe and the Americas. Although the languages of which Arabic is a part are said to belong to the larger Hamito-Semitic family, the term “Afroasiatic” as suggested by Greenberg started being used for this family after Hami was shown to not be a valid language family. Lastly, Arabic can also be seen as a living language belonging to the Semitic language group, which is included in the Afroasiatic language family, which is also included in the Nostratic phylum. According to the most up-to-date information provided by Ethnologue in 2022, Arabic is the fourth most common language, with at least 50 million people speaking it as a first language and approximately 362 million people overall able to speak it. Modern Standard Arabic is the high literary form of Arabic that dates back to the literary language of pre-Islamic Arabia; it is learned in schools and is not the everyday language of any Arab population. It is universally used in official writing and speeches, professional meetings and conferences, radio and TV news, and other situations where the purpose is to communicate with Arabs from different dialect backgrounds. Modern Arabic dialects are composed of five main groups according to the traditional classification. These groups are:1. Levantine (or Syro-Palestinian) dialects, 2. The Arabian Peninsula dialects, 3. Egyptian and Sudanese dialects, 4. Mesopotamian Arabic dialects, 5. North African dialects. This five-fold classification actually constitutes the detail of the traditional binary classification of Maghreb-Mashriq, which is made by considering geography. Accordingly, while the first four items form the Mashriq group, the last item is in the Maghreb group. Arabic is typical in many respects and can be easily distinguished from other languages. In terms of typology, the following can be said for Arabic. Arabic is a pretty typical language in regard to such grammar points as phonemes (كالمي صوت ,( ّ gender (جنس ,(definite articles (التعريف أداة (and indefinite articles (التنكير أداة ,(and word order (الكلمات نسق .( ْ As a result of this examination, the study has reached 11 different findings: 1.) Arabic is included in the Nostratic phylum. 2.) Arabic belongs to the Afro-Asiatic the language family. 3.) Arabic belongs to the Semitic language group. 4.) Arabic is among the top 4 languages of the world in terms of the population of native speakers. 5.) Arabic is the official language in more than 20 countries. 6.) Because Arabic is also the language of the Qur’an, it is learned and used by many non-Arab Muslim nations. 7.) Arabic has a long and distinguished literary history with other Semitic languages, and many of its sister languages have left interesting and important written records for the history of civilization. 8.) Arabic has many more dialects than most of the languages spoken today. 9.) Arabic is a morphologically synthetic-inflected language. 10.) Arabic contains some phonetics and phonemes that are unlike other world languages in terms of phonetics and phonology. 11.) Arabic lastly shows very typical features in terms of some very important typological parameters.