Hidden Assets of the Arabic Language
The Arabic language has great structural logic. Unlike English, which has evolved from different Indo-European languages, Arabic is built on a consonantal root system that links words often of associated meaning.
For example the Arabic consonants س ر د (d r s) are embedded in the following four words whose English equivalents, because of their disparate linguistic sources, bear no formal connection to each other.
Such groupings of Arabic words can be a great aid in building one’s vocabulary, but up until now the student has had no reliable way of discovering such links before becoming sufficiently proficient in the language to be able to dis-embed the root letters and thereby use an Arabic to English dictionary. This process can present a challenge even to the initiated when certain root letters are transformed or dropped.
A Key to Buried Treasure
The difficulty of identifying the proper root letters for any given word is completely eliminated by the presence of the Root Key, which appears beside all results in the English and the Categories searches in the Root Key Dictionary. This link leads directly from an English word search and its Arabic definition to the group of semantically associated words derived from the same Arabic root. For example if one looks up any of the four English words in the chart above and clicks on the Root Key a page will be called up with all the entries in the dictionary (more than 30) meaningfully associated with the root س ر د (d r s). Thus the learner is given immediate access to valuable material that would otherwise remain buried in an Arabic dictionary.
Regular use of the Root Key will lead the learner not only to seek semantic connections between words within a root family but to look and listen for root consonants, the ultimate key to learning Arabic.
Untangling the Arabic Verb
Up until now it has been necessary for anyone wishing to conjugate a verb in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic to identify the root type (sound, germinate, hollow, or defective), then insert the root letters into 1 of 10 possible paradigms appropriate to that root type. Add to this the complexity of hamzated verbs, the subtleties of modifying prefixes and suffixes for roots with taa', nuun and shiin, plus the problem of pronunciation, and one can easily understand what a challenge the Arabic verb has presented.
Now with the click of a button (and behind-the-scenes help from 150 specially designed matrices) the user has instant access to complete and clearly designed conjugation tables for 1000 common verbs, 200 of which have full audio. Time can be spent listening to the important verbs and internalizing their pattern rather than attempting to adapt root consonants to a plethora of written paradigms. The same system has been adapted to the verb in Modern Standard Arabic.
Bringing Life to the Written Word
Few people find dictionaries fun to read. For this reason the Egyptian Colloquial Arabic version of the Root Key Dictionary is livened up with several thousand idiomatic and slang expressions, often true linguistic treasures. Once mastered, these expressions will keep the conversation flowing. The more colorful of them have been flagged with red to help the inexperienced stay out of trouble.
Transforming Passive to Active Learning
The true value of the Personal Archive can only be appreciated once a student has loaded it with a block of vocabulary and begun to use the show-hide options for the columns in conjunction with the Root Key and the audio. Mastery of vocabulary, the greatest challenge in learning a language, becomes a process of exploration and discovery built on the wealth of associated meanings inherent in the Arabic root system. Vocabulary will be acquired naturally through logical association rather than by the passive memorization of phonemes
Arabic Root is a free software application from the Teaching & Training Tools subcategory, part of the Education category.
The app is currently available in English and it was last updated on 2015-02-21. The program can be installed on Android.
Arabic Root (version 1.0.0) is available for download from our website.
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