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Forum LockedEnglish & Arabic Punctuation

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Jallaludin Akbar View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 17:40
Punctuation in the English language dates back to ancient Greek and Latin. Before the use of standardized punctuation, however, early writing was limited to a few primitive sympbols.

Arabic, on the other hand, is written from right to left. In arabic, certain punctuation marks are mirror images of those in english:
Quote _______________     _______________    _______________


What is the history of Arabic puctuation, how about English? What similarities do they share and what is the origin of english and arabic punctuation? For example how did the punctuation used in latin bear similarities to proto-arabic texts? I would also love to see images of historic punctuation marks if you are able to.


Edited by Jallaludin Akbar - 14-Apr-2009 at 17:44
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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 18:05

Arabic language only knew punctuation in the 19th century when and Egyptian educator wrote an influential paper on the subject.

Religious texts, Quran and the Arabic bible, had their own punctuation system but while the Bible adopted the modern system based on the English usage the Quran still retains its old system.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 18:10
What Al Jassas said.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote khshayathiya Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 19:02
Actually modern English punctuation does not have much in common with ancient Greek punctuation.

During the Hellenistic Age the scholars gathered around the Mouseion in Alexandria had developed a sophisticated philological school and it was them who introduced a number of important innovations, among them punctuation marks.

Enuntiative phrases would end with a low dot {.} Questions with a semicolon {;} An upper dot {`} (couldn't find any on my keyboard :P) marked the beginning of an enumeration or a slight break in the phrase (like our semicolon).

I'm not entirely sure when the question mark {?} actually appeared.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 19:07
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Religious texts, Quran and the Arabic bible, had their own punctuation system but while the Bible adopted the modern system based on the English usage the Quran still retains its old system.


Hello Al-Jassas

Do you of any similarities that the punctuation in "Proto-Arabic" shares with Latin? Also, what is the old system that the quran still retains? For example, how would write a question mark in the punctuation written in the Quran?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 21:09
There are no question marks in the Quran, only equivalents to the comma, full stop and semicolon as well as other punctuations for grammatical situations not existing in other lanuages.
 
The reason why Arabic, and for that reason most languages, didn't develope punctuation early was the limited number of people who could read. You either had people with really good education who can easily understand any text without the need for punctuation or people with limited education who need punctuation in limited cases so that they misunderstand the Quran, or the bible for that matter.
 
As for questions in Arabic, well grammatically speaking nearly all Arabic dialects as well the classical language have the same grammatical structure to ask a question which means if one reads a question in the Quran no matter how simple his education he will understand what it means and doesn't need punctuation.
 
The only punctuation, if you can call it that, that was developed very early and was adopted widely is that used in representing certain vowls as well as word endings, which indicate the word type.
 
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