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(2,617 words)

Author(s): Mohamed El-Sharkawy
1. Introduction of Braille in the Arab world Physically, Braille is a “universally accepted system of writing used by and for blind persons and consisting of a code of 63 characters, each made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell” ( Encyclopedia Britannica II, 465). Content-wise, Arabic is a six-dot tactile copy of its schwarzschrift (normal ink print). The system is divided into the alphabet and its subsystems, the non-alphabetical code systems of contractions, and the mathematical signs and musical notation. One interes…

Pre-Islamic Arabic

(7,353 words)

Author(s): Mohamed El-Sharkawy
1. The sources for pre-Islamic Arabic Pre-Islamic Arabic is the cover term for all varieties of Arabic spoken in the Arabian Peninsula until immediately after the Arab conquests in the 7th century C.E. Scholars disagree about the status of these varieties (Rabin 1955). Three different points of view stand out. Some scholars (Nöldeke 1904, 1910; Fück 1950; Blau 1965; Chejne 1969; Versteegh 1984) assume that the language of pre-Islamic poetry and the Qurʾān was similar, if not identical, to the varieties spoken in the Arabian Peninsula before the emergence of Islam. I…

Foreigner Talk

(3,546 words)

Author(s): Mohamed El-Sharkawy
Research on the formal aspects of Foreigner Talk concentrates on grammaticality issues (Ferguson 1971, 1975; Ferguson and DeBose 1977; Long 1980; Larsen-Freeman and Long 1991) and the nature of linguistic modifications (Ellis 1994:254–257). Research on discourse aspects concentrates on the nature of discourse modifications (Long 1983b); the structure of Foreigner Talk modifications (Arthur a.o. 1980; Derwing 1989); and the functions and triggers of Foreigner Talk (Gass and Varonis 1984; Varonis and Gass 1985). Different methods have been used for the collection and a…