Speakers of Modern Hebrew Versus Speakers of Modern Standard Arabic

According to my own research and observations, the Zionists have succeeded in having the majority of Israelis speak Modern Hebrew , which is different from Biblical Hebrew and more like Yiddish, as a mother tongue. Unlike the Zionists, the Arabists have failed to teach Modern Standard Arabic, which is based on Quran, as a second language to about one third of the population of North Africa and the Middle East. This category of illiterate people speak either an undeveloped* Afroasiatic language which has absorbed certain words from Modern Standard Arabic or an undeveloped* Indo-European language like Kurdish which has also borrowed words from Modern Standard Arabic. The majority of the two remaining thirds who have been to schools and universities in North Africa and the Middle East have a passive knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic. They have a certain proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic which ranges roughly between B1 and B2**. A higher proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic ranging from C1 to C2 is restricted to writers, translators and university alumni who have studied either Arabic language and Literature or journalism. Briefly, people having a good account of Modern Standard Arabic make about 7% of the population of the so-called speakers of Arabic and this ratio can be compared only with the Israelis who do not speak Modern Hebrew as a mother tongue.


Rami Ibrahim ©


* These languages remain undeveloped because people do not read and write articles or books using them and hence being confined to everyday language.

** These reference levels are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. However, there is still no such framework of reference for Afroasiatic languages and the reference levels mentioned are based on my own estimations.

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