COM 2000 Unit 3 Assignment 1 Language Traits and Power of Language

COM 2000 Unit 3 Assignment 1 Language Traits and Power of Language

The language I have chosen for this assignment is Arabic, specifically Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). I decided to focus on Arabic because of my personal connection to the language. My children and I have many friends born in Lebanon or have Lebanese heritage, so Arabic is their native language. I am exposed to Arabic conversations frequently, and I find the language fascinating.

To begin my research, I delved into the phonology of Arabic. Phonology is a branch of linguistics that deals with the sounds and phonetics of a language, as well as the relationships between speech sounds that form the foundation of the language. 

COM 2000 Unit 3 Assignment 1 Language Traits and Power of Language

In Arabic, the pronunciation of Arabic letters can vary depending on the dialect, such as MSA and Lebanese Arabic. This variation is similar to the differences between British and American English and the various dialects found within the United States.

For instance, a notable difference in phonology between MSA and Lebanese Arabic can be observed in the word “garlic.” MSA pronounces it as “thoom,” while the Lebanese dialect pronounces it as “toom.” While exploring Arabic phonology, I discovered that many distinct sounds in Lebanese Arabic differ from those in English.

During my research, I found an intriguing phonology chart that illustrates the diverse sounds used in Arabic, including various dialects (Arabic Phonomic Inventory).

The second aspect I explored was the semantics of Arabic. Semantics is concerned with the meaning of words in a specific language. Arabic has been described as a challenging language to learn, particularly when it comes to semantics. 

COM 2000 Unit 3 Assignment 1 Language Traits and Power of Language

I found a research paper titled “Perspectives on Arabic Semantics” by Abaneh, Ramada, and Abu-Shihab (2017), highlighting how certain Arabic words have broad and public connotations but can become narrowed and limited, shifting from general reference to specific contexts. Examples of such words include “prayer,” “pilgrimage,” “faith,” “disbelief,” “bowing,” “prostrating,” and “women.” Narrowing down semantics in Arabic proved to be a difficult task, as the language is abundant with words that have multiple meanings. For instance, the word “almaktabah” can refer to both a library and a bookshop, depending on the context.

Lastly, I researched the syntactic of Arabic. Syntactics pertains to the relationship between words in a language. I came across a table that exemplified the syntactic structure in the Arabic language (Hammo, Moubaiddin, Obeid, Abeer, 2014).

As shown in the table, the structure of the Arabic language is highly flexible. The movement of a verb or clause within a sentence can completely alter its meaning. Online resources for Arabic syntactic often consist of detailed theses and research papers, indicating the complexity of the language and the challenges it presents in learning, studying, and researching.

COM 2000 Unit 3 Assignment 1 Language Traits and Power of Language

Arabic is an ancient language with a history spanning over 15 centuries. Many regions that have come into contact with Arabic have borrowed words, which are now integrated into their own languages. Persian, Turkish, Swahili, Spanish, and Portuguese are just a few examples of languages that have incorporated Arabic loanwords.

Throughout my research for this assignment, I listened to various recordings of the Arabic language. I can attest that Arabic is a challenging language to speak. I attempted to pronounce different words, and one of the easier ones I encountered was “garlic” (mentioned earlier). However, even after learning some simple words and phrases, achieving fluency in Arabic would require considerable time and effort.


  • Ferguson, C.A. (1957). Two Problems in Arabic Phonology. WORD, 13(3), 460-478. DOI 10.1080/00437956.1957.11659647.
    Retrieved from
  • Arabic Phonomic Inventory. Retrieved from:
  • Abahneh, T.I., Ramadan, S.M., Abu-Shihab, I.M. (2017, July 7). Perspectives on Arabic Semantics. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Retrieved from
  • Lustig, M. W., Koester, J., & Halualani, R. (2018). Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures. New York: Pearson.
  • Hammo, B., Moubaiddin, A., Obeid, N., & Abeer, T. (2014). Formal Description of Arabic Syntactic Structure in the Framework of the Government and Binding Theory. Computación y Sistemas, 18.

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