At least it did, a long time ago. Let us focus a little bit on the history of the Arabic language.

Arabic, at a very early stage, was not only written without vowel-signs above or below letters.

Furthermore, letters were written without dots which makes reading pretty difficult – as the letters and for example might look the same in certain positions.

There are five distinct letters look which look exactly the same when you omit the dots. This is also known as Arabic skeleton script).

Let’s try it. Can you read the following sentence without dots?

Letters without dots
(c) Gerald DRissner

This sentence can mean a lot depending where and how you add the dots, e.g. the first word can mean:

killedقَتَلَbeforeقَبْلَelephantفِيل

This is how you could read the sentence:

It was said that the elephant killed an elephant in front of the river.

قيل إن فيل قتل فيل قبل النهر.

This is the sentence with all the vowels.

قِيلَ إِنَّ فِيلاً قَتَلَ فِيلاً قَبْلَ النَّهْرِ

Remark: In the 8th century, a grammarian from modern day Oman invented a writing system which we basically use in stand­ard Arabic till today.

His name was أَبُو عَبْد الرَّحْمٰن الْخَلِيل ابن أَحْمَد الْفَراهِيدي – com­monly known as al-Farahidi or al-Khalil. It is said that he started using a small س for the الشَّدّة (Shadda): ّ

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Picture credit: Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Last updated: Jul 15, 2019 @ 12:58

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