Proposal: Arabic Language

This question recently got me thinking of another topic: Can we ask word-meaning or basic grammar rules here? and it follows on slightly from: كيف نوازن بين مستويات المستخدمين؟ How do we balance the levels of users?, in that it is asking about how we should write Arabic in both questions and answers for this site.

Specifically one thing that has got my atttention: Can we ask word-meaning or basic grammar rules here?

"How do you say Windows 8.1 in Arabic?"

Now expand this to read/write.

As we all know Arabic is commonly written without signing, like so:

يجلس في المسجد

However, many learners will not know how to read this since they are simply not experienced enough.

I, myself, fall into the group who do not truly know how to decipher a word they have never seen before.

Writing much of the site in unsigned Arabic could create an imbalance between user levels:- between those who can read unvoweled Arabic and those who cannot.

We cannot hope to moderate every single question/answer to convert to signed/unsigned, as such what would be the best way to close the gap between the two groups?

  • 3
    I am not sure if I got your question... Can you add the translation to Arabic, please?
    – F. Julian
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 17:24
  • 1
    it wold be helpful if you add the arabic translation to your question, at least for complete understanding, or it would be helpful if you explain what you mean by "sign" and "declension",
    – مجاهد
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 20:06
  • السؤال عن حركات التشكيل
    – مجاهد
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 18:27
  • 1
    @مجاهد What is the true meaning of harakaatu (best guess since I am sill not able to apply patterns to new words), Google translation keeping saying a type of movement which sounds odd unless that is how you actually express it in Arabic?
    – Sammaye
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 10:13
  • @Sammaye yes, it means movements among other things.
    – مجاهد
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 13:44
  • 2
    I agree with @F.Julian's answer. Just wanted to say that adding signs (when by "signs" you mean "vocalisation" such as fatḥa, ḍamma, kasra, sukūn, and šadda) does not necessarily help the novice who wants to learn Arabic. A fully vocalised text in Arabic script is not always easier to read, as the many signs could easily demand too much of a beginner. I also think that we cannot determine everything before we got the site going. We'll have to see how things develop. I guess that many (especially beginners) will use transliteration, which really is easier to read for the beginner. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:29
  • @ClintEastwood as a person who has learnt Arabic from scratch, with no prior knowledge of another language, I can tell you without the vowels there is no way to grasp how to say an Arabic word, as such the learner gets no perspective or grip on the language and feels disconnected and alienated by it, not only that but feels like a mountain of pain and suffering is awaiting them while in reality if they just start in the right place that is definitely not the case. Starting with voweling is definitely the right way, it is closest to most other languages of the world.
    – Sammaye
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Sammaye : If you look through several books for learning Arabic, you will see several approaches for the beginner. Some use unvocalised Arabic, others vocalised Arabic, others use transliteration and later switch to unvocalised Arabic, some use both at the same time. There is no consensus. Also: learners are individuals and so perhaps require individual treatment anyway. Since it is the up to the OP to ask the question, he will probably ask it the way he deems most helpful for himself. Let's see how the site develops and do our best to help, and encourage some sort of a qualitative standard. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


Well, I don't think that this is an issue. In fact, it depends on the question itself:

  1. The user is native Arabic.
  2. The user is a learner.

For both users, we have two types of questions:

  • Questions require "signed" Arabic, like those related with grammer and/ or orthography.
  • Questions don't require "signed" Arabic, like those about how to say X or what is the best way to answer Y.

So, as a total, it depends on each question and/ or user. For sure, We can not force users to follow this specific rule or policy!

  • 3
    Seems sound that it should depend on the question. You are right that we cannot hope to enforce such a thing, nor even promote it like we can with English translations. If we get unsigned Arabic on questions that require it I guess that person should be met with downvotes instead or something
    – Sammaye
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 10:02
  • 1
    Yes, exactly! :)
    – F. Julian
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:04

We can always make it a requirement to add "signs", but then not everyone would be willing to take time to add "signs" to their text, as writing with a keyboard is not the same as writing by hand.

I think @F.Julian's answer is good in that it depends on the question itself, whether it requires "signed" Arabic or not.

Also, if the question is from a learner who needs the "signs", then they can request the answers be so.

And as has been mention in another answer, we cannot force users to follow this requirement/rule/policy. But I think we can at least encourage, so that it can level things out a bit. Perhaps they can be encouraged by:

  • Having a virtual keyboard like the one Judaism.SE has, but with a list of the "signs" so it is readily available.

  • Or we could have something like what Google has, and that is the ability to to draw the word/s with your mouse and have it printed directly into the text area as drawn. Hence, those who aren't so good in typing the "signs" with the keyboard, can draw them along with the word/s as if he were writing on paper.

or we can wait until beta, and bring it up on meta then if it has to come up.

  • Yes, I like the idea of encouraging it, especially for certain questions that might fall under the topics where signing would be useful but do not have a requirement to. As for those questions that require it but whose answers do not have it: I guess they should be met with downvotes. That way we also encourage a change in behaviour there. I have been thinking of making an Arabic keyboard (like Yamli) which actually prints the signs out recently, if only I find some time. So you could type "wa" and it would show the fathah diacritical mark. I even wondered if Yamli has the option
    – Sammaye
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 10:07

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