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The Nijmegen Arabic/Dutch Dictionary Project

1.6.4 MSA is not a real spoken language

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is not a language spoken in daily life. Its use is always limited to formal events or the domain of written language.

This implies that there are quite some situations in which it will be very difficult to find an MSA translation for the language being used in such situations. In novels and stories it is being done by writers who do not want to be driven back to the use of the colloquial language. However this is a solution chosen by many novelists as well.

Since the Dutch part of our dictionary contained a considerable number of expressions which could best be classified as 'spoken language', we faced extra difficulties in translating these expressions into MSA. This was mostly done by translating the expressions with descriptions, since the informal Dutch expression could not be paired with a translation with equal stylistic level.

The fact that MSA is not a real spoken language can be related to the fact that MSA is no one's mother tongue. A section on this topic can be read through this link.

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last updated 26/10/2003 13:29 +0100
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