Students, faculty members delve into professor’s encyclopedia of non-Arabic vocabulary

Students and professors discussed the latest publication by Moslih Kanaaneh, a professor at Birzeit University, in a seminar organized by the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences on Thursday, May 16, 2019. 

The book, entitled “Non-Arabic Vocabulary in the Palestinian Colloquium,” dives into the linguistic origins and language derivatives of the terms that are used in the colloquial and informal language used in Palestine and the Arab region in general. 

Ala Alazzeh, a professor of social and behavioral sciences who led the seminar, gave a brief outline of the book and raised a few questions on the basic assumptions that it makes, such as the existence of a relationship between colloquial Arabic and the languages that existed in the region prior to its proliferation, and discussed the relative dynamic nature of colloquial Arabic as opposed to the rigid nature of Arabic dictionaries. 

Kanaaneh, before answering the questions raised by the attending students and professors, explained his rationale for writing the book — which contained more than 20 years’ worth of research — saying that it was part of his efforts to counter the negative effect of modern communication on the quality and history of Arabic, and to preserve thousands of years of culture and heritage that manifest themselves in the language.