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Dubai Culture enhances Arabic with ‘Abjed’ initiative

01 Feb, 2023

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has announced the launch of ‘Abjed’ initiative, which aims to enrich the dictionaries of the Arabic language with new alternative vocabulary to the most commonly used foreign terms among Arabic speakers in all social and economic fields. This new development was revealed as part of the Authority's participation in the activities of the 15th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which will be held from 1 to 6 February at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City and the Mohammed bin Rashid Library. This initiative aims to strengthen the language’s position in the community, as an essential element of the national identity, which is in line with the visions of Dubai and the UAE that place the Arabic language among its strategic and developmental priorities, and support efforts to spread culture and establish Arabic everywhere.

Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts and Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, affirmed that ‘Abjed’ initiative represents a qualitative step on the road to enriching the Arabic language with new vocabulary and terminology, saying: “Languages are affected by trends, cultures and traditions. Throughout history, the Arabic language was able to express our culture and intellectual orientations, and was distinguished by its ability to adapt to social, economic and scientific changes as well, thanks to the multiplicity of its expressions, quotations and derivations, which made it one of the pillars of human civilisation.”

He added: “With the expansion of our openness to other cultures, we have witnessed in recent years the widespread use of many foreign terms in the Arab region, especially related to daily and professional life, which indicates the importance of updating Arabic dictionaries and providing them with new synonyms to foreign terms that express the same meaning.”

Bin Kharbash stressed that ‘Abjed’ fits the commitments of Dubai Culture aimed at preserving and advancing the Arabic language, and that the Authority seeks, through its plans and projects, to enhance the presence of Arabic all over, and confirm its position in the local and Arab community. He explained that the Authority seeks, via its new initiative, to motivate society to innovate and encourage supplementation of the language with new terms and vocabulary.

Dubai Culture has written special criteria for selecting the vocabulary that will be added to the dictionaries of the Arabic language by assessing its ability to harmonise with literary and colloquial expressions.

The writers and experts in the Arabic language will then evaluate and select the appropriate words suggested by the public, and the committee will prepare lists that are consistent with the nature of Arabic and express the most common foreign terms in the region, in preparation for adding them to dictionaries and offering them for public use.

The right to suggest new vocabulary is available to all the public, for now by visiting the initiative stand at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature site at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City Hotel.


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