"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)



Tuesday, January 02, 2018

No, Lebanese is not a “dialect of” Arabic (Nassim Nicholas Taleb- Medium)

The Lebanese have been saying “bét” for at least 3200 years, now they say “bét” but it suddenly from a “dialect” of Arabic. It is foolish to think that a population will speak a language, say Aramaized Canaanite, plus local variations, then suddenly, tabula rasa, switch to another one for the samewords.
It would be an anachronism to assert that Italian is a dialect of Catalan, but safe to say that Italian comes from (vulgar) Latin. But when it comes to Lebanese (more generally NorthWestern Levantine), the “politically correct” Arabist-think-tank view (low-IQ Westerners trained into something called “Middle East Studies”) is that is is derived from Arabic (Lebanese “dialect” of Arabic) to accommodate sensitivities — even linguists find circular arguments to violate the arrow of time to serve the interest of panArabism. In situations where there are similarities between a word used in Leb and Arabic, they insist it is derived from Arabic not from a common root of both. (Most Lebanese are confused by diglossia as one is not supposed to write in the spoken language). Unlike Indo-European languages, Semitic languages have a criss-cross of roots and considerable areal diffusion to assert clean descendance, hence statements such as “A is a dialect of B” don’t have the certainty and neatness found elsewhere, which we will argue, requires orthogonal factors. Even Arabic is ill defined (historically, it may be referencing a nonpeninsular Western population) and the definition “Arabic” is largely circular. To make things more complicated, linguists call “Arabic” isn’t classical Arabic but some hypothetical construction called “Proto-Arabic” — so linguists and politicians don’t even mean the same thing.