[b-hebrew] arabic dictionary

Trevor Peterson abuian at access4less.net
Mon Mar 7 05:39:08 EST 2005

Bearpecs at aol.com wrote:
> I'm thinking that I should have an Arabic-English dictionary to look up  
> Semitic cognates.  I can sound out the alif-ba but don't really know any  grammar. 
>  I need something with very clear typeface.  
> Which would be best for my purposes?

Probably the best in terms of price and simplicity is Wehr. The problem 
is, it's not going to give you much information--just a few glosses, no 
evidence. It also won't say much about how recent a meaning is, etc. So 
although it might help you confirm that the gloss provided in the 
cognate evidence of HALOT wasn't a complete misrepresentation, it won't 
provide you with much new information. For that, you'd have to get 
something much larger and much more expensive, since with Arabic you're 
dealing with such a large vocabulary. You might also find it difficult 
to get really good lexical resources designed primarily for an English 
reader. Finally, I'd advise caution in this area, because just finding 
something in an Arabic dictionary is a far cry from knowing much about 
how useful it is as a Hebrew cognate. The Arabic lexicon has been 
overused in comparative Semitics by some pretty good scholars. The 
danger for a novice, who has no feel for the language, no way to check 
for words in context, etc., is undoubtedly much greater.

Trevor Peterson

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