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The Type and Spread of Arabic Script

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows where that structure of Persian characters came from, and how it has been used. Arabic writing emerged from Nabataean writing, one of a large family of Middle Aramaic scripts around the turn of the Common Era. The basic Arabic script thus provides a means of expansion to cover any language, but also some constraints on the precise form such expansions will take. The author concludes this survey of adaptations of Arabic writing to other languages with an example that has not been used for nearly a century, and when it was used, literacy in it was very low, the Ottoman Turkish. The Arabic script has thus proved to be very flexible in representing the consonants and even the vowels of a considerable range of languages, many more than have been mentioned here, and the chapter shows how it has been adapted to languages of Africa as well.

Keywords: Africa; Arabic script; Arabic writing; Middle Aramaic scripts; Ottoman Turkish; Persian characters



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