The student's Arabic-English dictionary (1884) PDF ebook

The student's Arabic-English dictionary by Francis Josep Steingass.

The student's Arabic-English dictionary
Arabic-English dictionary by Francis Josep Steingass.


Excerpt from the introduction:

The Author's aim, in preparing the present volume, has been to provide the English student, at a moderate price, with a Dictionary which would enable him to read, not only Arabic books of a limited vocabulary, like the Qur'an, or of a comparatively easy and familiar style, as the Arabian Nights; but also such other standard works of a wider etymological range, as the Hamdsah, the Mu'allaqnt, and, above all, the Maqdmdt of al-Hariri, which may, with the late Mr. Chenery, be aptly designated as a " Compendium of the Arabic Language " in all its intricacies and niceties.

 The difficulty of such an undertaking lies in finding the golden mean between a merely alphabetical arrangement, which would swell the book into an inordinate size, and a strictly etymological disposition under roots, which would, undoubtedly, be more to the taste of the scholar, but frequently embarrass, and hence discourage, the learner whom we want to aid in his first steps on a journey sufficiently toilsome in itself. 

An endeavor of this kind has been made by Prof. Charbonneau, in his Ai'abic-French Dictionary, and, on a far more extensive scale and in a superior manner, by Dr. Adolf Wahrmund, in his Manual Dictionary of the Arabic and German Languages; and these two works, especially the latter, checked by, and occasionally enlarged upon from  { (an Arabic Dictionary, published in Arabic by Dr. P. Bustani in Bey rout), form the groundwork of our own book, with such modifications and additions, however, as to secure for it a fair degree of originality. 

We are now going to set forth, as briefly as can be done compatibly with clearness, the general plan on which this Dictionary is worked out. The Arabic words are given in their crude form, i.e. the form in which they appear before the grammatical terminations are added, and in Arabic type only as far as they are represented by the letters of the alphabet, leaving the rendering of the diacritical signs, Hamzah included, to the transliteration.

Thus each word forms, as it were, a skeleton, dead and meaningless in itself, but moved into life by the Harakat (vowel-points), and further to be individualized, as of Arab kin by the Arab (grammatical inflection). To every male, if I may be allowed to continue the metaphor, its consort is allotted, that is to say, under each heading the form or forms with the feminine termination « are subjoined to those without it, if both are in use.

 This has been done, because frequently the two forms stand mutually in the relationship of singular and plural, and therefore, by bringing them together in the same article, many cross-references could be spared.f In a similar way derivatives with a final especially when forming the so-called Nisbah or noun of relation (in5), are, as a natural offspring, joined under the same heading to the parent form, but only, if the alphabetical order would already bring them in immediate contact with it (see e.g. article JW^ handle, &c., p. 347). Roots, whether literal or quadriliteral, are found under two headings. One, placed in parentheses, gives the primitive verbs in the third person singular masculine, together with their Infinitives, and the Infinitives of the derived conjugations.

 In triliteral verbs the medial vowel of the * The student, when about to make use of this Dictionary, is of course supposed to be well acquainted with these signs from his Grammar, and should his text be pointed, he will have no difficulty in finding the equivalent in transliteration, for any word he may lookout, by refer- ring to the heading in Arabic type. 

If, on the contrary, these signs are omitted from the text, as is always done in editions printed in the East (for instance, in the Arabian Nights, which he is particularly expected to read), it would be decidedly more bewildering for him to pick out, from perhaps half-a-dozen or more repetitions of the same group of Arabic letters, variously marked, that special combination which he wants; while, by using the one heading, which represents the letters in his book, as a master-key for the different meanings, his eye has simply to run over the article in order to ascertain that particular- form which gives an appropriate sense to the passage in hand

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