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Arabic and Persian similarities: How to say "Not a problem!"

A few weeks ago, my fascination with Arabic has been ignited again as I found this channel on YouTube:

Learn Arabic with Manar

I have studied Persian to something like a B1 level in the last few years and can thus write in the Arabic script. Since Persian and Arabic phonologies are rather different from each other, I struggle to read and and speak Arabic correctly. Persian has fewer sounds than Arabic does and so many Arabic letters are just pronounced the same in Persian. Because of that, any Persian speaker or learner does not automatically know what sounds you would have to make when speaking Arabic. Here's an example:

These three letters are pronounced /s/ in Persian, while in Arabic they are pronounced as…

س /s/

ص /sˤ/

ث /θ/

These four letters are just pronounced /z/ in Persian, while in Arabic they are pronounced as…

ز /z/

ذ /ð/

ظ /ðˤ/~/zˤ/

ض /dˤ/

Exmaples of concrete Similarites

In Persian, when you want to say something like ,It's not a problem.' or ,There is no problem.', (less often ,That's ok.' or ,I am fine.',) you can say:

مشکلی نداره.

Moshkeli nadāre.

moshkel-i na-dār-e

problem-INDEF NEG-exist-3SG

,There isn't a (~ is no) problem.'

Guess where the Persian language has the "moshkel" part from?

-> Arabic, of course!

How do you say ,Not a problem!' in Arabic, then?

For the answer, let us turn to the following Reel. Towards the end of it, Manar provides us with the same phrase "Not a problem.":

مو مشکلة

mu mishkleh

NEG Problem

,(It is) not a problem.'

Note that Arabic does not use a copula (i.e. the verb to be) in present tense sentences. That's why it literally says "not problem".

Same same, but different

As we could see, the word for ,problem' in Persian is a loan from Arabic, but as usual, the pronounciation and orthography differ slightly. What's more is that Persian took the Arabic adjective ,مُشْكِل' /mushkil/ (1) and turned it into a noun, from which we got /moshkel/. This explains why Persian ends in -kel while Arabic ends in -kleh. As always in linguistics, consonants are more stable than vowels and so we have the identical consonants, but different vowels in Persian and Levantine Arabic:

Persian /moshkel/ (from AR: /mushkil/)

Levantine Arabic /mishkleh/



مو مشکلة. .mu mishkleh

NEG problem

,(It is) not a problem.'

مشکلی نداره. .Moshkeli nadāre moshkel-i na-dār-e problem-INDEF NEG-exist-3SG

,(There) it isn't a (~ is no).'

Some questions for you

Have you ever heard of these expressions?

Do you speak any of these languages?

Do you know of other such similarities?


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