Approval of a Wikipedia in Egyptian Arabic (Masry) ignites debate over the difference between a language and a dialect
Thursday, June 11, 2009
This is actually news from last year, but the comments in this article are very interesting. In addition to that you can also see the debate on the page for the request itself from earlier last year.
While there is no clear definition on what makes a language a language and a dialect a dialect, one clear sign you're dealing with a separate language is when speakers of the language/dialect begin to have trouble writing in the official standard, and much prefer to write in their own tongue. A comment on the first link who speaks Egyptian Arabic says that he (she?) just feels that much more comfortable writing in Egyptian Arabic, and that this isn't necessarily a rejection of Standard Arabic because once an article appears in Egyptian Arabic then it is not that hard a task for someone else to translate it into Standard Arabic afterwards for the Arabic Wikipedia.
The Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia now has over 3,000 articles. This might just be the font, but taking a look at both of them I find the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia much friendlier-looking, as with less accents over the letters it looks a bit more like the Persian font I'm used to.
Want to hear what Egyptian Arabic sounds like? Okay, here you go: