Archive for the ‘dictionary’ Tag

Excellent Sarf Reference Book

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

First of all, I apologise for the severe delay as I did aim to post this some months back.  Since then I’ve totally changed this ‘review’ and feel it’s about time I put it out…

Practicing sarf (morphology) is a very important aspect of learning Arabic that I’ve noticed many neglect early on.  It requires a degree of time, practice, memorisation and revision.  Alhamdulillâh, while for some I may have jumped the gun, one of my first and most important purchases when I took my Arabic studies seriously was a dictionary called, “A Dictionary of Arabic Verb Conjugation” (معجم تصريف الأفعال العربية) by Ambassador Antoine El-Dahdah and reviewed by Dr. Georges M. Abdul-Massih.  I now recommend this dictionary to pretty much everyone who is learning Arabic.

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E.W. Lane Comments on the Astounding Memory of the Arabs

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Many of the Arabs have been remarkable for a tenacity of memory almost miraculous. Several of them are related to have composed and dictated from memory large works, including even lexicons.  At school, they generally learn the whole of the Kur-an by heart, aided to do so by its being composed in rhyming prose; and many students, among them, when unable to purchase works necessary to them, borrow such works, a portion at a time, from the libraries of the mosques, and commit their entire contents to memory. Hence, in numerous instances, the variations in copies of the same Arabic work ; copies being often written from the dictation of persons who have learned a work by heart.

Taken from the preface (page xiii) of Arabic~English Lexicon by E.W. Lane.

A Brief Comment on Lane’s Lexicon

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillâh my copy of Arabic~English Lexicon of E. W. Lane has finally arrived. First impressions? It weighs a lot! Somehow I thought that The Islamic Texts Society’s print, being only two volumes (as oppose to eight), would be pretty mobile. Yet mobile is hardly the word. But having two volumes is far more practical than eight, as it they are easier to store and refer to; two crucial elements for me. The price tag… Well let’s just say, the cheapest I saw this particular print was from a wholesalers up in Leicester for around £250. However, mine was a gift.

I have not delved into the books at all really, I used them in the past to check some rare terms (which I found), but after reading some of the preface, and what is before it, I learnt that Lane intended to write two books, a matter which I misunderstood prior. Book I is basically the Lexicon we have today, whereas Book II was to contain some irregular/rare terms. The author died upon reaching the letter Qaaf of Book II, so his Nephew, the celebrated historian/orientalist, Stanley Lane-Poole took on the task of completing the job. This means, that E. W. Lane’s second book never came. However, S. L. Poole did provide a supplementary or rare words to his part of the Lexicon.

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Excellent Dictionary… Lane’s Lexicon

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Arabic-English Lexicon, also known as Lane’s Lexicon (by Edward William Lane) is said to be the best Arabic-English dictionary available.  It is large in size (about thrice the size of Hans Wehr’s), some prints having up to eight volumes.  The price tag runs to near £300, but it can be downloaded in its entirety for free, from or

There’s a great deal of information found within its pages, though navigating any large pdf document can be annoying.  While it definitely doesn’t suit beginners, it’s a useful resource to have in possession.  If you’re planning on buying it, you can save a lot of money by purchasing it in the Middle East.