Lebanese alphabet?

The Lebanese political scene is an interesting place as everyone no doubt knows. The Guardian of the Cedars are a right wing Maronite Christian (they would say nationalist) party that wants to among other things make Lebanon a non-Arab state declaring that “Lebanese without any other quality whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic.” The most interesting aspect of the wonderfully titled Guardian of the Ceders is that they wish to “Substitute the Arabic alphabet with the alphabet devised by the Lebanese philosopher Said Akl, who restored the letter to its Phoenician origins after liberating it from the defacement that was caused by the Arabic language.” This is despite the fact that they have Arabic on their logo. Said Akl is an interesting character apart from the fact that he was a bit of a nutter he created a helped the Lebanese Maronite Christians re-imagine their “Phoenician legacy”. Akl created a Lebanese dialect written in a modified Latin alphabet, that had been influenced by the Phoenician alphabet, rather than the Arabic one.

  1. Bastar said:

    Man there are so much mis-information here, without saying that I don’t give a bit damn about the GOC:

    1- “the alphabet devised by the Lebanese philosopher Said Akl, who restored the letter to its Phoenician origins after liberating it from the defacement that was caused by the Arabic language”. You know, even if they claim that, this was never Said akl intention at all. This has nothing to do with phoenician whatever.

    2- “he was a bit of a nutter” This shows how ignorant you are. Said Akl belongs to very specific school of philosophy, and if you knew that, you would not wonder about his seemingly eccentric behavior.

    3- “Akl created a Lebanese dialect” I mean come on! who creates a dialect man? wloh! all hedid was give a latinized alphabet to the Lebanese language. nothing more.

    4- that had been influenced by the Phoenician alphabet!!!!! where did you geth that from? It’s been influenced by the latin letters. Arabic letters mind you are an offshute of the phoenician letters as well.

    I bet you will not publish this comment!

  2. deensharp said:

    Wooohhhow! I completely plead my ignorance on this subject. The question mark in the title of the post should signfy that I have never heard of it before and that this post was from someone who had just learnt of its existance….

    But at the same time while some of your comments are very interesting others are curious.

    Yes a nutter…really you are having a go at me for saying that??

    If I am not mistaken humans create dialets. Suprisingly they do not fall from the sky….but I am more than willing to accpet that Akl did not create one. That is just the info I found on a quick search.

    Anymore links or information you have would be greatly appreciated…



  3. Bastar said:

    Said Akl is not a nutter. That’s for sure. He belongs to the same school of though that Diogenes of Sinope founded in ancient Greece. So if you see him holding a lamp in the daytime looking for an honest man, he is simply reenacting the father of his school.

    You can agree or disagree with him, that is your choice, but to call him a nutter is a degrading and disrespectful term. This “nutter” wrote some of the most impressive Lebanese poetry, and even Fairouz sang his poetry. “Yara” “Roddany ila biladi” etc… “Shalik rafraf”

    He also was a master of the Arabic Language, and no one, even the great poets of old, came close to his manipulation of the Arabic Language.

    His work on developing a lebanese script in latin is a forerunner much ahead of its time. the people at lebaneselanguage.org for example seem to have learned from his work and pushed the lebanese alphabet a bit further.

    Dialects are languages. One linguist said “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy”

    The arabic language was the dialect of koraysh, the profit muhammad’s tribe. It became the institutionalized form of the arabic language for example. maybe one day, the lebanese language might be the language of institutions, who knows.

    • deensharp said:

      Well to clear up why I said he was a nutter was more about his political views than is work in linguistics. The Guardians of the Cedar were and are an extreme right wing party that I personally think has abhorrent and racist views. But thanks for the extra information.

  4. Baster said:

    Again, mis-information. Said Akl was never a member of the GOC! He actually was never a member of any political party for that matter! The GOC adopted his linguistic and nationalistic project. He did not develop his project FOR THEM! They adopted HIM as their spiritual leader. In any case, it was a time of war, and you cannot judge people in their actions in such times. The english proverbd says “desperate times call for desperate measures”. Blame the americans then that the dropped the nuclear bomb. That was a desperate measure!

    His political views were and always will be Lebanese Nationalistic. He even was with a pan-arab (if you wish to call it) unity at one point, and he lamented Palestine, and praised Syria in his poetry. He was angry and was against the Palestinian “militias” during the civil war because he saw them as a threat to his beloved Lebanon (and rightfully so, since they were).


    • deensharp said:

      LOL Baster, well thanks for the info.

      I think if there were more accountability in war it would be great. You can and must judge people in times of war…and I do blame the Americans for dropping the bomb!

  5. Hamid said:

    The two people that first pointed out Lebanon’s linguistic specificity, and consequently instigated our linguistic Lebanonism in the late 1940’s were MUSLIMS not Christians; Nagib Jamaaleddine, a Shiite, and Kamaal Charaabi, a Sunni. Jamaaleddine was a brilliant lawyer who will forever remain in the annals of modern Lebanese history as the author of the first “Lebanese” counsel’s address to be delivered extemporaneously (i.e.: NOT from a prepared text) at a Lebanese tribunal. Jamaaleddine was also the translator of Imam Ali’s Nahju l-balaaghati into Lebanese (titled “Che2af mne n-nahj). Charaabi and Jamaaleddine became two of the principal and closest advisors of Said Akl in the 1950s.., and who knows, perhaps even influenced his thought. This, then, is the most coherent early illustration of the blossoming of the Lebanese language and its movement from its traditional popular-social-cultural position to reach a literary-intellectual status. Thanks to Charaabi and Jamaaleddine, our Lebanese language is making great impression today on all aspects of artistic expression that are bound up with popular life (radio, movies, TV, newscasts, theatre) and on all aspects of religious, intellectual and political expression that are bound up in “official” life (parliament, newsprint and other media…)

    I respect all arabs but calling lebanon an arabic state just brings it down..
    Lebanon before it was called “arab” was the essence of openness and culture and education, arts, beauty, tourism (paris of the middle east)
    the bond between west and east…
    Today lebanon became arab..unfortunately and is being viewed as a terrorist radical islamic organisation which plans to kill the jews and throw them in the ocean and declare lebanon and palestine islamic states…

    i am a moderate shiite muslim and i hate radical islam

  6. Michel Maalouf said:

    Please remove the word Nutter from this post as it is offensive to many who considered S Akl as a genius. It os always
    Peopke with small minds that are scared of new ideas or confused by the truth. They compensate their lack of originality by calling othets names. Please keep your opinion to yourself when bearing witness to history and those who influence change.

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