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Dubai Culture launches a new initiative to enrich Arabic dictionaries

During the 15th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which takes place from 1 to 6 February, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) announced the launch of the Abjed initiative, which aims to enrich the Arabic language dictionaries with new alternative vocabulary to the most commonly used foreign terms among Arabic speakers, regardless of social or economic background.

Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts and Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, affirmed that ‘Abjed’ initiative represents a qualitative step on the road to enriching the Arabic language with new vocabulary and terminology, saying: “Languages are affected by trends, cultures and traditions. Throughout history, the Arabic language was able to express our culture and intellectual orientations, and was distinguished by its ability to adapt to social, economic and scientific changes as well, thanks to the multiplicity of its expressions, quotations and derivations, which made it one of the pillars of human civilisation.”

He added: “With the expansion of our openness to other cultures, we have witnessed in recent years the widespread use of many foreign terms in the Arab region, especially related to daily and professional life, which indicates the importance of updating Arabic dictionaries and providing them with new synonyms to foreign terms that express the same meaning.”

Dubai Culture has written special criteria for selecting the vocabulary that will be added to the dictionaries of the Arabic language by assessing its ability to harmonise with literary and colloquial expressions.

A committee of writers and Arabic experts will then evaluate the words suggested by the public and select the appropriate ones, preparing lists that are consistent with Arabic’s nature and express the most common foreign terms in the region, in preparation for their inclusion in dictionaries and public use.

The public can suggest new vocabulary by visiting the initiative stand at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City Hotel’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature site.