Functional Vocabulary in Iberian Languages

The following is a pdf of a comparative list of the grammatical terms or functional vocabulary of Portuguese, Galician, Spanish and Catalan.

Iberian Languages Notes


Modern Written Arabic


The Language

Within the Arabic speaking world there is considerable dialect diversity. In addition to the colloquial dialects, there is a superposed literary language which can be roughly divided into three historical periods: (1) Classical Arabic, approximately spanning the sixth through eighth centuries, characterized by the dominant influence of Arabs themselves (politically and culturally, including the literary output), and most notably including pre-Islamic poetry, the Koran, and the early Islamic literature; (2) Medieval Arabic, continuing up through much of the Nineteenth Century, characterized by a codified grammar and the predominant influence of non-Arab writers, and culminating in a long period of declining social and political importance; and (3) Modern Written Arabic, reflecting a renaissance in Arab self-consciousness and certain very notable trends toward breaking with the traditional forms and ideals.

Thus, in the Arab world today, Modern Written Arabic has no native speakers, is rather specialized in function as the vehicle of literary expression within Arab society, is of high prestige as the modern counterpart of a highly esteemed literary language of thirteen centuries duration, and has had a long history of painstaking, thorough grammatical study. It has, in addition, a number of grammatical categories not present in the colloquials.

Resource: Foreign Service Institute Modern Written Arabic

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From Spanish to Portuguese


We who supervise Portuguese instruction at the Foreign Service Institute have observed that the majority of students who already speak Spanish make better progress in Portuguese than those who do not. Although the Spanish they know so well makes frequent and unwanted intrusions on their Portuguese, it also gives them considerable insight into the new language. So much of what was learned in Spanish is now applicable to Portuguese. Our conclusion is that the advantages of this transfer factor far outweigh the disadvantages of interference.

This manual has grown out of a need to supply students with a guide to making the Spanish to Portuguese conversion. It is written in a casual, informal style, not unlike the conversational style of the classroom, where much of its content had its origin and initial expression. It provides an extensive examination of those Spanish / Portuguese correspondences that have proven most troublesome to students, correspondences which you must be particularly aware of if you wish to keep your Portuguese separate from your Spanish. This manual is not exhaustive in its approach, it does not attempt to cover alI the differences between the two languages. An attempt to examine the distinctions between European and Brazilian Portuguese is beyond the scope of this manual. On the assumption that the majority of users will be studying Standard Brazilian Portuguese, I have elected to write about this variety.

We recommend that you read about the sounds and do the pronunciation exercises at the very beginning of your Portuguese course, for it is then that you will experience most of your interference from Spanish pronunciation.

Resource: Foreign Service Institute

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Levantine and Egyptian Arabic


The purpose of this booklet is to describe the major differences between the Levantine (Palestinian and Lebanese) and Egyptian (Cairene) dialects of Arabic. It is assumed that the reader of this book has a good mastery of one of the dialects.

The dialects are almost entirely mutually intelligible for native speakers but since the differences are more pronounced at the basic level they often pose a great problem for a person whose command of Arabic is still at an elementary of intermediate stage.

Resource: Foreign Service Institute Levantine and Egyptian Arabic

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