Jordanian attempts to resurrect extinct Arabic dialect

Bakr T Alraggad Facebook
(Photo: Bakr T Alraggad Facebook)
AMMAN — Bakr Al-Raggad, a Jordanian history buff, is endeavoring to revitalize the Arabic dialect of the Nabataeans, an Arab tribe that left behind a storied legacy, including one of the seven wonders of the world, Petra.اضافة اعلان

According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Raggad, a University of Jordan graduate, said that he first tried to learn the nearly extinct Nabataean dialect three years ago, and managed to gather 2,500 words from the dialect, which, he said, had been lost among scant research papers offering interpretations of a few inscriptions and archaeological books. In particular, he focused on writing up previously unexplored eras in the Kingdom’s history.

“There is no clear dictionary or grammar for this dialect. I have taken it upon myself to revitalize it,” he stressed, even if he is the only person ever to speak it.

Raggad asserted that he is capable of conversation and even a simple form of poetry and literature after delving deeply into the Nabataean civilization and dialect. On his Facebook page, he shared a 50-second clip of himself speaking in the dialect.

The Nabataeans first appeared in the sixth century BC in the desert east of Jordan, having arrived from the Arabian Peninsula’s southeast. The Nabataeans lived as nomads in the fourth century BC, but by the second century, they had evolved into an organized society.

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