Arabic as a scholarly language?

Pitfalls of multilingualism in scholarship


  • Vera Tsukanova Philipps-Universität Marburg
  • Michael Waltisberg Philipps-Universität Marburg



arabic, history of science, scholarship, metalanguage, education


Virtually all Arabists at some point ask themselves whether they should take into account specialized literature in Arabic, whether to take part in conferences held in Arabic countries, and which language they should choose for publishing their work. In this paper, we try to review this question in a broader context of the language of scholarship. By adducing historical and typological parallels, we reflect on the role of language in conducting research and exchanging ideas. The authors of this article are both linguists specialized in Semitic languages; therefore, they concentrate on the problems of their field, although these should be relevant to some extent also for the adjacent fields in the humanities.


Vera Tsukanova, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Vera Tsukanova is a PhD student and research assistant at the Department of Semitic Studies of the University of Marburg, CNMS. She graduated from Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow) with a specialization in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics and the Arabic language. Her doctoral dissertation project is concerned with the evolution of the derivational verbal system of Arabic in its Semitic context.

Michael Waltisberg, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Michael Waltisberg is Privatdozent at the Department of Semitic Studies in the CNMS of Marburg University. Having completed Islamic and Semitic studies in Basel and Munich, he wrote his dissertation and Habilitation on Classical Arabic and Neo-Aramaic Turoyo respectively. His other publications include papers on various topics in Semitic linguistics, including comparative Semitics, typology and syntax of both ancient and modern Semitic languages.





Tsukanova, V., und M. Waltisberg. „Arabic As a Scholarly Language? Pitfalls of Multilingualism in Scholarship“. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Bd. 13, Dezember 2019, S. 30-36, doi:10.17192/meta.2019.13.8094.