The Lebanese Language Godfather dies: Rest in Peace, Said Akl

Said Akl, the greatest modern poet Lebanon has ever known, passed away at the age of 102.

Said Akl Statue

Said Akl (July 4, 1912 – November 28, 2014) was known for nationalism and for stressing the fact that the Lebanese language is independent from the Arabic language, as it is not influenced from Arabic alone but from Phoenician languages as well. He therefore came up with the revolutionary idea of writing Lebanese (Lebanese Dialect) in Latin letters. His Latin-based Lebanese alphabet was made up of the following 36 letters:

  1. aleef – C with diacritic
  2. be – B
  3. pe – P
  4. te – T
  5. tahh – T with diacritic
  6. jiin – J
  7. xe (ḥ) – X
  8. ke – K
  9. daal – D
  10. daad – D with diacritic
  11. re – R
  12. zayn – Z
  13. zaah – Z with diacritic
  14. siin – S
  15. saad – S with diacritic
  16. ciin – C
  17. ayn – Y with diacritic
  18. gayn – G
  19. ge – G with diacritic
  20. fe – F
  21. ve – V
  22. qaaf – Q
  23. laam – L
  24. miim – M
  25. nuun – N
  26. he – H
  27. waaw – W
  28. a – A
  29. ah – A with diacritic
  30. i – I
  31. eh – E
  32. ə – E with diacritic
  33. o – O
  34. u – U
  35. uh – U with diacritic
  36. ye – Y

 

He even went on to write both poetry and prose in Lebanese, and perhaps one of his most important books is “Yara” which he wrote in his proposed Lebanese letters.

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At that time, everyone made fun of him. Little did they know, his way of writing became what everyone is using nowadays: from chatting to slogans and store and product names, writing Lebanese words in Latin letters is a thing. The Lebanese language is so common and it is used on a daily basis by the old and the young alike.

Although there have been a few additions and modifications to his proposed alphabet, one cannot deny the fact that Said Akl was the mastermind behind the Lebanese language.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Said_Akl

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