“IT is astonishing,” exclaims Longuerue, “through what an extent of countries the Arabic language is spoken, from Bagdad to the Cape of Good Hope.”
I find, in the Matanasiana, page 171, the following criticism on this language. Besides Postel, and other Maronites of Mount Libanus, who have laboured on the Arabic Grammar, Thomas Erpenius has composed its Rudiments, which appeared in 1620; and some time afterwards, a Grammar, by Jean Maire, printed at Leyden in 1636, to which are appended the fables of Lockman. The Arabic language is intelligent and energetic. It is full of graceful turns, and figurative expressions, which give it great elevation and strength. It is harmonious; and its good Authors increase its natural harmony by the care they take in their prosaic compositions, to vary their periods, and to introduce a cadence which has all the melody of verse. The book the best written in this language, is the Alcoran.
Sallengre, the author of the Matanasiana, says, that the Arabic has many words in common with French; such as valet, acheter, magazin, chemise. In the account of the Persian language, I have given a conjecture of Huet, to explain the cause of its having similar words with the German; but have not hitherto found any philological conjecture which accounts for the present instance.—Does it arise from any intercourse which the French have had formerly, particularly during the Croisades?
Cardinal Perron says, that the Arabic language is not only very sonorous; but, perhaps, the richest and most fertile we know. It is also very useful for the explanation of many passages of Scripture.