Described as an unprecedented linguistic renaissance, the Doha Historical Dictionary was recently launched in Qatar, aiming to provide a digital tool for the advancement of science in the Arab world.
This pioneering project is the result of 300 Arab scholars, lexicographers, linguists, and computer experts establishing a methodology and creating an exhaustive database where they managed, despite the complexity of the Arab language, to complete 100,000 dictionary entries covering several centuries of Arabic language.
Supported by the state of Qatar, the dictionary aims to offer a modern Arabic language platform and to open new horizons for researchers and scholars in all fields of Arabic language studies.
In 2011, Professor Ramzi Baalbaki, the Margaret Weyerhaeuser Jewett Chair in Arabic
at the American University of Beirut (AUB), proposed this project to the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, and was appointed as head of the Academic Council in 2013.
The electronic portal offers endless possibilities of browsing the huge corpus of attested Arabic data back to the 2nd century of Hijra/8th century A.D.
In his speech at the launching ceremony, Professor Baalbaki explained the importance of having a historical dictionary of the Arabic language: “The dictionary is expected to have a huge impact on research in humanities and social sciences.”
“The dictionary combines the knowledge of our ancestors with modern human knowledge which witnessed a scientific revolution in the field of linguistic sciences in general and in dictionaries in particular,” added Baalbaki, highlighting its unique content.
This evolving project is expected to have a long-lasting impact on studies of Arabic language for generations to come.