Especially in the recent years, a considerable number of foreign words has emerged in the Slovak media and literature, among them many originating in languages using other than Latin-based scripts. These words often appear in variable shapes, apparently without any consistency. The article tackles the chaos existing in the transcription of Arabic words for the Slovak media and popularisation texts and suggests a set of rules for this purpose, trying to preserve the maximum of the original language phonology and, at the same time, to make the resulting form as simple as possible, either for printing or for reading. To avoid ambiguities arising from the use of grapheme clusters such as 'th', the proposed rules sacrifice a limited number of phonemes, viz. the Arabic underscored t and d, which graphically merge into t and d respectively. Similar is the fate of the so-called emphatic consonants, usually transliterated with 'dotted' characters. The article puts a special emphasis on preserving the phonological quality and quantity of Arabic vowels, both of which can be easily rendered in the written Slovak language. The same holds true for the quantity of Arabic consonants, if present. Attached to the article is a list of the most frequent Arabic proper names occuring in the field of politics.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.