In this slim volume, Mohammed Sawaie has expanded and enhanced his earlier work in the
field of the lexical history of Arabic. By focusing primarily on the efforts of two distinguished
Arab lexicographers, (Ahmad) Faris al-Shidyaq and Rifa[ayn]a Rafi[ayn] al-Tahtawi, Sawaie
creates a lucid and readable discourse on the state of the Arabic language in the 19th century. He
includes material from original contemporary Arabic sources as well as from European writers.
Sawaie gives a detailed account of the challenges faced by Arab writers and scholars as their
countries were flooded with new ideas. Western innovations in areas already familiar, such as
agriculture, as well as modern technological developments created an immediate need for new
words to describe and explain these novel concepts.