About Jurji Zaidan

Early life

Works and Contributions

The Journalist | The Novelist | The Historian | The Linguist | The Educator of Society


The Linguist

Jurji Zaidan wrote several books on linguistics and had a major role in influencing the evolution of the Arabic language during his time. At the theoretical level he analyzed the attributes of various languages and their evolution, judging Arabic to be one of the more developed languages. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who believed Arabic to have reached a static ideal in the Koran, he saw Arabic, just like other languages, to be a “living being” that had evolved over time and needed to change to integrate modern, scientific and other terms. As an Arab nationalist he strongly felt that classical rather than colloquial Arabic should be the vehicle for this modernization thereby becoming an even stronger bond strengthening all Arabic-speaking peoples. He worried that using local Arabic dialects for that purpose would erode and divide the Arab world just as the evolution of Latin into European languages spawned competing nationalisms. He was especially concerned about spreading education to as many people as possible – as his efforts for the establishment of a simplified, modern, standard written Arabic show. At the practical level he was one of the most vocal proponents for the establishment of an academy to steer the process of modernization of the Arabic language comparable to the Académie Française. Partly as a result of his efforts, an equivalent institution, the “Majma’ al Lughawi”, was established.


Opera on the Life of Jurji Zaidan
(in Arabic) attended by the
President of Egypt

Prelude with Speeches of Literary Figures


Jurji Zaidan and his Family

Centennial Celebrations
of Dar-al-Hilal