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The equivalent term of the 5Cs in Arabic

The national standards for the teaching of foreign languages have been a very helpful guide for both teachers as well as the
learners of foreign languages. The expression 5Cs has become an internationally well known expression, which makes many
people even use it in their native language as if it has been existing in the target language for hundreds of years.
As far as the Arabic language is concerned, many people have been asking me: What is the accurate Arabic expression that
stands for the 5Cs?
Of course, some people may quickly answer: It is al-ma’aayiir al- khamsah; or it is al-maqaayiis al-khamsah, as a meaning for
the national five standards. This might be truly the meaning of the national standards, but not an exact term that may stand
for the 5Cs, as many people hope to find in Arabic.
Then, when I started thinking of an exact term in Arabic, I said to myself: What are the common features that all of the 5Cs
have? I found out that they have at least the followings:
1- They are all goals for teaching a foreign language.
2- They are all imperative verbs.
3- They all start with the letter C.
4- The letter C is the 3rd letter of the alphabetical order in English.
5- The total number of these goals is 5.
Accordingly, I started thinking of a term in Arabic that have all of the above features. I can claim that I found that term. It is
al-taa’aat al-khamsah “or “The 5Ts” “ ‫”التاءات الخمسة‬
Why do I use this term? Here is an explanation:
1- Communication “‫ ”التواصل‬it starts with the letter “ t”
2- Culture “ ‫ ”التثقيف‬it starts with the letter “t”
3- Connection “‫ ”الترابط‬it starts with the letter “t”
4- Comparison “‫ ”التقارن‬it starts with the letter “t”
5- Communities “ ‫ ”التجمعات‬it starts with the letter “t”
Just to remind everyone that the article “al” in Arabic is not considered when it comes to place the word in its alphabetical
order, because it is not part of a word; however, it is just a prefix for defining a noun and it is called: “al al-ta’riif” a definite
Another look at the above Arabic equivalent terms, we will notice the following:
1- All of them can be goals for teaching Arabic as a foreign language.
2- All of them are verbal nouns.
3- All of them start with the letter “t”
4- The letter “t” comes as the 3rd letter of the Arabic alphabet.
5- The total number of them is 5.
Therefore, we can easily call them “al-taa’aat al-khamsah “or the 5Ts.
One may ask: Why did you use these Arabic terms in particular and not any other terms?
As a respond, let us go back to the verbal nouns that may be derived from the roots of the Arabic verbs and from the verbs
that have one or two extra letters and see the most accurate meaning of them that might be equivalent to the English ones.
1- Communication; the possible equivalent terms from the Arabic root and from the verbs that have one or two more extra
letters are:
Wasl from Wasala ‫وصْل‬
‫ إيصال‬Iiisaal from Awsala
‫ توصيل‬Tawsiil from Wassala
‫ ُمواصلة أو وصال‬Muwaasalah or Wisaal from Waasala
‫ اتصال‬Ittisaal from Ittasala
‫ انوصال‬Inwisaal from Inwasala
‫ توصُّل‬Tawassul from Tawassala
‫ تواصُل‬Tawaasul from Tawaasala
Of course, there are some other possible equivalent terms, but the above examples are sufficient for our purpose here. It is
very clear to anyone who knows Arabic that the last term; Tawaasul ‫ تواصُل‬, is the most convenient one, since it has the exact
meaning of communication, because it includes that the action takes place between two or more people, or teams, or
parties and that it is not limited to verbal communication, but it also implies other ways of communications such as:
Listening, writing, gesturing, comprehension and others.
2- Culture (s); the possible equivalent terms are:
Thaqaafah from Thaqafa or Thaqifa ‫ثقافة‬
‫ إثقاف‬Ithqaaf from Athqafa
‫ تثقيف‬Tathqiif from Thaqqafa
‫ ُمثاقفة‬Muthaaqafah from Thaaqafa
‫ اثتقاف‬Ithtiqaaf from Ithtaqqafa or Itthaqqafa
‫ انثقاف‬Inthiqaaf from Inthaqafa
‫ تثقّف‬Tathaqquf from Tathaqqafa
‫ تثاقف‬Tathaaquf from Tathaaqafa
Going back to the above terms, we notice that the closest equivalent term to the English target one is to cause someone to
know or to be educated or to be familiar with the culture. The verb that has this meaning is Thaqqafa and the verbal noun is
3- Connection (s); the possible equivalent terms are:
‫ ربط‬Rabt from Rabata
‫ إرباط‬Irbaat from Arbata
‫ تربيط‬Tarbiit from Rabbata
‫ ُمرابطة أو رباط‬Muraabatah or Ribaat from Raabata
‫ ارتباط‬Irtibaat from Irtabata
‫ انرباط‬Inribaat from Inrabata
‫ تربّط‬Tarabbut from Tarabbata
‫ ترابُط‬Taraabut from Taraabata
It is clear that the last term includes the meaning that is aimed in the English one. It implies the connection between two
things or more, which is the aim for the usage of the English term.
4- Comparison (s); the possible equivalent terms are:
‫ قرن‬Qarn from Qarana
‫ إقران‬Iqraan from Aqrana
‫ تقرين‬Taqriin from Qarrana
‫ ُمقارنة أو قران‬Muqaaranah or Qiraan from Qaarana
‫ اقتران‬Iqtiraan from Iqtarana
‫ انقران‬Inqiraan from Inqarana
‫تقرن‬ ّ Taqarrun from Taqarrana
ُ Taqaarun from Taqaarana
The last term Taqaarun indicates the English meaning, because it has to do with the comparative of two things or more and
it includes the similarities like Tashaabaha and the differences like Taqaabala. So, it implies both the similarities and the
differences at the same time which is the target objective of the English term.
5- Communities; the possible equivalent terms are:
‫ جمع‬Jam’ from Jama’a
‫ إجماع‬Ijmaa’ from Ajma’a
‫ تجميع‬Tajmii’ from Jamma’a
‫ مجامعة أو جماع‬Mujaama’ah or Jimaa’ from Jaama’a
‫ اجتماع‬Ijtimaa’ from Ijtama’a
‫ انجماع‬Injimaa’ from Injama’a
‫ تج ُّمع‬Tajammu’ from Tajamma’a
‫ تجا ُمع‬Tajaamu’ from Tajaama’a
Once again, it is clear that the verbal noun Tajammu’ indicates the exact meaning of the English one, since it has to do with
the groups when they gather next to each other. Thus we should use the plural form to indicate the exact meaning of the
English one.
There are many other arguments that can be added to the above ones, but I think that there is no need for further proofs.
I hope that I have answered the question of many people who have been wondering about the exact Arabic term of the 5Cs;
that is the 5Ts or ‫التاءات الخمسة‬

Dear Educators....

I wrote before about the equivalent term of the 5Cs in Arabic; that is the 5Ts. In that article I show how all of the
Arabic terms are verbal nouns, they all start with the letter T in Arabic and this letter is the third letter of the Arabic
alphabetical order. They are as follows:
Communication ‫التواصل‬
Culture ‫التثقيف‬
Connection ‫الترابط‬
Comparison ‫التقارن‬
Communities ‫التج ّمعات‬
I would like to add that the question which made me think of the above terms came from Dr. Mohammad Eissa who
asked me saying: What is exactly the Arabic term for the 5Cs? Then I started thinking of these terms until I found out
what I wrote before.
This time, I would like to share with you the discussion that took place between me and Dr. Wafa Hassan about the
equivalent terms of the 3 modes of communication in Arabic. Like the above terms, we came out with 3Ts in Arabic for
the 3 modes in English. They are as follows:
Interpersonal ‫ تحاور‬or ‫ تراسل‬and the term that embedded both is ‫ تبادل‬, because the exchange can be either verbally or
in writing.
Interpretive ‫ تفسير‬as one interprets the written text or the utterance. So, it has to do with understanding and
Presentation ‫ تقديم‬which is the giving of a text orally in front of audience. It can be by reciting what is pre written to be
presented or by presenting the main ideas of what is memorized
Another look at all above Arabic terms, they all start with the Arabic letter T and all of them are verbal nouns too.
So, we can call them the 3Ts of communication.