Useful insights from this paper:

  • Where English medical terms may involve prefixes or suffixes, the ARabic may instead be iDaafa or constructed in a different manner than the English. Expect dissimilar constructions and keep your eye on the meanings, not on the structures.
    • English -itis is a full word in Arabic. iltihaab. Think this way. In this case, English morpheme = Arabic word.
  • Some English affixes are simply too broad in their possible meanings to try to get a clean translation in Arabic: you have to translate the overall meaning of the word and definitely don’t think about carrying over a prefix or even figuring out what meaning the English prefix imparted. Look at the big picture as needed.
  • Arabic is not the language used in teaching
    Medicine, Pharmacy and other health related programmes
    at the university level in many Arab countries. Instead,
    English or French are used as lingua franca. In Morocco,
    Tunisia and Algeria French is used, while in Egypt, Iraq,
    Jordan, Saudi Arabic and Gulf countries, English language
    is used. Syria is the only exception where Arabic is used in
    teaching and health practices.
  • Regarding arabization initiatives, it is necessary to
    highlight that most of the steps have been taken by Syrian
    and Iraqi specialists. This is why the Levantine Arabic
    variety is majorly used. This also represents another
    challenge since terminological variations are sometimes
    not easily understood by other Arab speaking countries.
  • Patients and non-specialists face difficulties in
    communication due to the diglossic situation. They hardly
    understand the specialists’ reports or their language. This
    difficulty in accessing and understanding information by
    non-specialists requires more resources and tools to help
    overcoming this linguistic barrier. Thus, tools and
    resources in Arabic are needed not only for translators and
    terminologists as a step towards a better information flow.
    Also, these resources/tools could play an important role in
    providing better health services and in guaranteeing
    patient’s safety.
  • To bridge the communication gap between the specialists
    and the public, some newspapers have sections for
    health-related topics in which specialized information is
    simplified or adapted to reach the public and answer their
    inquiries. Also, medical portals, such as Altibbi, have been
    developed to provide some interaction between public and
    specialists in health related topics
  • Given the lack of specialized sources in Arabic, we opted
    for newswire texts and medical portals. Regarding the text
    typology, we are aware that the type of texts available is not
    highly specialized since it is simplified to address the
    general public. However, it is considered as a feasible and
    valid option as it represents an intermediate linguistic
    register combining features of the specialized language
    together with the common linguistic features. On the other
    hand, it is a first step in this area that can be extended in
    future studies.
  • two online (English-Arabic) dictionaries:
    •  Al-tibbi dictionary
    • Unified Medical Dictionary provided by

Now it’s time to make an Anki deck to help me associate English affixes with Arabic words.


عَصَوِيُّ المَنْشَأ bacillogenic.
-genic  is a muDaaf ilaayhi in Arabic. ___ of source/origin.
This doesnt appear to be browsable.
This one’s browsable. Hell yea. Just browse around and learn.

there’s a lot of iDaafas in this med dictionary. i mean, a lot of FALSE idaafas adjective of noun. brown of hair. red of eye.


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