We are truly honored to have received the following comments of endorsement from top-leading figures, intellectuals and linguists, who kindly read the work, complimented it and highlighted its significance. We are deeply indebted to them for their time and support!
Prof. Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
``The new Palestinian Arabic Lexicon [Maknuune] is a valuable contribution to the linguistic scholarship generally, and is especially welcome for the insights it provides into the rich cultural and social life of Palestine.''
Prof. Hamid Dabashi
``The language a people speak is like the air they breathe, the food they eat, the life they live, the children they raise, the hope they invest in the future of their humanity. The timely and ambitious Maknuune Corpus is the sign of a trust rooted in a prolonged past and a heroically defended future. Collected mainly from the elderly Palestinians living in refugee camps, villages and towns, this dictionary is the living memory of a life happily and defiantly lived, and it is to preserve the Palestinian linguistic and cultural identity for the posterity. The Palestinian Arabic that this project seeks to record and preserve is as precious for our future as the very landscape they have spent generations defending against memoricide.''
Prof. Abdelkader Fassi Fehri
Mohammed V University
``Produced by a group of outstanding NLP Palestinian scholars from Oxford University, NYU Abu Dhabi, and UCES at UNRWA, Maknuune is a large open lexicon of significant varieties of the Palestinian Arabic dialect (PAL). Originally designed and motivated by the need to document and preserve the cultural heritage and unique identities of the various PAL sub-varieties (or typical elderly idiolects), it is open to expand and cover PAL’s evolution, not only as a living Arabic language variety within the context of Arabic pluriglossia, but also and chiefly as the tongue and voices of the Palestinian people, and their heroic combat for life and freedom. Moreover, it aims not only to provide a resource to support research and development in the specifics of this Arabic dialect in natural language processing (NLP), or more broadly comparative Arabic linguistics, but it also serves as an important pedagogical tool for learning PAL, help teaching PAL to Palestinian children in the diaspora, and to non-Arabic speakers.
The Maknuune lexicon specifies a significant number of lexical entries in terms of roots, lemmas, and forms. Entries include Arabic diacritized orthography, phonological transcription, English and Standard Arabic glosses, associated phrases and collocations, broken plural and templatic feminine inflectional morphology, examples or notes on grammar, usage, or location of the collected entries, syntax and collocations, with expected expansions to cover more PAL sub-varieties, additional entries, richer annotations, and sufficiently specified phonological transcriptions to help in speech recognition, or morpho-lexical information for developing morphological analyzers or taggers.
I expect that Maknuune — as one of the largest open machine-readable dictionaries for PAL — will enjoy success, support, and interest from a large public of culture, linguistics, sociolinguistics, computation and NLP, comparative lexicology, pedagogy, and planning.''
Prof. Clive Holes
University of Oxford
``Maknuune is a welcome addition to reference works on Palestinian Arabic, which, perhaps surprisingly considering the central position of Palestine in the Arab World, has a rather sparse literature devoted to it. One of the main advantages of Maknuune is that, as a purely digital resource, it can be constantly and easily updated with new material, whether new lemmata or fresh examples to illustrate new usages of old ones, as on-going field research uncovers them.''
Prof. Richard Hudson
University College of London
``I love the name Makuune and I can see why you would like the dictionary to act as a catalyst for future work, like a single egg to encourage others to follow suit. Above all, I'm impressed that the desire to preserve tradition and identity in the face of oppression has led to a work of such high academic quality, which follows the best modern practices of lexicography. Makuune is a testimony to the possibilities of cooperation in the digital age, and the fact that it is produced by speakers for speakers is bound to strengthen its position as a glowing tribute to the spirit of the Palestinian people and also as a sign of pride in modern Arabic dialects.''
Mr. Ibrahim Nasrallah
Palestinian/Jordanian poet, author and winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Arabic Booker) in 2018
``[Translated from Arabic] Those who read and do research on heritage and culture know the real value of them. Those readers and researchers get inspired by heritage and culture to discover the great richness that people deeply embrace no matter where they live. In my library, I am proud to have a section where I keep such books, research, and folk tales from more than seventy countries in the world, including some books, short stories and poetry related to the Palestinian heritage. This section is the dearest to my heart, as it inspired me to write a lot of my works of fiction and poetry drawing upon it. I can simply say that the power of knowledge and aesthetics that these books are imbued with has opened many doors for me. Therefore, when I knew about the "Maknuune" project, the first thing that came to my mind was the treasure that it will present to us as writers, researchers, and lovers of the rich spirit of the Palestinian people, as it will offer a lot to the readers through its large platform."
Prof. Ilan Pappe
University of Exeter
``Maknuune — the egg left for future hens to lay their eggs in the future — is a fitting name for this incredible project that will make sure that Palestinian culture in its widest possible definition, will light our way in the future. The ethnic cleansing, occupation and oppression perpetrated against the Palestinians, targeted also the Palestinian culture. Resistance and resilience defeated the attempt to culturicide Palestine and this lexicon is testimony to this incredible Palestinian endeavor and survival. Its width and depth will amaze any reader and it will become one of the most useful accessories for anyone's interest in Palestinian culture in the future. This is a project that commemorates forever the language of the people themselves and is an organic part of their identity, their past and future aspirations.''
Prof. Walid Saif
Palestinian poet, short-story writer, playwright and critic
``Language is the most important vehicle of cultural heritage and identity, hence the significance of this linguistic project recording Palestinian Arabic. [This] lexicon is not just an inventory of independent entries, but rather a complex and dynamic network of concepts, ideas and values that reflects and helps construct [a] worldview as it feeds into social interactions. Thus, as a Palestinian linguist and writer, I enthusiastically endorse this project, and invite all concerned to contribute thereto.''
Prof. Avi Shlaim
Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and author of "The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World"
``Maknuune, the digital Palestinian Arabic lexicon, is a remarkable achievement by a group of talented linguists led by Shahd Dibas. Unlike a traditional dictionary, this is a living, breathing, dynamic project, which places the Palestinian dialect in its proper historical, political, social, and intellectual context. It makes a monumental contribution to the preservation of the distinct linguistic heritage and the cultural identity of the Palestinian people. The lexicon has many merits: it is an open resource, freely available to anyone who wishes to use it; and it is a collaborative project, arguably even a democratic project, to which readers can contribute by editing existing references or adding new ones. This makes the lexicon an ongoing dialogue between the authors and Palestinian dialect speakers all over the world.''