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20 questions for: Yassir Abbasi (#14)

Episode #14 of my series “9273 roots”: 20 questions for the man who makes Arabic texts talking: Yassir Abbasi.

Last updated: 4 months ago

Lisān al-‘Arab (لسان العرب), the famous dictionary of Classical Arabic, contains 9273 roots (and 4,493.934 words). A huge playground for people who are passionate about Arabic such as…

Yassir Abbasi

ياسر العباسي

The man who makes Arabic texts talking

  • Date of birth: April 20, 1980
  • Place of birth: Témara (تمارة),
  • Place of residence: Casablanca (الدار البيضاء), Morocco

How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn't know you?

My name is Yassir Abbassi. I'm 38 years old and I work as a sales Manager for ReadSpeaker which is a leading Text-to-speech/TTS company. I can describe myself as a highly motivated person, who would always go one step further.

What was your first Arabic grammar book?

My first grammar book was called قراءة.

What is your favorite Arabic book (novel, etc.)?

I really do not have any preference. I'm a newspaper reader.

How much time does a native speaker of English need to master Arabic?

It all depends, but I think 3 years.

What is Readspeaker?

Yassir works at ReadSpeaker, a company that makes websites and robots talk – also in Arabic! The website of , for example, uses this technology for text-to-speech (audio). Read Speaker is a global voice specialist, providing dozens of languages and lifelike voices. Using its own industry-leading technology, the company delivers some of the most natural-sounding synthesized voices on the market. ReadSpeaker uses next-generation Deep Neural Network (DNN) technology to structurally improve voice quality at all levels.

Here is an example: If you prefer listening to reading, try aljazeera.net. Just click on the loudspeaker . The quality is amazing!

Aljazeera.net uses Readspeaker – a great tool for learners of Arabic.

What is your favorite Arabic word?


Which Arabic word do you like least?


Remark: It means not knowing; ignorant.

picture credit: pixabay (danyloz2002)

Yassir lives in Casablanca – home to one of the biggest mosques in the world. The Grande Mosquée Hassan II (مسجد الحسن الثاني)‎ is the largest mosque in Africa and the 5th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest minaret at 210 meters (689 ft).

Which Arabic dialect do you like best?


What is your favorite Arabic colloquial word or expression?

العملhard working

What is your favorite Arabic quote or proverb?

.مَنْ جَدَّ وَجَد

Every serious/ambitious person will reach his goal.

Remark: This is a very famous Arabic proverb (مَثَلٌ). The full version often reads as: مَنْ جَدَّ وَجَدَ وَمَنْ زَرَعَ حَصَد. It means: Who toils, will succeed; and who sows, will reap. In other words, if one takes no risks, one will not gain any benefit.

What is the best thing that was ever said about the Arabic language?

That it is the language of the Qur'an.

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Always keep trying.

Which three people would you like to invite for dinner?

My mother, my father, and my wife.

What was the last great meal you had?


What is your favorite city?

Marrakesh (مراكش).

Marrakesh – one of the most stunning places in the world.
picture credit: pixabay (MehmetAI)

Which book would you give to a dear friend?

I don't have a preference.

What is your all-time favorite movie?

Scarface (1983).

What music do you listen to?

Raï music (راي).

What is Raï?

Raï is a type of Algerian popular music that arose in the 1920s in the port city of Oran (وَهْران) and that self-consciously ran counter to accepted artistic and social mores. It appealed to young people who sought to modernize the traditional Islamic values and attitudes. Regional, secular, and religious drum patterns, melodies, and instruments were blended with Western electric instrumentation. Raï emerged as a major world-music genre in the late 1980s. Singers of Raï are called cheb (شاب) which means young. Cheb Khaled was the first musician with international success. Many Raï performers mix hip-hop, electronic sounds, etc.

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Source: Youtube

From the legendary 123 soleils concert at Pari by Khaled, Rachid Taha & Faudel. This Khaled original, performed by the trio, is one of the (many) highlights of that show. Abdel Kader was released as the lead single to support the release of the insanely successful live album/dvd. Both the single and the album reached the top 10 of the French charts. The album went selling over 2 million copies.

When were you happiest?

When my first child was born.

What is your greatest fear?

I have no fear.

What is your life motto?

Getting better every day.

Yassir Abbasi, thank you for your time.

CALL FOR SUGGESTIONS: Who should we interview soon?

Do you know an interesting person who has a special relationship with the Arabic language? Then click yes below and tell us why we should interview this person!

Picture credit: pixabay /geralt

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