Tammam Omar was born in a rural village in Upper Egypt in 1918. He memorized the Holy Quran at the age of 10 and completed his general and College education in Egypt, earning a Diploma and License in Education from Dar Al-Ulum College in Cairo. In 1946, he traveled to the U.K. to study phonetics and phonology at London University, from which he received a master’s degree in 1949 and a Ph.D. degree in 1952. His subsequent academic career spanned more than 50 years, and was marked by outstanding accomplishments in Arabic linguistics.
Professor Omar became a professor at Dar Al Uulm College in Cairo University since 1964 and was the Dean of that College in 1972. He also served as Egypt’s Cultural Counsel in Nigeria, and as a Member of the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo, Secretary General of the Permanent Arabic Language Committee of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Universities and Founding President of the Egyptian Society of Linguistics. In addition to Cairo University, he taught at Khartoum University in the Sudan, Muhammad V University in Morocco and Um Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia.
Professor Omar’s contributions to the advancement of Arabic Linguistics (phonetics; syntax; semantics; lexicon etc) and grammar appeared in 8 books and numerous scholarly articles. His achievements were recognized by international and Arab prizes. A commemorative book was written in his honor by his colleagues and former students in Arab countries. He is best known for his book “The Arabic Language: its Form and Meanings” which incorporates most of his original ideas and theories, especially his theory of “Tadafur al-Qara’en” (conjunctional synergism), a standard text in many Arab universities. He supervised more than 60 post-graduate students and translated 5 important books, namely: De Lacy O’Leary’s “How Greek Science Passed to Arabs” and “Islamic Thought and Its Place in History;” Bertrand Russell’s “The Impact of Science in Society;” Lewis’s “Language in Society” and Norwood’s “Discourse and Process: Toward a Multidisciplinary Science.” Professor Omar is Emeritus Professor at Cairo Universities.
Professor Tammam Omar died in 2011 at the age of 93.
Professor Omar has been awarded the Prize in recognition of his distinguished efforts – over the past fifty years – to establish modern Arabic linguistics, an endeavor that has been reinforced by his profound knowledge of Arabic language heritage and the principles and methods of modern linguistic analyses.