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Arab Swag: The History of Arabization


Many are often enthralled by European Colonialism and its vast influence on often bastardizing, robbing, exploiting, and conquering large portions of the world and converting them to their sub-par ways of life in an attempt for their own “Superiority” Complexes and often developing inferiority…

You know, when people say to me, “So you’re Arab?”

And I reply with, “Not really…”

This is why.

Filed under arabisation arab supremacy morocco North Africa language culture Islam Ummayads empires

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lapetiterobeviolette said: I really enjoy those lessons posts. In northern, at least in tetouan, we say khaylah. I think i ever heard someone saying 3afek !
You see, khaylah rings a bell for me because at my school almost all the Moroccans were from Shamal. I think me and my cousin were literally the only non-Northerners in the entire school.

Filed under lapetiterobeviolette language darija

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Avoir le diable au corps
“Lit. To have the devil (stuck to) the body/ To have the devil in the flesh.”
To be furious (a), or to be “furiously” excited (b).

“Après avoir appris que son mec l’avait trompé, elle avait le diable au corps  : elle hurlait partout.”
“After having been told that her boyfriend was cheating on her, she was furious : she was yelling all around.” 

“Ce cheval a le diable au corps, on ne peut pas l’arrêter.” 
“This horse is crazy, we can’t stop him.” 

Il n’a pas vu sa femme depuis un mois, il a le diable au corps.”
“He hasn’t seen his wife for a month, he’s super horny.”

“Beyoncé a le diable au corps sur scène.”
“Beyoncé is spectacular on stage.”  (via awesomefrench)

Filed under French idiom language

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Moroccan Phrases: Lesson No. 2 - Bs7a wa ra7a!

Bs7a wa ra7a - (May you be blessed) With good health and comfort.

[For the non-Arabic speakers here, recall from our first lesson that 7 represents the harsh ‘h' and 3 represents 'ayn in Arabic.]

Bought a new outfit? Bs7a wa ra7a!

Perhaps some new trainers? Bs7a wa ra7a!

Heck, maybe just a new haircut: iwaa, bs7a wa ra7a!

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Filed under Moroccan Phrases No. 2 Bs7a wa ra7a Darija Arabic language bath-time hammam culture personal educational humour

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Moroccan Phrases: Lesson No. 1 - Ah, weeli!



Ah weeli: Oh, my woe!

Oftentimes, in the presence of Moroccans, especially - but not exclusively - in all-women gatherings, you will hear a phrase that, to the average English-speaker, sounds very much like, “Ah, weeli!”

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Amazing ! I hope you do more of these :) I loved the bit about the gestures that accompany it and the “staghfirullah” bit as well, because I kept forgetting what it meant (people seldom use it to say “God pardon me” but more often to express disapproval so I was confused) and I finally got it when thinking of “God pardon me for what I’m going to do because I’m so crossed” haha

Also there is an equivalent in yiddish :

אױ װײ‘ז מיר

which is transliterated as “oy vey iz mir”, and there’s a shorter version “oy vey” and an even shorter version “oy”.

And it can be used whenever someone makes our life hard — most likely your kids — who still are your kids even when they’re 50 — “oy vey iz mir, qu’est-ce que j’ai fais pour mériter des enfants pareils !”

“Oy” can be used any time really, like a sigh, or a one-word complain, or a kind of “rolling my eyes” punctuation.

Which also makes me think of this “kleine kinder, kleine tsures, groise kinder, groise tsures” which translates as “small children, small worries, big children, big worries.”

Parents. Always wondering what they’ve done to deserve kids like us.

I’ve heard “Oy” and even “Oy vey” being used (mostly in films, tbh) and it’s clearly used out of exasperation, lol, but I never knew the entire phrase. Does it have a literal meaning? Also, is Yiddish read from right to left, like Arabic, or vice versa, like English?

I’m also probably gonna be using “Oy” a lot more when I get back to work on Wednesday. I’ve had a blessed week and a half away from customers and I’m not looking forward to going back… :(

(via roseamer-deactivated20140623)

Filed under roseamer yiddish language :)

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Idioms Around the World 3 


Today I will “show” you some of my favourite idioms for “it’s raining cats and dogs.”

Arabic: Kab Min ‘Ind el Rab - it’s pouring from heaven

sounds beautiful. :)

Afrikaans: Ou vrouens met knopkieries reen - it’s raining old women with knobkerries (clubs) “I googled a bit more and it seems that ‘oudewijven’ is based on legends of old women in heaven, whom performed a variety of tasks: shaking out the bedsheets (and thus causing snow to fall on earth) or baking pancakes (which results in rain while the sun still shines) and so on.

Even more back into time, oudewijven referred to an old woman water spirit, with white hair. I can kind of see how it evolved to the raining thing..”

Chinese(Cantonese): 落狗屎 (lohk gáusí) - dog poo is falling (inf)

Czech: Padají trakaře - it’s raining wheelbarrows

Danish: Det regner skomagerdrenge - it’s raining shoemakers’ apprenticies

Dutch: Het regent pijpestelen - it’s raining pipe stems

Estonian:Sajab nagu oavarrest - it’s raining like from a beanstalk

French: Il pleut des grenouilles / des cordes / des hallebardes / des clous / à seaux / comme vache qui pisse - it’s raining frogs / ropes / halberds / nails / buckets / like a pissing cow

Bonus: A cute little French joke about the rain (la pluie) :

Mama Cloud and kid Cloud are wandering in the sky, when kid Cloud moves away.
“Ou vas-tu, Touffu ? (Where are you going, Fluffy ?)” Mama says.
“Je vais faire pluie-pluie (I’m going to do a pee-pee(pipi in French))”.

Frisian: Frisian: it reint âlde wiven (it rains old wives), hynste-eagen (horse eyes).

Faroese: Tað regnar av grind. - “It’s raining pilot whales.”

Finnish: Sataa kuin Esterin perseestä The direct translation (apparently) is “It’s raining as from Esteri’s ass,” but a better interpretation is “It’s raining like Esther sucks,” which can be used for both rain and snow. The origin is disputed here, but the phrase comes either from an old brand of water pumps used by firemen, or a goddess Esteri who has mostly disappeared from history except for in this idiom. 

German: Es regnet/gießt Schusterjungs / junge Hunde / in Strömen / wie aus Eimern/Kübeln - it’s raining/pouring cobbler boys / puppies/ in streams / like out of buckets

Es regnet Bindfäden - it’s raining strings/cords/threads

Greek: Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα (Brékhei kareklopódara) - it’s raining chair legs

Haitian Creole: Chyen ap bwe nan nen - dogs are drinking in their noses

Hebrew: (yoréd mabúl) יורד מבול - a flood is coming down

Hungarian: Úgy esik, mintha dézsából öntenék - it’s raining as if it were poured from a tub

Icelandic: Það rignir eld og brennustein / Það er eins og hellt sé úr fötu - it’s raining fire and brimstone

Irish (Gaelic): Tá sé ag caitheamh sceana gréasaí - it’s throwing cobblers knives

Italian: Piove a catinelle Piove a dirotto Piove che Dio la manda - it’s raining like from basins / excessively / [as if] God sends it

Irish: Tá sé ag caitheamh sceana gréasaí - It’s throwing cobblers’ knives

Japanese: 土砂降りである (doshaburi de aru) - earth and sand are falling

Kannada: ಹುಛುಛಗಿ ಪಲೆ ಬರ್ಥ ಎದೆ (huchuchagi male bartha ede) - it’s raining like mad

Korean: 비가 억수같이 쏟아진다 - rain is pouring down like a torrential downpour.

Latvian: Līst kā pa Jāņiem - it’s raining like in Jāņi

Norwegian: Det regner trollkjerringer - it’s raining female trolls

Polish: Leje zabami / jak z cebra’ - it’s raining frogs / like from a wooden bucket

Bonus:  “psia pogoda” (dog’s weather) means very unpleasant weather.

Portuguese: Está chovendo a cântaros / canivetes / barba de sapo / Chove como Deus a dá  - it’s raining jugs / penknives / toads’ beards / It rains like God gives it

Serbian: Пада киша уби миша (Pada kiša, ubi miša) - the rain falls and kills the mice

Slovak: Padajú traktory - Tractors are falling

Spanish: Está lloviendo a cántaros / a cubos / a chuzos / a mares / a torrentes

it’s raining in jugfuls / buckets / pikes / seas / torrents

Estan lloviendo hasta maridos - It’s even raining husbands

ARGENTINA:  Esta lloviendo caen soretes de punta - It’s raining dung head-first

Swedish: Det spöregnar / ösregnar / Regnet står som spön i backen - it’s raining like rods / ladles / the rain stands like rods in the hillside

Bonus: When it’s only raining a little, we say “det regnar småspik” – it’s raining small nails (the ones you hammer, not the ones on your fingers).

Thai: ฝนตกไม่ลืมหูลืมตา (fǒn tòk mâi luem hǔu luem taa) -it’s raining ears and eyes shut

Turkish: Bardaktan boşanırcasına yağmur yağıyor - it is raining as if it’s leaving the glass

Welsh: Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn cyllyll a ffyrc - it’s raining old ladies and sticks / knives and forks

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My personal favourites are… :)

(via )

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Filed under idioms language raining cats and dogs

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On Arabic in Northern Nigeria and Breaking the “Muslim=Arab” Equation

I’ve felt more aware recently of how some people see the Middle East as the “core” of the Muslim world, and other Muslim population centers as less relevant to Islam and even less “Islamic.” The equations “Arab=Muslim” and “Muslim=Arab,” which many people seem to accept, are hard to break. Certainly Mecca is the ritual center of the Muslim world, and Arabic the language of the Qur’an. But this does not mean that non-Arab Muslims are second-class believers, that they are less versed in Islamic sciences, or that they are less central to the trajectory of Islam in the contemporary world.

Arabic grammar is one of the classical Islamic sciences, and I think it is especially important to point out that many non-Arab Muslims can more than hold their own in this area. I think many students of Islam who have not traveled to sub-Saharan Africa might be surprised at the high standard of Arabic that some African Muslim scholars possess. During my field research in Northern Nigeria I routinely met people who spoke flawless Arabic (fusha, typically), even people who had never left Nigeria. This does not mean that advanced Arabic literacy is widespread among the population – although many people possess some ability to, at a minimum, sound out Arabic writing – but people with an advanced religious education, including advanced training in Arabic, are not rare.

One anecdote may help demonstrate the depth of such people’s command of Arabic. In Arabic textbooks in the United States, you will often find that what we call in English the “passive voice” is called in Arabic “al mabni lil majhul,” a classical grammatical term that translates, “the construction for the unknown [subject].” I was sitting with a friend one day when the term came up. He ventured that the “passive voice” would be better rendered “al mabni li ghayr al musamma bihi” – “the construction for the subject that is not named.” After all, he pointed out, just because the subject is not named does not mean that it is unknown. Maybe that won’t seem like a big deal to you, but it blew my mind. This man’s knowledge of Arabic was so deep, and he had spent so much time thinking about the grammar of the language, that he was able to point out an untenable assumption in a common grammatical term. I would put that man up against nearly any native speaker, or grammarian, and expect his knowledge of Arabic grammar to equal or surpass theirs.

How do such people get to that advanced level? Oftentimes, even for people who have university degrees (as he does), what we might call “traditional education” has given them a strong foundation. In the US, we frequently view memorization by rote as the lowest form of learning. We exalt “critical thinking,” as though one can think critically without a foundation comprised of details – details that must be memorized. We also tend to read widely, reading many texts, instead of deeply, reading one text closely or repeatedly. In Northern Nigeria, the memorization of texts is widespread, as is their close and repeated study. Grammarians in the region will often study in depth, and possibly memorize, texts like the Alfiya of Ibn Malik. That memorization can bring a powerful command of the language, especially in its classical form.

The memorization of the Qur’an itself can also offer a tremendous grounding in Arabic. A professor from Maiduguri (which is, or was, renowned as a center for the memorization of the Qur’an), told me once about an impromptu competition he had held in Syria between Syrian students and a few Nigerians who were there. The competition was to write out the fatiha – the opening sura of the Qur’an – from memory without making mistakes in voweling and other linguistic features. He said that the Nigerians were able to reproduce the Qur’anic text perfectly, while the Syrians stumbled. One may disbelieve the story, but it at least shows the confidence that he felt in Nigerians’ command of Arabic and of scripture.

There is much more to say on the subject of outsiders’ perceptions – and the realities – of the depth of religious commitment and religious knowledge among Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. I plan to return to the subject. But I hope these quick anecdotes have shown that just because a Muslim is not an Arab does not necessarily mean that their Islam – or their command of Arabic – is second-rate.

By Alex Thurston from Sahel Blog

Filed under Arabic Islam Nigeria language Muslim =/= Arab

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We are one humanity. You know, we all come here speaking the same language - the language of human emotions, laughing and crying. No baby comes here and cries in Arabic. No baby comes here and cries in English. [laughs] We cry human emotions and then the environment shapes our tongue, shapes our taste, shapes our culture and even gives us a picture of ourselves.
Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, a former death row inmate on the importance of seeking knowledge and benefitting society at large.

(Source: youtube.com)

Filed under humanity Abu Qadir Al-Amin language zaytuna bay area muslims