Tag Archives: Arabic

Hardcore Arabic: ‘Treble Formation’

The language has astonishing sweep and granularity that are explicit and penetrative to a degree redolent of lore and legend. The open-sesame to Arabic’s magic for this English speaker is Wright’s majestic grammar. (1) Here, of an early morning on … Continue reading

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The Charm of Sharm Is Lost Upon the Gentleperson from Sweden

“It’s like being in Las Vegas, but somehow worse.” (Swedish COP27 Delegate) It’s possible the fossil-lobby-infested, desultory yak-a-thon held at a glittering tourist watering hole in The Tonino Lamborghini International Convention Center — let me repeat that for its delicious … Continue reading

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Romancing ‘Gilgamesh’s Snake’

The transliterations bracketed below are mine. In them, tā’ marbūṭa is ẗ, and I show the lām of the article as assimilated to a following solar letter. For example: [‘ayyuhā-s-sayyidu] instead of [‘ayyuhā-l-sayyidu]. My character set, contrived to avoid digraphs, … Continue reading

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New Word: ‘Yean’

I’ve bumped into yean, a novel word, in the serendipitous way that study of a foreign language affords. The word is classed as ‘Archaic.’ Of course it is. Another recent discovery of mine, objurgate, is’ Rare.’ I wonder if I … Continue reading

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‘Little Fat, Lazy, Old Woman’

I have a cartoon figure on each shoulder; one whispers “you aren’t” in my ear and the other whispers “you’re not” in my ear. I don’t know which is the devil. If you aren’t swayed by this contrived tease, you’re … Continue reading

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A Lash of Good Tongue

“To sit fast badly is better than to be thrown easily.” (Wright, A Grammar of the Arabic Language, p. 124) [sū’(u)-l-istimāk(i) ẖair(un) min ḥusn(i)-ṣ-ṣirƸaẗ(i)] Wright cites the phrase to illustrate the formation of the [ism(u)-n-nūƸ(i)], noun of kind, aka nomina … Continue reading

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To Whom It Concerns on the Morrow

Hey, U 2 + 3! June 8 and Jan 9 are two dates written in bright lights for us who love you. Your penultimate mission in Oki is to celebrate the dickens out of that day which will have arrived … Continue reading

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Nosegay of ‘Droit de Seigneur’

Consulting an Arabic dictionary involves looking up a word’s “root,” usually comprising three consonants. Words formed from the root are listed, with their translations, along with idioms in which the word occurs. What the root is may not be apparent … Continue reading

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The Absolute Superlative

Blachère (364) describes how Arabic expresses the “absolute superlative” — i.e., the uttermost degree of something, with no comparison: Par des noms au cas direct indéterminé de valeur adverbiale dont le sens primitif est paroxysme, degré suprême, rendus en franç. … Continue reading

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Arabist

WARNING A long and wonkish post. Probably not your cup of tea. BACKGROUND I strove for years to read Arabic. I’ve largely lost what knack I attained. A recent brush with the language brought back how daunting it can be. … Continue reading

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