Quick Intro to “Classy Insults” in Classical Arabic

Posted on 13. Mar, 2012 by in Arabic Language, Culture, Current Affairs, Geography, Language, Literature, Vocabulary

!لا تَفْجَعُـــــــــــــوا يا أَصْدِقَــــــــــائي (Don’t panic, my friends!)

Today’s post is not yet another vulgar compilation of الكلام الفاحش (profanities) such as the ones you can often run into on the Web in almost any language… Not at all.

What you will find here is a quick intro to rather “classier” examples and paradigms of how insults are proffered in classical Arabic: العَرَبِيَّــــــــة الفُصْحَــــــــــى.

Let us for now focus on “الأبجديــــــــــــات” (“the basics.”)  

Probably the most common swear word in classical Arabic is “تَبًّــــــــــا” (read “Tabban”), which can come alone, as in the interjection “تَبًّــــــــــا” (“damn!”), or “اللَّعْنَــــــــــــة” (literally “damnation.”)

Before we go further, notice with me one particularly interesting observation about the word “لعْنَــــــة“, which, to my knowledge, has never been picked up anywhere: Its trilateral root, ل–ع–ن” is intrinsically linked to its anagram “ن–ع–ل“, which forms the word “نعل” meaning a “shoe.”

In addition to the fact that a shoe may ordinarily step on dirty things (نجاســــــات), such a linguistic connection between the Arabic words of “damnation” and “shoe” may help explain why throwing it at someone is culturally tantamount to a strong insult within the Arab world.

You may recall the images of a group of Iraqis throwing their shoes at a falling statue of صدَّام حُسين (Saddam Hussein) in the Spring of 2003, or more recently the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at جورج بوش الإبن (George W. Bush Junior) during a press conference in Baghdad in 2008, prompting a huge buzz and countlessly many political jokes at a time when the former US President was about to end his second term, and leaving many Americans and Europeans wondering: Just why the shoes?!

Even today, in the دَارِجَــــــــــة (informal Arabic) spoken in the Maghreb countries of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, you will find people saying “يَنْعَـــــــل ” (a verb that sounds like the Arabic word for “shoe”) instead of “يَلْعَــــــن” (the properly designated word for “damn.”)

At any rate, these expressions can also be directed towards someone who, for one reason or another, earned your wrath. For example:

                    • تَبًّــــــــــا لك” or “اللَّعْنَــــــــــــة عليك” (“Damn you/Get lost”)
                    • لعنـــــــة الله عليك” (“God damn you!”), which is essentially telling someone “!اذهب الى الجحيـــــــم” (“Go to hell!”)
                    • ! ويــــــحك” (“Shame on you!”)

But then, why stop there?

You can, of course, still with style, be even more explicitly descriptive about your target by adding:

  • …يا أيُّهــــــــــــا” (“O You…”)
          • If the person is acting stupid:
                      • !المغفـل… (…imbecile!)
                      • الأحمـــق(…fool)
                      • الأبله… (…idiot/feeble-minded)
                      • الغبي… (…moron)
                      • البليـــد… (…dunce)
                      • المُتَخَلِّــــــــــف عَقْلِيًّـــــــــــا / …المعتوه (…mentally retard)
                      • الأرعن… (…cretin)
                      • المُهَرِّج… (…buffoon)
                      • البَهْلَـــــــــوان… (…clown)
                      • الجَـــــــاهل… (…ignoramus)
                      • المُنهزم فِكْــــــــرياً (“intellectually defeated”, close to the English “intellectually challenged”)

Example:  “!تَبًّـــــا! دَعْنِي وَشَأْنِي يا أيُّهَا الأرعن، إن تَصَرُّفك هذا يَلِيقُ بِبَهْلَوَان

  (“Darn! Spare me, you cretin, your behavior is truly worthy of a clown!“)

          • If the person is acting very low:
                      • الصُعْلوك… (…rascal)
                      • الوَغـــــد… (…scoundrel)
                      • البغيـــــــض… (…creep)
                      • الحقير… (…lowlife)
                      • الفاشل… (…loser)
                      • النذل… (…depraved)
                      • أسفل السَّـــــــافليـــــــن / …السافل… (literally “the lowest of the lowest”; scum of the earth)
                      • عُرَّة القوم (“the shame of the nation”, “national embarrassment”)
                      • اللئيم… (…ignoble person)
                      • القَذِر… (…dirty wretch)
                      • المعفن… (…rotten)
                      • المنحط أخلاقِيًــــــا… (…immoral)

 A forum member on Kooora.com, the Number One Internet portal devoted to Soccer in the Arab world, says:
“!مكان هذا الصعلوك المعفن دائماً في الخطط التي تعتمد على لاعب وحيد في خانة الهجوم”

  (“The position of this rotten rascal is always in the tactics that rely on a single player in the offense!“)

          • If the person does not have a bad personality—just no personality at all :)
                      • التافه… (…petty person)
                      • السخيف… (…silly person)
                      • الساذج… (…simpleton)
                      • الفارغ… (literally “empty”)
                      • من لا خير فيك / …معــــــدوم الجدوى / …معــــــدوم الفـــــــائدة… (…good-for-nothing) 
                      • السفســــــــــاف… (…pettifogger)
                      • المتذلل (…sycophant) 
 Example: “!يا له من فيلم سخيــــف، لقد ضيَّعتُ ساعتين كاملتين من عمري
(“What a silly movie, I’ve lost two whole hours of my life!“)
          • If your target is deceitful:
                      • المنافق… (…hypocrite)
                      • المداهـــن / …المتملِّق… (…adulator)
                      • ذو اللونين /  ذو الوجهين (double-faced, double-dealer—Notice that when preceded by “يا” (“O…”), the right spelling becomes “ذا اللونين / ذا الوجهين“)
                      • الدَّجٌّـــــــــــــال / المُشَعـــــــــــوذ (…charlatan)
                      • عين الخداع (…”snake eyes”, but here literally “eye of deceit”)
 Exampleلقد كُنتَ مخطئاً حينما وضعتَ كل ثقتك في هذا المُشعــــــوذ
(“You were wrong when you placed all your trust into this charlatan“)
In a later post, we will go through what makes the “next level” of insulting in classical Arabic, which is classified as لون أدبـــــــــي (a literary art) in its own right: Based on المَجَـــــــــاز (metaphor) and often compared to satire, this literary art is known in Arabic as الهِجَــــــــــــــــــــاء.

عرفت الشَّر لا للشر لكـــــن لتوقيـــــه »
« ومن لا يعرف الشَّر من الخير يقع فيــــه

« I learnt about evil not for an evil purpose, only to prevent it
Whoever does not distinguish evil from good is bound to commit it »

International Women’s Day

Posted on 08. Mar, 2012 by in Arabic Language, Culture, Current Affairs, Geography, History, Language, Literature, Vocabulary

International Women’s Day

         Google celebrates today the International Women’s Day يــَــوْمُ الــمــَــــــرأة الــعــَـــــالــَــمــِــــــــيّ  (IWD), so ‘Happy International Women’s Day‘ to all women all over the world. The day is marked on March 8th every year and is a national holiday عــُــطـــْـــلــــَـــة in many countries. The focus of the celebration ranges from showing respect اِحــْـــتــِـــــرام  , appreciation تـــَـــقـــْـــــديـــــِـــــر and love towards women to celebrating women’s economic, political and social achievements إنـــْــــجـــَـــــازات . The occasion summarizes the story of ordinary women as history-makers; a story which is deeply rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal foot  عــَــلـــى قـــَــــدَم الــمــُـــســَـــــــــاوَاة with men.

      Celebrating the International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s which  was a time of great turbulence اِضــطــــراب and expansion in the industrialized world الــعــَــــالـــَـــــــم الــصــِّـــــنــَــــاعيّ that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

       In 1908, there was great unrest and critical debate amongst women الــنـــِّـــســَـــــاء . Women’s oppression and inequality was pushing women to become more and more active نــَــــشــــِــــيـــــــط in calling for change. More than 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours of work, better pay and the right to vote. In 1909, the first National Women’s Day   (NWD) was declared on 28 February by the Socialist Party of America الـحـــِـــــزبُ الاشــْــــتـــِـــرَاكــــِيّ الأمــْـــريــــكــِـــــــيّ .

       In 1910 and during a conference of Working Women inCopenhagen, a German woman called Clara Zitken presented the idea of an international Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country, there should be a celebration اِحـــْــــتــــِــــفـــَـــــــال  on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. All the 100 women attending the conference مـــُــــؤتــــَـــمـــَــــر from different countries approved the idea and thus  International Women’s Day was the result. On March 19, 1911, the International Women’s Day was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights حـــُـــــقــــــُـــــوق الــمــَــــرأة to work, vote, be trained, hold public office and end discrimination الــتـــَّــــمـــْــــيــــيـــز .

        During the first World War, Russian woman observed their first International Women’s Day on the last February 1913. Later on that year the day was transferred to March 8 and since then this day has remained the global date for celebrating the International Women’s Day. In 1914, further women inEuropeheld rallies to campaign against war الـــحــــَــــرْب  and to express women’s solidarity.

     Since its birth in the socialist movement, the International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and undeveloped countries alike. For many years, the United Nations الأمـــَــــم الــمـــُــــتـــــَّــــــحـــِــــدة  has held and annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes.

******

Check us back soon

Peace  سلام  /salam/

Top 100+ Must-Know Arabic Words for Facebook

Posted on 02. Mar, 2012 by in Arabic Language, Culture, Current Affairs, Literature, Vocabulary

 Ever wondered how to say “Poke” in Arabic?

Whether or not you’re certifiably مُدمــــــــن على الفيــــــس بـــــــوك (a “Facebookaholic”), this Top 100+ list can be a nice and fun way for you to quickly gain lots of Arabic vocabulary.

Now, if you really want to propel your Arabic skills to the next level, this will set the ground for you to switch your Facebook to Arabic—another great trick to fully immerse yourself into Arabic language, even if it’s only a virtual immersion!

I hope that this fresh learning idea *تُعجـــــــبك* (you *Like*!)

! انتبـــــــــه/Attention! More than ever today, legions of people in Arabic-speaking countries, parents and intellectuals, have noticed with deep concern the accelerating effects of a widespread غـــــــزو لُغـــــوي وثقــــــافي (language and cultural invasion) due to the Internet and social networks (Facebook no exception), the same way the French, the Spaniards, and others already did regarding their own language and culture: This post can also be extremely useful to native Arabic users, young children and older peole, who wish to switch to the Arabic version of Facebook as a way to integrate Arabic in the many facets of their حيــــــــاة يوميـــــــة (daily life):

 

*الرَّجـــــاء نشر رابط هذا المقال قدر المستطـاع لتعميم الفائدة للجميـــــــع* (You are strongly enouraged to share this post’s link as much as you can for a maximum benefit to all: Native Arabic speakers of all ages and new Arabic learners)

 

شكــــــــــــــراً (Thank you)

 

    أساسيــــــــــات (Basics)

 

        • Facebook account: حساب فيس بوك
        • Username: اسم المستخدم
        • Password: كلمة السر
        • Log in: تسجيــل الدخول
        • Log out: تسجيــل الخروج
        • Connected: متصل
        • Disconnected: غير متصل
        • Add: إضافة
        • Edit: تعديـــل
        • Remove: حذف
        • Block: تقييد
        • More: المزيـد
        • Ok: موافق
        • Done: تمَّ
        • Publish: نشر
        • Share: المشاركة
        • Create: إنشاء 
        • Cancel: إلغاء
        • Save: حفظ
        • Change: تغيير
        • Confirm: تأكيد
        • Not Now: ليس الآن
        • See All: مشاهدة الكل
        • Newsfeed: آخر الأخبار
        • Networks: شبكــــات
        • Events: المناسبات
        • Birthdays: أعياد الميلاد

   الصفحــــــــــة الشخصيــــــــــة (Profile)

 

        • Status Update: تحديث الحالة
        • “What’s in your mind?”: “ماذا يخطر في بالك؟” 
        • Wall: حائط
        • Comment: تعليق
        • Like: أعجبني
        • Unlike: إلغاء إعجابي
        • Edit Profile: تعديل الصفحة الشخصية
        • Current City: المدينة الحالية
        • Hometown: المحلّة
              • Note: This is a bit of a weird translation applied by Facebook. A better choice would be: *المدينة الأصلية*
        • I am: أنا
            • Female: أنثى
            • Male: ذكر
        • Birthday: تاريخ الميلاد
        • Interested in: مهتم/مهتمة بـ
        • Languages: اللغات
        • About me: معلومات عني
        • View As…: … عرض كـ 
        • Timeline: اليوميات
              • Note: This new خاصيّـــــة (feature) will be mandatory for all brand pages March 30 (including the Transparent Language Arabic Page), and most likely not too long after that will become mandatory for all Facebook profiles, whether you like it or not—Now, how ironic is it to see Facebook top managers boasting about supporting the Arab Spring and empowering democracy in the Arab world, as well as other places in the globe such as China and Burma, when the least that can be said about their own way of introducing new features is … undemocratic? 

  الصفحة الرئيسيــــــــة (Home)
 

   الرسائـــــل (Messages)

        • Send a new message: إرسال رسالة جديدة
        • See all messages: شاهد كل الرسائل
        • Reply: الرد
        • Attach a file: إرفــاق ملف
        • Read messages: رسائل مقروءة
        • Sent messages: الرسائل المرسَلة
        • Spam: بريد الكتروني عشوائي

   الدردشة (Chat)

        • Chat Sounds: أصوات الدردشة
        • Appear as Online: اظهر كمتصل للدردشة
        • Go Offline to (friend): اظهر كغير متصل

 إعدادات الحساب (Account Settings)

 

  إعدادات الخصوصيــــة (Privacy Settings)

 مســــــاعدة (Help)

الصـــــــور (Photos)

        • Change Picture: تغييــــر الصـــــــورة 
        • Profile Pictures: الصور الشخصية 
        • Tag: وضع إشارة
        • To tag a picture: وضع إشارة على صورة
        • Add a description: أضف وصفاً
        • Edit Thumbnail: تعديل الصورة المصغرة
        • Remove Picture: أزل الصورة

   أصدقاء (Friends)

        • Add Friend: إضافة صديق
        • Find Friends: البحث عن أصدقاء 
        • Friend Requests: طلبات الصداقة
        • Confirm: تأكيـــد
        • Not Now: ليس الآن
        • Mutual Friends: أصدقاء مشتركون
        • Subscriptions: الاشتراكات
        • See Friendship: مشاهدة الصداقة
        • To Poke: انكــــــــــز (Pokes: !النكزات )
        • Suggest friends: اقترح أصدقاء
        • Unfriend: إلغاء الصداقة
        • Report/Block: أرسل تقرير\احظر

  الحالة الاجتماعية (Relationship Status)

        • Single: أعزب
        • In a relationship: مرتبط
        • Engaged: مخطوب\مخطوبة
        • Married: متزوج 
        • It’s complicated: الأمر معقد
        • In an open relationship: في علاقة مفتوحة
        • Widowed: أرمل
        • Separated: منفصل 
        • Divorced: مطلّق\مطلّقة

   البريد الإلكتروني (Email)

  التعليم والعمل (Education and Work)

        • Works at: جهة العمل
        • Faculty/University: الكلية/الجامعة
        • High School: المدرسة الثانوية

   النشاطات والاهتمامات (Activities and Interests)


   مفضلات (Favorites)

   التطبيقات (Apps)

   المجموعات (Groups)

        • Group Name: اسم المجموعة
        • Members: الأعضاء
        • Privacy: الخصوصية
        • Open: مفتوحة
        • Closed: مغلقة
        • Secret: سرية

القوائم (Lists)

        • Manage List: إدارة القائمة
        • Close Friends: الأصدقاء المقربون
        • Acquaintances: المعارف
        • Family: العائلة
        • Restricted: المقيّدون


   إعدادت الخصوصية (Privacy Settings)

        • Control Your Default Privacy: التحكم بالخصوصية الافتراضية
        • How You Connect: كيفية التواصل
            • Who can look up your profile by name or contact info? من يستطيع البحث عن صفحتك الشخصية بالاسم أو معلومات الاتصال؟
            • Who can send you friend requests? من يستطيع إرسال طلبات صداقة إليك؟
            • Who can send you Facebook messages? من يستطيع إرسال رسائل فيس بوك إليك؟
            • Who can post on your Wall? من يستطيع النشر على حائطك؟
            • Who can see Wall Posts by others on your profile? من يستطيع رؤية منشورات الحائط التي يضيفها الآخرون إلى صفحتك الشخصية؟ 
                    • Everyone: العامة 
                    • Friends: الأصدقاء
                    • Friends of Friends: أصدقاء الأصدقاء
        • How Tags Work: كيفية عمل الإشارات
        • Blocked People and Apps: الأشخاص المحظورون والتطبيقات المحظورة

 

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