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Hello! Or as we say in the Arab world Marhaba! The Lebanese expression to’borni (تؤبرني) is famously known for being untranslatable. The reason why is because it consists of so many concepts crammed into one word.
Although To’borni is technically a word, it is considered an expression because of its deep and complex meaning. We may find equivalents to this word in other languages, but it might not deliver the meaning entirely. In fact, the Arabic language is one of the hardest languages to master in the world because in Arabic, sometimes it takes multiple sentences to describe a word, and similarly, one word can sum up multiple sentences. The Arabic language has its own alphabet,punctuation rules and grammar.
The literal English translation of this word is: ‘’bury me’’ which doesn’t make any sense. The meaning to convey from it is: may I die before you and you bury me, so I don’t have to live one day without you.
The word to’borni (تؤبرني) is frequently used on a daily basis not only in Lebanon, but in most Arab countries Like Syria, Egypt and the Arabian golf as well. The first use of to’borni (تؤبرني) dates back to the Pre-Islamic era, when a lover use to console his beloved in times where love outside the restraints of marriage was forbidden.
Similarly, it is used today in order to show affection and it’s no longer used by lovers only, but the meaning has expanded and reached several other connotations for example: when a child is sick or sad, his mother, seeing him suffer, expresses her pain through this word, paradoxically, when a child excels in school or is happy about something, the mother also expresses her happiness and joy by using this word. For example : when my brother got accepted to college, my mother said : To’borni I’m so proud of you!
The reason why this is trending topic, is the fact that the world is becoming more and more interested in the Arab culture, specifically Arab poetry which is now being translated to many languages.
Arabian poetry (الشعر العربي) and Arab poets of the last century have reshaped modern art and made it come to life through their words. Whether it was ancient poets and their poems, like Imru’ al-Qais whose love for Leila made him wander the earth till his last day in search of her beautiful eyes, or Scheherazade’s A Thousand and One Nights, or modern poets like Nizar Qabbani and Khalil Gebran.