Tagged with Arabic

Inshallah for the Foreigner

Inshallah for the Foreigner

The Arabic literally translates as ‘if God wills’, but it conveys a whole lot more – usually to the foreigner’s frustration. In this article for the New York Times, Wajahat Ali explains: It’s similar to how the British use the word “brilliant” to both praise and passive-aggressively deride everything and everyone. It transports both the … Continue reading

Darwin in Arabia (and America)

Darwin in Arabia (and America)

From the Times Literary Supplement, a book review on the reception of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary ideas in the Arab world. First, and especially for Arabic students, the trouble of language: For a long time, the reception of Darwinism was bedevilled by the need to find either neologisms or new twists to old words. As Marwa … Continue reading

They Really Do Hate Us … at Least on Twitter

From AhramOnline, on research analyzing Twitter: In the case of Egypt, the researchers analyzed more than 2.2 million Arabic tweets that mentioned the United States and found just three percent could be termed pro-American, with 23 percent neutral and the majority critical of the United States. Ok, so they hate our foreign policy – no … Continue reading

New Feature: Arabic and Analysis

New Feature: Arabic and Analysis

In our last post I described our hope to provide readers with an easy way to access the Egyptian news, and gave a preview of trying to do the same with Arabic language links. Well, perhaps encouraged by the relative ease of getting the English links online, I got all excited and gave analysis links … Continue reading

New Feature: News Links

New Feature: News Links

An Egyptian friend of mine, Paul Attallah, provides a near-daily service of linking to the major news headlines pertaining to Egypt. He also provides his own commentary, which tends towards suspicion of the post-revolution transition and the ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood. The thoughts and links are his own, but they provide both a good … Continue reading

My School is Locked

Emma and Hannah have been attending a local preschool here in Maadi, for the last two years.  Emma started just a few months after we arrived in Cairo, and Hannah joined her sister when she turned 2 ½.  One of the main reasons we chose to send the girls to preschool is to help them … Continue reading

Incredulity and a Car Ride Home

I had two experiences at Emma’s preschool today which gave both a reminder that I don’t really belong, and a sense of belonging. Thursdays at preschool is swim day.  The teachers set up a large inflatable pool and the kids can swim for about two hours. They are always generous with Hannah participating in special … Continue reading

Assigning Names

To be born on Thursday, God willing, will be our third daughter. Number one was born in the United States, though conceived in Jordan. Number two was born in Tunisia, and in a few days a third birthplace enters our family. The Arabs call such terminology ‘masqat ras’, or literally, ‘the place your head falls. … Continue reading

The Problem of Dialect – Part Two

The strange thing about different language dialects is that the most basic words you use everyday differ from country to country.  I remember Jayson telling me this after his experience in Mauritania.  He would say, “The words for bread, water, and house are different in the Mauritanian dialect than in other dialects, but the deeper … Continue reading

An Arabic Pregnancy

Being pregnant in an Arabic-speaking country has allowed me to learn a whole set of vocabulary related to pregnancy and child-bearing.  We probably learned the words for “pregnant” and “to give birth” while in language school, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant that the words really started to sink in and stay with me.  … Continue reading

The Problem of Dialect

We have lived in a few different Arabic-speaking countries now, and we aren’t sure if this has been good or bad for our Arabic skills. We started off in Jordan for two years where we studied the Jordanian dialect as well as the Modern Standard Arabic which is what people read and write, but rarely … Continue reading