Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Story from Hungary

I came across this book (International Stories for Children) and thought it may be useful for those learning Arabic. It has the tashkeel in it and tells different stories from around the world. I recorded my voice reading it in MSA and 3ameyya. It's my first time to be recording so I'm not very good at it. Any suggestions for improving the sound quality are most appreciated. I'd also like to know if I should be speaking slower.

This is the first story in the book, Katika. Just click on the picture to move to the next page. First, the MSA version. I tried to read without an Egyptian accent, but slipped a few times with the jeem. ^_^

The 3ameyya version:

I translated into 3ameyya as I went along, trying to keep it as close to the MSA as possible without sounding weird. Here are a few things that I had trouble with:

  • وإنما ذهب الحمار بها إلى هناك   for some reason I would try to say ennama el7omaar raa7 beeha lehnaak, but seeing the MSA put the verb first, I'd mix it up. Looking at it now, I can't see anything wrong with saying ennama raa7 el7omaar beeha lehnaak

  • When Katika first meets the king, she meets him with her head lowered (ورأسها منخفض), that's what the MSA says. But saying w rasshaa metwaTeyyah sounded a bit off to me, so I changed it to w heyya mewaTTeyyah rasha (while lowering he head).

  • When she puts something into the king's cup and he drinks without noticing anything, the MSA says دون أن يلاحظ شيئًا, I translated it to min gheir maylaa7ez 7aga because it's perfectly ok to say that. The problem is, my mouth would say min gheir maa yakhod baloh first. Min gheir maa yakhod baloh has a similar meaning, it could also be translated as without paying attention.

Hope it helps. Happy learning!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Suite Francaise

Just finished Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky, another book we brought back from our visit home. The author had only just finished the first two parts of the book (out of the intended five) when she was arrested and sent to concentration camp where she passed away shortly after.

The first part dealt with the chaos before the German occupation of France. People fleeing Paris and trying to get to the country. What happened on their way, the misery and hopelessness. It shows both what the poor went through as well as the rich, who were often disgusting the way they looked down on others in such a time when all are in the same boat (sort of).

The second part talks about the German occupation of the country, of one particular village that had helped the refugees before (and hence you're familiar with some of the characters). How the villagers had to give up a lot to the Germans, but at sometimes were able to take advantage of them and make profits. How they had to share their homes with some of the officers, and the mixed feelings this all brings up.

When I was reading the first part I was wondering how the rest of the novel would go. It naturally focused on the French civilians' troubles and feelings. I had been thinking about what would one do in such a situation where you're dealing with the enemy face to face. Reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had gotten me started on the idea. So I was wondering if the second part would continue with the same perspective.

Well, it didn't. It tackles both sides' feelings, but maybe more on the French side. The villagers are sometimes torn between treating these polite young German soldiers nicely, and feeling hatred because their sons/husbands/fathers are prisoners of war or have been killed in the war. The Germans on the other hand, definitely miss their loved ones. They also wonder how the French truly feel towards them, especially when they're ordered to go to Russia to fight.

I loved the book, but what made it better was reading the author's notes on how she was planning the rest of it. It gives you the chance to continue the story on your own with her guidelines as well as an idea of how she felt. The second appendix was correspondences first between her and her publisher asking for help to get through the tough times (because of her Jewish ancestry). Then they're between her husband and contacts trying to find out where she was taken. She only managed to send two letters after she was arrested. Later her husband was arrested as well and sent to the gas chamber. But the correspondence between their friends continue as they didn't know about their deaths. Their two little girls had to go in hiding, and even when the war was over and the prisoners returned they would go to the train station to try to find their parents. The appendixes got me crying, they're real life, not fiction.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

To whom would I leave you? أسيبك لمين؟

Came across this song around election time and it's really touching, so thought I'd share it. It's in 3ameyya, but not all is your everyday way of saying something, quite a few things are poetic. And I should thank my friends on FB for sharing. ^_^

واسيبك لمين
And leave you to whom?
ولسه صبية .. ونيلك حزين
(You’re) Still young, and your Nile is sad
ولسه لبكرة ماليكي الحنين
And you’re still yearning for tomorrow
أسيبك لمين؟
Leave you to whom?
ومين راح يرد لتاريخك صباه
And who’s to bring back to your history its youth
ويمشي ف طريقك.. لآخر مداه
And walk down your path/way till its end
ومين من حياته يجيب لك حياة ..
And who’s to give you from his own life a life
ومين راح يكبر وقت الصلاة
And who’s to make takbir when it’s prayer time
أسيبك لمين؟
Leave you to whom?
ومين يبقى مغرم بحبك صبابة
And who’s to be passionately in love with you
ومين يحمي طيبتك ؟ يا أم الطيابة
And who’s to protect your kindness, oh source of kindness?
ومين يبقى ضلة .. في شمس الغلابة
And who’s to be a shade… in the poor people’s sun
ومين يبقى شوكة في حلق الديابة
And who’s to be a thorn in the wolves’ throat
أسيبك لمين؟؟
Leave you to whom?

  • لمين         Lmeen   to whom
    In 3ameyya, it’s always at the end of the sentence, whereas in MSA it can be in the beginning or end sometimes.In 3ameyya, you say:
    اديته لمين؟               Eddeitoh lmeen?              Who did you give it (masculine) to?
    But in MSA, you could say لِمَنْ أَعْطَيْتُه؟  Leman 2a3Taytoh? or أَعْطَيْتُه لِمَنْ؟ 2a3Taytoh leman?
    روحت / روحتي لمين؟           Ro7t / ro7tee lmeen?      Who did you go to?

  • لسه          lessah   still, not yet
    لسه ماروحتش         Lessah maro7tish             I haven’t gone yet.
    دي لسه صغيرة       Dee lessah Soghayyarah              She’s still young. (She’s still a child.)

  • مين راح   meen ra7
    Literally this means who went..? but in this context it means who’s going to… I don’t think it’s an expression I’d use in everyday conversation. I'd more likely say meen ha...
    هو راح فين؟            Howwa ra7 fein?              Where did he go?
    هي راحت فين؟       Heyya ra7et fein?             Where did she go?
    مين هيكلّم الشركة؟      Meen haykallim essherkah?       Who's going to call the company?
    مين هيكبّر وقت الصلاة؟      Meen haykabbar wa2t essalah?    Who's going to make takbir when it's prayer time?

  • أم الطيابة                 om elTayabah
    Literally mother of kindness, but it’s an expression to mean the source of something, you’re so kind that you’re the source (mother) of kindness. For masculine it would be abu… This can be used in a negative or positive way depending on the adjective added and context.

  • ديابة         diyabah                               wolves
    This is one of the cases where the dhal in MSA is turned into a dal. The singular is ديب deeb in 3ameyya. In MSA, its ذِئْب dhe2b and the plural is ذِئَاب dhe2aab.