Just after finishing that last post and heading out the door of the internet cafe, a torrential downpour struck Homs, quite unexpectedly. The streets flooded, the traffic cop across the way retreated into his little capsule and, amazingly, I didn’t see any wrecks (amazing because of the very slick roads from an unexpected rain storm, not because of the lack of intervention of the traffic cop, who mostly just seemed to scold drivers for not yielding to pedestrians anyway). Figuring the rain would clear out fairly quickly, I waited out the storm underneath an awning, casting the occasional sympathetic look towards miserable-looking cyclists (who inevitably disobeyed the traffic light, though I’m not sure if it was in haste or out of habit) and guys on mo-peds, which seem to be quite popular here. After the winds changed direction, the terperature cooled, the thunder subsided and the rain cleared, I waited a bit longer for the water on the road to clear. Since my experience in Cairo riding only a couple kilometers in a simarly unusual rain storm, I was keen to avoid getting filthy in the same way. Another 20 minutes later, there were still puddles around, but it had mostly dried up, so I made my way slowly to the main strip and the cheap hotels. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Arabic’
Dance of Death: ‘Waltz with Bashir’ and Sympathy for the Killer—رقصة الموت: «فالس مع بشير» والعطف على القاتلMonday, March 2nd, 2009
I spent some time over the past week translating this excellent critique of the film “Waltzing with Bashir” by As`ad AbuKhalil (aka, the Angry Arab). Aside from butchering the title of the article and completely failing on one complicated parenthetical statement, I seem to have done pretty well. It was rather difficult, but quite rewarding. I don’t think I’ve ever even read anything of this length in Arabic, let alone translated it. The translation—in addition to being here below the fold, with some handy hyperlinks for those unfamiliar with the many names and historical events that appear in the article—can also be found on the original authors site, here. I also recommend this film review that appeared on Electronic Intifada. (more…)
My apologies to those who had been following my blog and were disappointed to find that I wasn’t updating since last spring. My access to the internet over the summer while I was bopping about North America was somewhat limited and it became difficult to get back in the habit of posting when internet was available again. In addition to this, I groaned every time I thought about trying to critically engage with the dominant political discourse around the US elections or the “world financial crisis”, a phrase I became tired of just as quickly in Arabic as in English. (more…)
The language is totally fascinating to me. There are a lot of rules and conventions that are strange and challenging for someone like me who has only studied indo-european languages, but once you learn the rules, there are very few exceptions to them. There is a whole class of verbs called (by European linguists) “defective” verbs, but there is no such thing as an irregular verb. As such, learning to read and write well is an accomplishment i can see on the horizon. Unfortunately, learning to speak and listen well is a totally different thing, as one has to actually internalize many of these rules and conventions—and they are legion—to listen and speak well. Matters are further complicated by the fact that the rules are quite different in the colloquial, and there are significantly more exceptions to them, as opposed to the “classical” or “modern standard Arabic”. Still, it is all very fascinating to me and i’m excited to be learning the language.
If you’ll indulge me for a little while, i’d like to tell you about some of my favorite things about the language. (more…)