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Author Topic: Question on Arabic  (Read 972 times) Average Rating: 0
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mike
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« on: December 19, 2012, 09:06:21 PM »

Is Amal a male or female name?
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 09:12:39 PM »

Is Amal a male or female name?
Both, although I'm only known women with the name.
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 07:27:42 AM »

Is there much variation between different Arabic dialects? Do all Arab-speakig people from different countries understand each other?
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dzheremi
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 03:48:24 AM »

Is there much variation between different Arabic dialects?

Yes.

Quote
Do all Arab-speakig people from different countries understand each other?

It varies. Arabic covers a huge swath of the world, so the situation is very complex, and can be difficult to process if you're not already familiar with the features of whatever dialect you're looking at (some particularly obscure varieties, such as Balkh/Afghani or Cypriot Maronite Arabic, have been heavily influenced by surrounding non-Semitic languages for centuries, making them particularly difficult to understand).

I remember months and months ago sitting in church during the Agape meal and listening to a Jordanian visitor talking with one of our deacons. She could understand him, but the deacon struggled to understand her. Egyptian Arabic is the most widely understood of all the Arabic varieties (I'm told due to the popularity of Egyptian films across the Middle East), so I guess you could say there is a sort of "prestige disparity" at work here, a bit like how it is easier for Portuguese speakers to understand Spanish speakers than the other way around: When you are inundated with the speech variety of a neighbor that is not your own, you are much more likely to gain at least a passive understanding of their speech than they are of yours. They will not hear you as often as you hear them, so it will be difficult for them to understand you unless you switch to their variety. And I have heard from friends who lived in various parts of the Middle East that when the native varieties available to people from different regions are markedly different from each other in some way, it is not uncommon for them to use a colonial or otherwise non-native language (French or English, generally) instead of attempting to converse in Arabic. I've never seen this myself, though.
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 04:25:38 AM »

dzheremi has described it very well.

I can add that the differences begin in pronunciation of some letters (e.g ج has 3 different pronunctiations: in standard Arabic, in Egyptian and in Lebanese), especially vowels becasue short vowels are written so rarely. Certainly, there are differences in the vocabulary too.
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2013, 08:07:29 PM »

Have you got access to the Tanakh in Arabic? If yes, could you please let me know how the Hebrew name Amram (Moses' father) occurs in Arabic? (Amram or Imran). Thanks from now.
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 04:50:15 PM »

according to the 'kitaab al hayaa' arabic version (widely used but from the masoretic text, as opposed to the septuagint), it is
عمزام
which would be transliterated " 'amraam", with the " ' " standing for the 'ayn sound which is made by saying 'a' forcefully with the top of the throat constricted.
the short vowels given in this translation show the first letter to have an 'a' sound more than an 'i' sound.

the arabic used in the coptic orthodox church readings, is translated directly from the coptic version of the Bible (using the septuagint for the old testament) and it is sometimes different.
as far as i know, a complete arabic translation from the coptic is not yet available; just the parts which are used in the daily readings and the liturgy.

maybe dzheremi or ialmisry or some more educated person can comment further.

edited for explaining about the short vowels.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 04:51:19 PM by mabsoota » Logged
Theophilos78
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 05:09:53 PM »

Thanks for the answer, but now I wonder why the Hebrew original of the name Amram was maintained in the Arabic translation whereas the Hebrew name "Abraham" was transferred into Arabic as "Ibraheem".  Huh
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 06:15:50 PM »

don't know, but i think they didn't have hebrew back then, i think it was all an early form of aramaic, which then led to hebrew and arabic.
correct me if i am wrong...
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 07:03:43 PM »

Thanks for the answer, but now I wonder why the Hebrew original of the name Amram was maintained in the Arabic translation whereas the Hebrew name "Abraham" was transferred into Arabic as "Ibraheem".  Huh

My guess would be that "Abraham" was adopted/inherited in Arabic at an earlier stage (so it was phonetically adapted), while Amram - which is probably not a common name among Arabs - was transliterated more faithfully from the Hebrew when the Bible was translated.

I wouldn't worry too much about vowel shifts in the Semitic languages. They can vary within the same language both at the same time (various dialects with various pronunciations) and throughout history (diachronically). As an example for the later type of variation, the name of the Theotokos appears transcribed as Mariam both in the Septuagint (the sister of Moses) and the NT, reflecting the earlier Jewish pronunciation. At a later stage the a in the initial unstressed syllable was closed to i, so now the Jews read Miriyam. There are other examples of this and other such vowel mutations in Hebrew.

As far as regional/dialectic pronunciations are concerned, Sephardic and modern Israeli Jews would pronounce Avraham, while the Ashkenazi (Teymani/Yemenite Jews as well) say Avrohom (which became Avrum in Yiddish), etc. The same variation occurs in Syriac: it's Avrohom in the Western (Jacobite) dialects and Avraham in the Eastern (Nestorian).

 
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 07:07:06 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 07:17:33 PM »

don't know, but i think they didn't have hebrew back then, i think it was all an early form of aramaic, which then led to hebrew and arabic.
correct me if i am wrong...

"Back then" meaning in the day of Abraham himself? According to the Bible, he was an Aramean. "Hebrew" was initially the language spoken by the Canaanites and it was adopted by the Hebrews when they settled in the country. In any event, at that time the Northern-Semitic languages would have been somewhat closer, though probably not mutually understandable.     
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 07:21:13 PM by Romaios » Logged
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