language (13)

Glimpses of the Egyptian transformations of the Arabic language


some examples:

hamza elimination: صحراء => صحرا, أنا جئت => أنا جيت
substitution of diacritics: تَكتُبُ => تِكتِبْ
change of pronouns:,
elimination of dual mode
negation: ما جيتش
conjugation: بتشجع اي فريق؟

other good resources:

arabic internet acronyms

Is there an Arabic equivalent to English Internet acronyms, such as the ones listed here?

Here are the ones I use:

  • AFAIK - as far as I know - على حد علمي او على قدر علمي - ع ح ع لو ع ق ع
  • IIRC - if i recall correctly - ان كانت ذاكرتي صحيحة او على ما اتذكر - ان ك ص او ع م ا
  • IMO - in my opinion - في رأيي - ف ر
  • WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get - anyone?

Please help out on a live site!

Some interesting Egyptian verbal forms

The form فـِــعـِــلْ is an Egyptian form that denotes a subject who is an expert at doing the action.

For example, حـِــرِ كْ and رِ وِ شْ are purely Egyptian words that indicate expertise at their respective actions, namely maneuvering and dazzling.

The Egyptian dialect also changes existing forms.

Semantic hijacking for mass manipulation

One core tenet of media is "the more you repeat something, the more people will believe it." This is why we are bombarded with advertising - so that the brand name occupies a larger region of our minds.

Unfortunately, whereas advertising is simply driven by the desire for profit, other applications of media are even less commendable. I am referring to the political uses of media, that have given us among others the first tragedy of the 21st century, 9/11, as the century had just been born.

How does media - the discipline - manage such success?

Language as human knowledge system

Language is a human capacity (or faculty, or ability, or quality). The thesis expressed here is that human language (so-called natural language) acts as a repository of knowledge. What is the use of storing and manipulating knowledge? Primarily, to collectively solve problems that arise in the real world. Does language support this problem-solving? Yes, because language contains constructs that closely mimic the way reality is perceived (by humans) to work.

Arabic verbal forms

NOTE: Please excuse the poor quality of Arabic typography. It is not trivial in the open source world.

By verbal forms I mean syntactic variations on the 3-letter roots that generate both new verbs and new nouns. These variations are used by convention among Arabic speakers.

Such forms qualify the root verb, its primary actors (the subject and the object), and how they relate to the web of facts. In Arabic, "verb" translates as فـﹺـعل literally the "deed" or "action". The relationships between the actors and the facts (places, things, states) are altered in each verbal form.

Translating "Information"

Very quickly: How do you translate "Information"? معلومات ? This plural term more likely refers to "Data" as in more than one "Datum" (معلومة - literally "known" as opposed to "unknown"). "Information" carries more meaning than "Data", specifically the idea that not only are there facts, but they are also structured in some logical network of relationships. Where's the Arabic term for that? Most probably the Arabic computer science, information theory and theoretical physics literatures would contain many terms suitable for information theory. Let's start a glossary!

On loaded words

As an information junkie, one of my favourite pastimes is to think about words that carry more than one meaning. The first word that lit that particular lamp in my brain was "reflection", with meanings related to thought and to physical light. Very soon I formed the following theory/conjecture: those loaded words don't in fact carry more than one meaning! Instead, they refer to processes that occur on different levels of abstraction, but that are similar from an algorithmic point of view.

International ads for the Arab region

Some sites try to serve me targeted ads based on my geographical location. Because I live in the Middle East, most ads I get on American sites are the two reproduced below. For non-Arabic speakers, the campaign encourages people to apply for a working visa to the US.


Click the attachment to see the full thing.

Globalization from the point of view of the globalizee.

That's how I'd like Arabic to be rendered

Leaving aside the religious content (for the sake of this discussion), check out the Arabic text on this page. You'll have noticed it is an embedded image, but see how clearly the writing and diacritics are displayed. One would wish that Arabic text were rendered this way on a browser.

What does it take to do that, I wonder.

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