Quiz: How to Pronounce Bashar al-Assad

How to pronounce Bashar al-Assad. I’m using the English spelling that the media likes to use, and I’ll give you a hint that it is misleading.

The Arabic is: بشار الاسد

His last name means “the lion.”

The answer is in the comments.

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Filed under arabic, names, poll

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under arabist

Judge Rules Arabic Flashcards Too Dangerous to Fly

You may remember a case from several years ago where a student of Arabic was detained by the TSA because he had Arabic flash cards. He was studying Arabic. Flash cards can actually be useful in studying a language.

Arabic is the fifth-most-commonly-spoken language on the planet Earth. It is the official language of 27 nations. Most importantly, it is language, not a weapon. If flashcards are dangerous, they are equally dangerous no matter what is written on them. What could a passenger do with Arabic on flashcards that he couldn’t do without the flash cards?

See my previous post, How Arabic is Like Parseltongue. http://snarla.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/how-arabic-is-like-parseltongue/

Here’s the recent news story at Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/25/federal-judge-rules-that-tsa-fbi-can-detain-and-arrest-you-for-carrying-arabic-flashcards/

Observe the fool-proof logic:

TSA AGENT: Do you know who did 9/11?

GEORGE: Osama bin Laden.

TSA AGENT: Do you know what language he spoke?

GEORGE: Arabic.

TSA AGENT: Do you see why these cards are suspicious?

 

 

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Filed under arabic, arabist, bigoted idiots, language, Our glorious war on terror, Stupidity

Palestinian Parody of Van Damme Commercial

With a serious message

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Filed under arab, arabic

Wednesday Mittwoche Cat Photo

anothercutekitty

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Wednesday, 27 November, 2013 · 4:28 am

Beirut Airport Flashmob

This is from two years ago, but I just found it. It seems like everything you could want in a flash mob: it’s lively, it’s not aggressive, and the audience really gets into it.

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Monday, 25 November, 2013 · 8:12 am

Protests and Misspelled Signs and Arabic

Angry Muslims, amirite? Oops, his sign says

With all the protests over the past several years, it has become known that if the signs are misspelled, it’s a right-wing protest.

If you ever wondered if the same holds true for those signs you see written in Arabic in the protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, etc., no, it doesn’t.

Arabic, like many languages more sensible than English, is spelled how it sounds and sounds how it’s spelled. They don’t have spelling tests and spelling units and spelling bees. There are some regional variations in pronunciation, admittedly, but it’s nothing like the orthographic free-for-all we have in English.

So, as my picture above indicates, you can’t reliably guess an Arab protester’s alignment by the spelling.

Yeah, get a brain!

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Filed under arabic, pedantry