Dictionary Finds: أيِس


root: و-ث-ق / adjective / definition: documentary

I’ve spent the past few days furiously (and, sometimes, frustratedly) editing the mini documentary I have to submit for an Arabic assessment. I say “mini”, but creating a 30-minute video with footage from Jordan and videos I shot here in my flat of me speaking face-to-camera—with my phone precariously balanced on a chair, recycling box, and a stack of books I haven’t had time to read—has felt like no small feat.

And I say “frustratedly” because, other than the video transition glitches getting on my last nerve, watching and listening to yourself speak a foreign language—and having to re-watch and re-listen so many times during the editing process—is not too fun.

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Eight Ways to Say “to Die” in Arabic

The Dead Sea, Jordan


root: و-ف-ي / noun / plural: وَفَيات / definition: death

There’s life… and there’s death. And we have to know how to talk about both in Arabic. So I thought I’d compile a (non-exhaustive) list of words and phrases we can use to talk about the latter.

(On a side note: a pat on the back for my subconscious as, when I chose the photo at the top of the post, I hadn’t made any conscious connection between what was in it and today’s topic… it’s the Dead Sea. Obviously a part of my brain is always working behind the scenes to add more coherence to my blog than I can consciously process!)

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Leaving Amman


root: غ-د-ر / verbal noun of form III / definition: leaving

The sun, the great balcony view, the sleepy Ramadan atmosphere… all of that is behind me now, as I type this post from my home in London, where it has been grey and cloudy (or maybe just metaphorically?) since my return.

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Dictionary Finds: لا تدمري


root: ك-ش-ف / verbal noun of form VIII / plural: اِكتِشافات / definition: a discovery, find

There are certain words and phrases you’ll come across in the Arabic dictionary that’ll stick with you for some reason or other, despite you never having heard them uttered or seen them written down elsewhere.

For me, the phrase لا تَدمُري is one of them.

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Arabic Observations: More Word Twins


root: ز-ي-د / noun / definition: more

Over two years ago, I wrote about a phenomenon which I like to call “word twins” in an Arabic Observations post. In summary:

[…] there are some Arabic words you’ll find that have essentially the same meaning, but they differ by a single letter. Sometimes it’ll be similar sounding letters and other times not, and sometimes they’ll occupy the same page in the dictionary (like if they differ in their final letters) and other times not.

Arabic Observations: Word Twins
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Four Arabic Verbs Meaning “to Urge”


root: غ-م-ر / noun / plural: مُغامَرات / definition: adventure

Somehow, my classmates and I are nearly halfway through our Amman adventure, and with all the new words and phrases we’ve been picking up, I couldn’t resist writing a vocabulary-based post this week.

Now the specific set of synonyms in this post—which all mean “to urge (someone to do something)”—has nothing to do with my time abroad (well, it wasn’t a conscious choice at least), but these verbs were typed into my personal synonyms list long ago and just haven’t had their time to shine until today.

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Immersed in Amman


root: غ-م-س / verbal noun of form VII / definition: immersion

There must be something in the air in Amman that is infusing me with wakefulness—after walking around downtown Amman late last night, having an almost-all-nighter in our apartment, and sitting through intense classes from 9am-3:30pm today, I really should be more tired at this point. But I feel wide awake and—surprisingly—not stressed or suffering from culture shock!

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To Amman!


root: س-ف-ر / verbal noun of form III / definition: travel

Apologies in advance for a very tired post (forgive any typos!) but I’ve spent the first half of the day travelling by train and tube for over three hours (with a packed-to-the-weight-limit suitcase and two bags) and the rest shopping for home decor with my sister (took us about 30 minutes to match the pillow cases to the fitted sheet—nightmare).

But, thanks to the man who carried my suitcase down the stairs at Lancaster Gate Station, I am now in the comfort of my own home. But I won’t be staying in London for long…

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Arabic Observations: Distance and the Future


root: س-و-ف / noun / plural: مَسافات / definition: distance

Have you ever had those moments when you finally make the connection between two words from the same root? I mean, I knew مَسافة (“distance”) and سَوفَ (the particle indicating future tense) were both from the root س-و-ف, but they’d clearly been floating around in different parts of my brain until recently.

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The Case of امّحق: Form VII Assimilation


root: م-ث-ل / verbal noun of form III / definition: assimilation (phonology)

There’s less than three weeks until my study abroad module begins which means I’ll be jetting off very soon for a relaxing break an intensive period of Arabic study in Jordan. It really can’t come soon enough because I’ve forgotten almost all of the عامية we covered last term, *sigh*.

Currently though, I’m having lots of fun with creative writing, and I’m about a third of the way through crafting a short story in Arabic which is due next week. However—and I’m not sure how I feel about this—I’ve realised I can only seem write about one theme: misery. But I’m told the best stories are the most miserable ones anyway…

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