Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #10

سِكّين

root: س-ك-ك / noun / plural: سَكاكين / definition: knife


As September swept in, I made a resolution to read more in both English and Arabic. Novels, specifically, because I miss getting lost in them as I used to.

And I’ve now, for various reasons, found myself in a situation where I have multiple novels on the go—an unintentional fulfilment of my resolution, I suppose—including some in Arabic.

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Six Arabic Words for “Ocean” or “Sea”

ماء

root: م-و-ه / noun / plural: مِياه / definition: water


Autumn is officially here. And I’m sure of this because I’m wearing two pairs of socks, as I’m forced to every autumn or winter because my feet turn to ice—although my parents always tell me it’s not that cold and walk around as though summer is still lingering.

Despite living here for most of my life, I’m convinced I’m just not adapted to the UK’s cool climate. Or maybe it’s just my toes protesting summer’s departure.

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What’s the Difference Between ابن and بن?

اِبْن

root: ب-ن / noun / plural: أَبْناء or بَنون / definition: son


Having finished my master’s, I took myself to the Tate Modern last week and wandered around the galleries and the exhibitions I’d booked to see. I was clearly inspired by the trip because I picked up my paintbrush again a few evenings ago and created a little something I had pictured in my mind.

You can see a snippet of the canvas I painted in the photo above—I’ve been (mentally) stalked by olive trees since analysing some olive tree imagery in relation to exile for my dissertation. I’ve even been eating more olives, actually.

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Master’s, Completed

التَّسليم

root: س-ل-م / verbal noun of form II / definition: submitting, submission


Yesterday I submitted my dissertation and, with it, completed my master’s degree in Advanced Arabic! The dissertation deadline was actually today, so I wasn’t scrambling to finish like I thought I might be.

I realised I was thankfully cruising through to submission because—despite the stress creeping up on me last week—my plan was so comprehensive that actually writing the dissertation felt more like an editing process.

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Arabic Observations: Arabic Plurals

الجَمْع

root: ج-م-ع / noun / definition: the plural


I’m back from my little Venice getaway and straight back to working on my dissertation. Well… I mean, of course I took a day’s rest because, you know… jet lag, or something. I think those few days away from my laptop were worth the extra stress now though, with my deadline a week away and still half of the dissertation left to write.

(Pray for me.)

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Meanings of منذ

رِحْلة

root: ر-ح-ل / noun / plural: رِحلات / definition: a trip


My mini summer getaway is just around the corner… and my dissertation deadline is almost just as close. I’ll try not to stress just yet, but with roughly 10,000 words left to write, I’m sure that the adrenaline will come in handy when I need to type my way to the finish line.

Like me, the word مُنذُ has a lot going on. It can be translated as “since”, “ago”, or “for” (…or “from” or “in”) depending on the context and the tense of the verb it relates to.

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Three Arabic Verbs for “to Show”

الثُّلاثاء

root: ث-ل-ث / noun / definition: Tuesday


Tuesday feels a little sleepy this week but I have no time to nap. My weekend was spent packing up the things I had left in my university flat which involved an eight-hour round trip (actually, nine with the traffic on the way back) and no progress on my dissertation. But I was glad to be leaving.

I had a little taste of excitement yesterday though during one of my regular evening walks with my mum: we mostly speed-walked (and, at times, ran) through a thunderstorm and downpour, with me laughing most of the way, where our umbrellas did nothing to prevent us getting drenched from head to toe. Sometimes you just need a bit of lightning in your life, right?

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Active Participles of Defective Roots

مُمارَسة

root: م-ر-س / verbal noun of form III / definition: practice


So I got the chance to practise speaking Arabic today and it’s safe to say that I’m… rusty. I shouldn’t be overly surprised seeing as it’s somehow been three and a half months since my final Arabic oral exam in Jordan, and I’ve only had sprinklings of small talk since then.

It’s always frustrating to have to deliberately think before uttering a sentence. Is the grammar okay? Is that the best word for this context? Is there an easier way to phrase this? But no one ever got good at anything without practice anyway. I’ll persevere.

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Arabic Observations: The Essence of Failure

فَشَل

root: ف-ش-ل / noun / definition: failure


If you’ve studied Al-Kitaab, you’ll have learnt the word (well, one of the words) for failure: فَشَل.

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A Dissertation, More Poetry, and Moving Forward

نِهاية

root: ن-ه-ي / noun / definition: end, finish


This year has felt long in many ways, but as I approach my dissertation’s September deadline, I feel as though I’m being outpaced by time.

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit too laid-back about my dissertation until now (as panic starts to tap urgently on my door). Maybe I forgot how much I loved planning my undergrad dissertation, how much I loved the analysis, and how much I loved watching everything come together.

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