Quick Links for June 20, 2009


This photo is from the Durham University site linked below.

Click on the image to go to Durham University's Arabic Linguistics site.


A whole dissertation was written and subsequently published about forms of address in Egyptian Arabic (Ya so-and-so). TBE read part of this book many years ago and it is fascinating. In fact everything about it is amazing. The author’s name is Dilworth B. Parkinson. The publisher is Mouton de Gruyter which to TBE’s ear sounds an awful lot like Mountain of Gruyere. Here’s the first page of a review. Any reader with access to J-STOR or whatever please send along the full review. 

How language shapes the way we think about Palestine and Israel.

This essay did not quite meet TBE’s expectation but the idea, that the language we speak dictates how we see and interact with the world, is so interesting. TBE wishes some enterprising person would look into how Arabic and English differ in their world-making. 

A list of the supposed 100 most beautiful words in English. Based on the font used to spell “Words” on the page alone, TBE is dubious. 

“Ebonics”: BIG L



Filed under Academics, Books, Hip Hop, Linguistics, Miscellaneous Links, Palestine

3 responses to “Quick Links for June 20, 2009

  1. propagandin

    Another perfect combination of elements seemingly directed at my personal enjoyment. Egyptian Arabic Linguistics (OMG, I love Dilworth!), an Op-Ed piece from the LA Times (lakers!) by UCLA’s Saree Makdisi (bruins!), and a soundtrack by Nas. Party time.

    Other comments.

    1) How is “bucolic” considered one of the most beautiful words in English? Despite its semantic connotation, it’s always evoked thoughts of an incessantly screaming baby.

    2) If I weren’t so distracted and unmotivated I would write a dissertation on what I have heard referred to once as “white Arabic.” This is the Arabic that is spoken on shows like Star Academy, where a cocktail of Arabic dialects are picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens, when people stop being polite, and start getting real. Apparently there are cognitive shifts in word choice that allow for people to understand each other, proving to me that this lame claim that only certain Arabs can communicate is debatable. Also, once this weird pidgin (a stretch, I know) is codified, it’ll be wayyy easier to produce pan-Arab media. TBE, can you find someone to do this research.

    • nottooshaabi

      Dear Propagandin,

      Thank you for your kind words. TBE will be offering a special tafseer insert this fall, in which we write a commentary in the cyber-margins of Dilworth’s magnum opus.

      1) Bucolic was one among many maladroit choices made by the editors of that list. It appeared to combine some rather mundane and not very pretty words with words no one ever heard of.

      2) To satisfy your request, TBE will put out feelers in the Arabic linguistic circles in which we run. One wonders, however, if creating pan-Arab media in “white Arabic” will be the cause rather than effect of this envisioned codification. In other words, we (and you in particular) appear to be standing on the precipice of a new historico-linguistic era to which you will be a contributor rather than a bystander.

  2. Poseidon

    Mouton de Gruyter, to a French ear (Poseidon moved to France when the Greek economy entered recession a couple of centuries ago) like: Sheep of Gruyere.

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