Monday, March 12, 2012

word nerd

I'm in the middle of my last week at Qasid, and in the middle of my final essay.

Essay-writing is usually a stressful thing for me: I'm picky about sentence structure, and I obsess over verbs. But writing essays in Arabic is oddly liberating. I know that, no matter how hard I try, my Arabic essays won't be beautiful. (Give me another year!) My grammar is odd and my verbs are eh.

That said, my essays are probably pretty entertaining for my teachers. I write about important, intelligent-sounding things (like Jordan's refugee policies and Turkish-Iraqi water tensions), but with a mixture of scholarly and kindergarten vocabulary.
Turkey takes water from its rivers to give to the Kurds that live in the southern Turkey but Iraq doesn't like this activity. 
  التركيا ياخذ ماءي من أنهاره لإعطاء على الكرديين الذين يسكنون في جنوب تركيا و لكن العراق لا يحب هذا نشاط
There are three pretty crazy things about Arabic writing. Thing one: punctuation is sparse. (See the sentence above.) It's hard for me to part with semicolons and colons, but I'm managing.

Thing two: it's good form to start your sentences with a verb. (Likes King Abdullah Star Trek = يهب الملك عبدالله ستار تريك) Plus, because you don't have to conjugate the verb precisely if you're using it in the beginning of a sentence, you oftentimes don't know who the subject is for a little while. Thus the focus is more on the action, rather than the person doing the action. This style seems to be changing, though, especially in newspapers. (King Abdullah likes Star Trek = الملك عبدالله يهب ستار تريك) That's right: Arabic grammatical structures are inching closer to English. Globalization?

Thing three: parallelisms are good form, not just a sneaky way to increase your word count.
At first falafel was delicious and tasty, but now falafel is not good and not delicious.
  أولا كان الفلافل لذيذ و ممتاز و لكن الآن الفلافل ليس جيد أو لذيذ
Efficiency is an American value.

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