Euskara (berriro)

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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby Systematiker » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:50 pm

Yeah, I'd love to have a bit of info about what you're learning, and why, and where - your profile isn't filled out, and I think I'm going to have to google to even figure out what that language is.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:49 am

Xmmm wrote:Hi Nooj,

Any chance you could expand on why you want to learn Tachelhit? These "exotic language" (not FIGS, not CJK) stories tend to be interesting. Sorry if I missed it on another thread, but seems like it belongs here on your log. Thanks!


I want to learn it in part because a lot of people around me actually speak it. I don't live in el-medina el-qadima (the old city), although I plan to move there soon but even in my relatively posh neighbourhood, I find people who speak Tachelhit (alternatively Chleuh, Chilha). The city I live in is Marrakech, and as one of the major urban centres of Morocco, it attracts immigrants from places all over what is traditional Tachelhit country, so combined with the traditional speaker base and the constant influx from elsewhere like Agadir, it is not unlikely that you'll hear it. There are over 4 million who speak it after all!

Besides, I like how it sounds and I like how it is similar (and different) from Moroccan Arabic. And I'd like to travel in the Atlas mountains and it is useful in places where Arabic is not the first language of people, or who don't speak it very well. Here is a valley in the High Atlas Mountains that I have heard about, I brought my climbing gear from Spain in the hopes of doing some rock climbing there but haven't found the time to get out.

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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby LadyGrey1986 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:20 pm

There are many Tachelhit speakers in my city (The Hague). I will follow your log with interest!
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby Bakunin » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:15 pm

Wow, this is a beautiful landscape. Following your log with interest too, please continue to share your experiences with and thoughts about Tachelhit. It's so interesting to see someone learning a small North-African language!
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:38 pm

I know this is technically not about language, but someone said that they liked my little stories, so I'll put this one out there. Actual linguistic thoughts...well, I am knee deep in Moroccan Arabic and loving every single moment of it.

I woke up early to head up to a village in the mountains with a bunch of books that we had bought to donate to the local school.
It was a beautiful, quiet place, nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains.

The primary school, the sole one which serves the entire town, looked well run. Even better than some schools in the city.
The library for the children included books in Arabic, English, French and Amazigh. Most of the kids there were Berber, as you can tell by checking the student names on the roll. I tried some of the apples for which the area is justly famous.

Above the entrance to the library it says العلم نور و الجهل عار : knowledge is light/ignorance is shame.

In the city, walking back home after being dropped off by the bus, I literally ran into Hamza. He told me they were gonna do a tangia dinner in the medina, at our friend’s place. Tangia is a kind of meat stew with spices, cooked in these clay earthen pots during the whole day, leaving the meat soft and tender so it falls apart easily in your hand. Meals are eaten with hands, well the right hand anyway.

Traditionally it’s made and eaten by men, so it was like a boy’s night. We were 16 men there in my friend’s cramped living room, eating and talking. As the night went on, one by one people came in, leaving their motorcycles in the ‘foyer’ (well, inside the house, so now we shared space in the house with bikes as well). In the city and especially the old city, that is to say the medina, the preferred method of transport is the motorbike.

I hopped on the back of hamza’s bike. He drove me deep into medina, navigating the labyrinth-like alleys with ease. He was born there and still lives in that same building with his family. Most Moroccans do, until marriage. Holding on, sans helmet, weaving in and out of a stream of people and bikes on narrow, cobbled streets in the souq, I was reminded a little of my travels through South East Asia: not the people necessarily, but the consummate skill, the practised ease and the sheer daring the drivers exhibit. I don’t have the guts or the brains for it. And if even seasoned Moroccan riders have a story of near misses (or tragic fatal accidents), then I-d have no chance.
As we shared around the sweet mint tea, a crucial social lubricant in Moroccan culture (I must have drunk more tea in the last 3 months than in all of my life) they talked about topics as wide ranging as sex and alcohol (treated with about as much seriousness as boys) to work, to theological stuff, all in the fluent, mellifluous local variety of Arabic.

They were code shifting so quickly between English and Moroccan Arabic that I only managed to understand the general gist with my rudimentary Arabic. In a more Francophone circle, Moroccans would pepper their Arabic with French, in the North they’d do the same, perhaps with a bit more of Spanish. For the details I had to turn to a workmate who gave me a running translation, interrupted by people who would turned around and dispute what they had heard him whispering (”that’s not what I said!”), at which point he would shrug sheepishly. But I was awestruck by his ability to do so without skipping a beat.

At one point we came to talk about magic and the evil eye, and whether we believed in it. Some people said yes, others said no, the partisans of each side bringing up the Qur’an, hadiths, their conception of the religion, and their own personal stories into the fray.
I’m accustomed to thinking of religious Muslims as serious, focused, elderly men. My workmates wear T-shirts and jeans, watch Game of Thrones and are at the same time, devout. This was a realisation that dawned on me as I watched these men touch gingerly on where they really believed in life after death and their own interpretations of their faith. It was a learning experience.

In the midst of the most heated discussion about the evil eye and the jealousy and desire that it involves, listening close to my translator friend, he stopped talking and I realised all of a sudden that in unison the rest had also fallen silent. I must have missed some signal.

It was one of the young guys, who began to sing. The one I jokingly thought of as the most model-like in terms of his fashion and good lucks, who had been quite quiet throughout the whole thing. He has normally a deep kind of voice when speaking, but now, now his singing was high, clear, fashioned with artistic-intent. He struck the figure of a muezzin calling to prayer.

I could understand scarcely a word, because the language was classical Arabic. A world apart from the beautiful cacophony of modern languages they had been speaking the whole night; a voice ripped from the past, calling from 1400 years ago.

Later I learned, to my surprise, that he had undergone the rigorous training that characterises a mujawwid since he was a child, which involves not just memorising the Qur’an from back to front to become a hafiz, but trained in the art of tajweed, the recitation of the word of God.

He was reciting a chapter of the Qur’an that talked about our desires: how if we controlled our inner desires, we would be destined for eternal glory. If we let ourselves be controlled by our desires, we would be destined for eternal shame. Later one of the guys jokingly summarised its relevance for all of us: it’s about how we’re all going to hell.

I was struck by the manner in which we listened. Normally how I listen to singers I appreciate is by looking at their faces to see the interplay of emotions, to see how they react, in order to feel with them. It’s important to me.

But the men didn’t do any of that. They bowed their heads, looked at their hands or closed their eyes. Not out of disinterest, not at al. The singer, however charismatic, is not the point of interest. He is the vessel and the vessel is only glorified by what passes through him. When he stopped to take in a breath, we hung on the silence...

I snuck a glance, but the rapture written on his face as he sang made me look away. It was too private to look at.

Then it was over. I guess it was entirely appropriate that God had the final word in our speculations about human failings and weaknesses. A prayer to prophylactically seal any dangerous breaches we may have inadvertantly caused by our talking.
Liive the righteous life. Fear God. Isn’t that it?

Or boys night was over. We shook his hand and slapped him on the back. Then we went home.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:40 am

Today I want to share something I learned and was wondering for a while, and that is the use of تبارک اللہ which literally means may God be blessed. It's among the many, many, many uses of Allah in Moroccan languages.

One of its uses is to congratulate someone, but, and here is the part that I didn't know, it's also used when you congratulate someone but you want to say that you aren't jealous of them for it. It's a way to obviate the evil eye and protect the person you congratulate.

So like had tomobil jadida diyalek zwina, tbarkallah - that new car of yours is nice, congratulations.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:45 pm

Today I learned that the word fulano/a as used in Spanish comes from the Arabic. In Moroccan Arabic it is pronounced flan/flana.

The DRAE says:

Del ár. hisp. fulán, este del ár. clás. fulān, y este quizá del egipcio pw rn 'este hombre'.

1. m. y f. U. para aludir a alguien cuyo nombre se ignora o no se quiere expresar.

2. m. y f. Persona indeterminada o imaginaria.

3. m. y f. Con referencia a una persona determinada, u. en sent. despect.

4. m. y f. despect. querido.

5. f. despect. prostituta.

Unlike Arabic, in Spanish, a fulana (the feminine) refers to a prostitute and not in a nice way. Another example of the sexism inherent in the language is how un cualquiera is just a random person, but una cualquiera again means...whore.

Here is a good video I found that demonstrates the absurdity of the situation.

Another word with a similar meaning that we use, at least in Madrid, is the word menda, which as far as I can tell only exists in Spain. It is a Calo word, derived from the language of the Spanish Romani. Calo has left a pretty deep mark on Spanish slang. For example, the word molar means to be cool, awesome, and is omnipresent in Spain and comes from Calo. I suppose the frequency of these words in your everyday lexicon depends on your socio-economic status. My friends and I weren't exactly squeaky clean. So instead of saying policia (police), we could also say the maduro (the cops) or the Calo pestañí (the pigs, I suppose would be an English equivalent?).

Menda usually refers to the 1st person, but is used as if it were a third person. In other words, este menda ya no quiere hablar contigo would mean 'this person doesn't want to talk with you anymore' but really means I don't want to talk with you. But it's also used like fulano as a reference to someone you don't want to name. Who was that whatshisface?

I am looking for work next year. My first choice is Belarus or Iran, as some of my best friends are Belarussian and Iranian. I learned Persian in university and I've been really wanting to live in the Islamic Republic, but I haven't had much luck finding work there. However, I've had positive responses from companies in Belarus and Uzbekistan, so I will be interviewing a lot in the next month.

Did you know that there are Uzbeks of Korean ancestry? A lot of Koreans were deported en masse during the early days of the Soviet Union to countries in Central Asia primarily. So if I go there, I wouldn't feel so out of place. :D
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby Jar-Ptitsa » Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:27 pm

I love your log, and the post on 13 Feburary was wonderful!!! If you publish a book I will buy it for sure.
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby nooj » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:52 pm

I found a list that shows just how extensive the sexist binary is in Spanish Spanish. When you put it like this, it is hard to deny.

Compare in English bachelor/spinster or master/mistress or governor/governess.

Zorro = Un hombre listo
Zorra = Una puta
Fulano = Un hombre cualquiera
Fulana = Una puta
Guarro = Un hombre que no se asea mucho
Guarra = Una puta
Golfo = Un hombre poco trabajador y un gamberro
Golfa = Una puta
Hombre público = Un hombre que trabaja cara al público
Mujer pública = Una puta
Regalado = Hombre generoso
Regalada = Una puta
Buscón = Un hombre que busca cosas
Buscona = Una puta
Un hombre alegre = Un hombre que muestra alegría
Una mujer alegre = Una puta
Un fresco = Un hombre desvergonzado
Una fresca = Una puta
Un puerco = Un hombre sucio
Una puerca = Una puta
Un aventurero = Un hombre arriesgado, valiente
Una aventurera = Una puta
Un hombre de la vida = Un hombre con mucha experiencia
Una mujer de la vida = Una puta
Un sucio = Un hombre sucio, manchado
Una sucia = Una puta
Un hombre abierto = Un hombre extrovertido
Una mujer abierta = Una puta
Un lobo = Un hombre astuto
Una loba = Una puta
Un hombre mundano = Un hombre cordial
Una mujer mundana = Una puta
Un hombre del oficio = Un profesional de algo
Una mujer del oficio = Una puta
Un bicho = Un hombre ruin
Una bicha = Una puta
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Re: Nooj's language journey

Postby Tomás » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:38 pm

Putas must be very important people for the language to give them so much attention.
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