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Die agyptisch-arabischen Dialekte, vol. 4: Glossar, Arabisch-Deutsch.

By PETER BEHNSTEDT and MANFRED WOIDICH. Beihefte zum Tubinger Atlas des vorderen Orients, series B, no. 50.4. Wiesbaden: DR. LUDWIG REICHERT VERLAG, 1994. Pp. xiii + 513. DM 98.

If your sun bread is triangular, you must be in Kom Lolah! For those who have not yet had the chance to visit Egypt's more obscure backwaters, this work provides a vicarious linguistic tour through Kafr il-Ballas, il-Kitkateh, Izbit il-Basili and a host of towns and villages throughout Egypt. And whether you need to adjust a plow, build an oven, or fix a water wheel on the way, you won't be at a loss for words. This Arabic-German glossary is volume four, part one of Die agyptisch-arabischen Dialekte. The first is an introduction, the second dialectal maps (1983), and the third texts, in two parts, from the Delta (1987) and from the Nile valley and the oases (1988); the last part of the work, volume four, part two, is a German-Arabic glossary, scheduled to appear soon. The volume under review provides a great deal of information-on the vocabulary of regional Egyptian dialects, covering the entire country, from the bedouins of the Libyan desert to the fishermen of Alexandria and the Red Sea, to the peasants of the deep Sa id. It draws not only on extensive field work the authors conducted between 1975 and 1983, but also on a number of published linguistic studies and specialized works on Egyptian folklore, baby-talk, agriculture, flora, and fauna.

The authors are careful to point out that this is a glossary, not a systematic dictionary. It does not claim to be comprehensive, and only includes the particular forms recorded by the authors or published in the studies they consulted. Thus, many nouns appear only in the singular and verbs in only the perfect or the imperfect. No single regional dialect is covered in full. Nevertheless, the work contains a great deal of information, over 6,000 root entries and approximately 23,000 individual items. Each citation is ascribed to a specific location and/or region, and cross-references to related entries are frequently provided. Particularly evident in the collection is dialectal material from the oases, the B eri Arabs (between Thebes and Isna), the Awlad Ali bedouin of the western desert, and the Ababda bedouin of southern Egypt. Much of the material has to do with agriculture, including names for the various parts of plows, water-wheels and other water-raising devices, the methods of preparing fields and planting various crops, methods of tending to date-palms, types of fish, parts of boats, and so on. The technical terms, such as those describing the five successive clover harvests (p. 502) or the various products produced from milk (p. 428), will be useful for specialists in agriculture and material culture. In addition, the glossary contains fascinating linguistic material of general interest.

The chief achievement of the glossary - as of Die agyptisch-arabischen Dialekte as a whole - is to provide a record of the linguistic variety found in Egypt. Despite Cairene Arabic's undisputed status as the nation's prestige dialect, and despite the economic and political centralization that, together with radio, television, and cassette tapes, have enabled it to make vast inroads on local dialects in the course of this century, the glossary makes it perfectly clear that Cairene is not the only "Egyptian" Arabic. Wont to display, with some pride, that their dialect is not simply Cairene Arabic spoken with an accent, Sa idis cite the sentence ayyatt ale fanas ma-ddallas "ich rief nach ihm, er schaute heraus, kam aber nich runter" (p. 360), generally incomprehensible to Cairenes. In the Daxla oases, one might hear the scolding prohibition ma-ti goms "rede nicht Kairenisch!" (p. 367). The glossary provides large arrays of variants for common words such as "now" (Cairene dilwa ti) - dilwa, dilwax, dilwaxt, dilwaxti, dilwag, dilwagt, dilwak, dilwakt, dilwaket, dilwakiti, dilwaq, dirwax, durwak, dirwaxiti, dirwaxitik, durwaxiti, diwwa ti, duwa ti, dilge, dilwan, dilgeti, digge, dalag, dok, dokhiti, halwagt, halwagit and so on - or "frog" (Cairene dufda) - gafda a, gifdi a, gufda a, gufda a, ga rura, ga rura, ga oya, ga u a, ga rona, du udfa, du udfa, du duf, du dufa, du dafa, and others. Many particular items cited match their Cairene counteparts in meaning and only differ phonetically in expected ways. To judge from the soap operas on national television, every Cairene knows g > g or d and q or > g in Sa idi dialect; gaww "Wetter" or giwwiz "verheiraten," iggawwaz "heiraten," dahs "Esel," girba "Wassersack, Butterschlauch," garmut "ein Nilfish: Clarias anguillaris" for gaww, gawwiz, iggawwiz, gahs, irba, and armut are thus not surprising. Other slight differences include the treatment of sef "Sommer" as a feminine noun: assef gat (p. 271) and differences in the vowel patterns of verbs - sarab, yisrab "trinken" (p. 232), as opposed to Cairene sirib. Some of the changes met with, however, are quite surprising, as is the case with gur an (p. 333) and gur an (p. 374) for the Qur an. Similarly unusual are many vocabulary items of the Ababda bedouin, such as sadanob "Fleisch" (p. 203); gasrab "Lugner" (p. 377); kadars "Fellache (Schimpfwort)" (p. 410); na alot "cunnus" (p. 463) helekib "junge(r) Esel(in)" (p. 491); hamas el "junger Hase" (p. 492). Interesting phonetic and morphological features include ilfa al/yilfa al for infa al/yinfa al in the Xarga oases: e.g., yilwaga "krank werden" (p. 506), or the lengthening of short vowels in the final syllables of verbs in the Daxla oases: e.g., hawwad, yihawwed ilard "Bewasserungsbeete anlegen" (p. 102).

The ascription of recorded items to specific locations provides linguists with crucial data for the determination of isoglosses, the description of Egyptian dialectal groups, and Arabic dialectology in general. Nevertheless, the information included is far from complete. Occasional comparisons or cross-references with Cairene Arabic - explaining that xartasa "short-cut" in the Xarja Oases (p. 112) corresponds to Cairene taxrima - are useful but not at all systematic. The reader is often left unaware that a word cited as occurring in the oases or the Sa id, for example, is quite common in Cairo and probably throughout the rest of Egypt as well. Thus, the glossary informs us that abu saksuka "ein Mann mit Spitzbart" (p. 211) occurs in the B eri region of the Sa id, when it is common throughout Egypt. The comment that a particular term occurs throughout Egypt only appears once in the glossary, with regard to hurmaniye "menses" (p. 83), but one supposes it should occur much more often.

The glossary's main shortcoming, in the opinion of the reviewer, is that it has not been compared or checked carefully with the material included in the Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic of El-Said Badawi and Martin Hinds (Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1986; hereafter DEA), arguably the best dictionary of any Arabic dialect to date, and of considerable relevance to the material covered in the glossary. The introduction to the glossary states that the DEA is devoted to the educated colloquial of Cairo and claims that it mentions rural dialectal items only occasionally. This characterization is not entirely fair, since the DEA contains many low-colloquial items and material from rural dialects having to do with specific topics, such as bread ovens. The DEA provides sketches of many rural implements, all of which are covered in the appropriate entries. It also includes a great deal of specialized vocabulary such as the terminology of woodworking and other crafts. While the glossary's introduction states that general vocabulary used throughout Egypt with only minor phonetic variations, such as tawil "long, tall" or gadid "new," will not be included in the glossary, it nevertheless frequently includes words which are common in Cairene Arabic. Hundreds of individual items and often entire entries duplicate material found in the DEA.

All in all, the volume represents the most significant advance in the lexicography of Egyptian Arabic since the DEA. In many cases, its definitions of items having to do with material culture, such as baskets, types of jars, and so on, are more detailed and more specific than those in the DEA. In addition to its specific rural and/or regional material, it includes many common words that belong in the DEA but were somehow overlooked, such as, for example, salawlaw, mallow soup made from dried rather than fresh muluxiyya (p. 247); insan tumuhi "Karrierehengst" (p. 290); fizba "Motorroller" (p. 353); makrukrum "Mercurochrom" (p. 454); mumis "Nutte" (p. 458).

That having been said, in some cases the DEA's definitions are more precise than those given in the glossary - as, for example, zannuba, a type of sandals commonly called "flip-flops" in the U.S. The glossary gives the definition "Sandale" and reports that this term is used in the Bahariya Oasis (p. 191), whereas the DEA defines this word - which occurs throughout Egypt - as "rubber sandals consisting of a flat sole fastened to the foot by thongs between the toes" (DEA, 383). The glossary has for sakka "schlechtes Haschisch," when sakka is a general term meaning "third-rate, of poor quality" (see DEA, 421). For kirdan, the glossary has "Halskette, Collier" (p. 411), but the DEA has "heavy gold necklace with pendant decorations (e.g., see Pl. F, 20)" (DEA, 742). The word kakola is defined as "besonderer Kaftan des Scheichs" in the glossary, but in the DEA as "long straight overcoat with buttons down the front and half-collar (usually worn by members of the Muslim religious professions, see Pl. F, 15)" (DEA, 757). The glossary defines karaf, yikaraf (Xarga oases) as "uble Geruche riechen" and karif (Daxla) as "einen Geruch habend (Tee)" (p. 413), neither of which is specific enough; the DEA explains that karaf, yukruf means "to absorb an odour from surroundings (of food, and the like)" (DEA, 794) - this typically happens when tea is stored in the same cupboard as perfumed soap.

Many of the phrases identified in the glossary as Alexandrian are also normal Cairene Arabic, though some of these belong to slang or vulgar language. Nearly all of these words are recorded in DEA, including the following items: es bayit "altbackenes Brot" (p. 43); istara bi-bos il id "er hat es unter grossen Schwierigkeiten erworben" (p. 40); ragil xalbus "Weiberheld, alter Bock" (p. 119); gab dalamitha "er hat ihr einen Orgasmus verschafft" (p. 141); hittit din bint "ein verdammt hubsches Madschen" (p. 152); sarah bi "er hat ihm einen Baren aufgebunden" (p. 204); istara xatru "er hat Respekt vor ihm" (p. 237); ta a "Mahl, Mahlzeit" (p. 288); ya tant! "Anrede an die Mutter eines freundes" (p. 291); illi yixaf min afrit yitla lu "mal nicht den Teufel an die Wand!" (p. 316) [usually min ilafrit, as in DEA, 586]. Other completely normal Cairene expressions include ya mi affin "Mistkeri!" (p. 317); ala gafla "unversehens" (p. 338); gur "hau ab!" (p. 341); falso "gefalscht (Munze, Antiquitat)" (p. 358). Almost all of the items identified as baby-talk, to which Margaret Omar devoted an independent study, are recorded in the DEA as well.

A number of definitions and other linguistic comments in the work bear correction. The glossary states that bambuti "Verkaufer aus dem Boot" derives from English "*man + boat" (p. 36), when it actually derives from English "bumboat," a boat from which provisions are sold in a harbor, as it is identified in DEA, 104. It is difficult to believe that bed, pl. buyud, obviously related to bed "eggs," means "penis" in the dialect of the Abbadi bedouin (p. 43), rather than testicles, as do similar terms in many other dialects of Arabic. The noun diyal, diyul is defined as "Penis" and is to be understood as a metaphorical usage of del "tail" (p. 74). It seems more likely that diyal here is related to the North African genitive exponent diyal "belonging to, pertaining to." Like its common Egyptian counterpart bita, this term probably came to mean "thing," in general, and sexual organ, either male or female. The invariable noun abu galambu is defined as "Hummer," that is, "lobster" (p. 141), when it actually means "crab." The verb istanat, yistanat is defined as "nicht horen wollen" (p. 219), but "to eavesdrop" is more likely, as that is the sense of the related verb itsannat, yitsannat. The glossary defines mi ar aba, recorded in the Daxla Oases, as "Mistvieh (Schimpfwort)," approximately "filthy beast" (p. 308). As the DEA reports, ar uba, pl. ara ib means "Achilles' tendon" or "crack in dry earth" (DEA, 574). This insult should probably be related to umm ara ib "<deris> a skinny woman" (DEA, 574), referring to a woman who is reduced to bones and tendons, or, alternatively, an undesirable woman who has cracks or callouses on her feet and legs. The Sa idi insult ya maklabuk is explained as a distortion of mat abuk "your father died" (p. 454), which seems unlikely given that the phrase also occurs as ya wakl abuk - literally, "you who have eaten your father." The initial m- in maklabuk, rather than being a remnant of an original mat "died," could be from a variant active participle makil (cf. North African mazi "coming"). One might be tempted to explain this insulting phrase as a modern equivalent of the classical Arabic insult udda hana abik "bite your father's -----," which forms a pair with the more common umsus bazra ummik "suck your mother's -----," but the sense intended here, native consultants maintain, is that one's actions are so reprehensible or morally depraved as to cause the ruin or disgrace of one's own father. The baby-talk word for "food" is given as mumm, citing al-Shaykh Mubarak and Margaret Omar (p. 458), when it should be mam or mammah (DEA, 834).

Typographical errors are few, given the amount of material in the work.

P. 5R (right column), 1.8 yi azzzan [right arrow] yi azzan

P. 28L (left column), 1. 45 btns [right arrow] btns

P. 45R, ll. 34-35. The entry tty omits several words in the translation of the rhyming phrase. . . amma-ytati, sayil ilgirba wi l igl ittlati "wie er gebuckt geht und den Wassersack und ein dreijahriges Kalb tragt"

P. 53R, 1. 34 wie gaben es auf [right arrow] wir gaben es auf

P. 57L, 1. 26 dihhes [right arrow] dihhes

P. 57R, 1. 7 mgahhem [right arrow] mgahhem

P. 80R, 1. 11 ha:dd [right arrow] ha:dd

P. 83R, 1. 2 nihirg [right arrow] nihrig

P. 87L, 1. 3 hassal [right arrow] hassal

P. 93R, 1. 15 Kochopf [right arrow] Kochtopf

P. 124R, 1. 27 xunsur [right arrow] xunsur

P. 147R, 1. 13 iddar da [right arrow] iddawr da

P. 182L, 1. 36 zahahif [right arrow] zahahif

P. 185R, 1. 31 zarrraga [right arrow] zarraga

P. 202L, 1. 42 sexseziyye [right arrow] sexsexiyye

P. 229L, 1. 26 sahhata [right arrow] sahhata

P. 230L, 1. 24 saxxas [right arrow] saxxas

P. 240L, 1. 41 Stuck Bort [right arrow] Brot

P. 261L, 1. 5 sixsix [right arrow] sixsix

P. 264L, 1. 14 sitsit [right arrow] sitsit

P. 269L, 1. 36 sananir [right arrow] sananir

P. 271L, 1. 15 sab [right arrow] sab

P. 274L, 1. 27 yidarrab [right arrow] yidarrab

P. 353L, 1. 21 zerrrissen [right arrow] zerrissen

P. 355L, 1. 19 itfudddulaw [right arrow] itfuddulaw

P. 355R, 1. 47 fattat [right arrow] fattat

P. 367L, 1. 13 ma-ti gams [right arrow] ti goms

P. 384L, 1. 22 gattas, yigattas [right arrow] gattas, yigattas

P. 385L, 1. 32 albbe a t [right arrow] albe a t

P. 391R 1. 29-30 des Zucker-ohrs [right arrow] Zucker-rohrs

P. 394L, 1. 46 Zuckerrrohrs [right arrow] Zuckerrohrs

P. 421R 1. 3 kummandar [right arrow] kumandar

P. 421R 1. 5 kummandan [right arrow] kumandan

P. 441R, 1. 1 zemurbt [right arrow] zermurbt

P. 450R 1. 36 mast [right arrow] mast


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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Stewart, Devin J.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1999
Previous Article:Family and the Courts in Modern Egypt: A Study based on Decisions by the Shari a Courts, 1900-1955.
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