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Let's do proverbs

  • 1426

Hello guys,
I was thinking how about adding something here so some of you might expand their knowledge of Arabic and gain more vocabulary, and I thought maybe classical music and proverbs or sayings are some good ways to do this. If this proves to be beneficial, then I might add some more posts like this in the future (whenever I have the time to, as I'm typing this in a weekend at almost 12 AM!). So, let's see a proverb now!

الناسُ أعداءُ ما جَهِلوا

Translation: People are enemies for what they don't know.
Transliteration: an-násu aądá'u má jahilú

الناسُ: the people
أعداءُ: enemies
ما: what
جَهِلوا: they did not know

First, for the transliteration here, I've used my own system and replaced (3) for [Ayn:ع] with A-ogonek (ą), so remember this is NOT a vowel here. I kind of hate to use numbers like in Duolingo, but if you like them please leave a comment below and I might change them accordingly. Many people say that numbers between letters do confuse them. My system is not any better but I try to stick to Latin characters as much as possible. You can find about my own transliteration method here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9goaz5e3syj6e8y/abjd.docx?dl=0

My system is not perfect though but it is the best I could think of.

We see here the differences in style and in the tense of the verbs. While the proper translation in English uses the present tense (probably would work in past tense as well?), in Arabic the proverb originally comes in a past tense (جهلوا). Another thing to notice is that the verb (جهلوا) ends with Alif (ا) but this Alif comes in combination with Waw (و) to form (ـوا) in the end of "3rd plural past tense verb" and the Alif here is silent and not spelled out. It is called Waw Al-Jamáąah (واو الجماعة) [Waw of the group]. It is a plural marker for the past tense and to what I've read, this Alif is added just as a marker to distinguish it from the normal Waw (و) which might in some verbs come in the end naturally as part of the verb itself. Thus, this Alif is just a marker, and not pronounced. I'll keep it simple for now and I won't delve deeper into the grammar.

I would have loved to record an audio with this but I'm not sure if this is possible on Duolingo's forum (other than uploading it somewhere and put a link). However, I hope this short proverb is beneficial.

July 18, 2019



Shokran! - I haven't managed to install Arabic keyboard properly. Is this a saying known throughout many Arabic speaking countries or is it specific to one country?

  • 1426

It's a classical saying and every Arab is supposed to know what it means actually. Regardless of the dialect they speak.

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