Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mother tongue


Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 243

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page of backlog opinions and events is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory

Do I master my mother tongue?  Do I have one? I was born in a French colony in Africa (Rep. of Mali) and lived there to the age of 6 when I fell ill with a deadly disease and barely managed to survive.  Consequently, I must have learned to speak and write in French first, and most probably I was conversant in the Bambara dialect, since I was surrounded by Malian helpers and my closest “guardian angel” was a mute young man:  Thus, I might have learned sign language too.

Bambara is an oral language that was spoken by animist tribes in the current State of Mali with Capital Bamako.

The main barrier for formal Arabic language to become international is that the words have religious undertone and you can barely find significant words that you can claim to be religiously neutral and expresses your opinions:  Usually, expressions relate to tribal, and nomadic traditional life-style.

It is difficult to freely express your honest opinion in formal Arabic, simply because the words are coined in Islamic culture and connote religious meaning, whether you like it or not. The slang in every “Arabic” countries are filling the void and expressing the spirit and traditions of the Land

Amadou Hampate Ba (1900-1991) had said: “In the oral civilization of Africa, once an old wise man dies it is an entire library that closes.”

Trump: Prophet Mohammad crucified Jesus.

Chain working conditions? Serbian workers in a multinational electronic company in Slovakia: Up at 4:30, waiting in line to enter the factory, Not allowed to look right or left or even stoop, swollen hands, no sensation in the legs, relentlessly waiting for the next TV to be assemble for hours. Waiting in line to take showers, to eat, to drink, to going to WC, boarding the buses, all the time counting bolts, parts, counting the hours, the days… Line, chain work, sweat-shop factories

Wars, pre-emptive wars: Uncanny direct connections to Sovereign public debts of militarily weaker nations

Drop-shipping? For men of a certain demographic, the ads (which can also follow you around the internet, and occasionally sell counterfeit goods) might be peddling hipster watches;

For women, perhaps it’s classy lingerie. In many cases they’re the result of a peculiar e-commerce phenomenon of the moment. No physical middlemen or retailers, but nebulous on-line support scams pros.

Shopify is the 20,000-pound gorilla of the drop-shipping world, integrated with apps like Oberlo that enable sellers to offer up goods directly from AliExpress

The US Postal Service gets no more than $1.50—cheaper for Chinese merchants to ship a package up to 4.4 lbs from Shenzhen to Des Moines than it costs to ship from, say, Seattle.

USPS calls it “ePacket,” and it’s the reason it’s so outrageously cheap to buy goods on AliExpress, the giant e-commerce portal owned by Alibaba, and ship them to the US—a favorite route of many drop-shippers. The US website Wish utilizes the same shipping method. Amazon is great at it.

Perfect vicious circle. Saad Hariri PM was asked why the highway from Beirut to Jounieh is always congested. He replied because we have no public transport, because the plans for alternative routes are Not carried out, because… But who is supposed to plan and execute all the projects?

Shou? Lebanon has $3bn in loans that was Not put to use in the last 2 years and still paying interest on that sovereign debt. And Lebanon is going to Paris to borrow more debts?

Our Lebanese Prime Minister said that the foreign loans expected to receive in Paris 4 will put to work 900,000 people in the coming 10 years. Does he means to include too all the refugees residing in Lebanon? We Barely have that many available people to work.

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Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 233

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page of backlog opinions and events is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory

By 1972, the game Spacewar! was popular enough that Rolling Stone sponsored the Spacewar! Olympics. The game became the basis for the first two coin-operated video gamesGalaxy Game and Computer Space—in the early ’70s, and was added to the Library of Congress in 2007.

Un Negationist est un attribu que la Hasbara Zionist attache a une personne reflechi qui ne tombe pas dans le nombre de 6 millions, pas plus, pas moins,  de juifs qui ont passe’ par les chambres a gas Nazi

 In March 29, 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra. A chemical compound called sildenafil citrate (useful to treat blocked arteries) for use as a prescription drug.

New York-based pharma giant Pfizer, tested this drug for only two years to push its little blue pill through the wringer of clinical trials the government requires before it’s called a medication safe and effective. Most drugs take about a decade.

In 1668:Dutch physician Regnier de Graaf discovers erections were the result of increased blood flow to the penis.

Go figure: 75% of Lebanon budget goes to pay public servants,  their retirement and interests on accumulated debt of at least $80 bn. Apparently, 50% of our debt were accumulated to produce public electricity that never materialized on the field of our infrastructure, but we still have to pay the interest and principal on our debt. The civil war militia/mafia “leaders” still rule and control Lebanon.

Go figure: loans borrowed internally by Lebanon government are charged 10% TVA, which are extracted from the poorer classes pockets. Lebanon refrain from foreign loans because they require active control of how projects are executed

March 28, 2018. Over 122,000 Syrians managed to exit Al Ghouta and 68 buses are ready to transfer the terrorist militias and their families to Edleb. (Currently surrounded by Syria armed forces, as the remaining bastion of terror resistance)

The terrorist faction Al Nusra never learn anything: Those transferred to Edleb are shelling the people in the town of Al Fou3a (Shias populated). The reaction is immediate: Russian jets will bomb them instantly and they die there before taking a day off from their crazy ignorant hate mongering of other minorities,

You hear frequently the question: “What is actually your mother tongue?” You may be very conversant in many languages, and more often than not, you may write better in a language that is not your “mother tongue”, meaning you master the grammar, syntax, and technical terminology of the foreign language better than your “mother tongue”, and you feel more comfortable and readier to express your rational thoughts writing in this foreign language.

You may master the writing in a foreign language, but does this mean that you are able to express your spirit and your culture in a foreign language?

First, practice actions in applying moral values before contemplating to study for acquiring knowledge and skills. This is the educational method of Confucius, found in the first chapter of his manuscript “Discussions“, which is the only book historian are sure to be written by Confucius, among many manuscripts attributed to him.

Majless al Inmaa2 wa E3maar ma biyokhda3 ila ayat hay2at rakabiyyat, etlaakan. Wa ma 7aajatana ila haaza al majless  al “radeef” min khaarej al dawlat? 

Limaza UN 3am tetdakhal bi Iraq wa tmaddi 3ala “wathikat sharaf” wa laissa bi Loubnaan aydan? Hal le2anna al taddakhol USA fi Loubnaan taaghi bi $1 milliar safarat?

Shokran baladiyyat Antilias: zabbatet mamar dayye2 lel moushaat bayn share3 wa share3. Kol ma tabbaka min masa7aat 3aamat mokfalat li private Parking lots 

7elo zaman al takaa3od: ma fi drourat tenzal 3ala Beirut lel shoghel wa tsammem badanak

 

My “Mother tongue”? Can formal Arabic become a universal language?

You hear frequently the question: “What is actually your mother tongue?”

You may be very conversant in many languages, and more often than not, you may write better in a language that is not your “mother tongue”, meaning you master the grammar, syntax, and technical terminology of the foreign language better than your “mother tongue”, and you feel more comfortable and readier to express your rational thoughts writing in this foreign language.

Does this mean that you are able to express your spirit and your culture in a foreign language?

This is the main role of slang:  You are using slangs in your “mother tongue” that connote deeper meaning and feeling than in any foreign language

Suppose that the other “foreign” party in the conversation is as versed in your mother tongue as you think you are, do you think that he may be able to express the same feeling as you feel?

Frequently, a slang word expresses a way of life that no longer exist because of the advance of modern life styles.

Does that mean we have got to be pragmatic and drop this word from our lexical, as if an expression must necessarily represent current real life?

Do I master my mother tongue?  Do I have one?

I was born in a French colony in Africa (Mali) and lived there to the age of 6 when I fell ill with a deadly disease and barely managed to survive.  Consequently, I must have learned to speak and write in French first, and most probably I was conversant in the Bambara dialect, since I was surrounded by Malian helpers and my closest “guardian angel” was a mute young man:  Thus, I might have learned sign language too.

Bambara is an oral language that was spoken by animist tribes in the current State of Mali with Capital Bamako.

Hampate Ba (see note) wrote that the Bambara tribes aided the French colonizers against the Moslem tribes in Senegal, until Islam became the main religion in Mali.

At age of 6, I was suddenly transferred to another continent and a totally different culture with, supposedly, a weather and climate better suitable to recurring tropical diseases.  I am left in a boarding school in the mountain and run by Christian Maronite monks.  The new formal language is Arabic, but the conversation is done in the Lebanese slang.

Six years later, I had totally forgotten French and barely learned formal Arabic.

I guess my lack of conversational skills could be due to this sudden shift in learning new languages with no proper transition.

My parents used to visit me one of every two summers; I used to spend summers with them as with strangers and never skipped an opportunity to run to my boarding school.

Another social and linguistic trauma was awaiting me.

My parents decided to close shop in Africa after Mali got its independence.  Now, my parents moved me to a French school in Beirut, run by Jesuits.

I had to repeat my year because my French was nil.  By the end of the year I was excellent in French writing and its grammar, but no better in conversing.

The next year, I was reading all the green and rose collections of French books, but none in Arabic.  The school taught us English three hours a week and I was very lousy:  A special teacher was hired to give me an edge in English at no avail or that’s how I felt.

I was good in writing formal Arabic and French but nil in any sort of conversation, excepting Lebanese slang.

Now, I can write in three languages Arabic, French and English, but I decided that English is my writing language:  I did higher education in the USA and lived there, on and off, for 20 years during my adulthood.

Obviously, I learned many US slang words and expressions and I know their meaning, but I would not dare confirm that I master the many slangs in the USA.

Anyway, I never acquired the correct tonality or the right emphasis on syllables:  Who can with 51 US States?  People recognize my French accent, though I don’t remember speaking French for more than 5 minutes at a time and with difficulty. Anyway, speaking in the US is a matter of sustained presence, since slangs keep changing, as their consumer products and services witness high turnover rate.

The Arab/Lebanese slang words and expressions are more natural to me:  I feel at home talking Lebanese, simply because I learned it a kid.  I never miss an occasion to reading Lebanese books that recount and describe the customs and traditions of the various Lebanese communities.

You would be surprised to realize that customs in the mountain regions are basically the same regardless of religion and history.

So, what is my mother tongue?

We all know that translating a slang is never even remotely accurate or capable of expressing the true cultural layers hidden under a slang word.  Unfortunately, we throw around slang words and expressions, simply because we overheard them frequently, but we are not versed in the true meaning of the word and its context that has a long history in our language and helped sustain our cultural way of life for centuries.

Confucius wrote: “First of all, a government should give priority to working on the correct usage of the terminology in the language.  If terminology is not widely correctly understood and uniform, discourse will be disorderly, orders are wrongly misinterpreted, and consequently, most orders stop being executed as intended.  If the forms and rituals are not conveniently stabilized then, social relationship are distorted and customs and rituals neglected, justice is not adequately rendered, and the kingdom is weakened.  Any new law must be enunciated in the clearest of terms and never proclaimed without thorough discussions, lest tyranny shows its ugly head”

A corollary to Confucius statement is that ancient and modern literature, written in a particular language, must be revised for the accurate meaning of words and expressions in their context.   A sustained massive education campaign to initiating newer generations to old manuscripts that reflect the spirit of the collective community must be taken most seriously.

Newer words and expressions disseminated as slang must be added to the language and their distinct meaning explained.

We have a problem with formal Arabic.

Moslem are taught the Koran and they memorize it; thus, they are far more familiar with the Arabic/Mecca language since they learn it as kids.

The other barrier is that formal Arabic words have religious undertone and you can barely find significant words that you can claim to be religiously neutral and expresses your opinions:  Usually, expressions relate to tribal, and nomadic traditional life-style.

Formal Arabic is inhibited by abstract notions that nomads could not appreciate: That is why you find Moslems giving preferences to Hadith (or what people overheard the messenger Muhammad having said) instead of the core religion principles and dogma of the Koran.

And, that is why formal Arabic never progressed to facing the challenges of universality standards in literature.   We cannot even expect the two dozens national Arabic slangs to keeping up with progress and changes since they all borrow words and expressions that are laden with religiously biased.

Consequently, “Arabs” who decided to write in foreign languages are sending the strong message that they do not want to be left out of universal civilization and fast transformations, especially the non-Moslems with positions and different life-styles.

It is difficult to freely express your honest opinion in Arabic, simply because the words are coined in Islamic culture and connote religious meaning, whether you like it or not.

The Lebanese who immigrated to Egypt at the turn of the 20th century did their best to enriching formal Arabic and selecting easier and nicer words.  The end result was just an advantage to Lebanese and Syrians writing in a pleasant language adapted to poetry, theater plays, and novels.

Note:  Amadou Hampate Ba (1900-1991) had said: “In the oral civilization of Africa, once an old wise man dies it is an entire library that closes.”  Hampate Ba spent his life documenting the stories, myths, and historical accounts of clans and tribes living in western Africa of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Fasso, and Ivory Coast.  He loved sitting around a bonfire at night listening to the “marabout and grios” telling their lively stories and taking notes.  He accumulated and  compiled vast numbers of documents that are still being regrouped and put in print.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2019
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