Saturday, January 02, 2010

Siwi Scarborough Fair

Over the dinner mentioned in the last post I was also shown a Siwi poem sent as a text message - it's a rather below average example of the genre, but interesting as an representative illustration of Siwis' orthographic preferences.
كان تازمرت تجبد تيني
كان تفكت تعمار تازيري
كان اتغت تيرو اغي
كان امان نلبحورا يسقلبن اخي
كان الغم ينسخط ايزي
بردو شك غوري (غالي)
Or in Latin Berber orthography:
Kan tazemmurt tejbed tayni
Kan tfukt teɛmaṛ taziri
Kan tγatt tiṛew aγi,
Kan aman n lebḥuṛa yesqelben axi,
Kan alγem yensxeṭ izi,
Beṛdu cek γuṛi "γali".

So I decided to render it into English, taking a few liberties to reproduce the rhyme (for added faithfulness, change "flea" to "fly", and eliminate "someday" and "or three"):

If dates can come from an olive tree,
If the sun someday a moon shall be,
If a goat gives birth to a calf or three,
If milk fills the waters of every sea,
If a camel can turn itself into a flea -
Then only will you be dear to me.


deeperpolitics said...

I wish to know if you can help me with the following paragraph I found. If you do not speak local Arabic....maybe you could ask a friend to verify whether this statement is true.....Because if it is true then there are many implications.

Here is the statement:
"Ana raicha Al Qaeda" is colloquial for "I'm going to the toilet". A very common and widespread use of the word "Al-Qaeda" in different Arab countries in the public language is for the toilet bowl. This name comes from the Arabic verb "Qa'ada" which mean "to sit", pertinently, on the "Toilet Bowl". In most Arabs homes there are two kinds of toilets: "Al-Qaeda" also called the "Hamam Franji" or foreign toilet, and "Hamam Arabi" or "Arab toilet" which is a hole in the ground. Lest we forget it, the potty used by small children is called "Ma Qa'adia" or "Little Qaeda".
So, if you were forming a terrorist group, would you call yourself, "The Toilet"?
End Quote
The statement came from an article written many years ago....which I happened to save.

I simply wish to verify whether 'al qaida' or 'al qaeda' or 'ma qa'adia' or 'little qaeda' or 'qa'ada' has anything to do with the meaning 'to sit' or pertaining to the 'toilet bowl'

deeperpolitics said...

That article was found by google search for

deeperpolitics said...

Fake al qaeda .... was the term to search for. The comment section doesn't seem to want to let it be printed?

idlisen_nnegh said...


Asefru yagi yezmer ad yili akka s Teqbaylit/ ce poème peut être rendu de cette façon en Kabyle :

Lukan tazemmurt ad efk tini
Lukan tafukt ad tuɣal d tizir
Lukan taɣaṭ ad arew agenduz
Lukan alɣem ad yuɣal d izi
Imir-en kečč ɣuri ad tuɣaleḍ " ɣali"

-Lukan (en arabe) se dit en Kabyle mais on utilise surtout lemmer;
- On dit ttmer (mot arabe) en Kabyle mais tini est également connu en vieux Kabyle (ma mère connait ce mot);
- z>x dans certaines variantes de Tamazighte axi<azi en Kabyle izi;
- ɣali: en Kabyle on dit ɣlay, le mot est d'origine arabe.