Wednesday, November 9, 2011

aHebb ashrab shay

Upcoming month will pass under the sign of linguistic laziness, but not quite. Because of the holidays I'm putting off books and dictionaries as it would be difficult to drag them to the other end of the world, that is to the south-east Asia. But I wouldn't be myself if I didn't smuggle at least one book in my suitcase. All in all you have to do something on the beach, apart from admiring the way the waves are being formed or showing amazement seeing latest fashion of beachwear, searching in vain for a scrap of shadow under the palm leaves. And how to chase away the boredom, if not with a book? 

A book suits the purpose well, of which my countrymen get conviced every day using this handy item to chase flies bees or other mosquitos away from their TV sets.
The book which will serve me this year to chase away my boredom on the beach is „Rozmówki egipskie” („Egyptian phrasebook”) published in Cracow. Very well made position with over 300 pages. I wanted to buy it for quite a time and finally succumbed. The problem was by no means the cost of purchase. The price printed on the cover is 19.99 PLN, so it's not a prohibitive one. But I paid for it... about seven times less, that is 2.99 PLN. Obviously, despite the fact that the Poles flock to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada only a few must have attempted to learn just a few words in the language of the natives, thus such a low price.
Problem lies in the phonetic transcription adopted in the book, quite different from what I've been accustomed to learning from other books. I was hoping to find a better position, with Arabic script, but unfortunately I couldn't.

Why Egyptian Arabic?
Egypt occupies a special place among the 22 Arab countries because the language spoken by its inhabitants is the most common and recognizable dialect. Sometimes these dialects differ so much from each other that you can say they're different languages. This is due to politicial and cultural position of Egypt, and especially Cairo with its most common variety. The Egyptian dialect is used, or even promoted, in situations, in which in other countries people are encouraged to use literary language, that means on the radio, TV and in movies.
As to the scripture, generally dialects are rarely written, usually when you have to write something you use literary form. But since the emergence of the Internet, more and more often, especially commenting texts, on forums and blogs people tend to use the language the speak in everyday life.

Title: Rozmówki egipskie” („Egyptian Phrasebook”)
Author: Ignacy Nasalski
Publisher: Krakowskie Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 2008
Pages: 320
Size: 11x17 cm

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