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|English to Arabic translations [Non-PRO]|
|English term or phrase: girl|
First I would like to invite gordon to clarify his question. Did you mean to ask for the Arabic word for "girl," or did mean to ask for suggestions for an Arabic girl's name?
If you meant to ask about the Arabic word for "girl," then please specify the context in which you intended to use the word. What sentence do you need to construct, and how do you intend to use it? As you can see, the lack of clarity has generated needless controversy among the Arabic ProZ members.
Second, I would like to invite the Arabic-speaking members to focus a bit more when addressing a question. I see no need to pile upon PaLa's case. If you don't like the answer you see, the step to take should be to offer your own answer, which will, let us hope, be more helpful to gordon.
I do not mean to eliminate the "disagree" voting option. The option is a legitimate one, if we use it with an eye on helping the service user, rather than on a side controversy. In the case of this question, the focus seems to have shifted from addressing gordon's question to picking on PaLa's suggestion that BINT was derogatory.
PaLa admitted to knowing no Arabic. The information provided in PaLa's answer was obtained through a web search (links were provided). Getting on PaLa's case helps no one. Providing an alternative answer will help all parties concerned.
Should PaLa have ventured an answer? Absolutely. This forum is for all. All answers should be treated equally. An answer is either correct or not. Non-Arabic-speaking members have provided perfectly correct answers before.
To demonstrate the futility of the controversy around the word BINT and its supposed derogatory status, let us consider the following two points:
1. I hardly know a word that hasn't been used in a derogatory sense by someone at some time. In English, the words "girl," "female," "woman," and even "lady" and “mother” have been used in an insulting way (this is not to mention the near and far synonyms that are intrinsically demeaning, which I will refrain from parading here). Come to think of it, the words "boy," “baby,” “babe,” "man," "guy," "dude," and even "person" have been used in a pejorative way as well. This happens in every language, every dialect, and every culture.
2. Is "bint" particularly derogatory IN ENGLISH? It most certainly is. The English word "bint," which is rarely used today, (MS Word spell checker does not recognize it)) is a relic of British colonialism. One of the most curious ways in which colonial powers tried to appropriate the cultures that they subjugated was to invent vocabularies that purport to define these cultures. Words like HAREEM, JIHAD, SHAYKH, MAHR, DIYA, ISLAM, and countless others have been redefined, not only to cast an outlandish shadow upon the culture that such words represent, but also to assert the ownership of and hegemony over the conquered peoples to which such words referred. Whoever owns the dog gets to name it. BINT is no exception.
I present these facts not to shift the focus of our discussion back to the controversy over BINT, but rather to show that that the controversy itself is not worth pursuing. When an Arabic word is absorbed into English, no one should expect it to retain much of its original meaning. A whole inventory of Arabic words have suffered this fate, but that hardly matters. Our focus is the Arabic word, not its English alter ego.
In fact, our focus should be to address the question, as follows:
1. We should impress upon our good friend gordon the importance of clarifying his intent, and that without such a clarification we would be hard pressed to provide a meaningful, helpful answer. The best way to do so is to click on the link "Request more info from asker" in the question box. ProZ members should train themselves to refrain from answering poorly contextualized questions.
2. In terms of answering the question itself (if it can be answered at all without some clarification from gordon), the more serious question is whether BINT is really a good translation of "girl" or not, not whether it is derogatory or not. So far, only roum has provided an alternative, FATA (which, incidentally, is used in Romanian as well, along with a cute diminutive form used especially for "little girl"). What about SABIYYA? BNAYYA (the word I grew up with)?
I find it gratifying that of late the number of Arabic-speaking ProZ members contributing to this forum has increased, and the quality of contributions has significantly improved. I think we can do even better by addressing the questions, by focusing on helping the service users, and by insisting on sufficient contextual information. Side controversies can be interesting in themselves, but let us focus on the original question.
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4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
17 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): -2
Bint, believe it or not...
"Bint" apparently means "girl" or "daughter" in Arabic. See the first link below, to a women's chatroom, where they discuss to what extent it's a derogatory term.
In "Steptoe & Son", it was always pretty derogatory...
(Please note that I don't speak a word of Arabic, and only just found this out myself!)
www.cs.hut.fi/~pno/Fiction/apf/apf7.gdsgds.html - 16k