Arabic names and words in other languages
Thread poster: Ouadoud

Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
English to Arabic
+ ...
Apr 15, 2005

Answering Parrot's gentle invitation, I launch this thread inspired from the latter:
http://www.proz.com/topic/31060

I think that the use defines the ultimate choice: the example of Coran is quite constructive.

We have Quran, Koran, Coran .. It may be also fixed by some linguistic institutions or whatever specialists.

As translators and/or interpreters, we may participate in the debates, but the first concern is often what's the right word to use.

Salaam

Ouadoud


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:15
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It all began with 'wadi' Apr 15, 2005

(not having the keyboard capacity, I had to write in Word using the symbols option, but I can't seem to paste that without the order of the letters getting jumbled).

By the rules of Spanish orthography, any word with an initial "w" sound gets transcribed "gu" (and this went as far as to include whiskey, "güisqui" in the past). Hence, the names Guadalquivir (wadi'l kabeer), Guadalajara (wadi'l hijara), Guadix (wad-ish), etc.. At any rate, the "guad" prefix is one indicator of Arabic etymology in Spanish, (the article "al" being more common, of course). In English, this is simply "Wad(i)", usually appearing in proper place names, and in French "oued". This leads to the problem of *options* when consulting Arabic-derived words on a search engine.

To illustrate: any one who has had to study the Umayyad/Omeyan/Omeyad/Omayad dynasty will understand the geometrical implications of this kind of consultation: it doesn't matter if you do it on the Internet or in books, it multiplies the task by the number of accepted possibilities.

A second problem ("Qur'an" is a good example) is the lack of exact equivalence between certain Arabic and Latin consonants. (Latin has only one "T", only one hard "K" sound, no 'ain or glottal stop, etc.), and it is not expected of writers and historians that they be cognizant of transcription rules when they produce their texts. Complicating the picture is the fact that not all readers are linguists, and many are under the false assumption that there can be only one or two transcriptions possible. For example, the all-English reader would hardly think of looking up French transcriptions, even when those same transcriptions have been "blindly" incorporated into his everyday vocabulary.


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Mark Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:15
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Is there some standardization? Jul 21, 2005

I am just wondering if there are some standardized spellings of certain Arabic words that are commonly used or written in other languages, such as month names.

Since there are many Muslims in Europe, for example, are there standardized spellings (in Latin script) of hijriyyah months, say like Jummada ul-Awal.

I am curious because there are standards of such spellings in Indonesia, which predominantly uses Latin script as well, but Indonesian spelling standards don't seem appropriate for English translations, because some of the characters are pronounced differently. And sometimes, people use the Javanese month names, which don't always correspond with the Arabic names.


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
In English... Jul 21, 2005

mark oliver wrote:

I am just wondering if there are some standardized spellings of certain Arabic words that are commonly used or written in other languages, such as month names.

Since there are many Muslims in Europe, for example, are there standardized spellings (in Latin script) of hijriyyah months, say like Jummada ul-Awal.

I am curious because there are standards of such spellings in Indonesia, which predominantly uses Latin script as well, but Indonesian spelling standards don't seem appropriate for English translations, because some of the characters are pronounced differently. And sometimes, people use the Javanese month names, which don't always correspond with the Arabic names.



I can only speak for the English language as a native speaker, but as you pointed out about Indonesian, which does indeed use Latin script, sounds are different between different European languages (and all languages that use Latin script), even if (most of) the letters are the same; the letter J sounds different in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
In Indonesian, there may well be standard terms simply because these foreign words have been borrowed and permanently absorbed into the language. This is not the case with English, or I daresay other European languages, although there is standardisation to an extent. One of the main reasons for this, in English, is that, predominantly, English speakers who would use these terms (mostly Muslims and academics) are not Arabic speaking and many sounds in Arabic are hard to assimilate as English sounds. Take an Indonesian example, the word "kabar" in "apa kabar" (all the Indonesian I know!) is derived from the Arabic word "khabar", which means news in both languages, however the pronunciation of the word in both languages would make the term incomprehensible to speakers of the other language; of course, this happens too when words from other European languages are borrowed into English, or vice versa.
As concerns the "standardisation" of the Islamic months in English, the list is as follows. Of course, you will find variations, but these are the spelling that are preferred by most Muslims, the media and academics:
Muharram, Safar, Rabi Al-Awwal, Rabi Al-Thani, Jumada Al-Awwal, Jumada Al-Thani, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhul Qada, Dhul Hijjah. You might also find the following reference useful:
http://www.bahagia.btinternet.co.uk/hijri.html
For any others, please feel free to ask me.
I hope that helps, Aisha


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Mark Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:15
Indonesian to English
+ ...
thanks! Jul 21, 2005

Thank you for the list of month names, Aisha -- that's exactly what I was seeking.

Cheers,

Mark


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