Wednesday, October 25, 2006

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Poet, badass, and rockslinga pal Hayan Charara is now guest-blogging about topics as varied as sexy Arab potentates, name changes, rejection, and Arab American poetry, over at Arabisto. Check it out.

Here is a snippet:
Arab Name Substitution happens a lot, too. The premise here is that a name is too difficult to pronounce, so rather than butcher it or even make an attempt, the original is dropped for a new and improved version.

Some examples:

Mike = Mohammed
Charlie = Khalil
Abe = Abdul
Ed = Ahmad
This is an equal opportunity name game.
Sue = Saada
Jamie = Jamila
And my personal favorite:
Babbette = Ibtisam
Mispronouncing, on the other it really that hard? I’ve been called “High-on,” “High-yeen,” “Chai-yon,” “Ha-non,” and, technically a mispronunciation, “Hasan.”

It could be worse, I suppose. I could have an African name. A friend from high school was named Abiyamifalukemenarakuma. African names seem to get it worse than Arabic names. On top of mispronouncing, misspelling, substituting, and getting it all wrong, they get edited too. Most of my high school classmates just cut out the last twenty letters of Abiyamifalukemenarakuma’s name.


That’s a girl’s name. That’s a coming-of-age-1980s-movie-girl-actor-name. That’s hardly a beautiful African name.


Blogger Elka said...

hey! i just got my horsey journal! thank you so much, it's pretty!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Industriage said...

just googled my way here inadvertently...looking for something on hanif kureishi. anyway, i really enjoy your blog--keep up the good work =)

check us out if you get a second:

12:13 PM  

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