Tuesday, 14 August 2012

An entirely different tongue

My new language venture (which will inevitably end in failure and disappointment but hey I'll give it a go), is Arabic. I know it'll be exceptionally hard, but it has more use potentially than learning say, Korean, so hopefully my motivation will be higher. Especially now that my new favourite book's been delivered from Amazon.
Ladies and Gentleman I introduce to you, The Usborne, First thousand words in Arabic!
How amazing.

We had the English one of these at home when I was little- and I love this version because it's exactly the same, complete with western faces and British scenarios, just with Arabic words instead. I particularly like that there's a page devoted to 'the fair ground' but in the whole book there is no mention of a head scarf. Nothing has been altered to be culturally or socially more appropriate. I guess that's why I love it.

On a related note, I recently found an old dictionary from school. This is no ordinary dictionary, mind, but one that me and a friend compiled for our secret language, Flugen. Not content with back slang as a way of communicating- it being an entirely crackable code, we decided to make up our own language, word for word. This was serious business; hours were spent sitting in a bedroom or even up the ladder in the loft for added privacy, writing page upon page of Flugen words. And practising speaking to each other. In the end the project was short lived and we gave up, but looking back at the book made me laugh a lot, especially seeing what our priorities were in terms of important words or phrases. The main reason for Flugen’s existence was to allow us a forum for talking about people, especially boys. Perusing the Flugen dictionary, I discovered a definite trend towards a certain theme. Some favourites included: myben (fancy), ib (kiss), zlig (love) and zlup (vagina!). I think this last one is certainly a contender for a new addition to the Oxford English Dictionary.
And more important than even all that, the Flugen dictionary included a list of code names for all the people we wanted to talk about. Perfect.
The best phrase I remember practising was Le geebe tof gi funkle. I think you are fit. On reflection, however, it seems a bit of a silly one to learn, as if I said it to anyone I thought was 'fit' then they simply wouldn't understand and my efforts would be wasted.  
Apparently Jimba (my friend) and Jamba (me) had way too much free time as fourteen-year -olds. You gotta hand it to us though, it was genius. I wonder where we'd be now if we'd kept it up... Probably in a mental hospital somewhere jabbering rubbish at each other.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment!