A Temporary Information to Arabic Transliteration


Is it “Enta Omri” or “Inta Omri”?

“Habibi” or “Habiby”?

“Baladi,” “Balady,” “Beledi,” “Beledy,” or “Belady,” or “Beladi”?

What about “Laylat Hob”? Or is it “Laylat Hobb,” “Lailet Hob,” “Laylet Hob,” or “Lailat Hobb”?

Should you don’t learn or write Arabic, it may be extremely irritating to attempt to discover an Arabic tune that you just love, or perhaps YouTube video of a singer performing that tune you simply found and wish to listen to proper now. Should you learn and write the language, you may sort it into the search bar in Arabic and voila! There’s that tune you’re obsessive about.

But when you need to search in Roman script… issues get just a little tough.

The Artwork of Transcription

We English audio system be taught that there’s a right and incorrect technique to spell a phrase. A phrase is all the time spelled the identical method, and we’re discouraged from taking artistic liberty with alternate spellings.

However then we enter the wild and wooly world of transliterating Arabic, or, extra precisely, transcription. That’s, taking the sounds of Arabic and writing them in Roman script.

Transcription is just a little bit artwork, just a little bit science, and a number of understanding how Arabic and its dialects sound when spoken.

The Educational Approach

There are literally a number of ways in which lecturers transcribe Arabic into Roman script, however the one which I encountered probably the most in my research is the “Hans Wehr” technique, named for the system used within the Dictionary of Fashionable Written Arabic by (you guessed it) Hans Wehr.

This technique makes use of restricted diacritical marks underneath letters to point their Arabic equal. So, س, which is mainly our “S,” would simply be S, however ص, which is pronounced extra behind the throat and has a heavier sound, can be Ṣ. Notice the little dot underneath the letter.

Hans Wehr additionally distinguishes lengthy vowels from brief ones. Quick vowels, such each cases of “a” within the phrase baladī, will not be emphasised, and in in style writing, will not be written in Arabic. However discover the little line over the i. That signifies an extended vowel.

That’s the distinction between: بلدي and بَلَدي . The little “dashes” point out the “a” sound in “baladi.”

Writing on this method is barely attainable in case your laptop has this functionality. Mac customers can reap the benefits of these particular letters through the use of the “Emoji and Symbols” part of the Character Viewer.

The Arabic Chat Approach

As SMS and texting change into extra widespread, Arabic audio system tailored to the Roman script of SMS by adapting sure Arabic letters into numbers.

That is why when trying to find a tune on YouTube you would possibly what appears to be like like a random 7, 9, or 2 in the midst of a phrase. These are used to point letters that exist in Arabic however not in English script. The numbers have been chosen as a result of they give the impression of being most just like the Arabic letter equal.

The Phonetic, Perhaps, Approach

Most dancers are inclined to go together with the “Phonetic, Perhaps,” method, that’s, making an attempt as finest they’ll to jot down Arabic phrases or phrases as phonetically as attainable.

That is the place we get not less than 6 methods of writing baladi, 5 methods of writing “Laylat Hobb,” and some completely different permutations of “Enta Omri.”

Tune titles are sometimes transcribed phonetically, which signifies that we’re counting on the pronunciation, accent, and dialect of the singer. Whereas انت عمري is likely to be transcribed by an educational as Inta ‘Umrī, we hardly see this spelling on albums or utilized by dancers themselves. We have a tendency in direction of Enta Omri, which, for those who observe the educational translation system is a little bit of an abomination, as a result of the cardinal guidelines there say that we must always by no means use the letters “E,” “C,” or “O,” when writing Arabic in Roman script.

So why does this occur? The reply is straightforward: That’s how Egyptians pronounce it.

Transcriptions are additionally affected by the period through which that tune was first launched to the English-speaking world. Enta Omri is a bit antiquated, identical to the transliteration of muslim into “Moslem.” However the tune is a basic, and we’re all largely accustomed to this E-O spelling, so we use it, and that’s completely acceptable for our wants as dancers.

Some Arabic Transcription Examples

Let’s take a phrase we all know, like “habibi.”

  • Arabic: حبيبي.
  • Hans Wehr: ḥabībī
  • Arabic Chat: “7abibi.” 7 appears to be like rather a lot just like the aspirated ح or Ḥ of Arabic.
  • Phonetic, perhaps: Habibi, habiby

Let’s now have a look at “baladi,” that means both “my nation” or “from the nation(facet).”

  • Arabic: بلدي
  • Hans Wehr: baladī
  • Arabic Chat: baladi
  • Phonetic, perhaps: baladi, balady, beledi, beledy, belady

And another, qamar, that means “moon.”

  • Arabic: قمر
  • Hans Wehr: qamar
  • Arabic Chat: 2amar, qamar, gamar, 9amar, or kamar
  • Phonetic, perhaps: qamar, kamar, ‘amar, ‘amr, qamr

As you may see, there isn’t actually any precise science when transcribing Arabic phrases into Roman script.

Nonetheless, stomach dancers want to concentrate on this method in order that we may be extra educated and conscious of how the language works, and in addition why there are such a lot of spellings of our favourite tune titles. And for those who perceive how a phrase is likely to be transcribed, you’ll know which spellings would be the most typical for those who’re trying to find a tune on YouTube or different platforms.

I hope this helps you in your subsequent music search!



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