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robertogreco : arabic   49

Typographic Matchmaking in the City 2.0 on Vimeo
"Typographic Matchmaking in the City 2.0
2010 (video 33min.)

Jan de Bruin Productions and the Khatt Foundation
. Shot on several locations in Amsterdam, Dubai (UAE), Sharjah (UAE), Pingjum (Friesland), and Doha (Qatar), Typographic Matchmaking in the City : the Film follows the 5 teams of Dutch and Arab designers that participated in the project over a period of 18 months while they were traveling, working together, and presenting their work in progress to culturally and professionally diverse audiences. The film makes visible not only the design process, the struggles and challenges of the designers, but also addresses the larger topics of bringing two cultures into a dialogue through design. The personalities of the designers show through their collaborative process, discussions, interactions and the final design outcomes. The film gives a very humane and personal portrait of the process of creation and creativity. Edited by Ans Kanen."
typography  arabic  amsterdam  dubai  sharjah  pingjum  doha  qatar  design  graphicdesign  process  video 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Azer - Wael Morcos
"License available for purchase from 29LT Fonts

Azer in Arabic means friendly, ready to assist and lend a hand. This multilingual typeface combines simple lines with careful detailing to create a serious but approachable look. The Arabic is a Naskh / Kufi hybrid and retains a balance between calligraphic angular cuts and unadorned construction. The Latin is a humanist sans-serif with crisp cuts based on the broad nip pen calligraphic structure and contemporary outlines. The fonts include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Latin variants. Azer is available in five weights, ranging from a delicate thin ideal for refined headlines to a thick black perfect for chunky titles and in-text emphasis.

Where Arabic typefaces have a strong horizontal structure because of baseline letter connections, Latin typefaces have a vertical rhythm because of an upright stem structure present in most glyphs. To resolve this discrepancy, Azer Latin was drawn with conic shaped stems, inspired by the Arabic Alef glyph. The thirty-degree angle of the broad nib pen increases the horizontal stress of the Latin letters, which brings the overall color of the Latin text closer to the Arabic Text.

The Arabic and the Latin mirror each other's appearances much like fraternal twins with compatible attitudes. Azer Latin is earnest and sincere; Azer Arabic is direct and austere.

The Naskh calligraphic style of the Arabic variant is complemented by a calligraphic broad nip pen technique in the Latin, creating strong pen strokes: crisp broken cuts with open and fluid letter structure.
_
Designed with Pascal Zoghbi and Ian Party"
design  arabic  graphicdesign  typography  fonts  typefaces  pascalzoghbi  ianparty  waelmorcos 
april 2019 by robertogreco
En Route – Detail - Chantal Jahchan
"Reconsidering the Typographic and Linguistic Vernaculars of Modern Lebanon

En Route  explores what ‘modernity’ might mean for Lebanon, specifically through a typographic and linguistic lens. By presenting photos of vernacular typography and interviews with various Lebanese professionals, this book challenges readers—Middle Eastern and Western alike—to reconsider their notions of visual modernity.

* TDC Certificate of Typographic Excellence
* Graphis New Talent Annual: Honorable Mention

︎ Process blog
︎ Staff Pick: Fonts In Use
︎ It’s Nice That "
typography  arabic  deign  graphicdesign 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Translation Blogs We Think You Should Be Reading | Center for the Art of Translation | Two Lines Press
"Here are some of our favorite translation blogs (listed alphabetically). And we need your help! Which ones are we missing?

• Arablit was founded by M. Lynx Qualey and covers Arabic literature in (and not yet in) translation. There you can find roundups of forthcoming books translated from Arabic, book reviews, resources for teachers of Arabic literature in translation, and so much more. Plus, it’s the home of the ArabLit Story Prize.
https://arablit.org/

• Asymptote’s blog has a regular circulation of reviews, essays, and translations, as well as a weekly roundup of world literature news.
https://www.asymptotejournal.com/blog/
https://arablit.org/category/teaching-with-arabic-literature-in-translation/
https://arablit.org/2018/02/11/sunday-submissions-announcing-the-2018-arablit-story-prize/

• Biblibio is the blog of Meytal Radzinski, the founder of the Women in Translation movement and WITMonth. As Radzinski herself describes: “Biblibio is not a review blog. What does that mean? It means that the humble figure behind the veil sees the purpose of this blog as discussing a life in books in general, not only through reviews (though obviously somewhat). Bibli – book. Bio – life. This is a life in letters.”
https://biblibio.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Read_WIT

• The Complete Review and its accompanying blog, The Literary Saloon, are run by M. A. Orthofer. Go here for reviews of books both popular and obscure, as well as international literary news that is rarely covered elsewhere. A great resource!
http://www.complete-review.com/main/main.html
http://www.complete-review.com/saloon/index.htm

• Conversational Reading is the blog of our own Publicity Director and Senior Editor, Veronica Scott Esposito. While not exclusively translation, the blog is largely translation-focused, including lists of interesting new and forthcoming books, Q&As with translators and authors, essays, and other related news in the field.
http://conversationalreading.com/
http://conversationalreading.com/category/interviews/

• Lizok’s Bookshelf is the blog of award-winning Russian translator Lisa Hayden. This is the go-to place for those interested in Russian literature. Lisa will let you know what is going on in the world of Russian literary prizes, tell you about interesting books coming out in Russia, books she’s reading, and, of course, books she’s translating.
https://lizoksbooks.blogspot.com/

• Reader@Large is the blog of Tara Cheesman-Olmsted, a freelance book critic, National Book Critic Circle member, and 2018 Best Translated Book Award fiction judge. The blog began as a general book review blog, but Tara currently only reviews books by international authors and translations, with a preference for small presses!
https://readeratlarge.com/

• Three Percent is the translation blog of the University of Rochester. Chad Post delights us with in-depth blog posts on a wide range of topics within the translation field. Home to book reviews, the Best Translation Book Award, and updates on trends in the translation field (including graphs and all kinds of fancy data analysis)!
https://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/

• Tony’s Reading List is the blog of a true international literature aficionado. Dive into the expansive book review archives (spanning back to 2009) or, if you’re feeling adventurous, dig into something a little different.
https://tonysreadinglist.wordpress.com/
https://tonysreadinglist.wordpress.com/something-a-little-different/

• Translationista is the blog of Susan Bernofsky, German-language translator extraordinaire. She’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest literary prizes, as well as other news in the field. Make sure you check out: “Getting the Rights to Translate a Work: A How-To Guide” and “Tips for Beginning Translators.”
http://translationista.com/
http://translationista.com/2017/02/getting-rights-translate-work.html
http://translationista.com/2017/08/tips-beginning-translators.html

• WWB Daily, the blog of Words Without Borders, features a monthly watchlist of books coming out that month, in-depth essays by translators, excerpts from forthcoming books in translation.
https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/dispatches/
https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/dispatches/article/tarsila-do-amaral-translating-modernism-in-brazil-elisa-wouk-almino
https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/dispatches/article/first-read-from-lion-cross-point-masatsugu-ono-angus-turvill "
blogs  translation  writing  language  languages  books  arabic  srg 
january 2019 by robertogreco
This Palestinian Rapper Dreams of a Borderless Future
[See also: https://soundcloud.com/makimakkuk ]

"Makimakkuk a.k.a. Majdal Nijim makes emotive and uplifting music about the realities of life in the West Bank under Israeli occupation."



"Palestinian rapper Majdal Nijim dreams of a world without borders. It makes sense: Nijim, who performs under the stage name Makimakkuk, lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Since 1967, the Palestinian population of Ramallah have lived under an Israeli military occupation that has denied them even the most basic of human rights—they cannot travel freely, and their access to healthcare is limited. They live at the whims of a military regime that Amnesty International has characterized as “unlawful and cruel".

Nijim is one of the stars of a new documentary into the Palestinian music scene, released this week by Boiler Room with local music magazine Ma3azef. Palestine Underground depicts the vibrant and thriving DIY music scene between the non-occupied city of Haifa and the West Bank. Musicians climb walls and dodge Israeli military checkpoints to connect the Palestinian grassroots music scene in Haifa with the West Bank, partying together in defiance of the restrictions placed upon them. It’s an uplifting look at the little-known Palestinian music scene, a scene that’s barely recognized outside of the country, largely because of the travel restrictions placed on so many of its artists.

Nijim requires special permits to travel internationally, and these are issued at the discretion of the Israeli authorities. In addition to international travel papers, she must show that she’s been invited to perform at a venue and provide documentation from venue owners and promoters. Palestinians cannot travel freely between the West Bank and Gaza to Haifa, which has a large Palestinian population. Families separated by quirks of geography or history may go years without seeing each other. “Freedom of movement is one of the most important things for me to talk about,” Nijim tells me down the line from Ramallah. “A lot of people don’t even understand how the movement works here.”

It wasn't always like this. Palestine was once a crossing point for visitors hoping to travel to all of the Middle East’s nations. “This region has always been open to people,” she tells me. “You used to be able to go from Jerusalem to Beirut freely, through Damascus. You could go to Cairo.”

Unlike those who hope for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Nijim dreams of a world with no borders. “I don’t see this as a two or three or four state thing,” she tells me. “The more you divide, the more you conquer. That’s not the way I see the future of this region [...] I don’t want to have all these borders. I don’t want to see checkpoints. I don’t want to see anyone getting checked when they move from one place to another.”

Nijim began performing as a child, but took up music in earnest whilst studying at university in the West Bank. She began connecting with acoustic musicians and electronic DJs in her local scene. (In addition to rapping, Nijim also DJs house and techno music.) “I started to feel like, OK, this is something I want do, music—this is it,” she remembers. Ramallah, Nijim informs me, has a vibrant nightlife scene, although competition amongst promoters is high as venues are scarce. “It’s an original scene. There are many different genres of music, from pop to hip hop, drum and bass, techno, or grime.”

She raps about the daily life of a young woman living in the West Bank. “My music is inspired by Ramallah,” she says. “I talk about harassment, being under oppression, sex, drugs, anything that comes to mind.” It’s important, she says, to speak honestly of her experience with the Israeli military occupation. “It’s what we live, it’s what we see, it’s what we feel. What I live, and see, and feel, I have to let out and not keep it inside of me.”

Nijim raps and sings in Arabic but speaks English fluently, peppering her speech with the Arabic word yanni ("you know") liberally. She's currently doing sessions in the studio ahead of the release of her first album. But even if it takes off, touring will be a complicated and involved process. “I would love to play where I get invited to play, in big cultural cities like Jaffa or Haifa. But it’s not easy.”

She wonders what kind of creative potential would be unlocked if Palestinian musicians like herself were able to travel freely. “We don’t just have a physical border. Over the years, it’s built a mental border as well. If the Palestinian cities were open to each other, and it was easier to organize things in other cities, maybe my music would already be popular, you know?”

For now though, Nijim will continue to hope for a freer future and sing her music of resistance. “I don’t have a solution for the occupation,” she says. “I don’t think anyone does. But through music and culture it’s possible to work within yourself, build your community, and see what that takes me. The occupation is a huge force that’s been built to stay, But that doesn't mean it will stay, because all systems that are built on such inhumane bases must collapse. It’s unnatural. It’s bound to go. But how, and when—we’ll see.”"
makimakkuk  majdalnijim  music  rap  palestine  borders  2018  israel  occupation  arabic  middleeast 
november 2018 by robertogreco
marwahelal on Twitter: "𝙰𝚗𝚍, 𝚘𝚏 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜𝚎, 𝚊 𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚖𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚕𝚢 𝚊 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚘𝚏 𝚟𝚘𝚌𝚊𝚋𝚞𝚕𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚘𝚛 𝚊 𝚜𝚎
"𝙰𝚗𝚍, 𝚘𝚏 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜𝚎, 𝚊 𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚖𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚕𝚢 𝚊 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚘𝚏 𝚟𝚘𝚌𝚊𝚋𝚞𝚕𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚘𝚛 𝚊 𝚜𝚎𝚝 𝚘𝚏 𝚐𝚛𝚊𝚖𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚌𝚊𝚕 𝚛𝚞𝚕𝚎𝚜. 𝙸𝚝 𝚒𝚜 𝚊 𝚏𝚕𝚊𝚜𝚑 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚞𝚖𝚊𝚗 𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚒𝚝, 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚎𝚊𝚗𝚜 𝚋𝚢 𝚠𝚑𝚒𝚌𝚑 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚜𝚘𝚞𝚕

𝚘𝚏 𝚎𝚊𝚌𝚑 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚒𝚌𝚞𝚕𝚊𝚛 𝚌𝚞𝚕𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚜 𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚊𝚕 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚕𝚍. 𝙴𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚢 𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚊𝚗 𝚘𝚕𝚍 𝚐𝚛𝚘𝚠𝚝𝚑 𝚏𝚘𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚍, 𝚊 𝚠𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝, 𝚊𝚗 𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚒𝚛𝚎

𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚜𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚖 𝚘𝚏 𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚞𝚊𝚕 𝚙𝚘𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚋𝚒𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚎𝚜." - 𝚆𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝙳𝚊𝚟𝚒𝚜

Welcome to the VERNACULAR HOME, a @nomadreadings #crafttalk. Before we begin, I ask that if you are following along, that you engage these ideas by sharing them, faving, RTing, and chiming in with your own comments.

This talk is dedicated to all displaced peoples and all people who engage in creating a home of language on the page.

1. We’ve witnessed in recent years how advertisers have co-opted vernacular made popular by Black communities on this very platform and profited from it.

2. What these advertisers know is what any good poet knows: vernacular is the pathway to transformation. It is your first language — that language before you were aware of language. It is “like a howl, or a shout or a machine-gun or the wind or a wave,” K. Braithwaite writes.

3. Sidenote: Transformation has a cost but cannot be bought.

4. And as this scene from Spike Lee’s Malcolm X reminds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfRDUsvu5fE , English is an inherently oppressive and racist language. As Malcolm X feels through this new insight into our language — a “con” as we’re told — he transforms and viewers are transformed with him.

5. Perfect segue to the next point…

6. If the poem does not transform (itself or the reader) it is not a poem. I repeat: If the work does not transform, what you have are words on a page — not a poem.

7. Let's now establish what vernacular [poetry] is.

8. Vernacular is a term used to express the idea that all languages are equal. It eliminates hierarchies of dialects vs. language.

As Baldwin writes in an essay I will share more of later, “...language functions as ‘a political instrument, means, and proof of power,’ and only politics separates a language from dialect.” (from the introduction by ed. Dohra Ahmed, Rotten English) https://bit.ly/2pXfk3h

9. Now that we’ve established what vernacular is, please don’t tell me you speak only one language...

10. Your dreams are a vernacular. Nature is a vernacular. Your sneaker collection is a vernacular! Signage: a vernacular. Your unique way of looking at the world: a vernacular. Your heartbeat: a vernacular. Breath: same, a vernacular.

Whenever I teach this material, I end up yelling “EVERYTHING IS VERNACULAR” by the end of every class. So get ready.

11. Building on that (pun intended), vernacular is also the synthesis between the language (words and symbols in any language) we choose, and how we construct it with grammar, punctuation, syntax and form.

12. It is inaccurate to say we are "decolonizing" a language. What we are doing is reclaiming it by colonizing it with our own vernaculars and inventing what it has failed to imagine. It is a language that has failed to imagine 𝘜𝘚. And so this craft talk is also a call

A call to pay attention to where this language has become dull, stale, and boring. A call to pay attention to intentional and unintentional connotations. And to undo those connotations. In undoing them, I ask that we create radical solutions for this language that troubles us.

13. “It was during the anti colonial struggles of the twentieth century that the latent political potential of vernacular literature fully emerged.

14. Our resistance is in the refusal to assimilate, the preservation of our native vernaculars, the creativity in that preservation.

It is in understanding that there is a particular language [they] want [us] to know -- that particular language that is taught in schools, and the rules or codes implied in that agreed upon language and resisting those implications or overturning those agreements.

15. June Jordan said, “Good poetry & successful revolution change our lives, & you cannot compose a good poem or wage a revolution without changing consciousness—unless you attack the language that you share with your enemies & invent a language that you share with your allies.”

Now, with these ideas in mind, let’s go into the texts…

Harryette Mullen, "We Are Not Responsible," "Elliptical" and "Denigration" from Sleeping with the Dictionary [3 images of text]

Note the attention to language, the transformation or awareness brought to the everyday humdrum of signage and those aforementioned 𝓬𝓸𝓷𝓷𝓸𝓽𝓪𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷𝓼.

Note the attention to punctuation. Each poem uses exactly one form of punctuation in a very distinct way.

I will leave the joy of those discoveries to you! We have more to read...

Here, this breathtaking excerpt by @yosuheirhammad from “break (clear)”, breaking poems [image of text]

The Arabic words "ana" and "khalas" are doing overtime.

"ana" = I am and becomes "I am my" in the last two instances. "Khalas" stands on its own line in the first instance -- open to many translations: "enough," "stop," or "no more" and establishes its commitment to finality in that last line, "khalas all this breaking."

MORE! Solmaz Sharif’s “Persian Letters” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/57580/persian-letters

Here the vernacular “bar bar bar” not only shows us the creation of a word: “barbarians” -- it holds a mirror up to the ones who made it.

“We make them reveal
the brutes they are, Aleph, by the things
we make them name.” - @nsabugsme

NOW Baldwin: “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate. (And, if they cannot articulate it, they are submerged.)”

"Black English is the creation of the black diaspora. Blacks came to the United States chained to each other, but from different tribes: Neither could speak the other's language. If two black people, at that bitter hour of the world's history, had been able to speak to each...

other, the institution of chattel slavery could never have lasted as long as it did. Subsequently, the slave was given, under the eye, and the gun, of his master, Congo Square, and the Bible--or in other words, and under these conditions, the slave began the formation of the

black church, and it is within this unprecedented tabernacle that black English began to be formed. This was not, merely, as in the European example, the adoption of a foreign tongue, but an alchemy that transformed ancient elements into a new language:

A language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity, and the rules of the language are dictated by what the language must convey.

Link to the full essay: “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” James Baldwin https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-english.html

Further reading: “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan
Link: http://theessayexperiencefall2013.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2013/09/Mother-Tongue-by-Amy-Tan.pdf

I leave you with this poem by @kyle_decoy “American Vernacular” via @LambdaLiterary
https://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/poetry-spotlight/09/19/a-poem-by-kyle-dacuyan/ ]
marwahelal  language  poetry  writing  words  vernacular  culture  resistance  2018  jamesbaldwin  displacement  transformation  appropriation  malcolmx  english  poems  dohraahmed  grammar  punctuation  syntax  decolonization  colonization  assimilation  creativity  preservation  junejordan  harryettemullen  connotation  suheirhammad  solmazsharif  arabic  amytan  kyledacuyan 
april 2018 by robertogreco
How the Appetite for Emojis Complicates the Effort to Standardize the World’s Alphabets - The New York Times
"nshuman Pandey was intrigued. A graduate student in history at the University of Michigan, he was searching online for forgotten alphabets of South Asia when an image of a mysterious writing system popped up. In eight years of digging through British colonial archives both real and digital, he has found almost 200 alphabets across Asia that were previously undescribed in the West, but this one, which he came across in early 2011, stumped him. Its sinuous letters, connected to one another in cursive fashion and sometimes bearing dots and slashes above or below, resembled those of Arabic.

Pandey eventually identified the script as an alphabet for Rohingya, the language spoken by the stateless and persecuted Muslim people whose greatest numbers live in western Myanmar, where they’ve been the victims of brutal ethnic cleansing. Pandey wasn’t sure if the alphabet itself was in use anymore, until he lucked upon contemporary pictures of printed textbooks for children. That meant it wasn’t a historical footnote; it was alive.

An email query from Pandey bounced from expert to expert until it landed with Muhammad Noor, a Rohingya activist and television host who was living in Malaysia. He told Pandey the short history of this alphabet, which was developed in the 1980s by a group of scholars that included a man named Mohammed Hanif. It spread slowly through the 1990s in handwritten, photocopied books. After 2001, thanks to two computer fonts designed by Noor, it became possible to type the script in word-processing programs. But no email, text messages or (later) tweets could be sent or received in it, no Google searches conducted in it. The Rohingya had no digital alphabet of their own through which they could connect with one another.

Billions of people around the world no longer face this plight. Whether on computers or smartphones, they can write as they write, expressing themselves in their own linguistic culture. What makes this possible is a 26-year-old international industrial standard for text data called the Unicode standard, which prescribes the digital letters, numbers and punctuation marks of more than 100 different writing systems: Greek, Cherokee, Arabic, Latin, Devanagari — a world-spanning storehouse of languages. But the alphabet that Noor described wasn’t among them, and neither are more than 100 other scripts, just over half of them historical and the rest alphabets that could still be used by as many as 400 million people today.

Now a computational linguist and motivated by a desire to put his historical knowledge to use, Pandey knows how to get obscure alphabets into the Unicode standard. Since 2005, he has done so for 19 writing systems (and he’s currently working to add another eight). With Noor’s help, and some financial support from a research center at the University of California, Berkeley, he drew up the basic set of letters and defined how they combine, what rules govern punctuation and whether spaces exist between words, then submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium, the organization that maintains the standards for digital scripts. In 2018, seven years after Pandey’s discovery, what came to be called Hanifi Rohingya will be rolled out in Unicode’s 11th version. The Rohingya will be able to communicate online with one another, using their own alphabet."



"Unicode’s history is full of attacks by governments, activists and eccentrics. In the early 1990s, the Chinese government objected to the encoding of Tibetan. About five years ago, Hungarian nationalists tried to sabotage the encoding for Old Hungarian because they wanted it to be called “Szekley-Hungarian Rovas” instead. An encoding for an alphabet used to write Nepal Bhasa and Sanskrit was delayed a few years ago by ethnonationalists who mistrusted the proposal because they objected to the author’s surname. Over and over, the Unicode Consortium has protected its standard from such political attacks.

The standard’s effectiveness helped. “If standards work, they’re invisible and can be ignored by the public,” Busch says. Twenty years after its first version, Unicode had become the default text-data standard, adopted by device manufacturers and software companies all over the world. Each version of the standard ushered more users into a seamless digital world of text. “We used to ask ourselves, ‘How many years do you think the consortium will need to be in place before we can publish the last version?’ ” Whistler recalls. The end was finally in sight — at one point the consortium had barely more than 50 writing systems to add.

All that changed in October 2010, when that year’s version of the Unicode standard included its first set of emojis."



"Not everyone thinks that Unicode should be in the emoji business at all. I met several people at Emojicon promoting apps that treat emojis like pictures, not text, and I heard an idea floated for a separate standards body for emojis run by people with nontechnical backgrounds. “Normal people can have an opinion about why there isn’t a cupcake emoji,” said Jennifer 8. Lee, an entrepreneur and a film producer whose advocacy on behalf of a dumpling emoji inspired her to organize Emojicon. The issue isn’t space — Unicode has about 800,000 unused numerical identifiers — but about whose expertise and worldview shapes the standard and prioritizes its projects.

“Emoji has had a tendency to subtract attention from the other important things the consortium needs to be working on,” Ken Whistler says. He believes that Unicode was right to take responsibility for emoji, because it has the technical expertise to deal with character chaos (and has dealt with it before). But emoji is an unwanted distraction. “We can spend hours arguing for an emoji for chopsticks, and then have nobody in the room pay any attention to details for what’s required for Nepal, which the people in Nepal use to write their language. That’s my main concern: emoji eats the attention span both in the committee and for key people with other responsibilities.”

Emoji has nonetheless provided a boost to Unicode. Companies frequently used to implement partial versions of the standard, but the spread of emoji now forces them to adopt more complete versions of it. As a result, smartphones that can manage emoji will be more likely to have Hanifi Rohingya on them too. The stream of proposals also makes the standard seem alive, attracting new volunteers to Unicode’s mission. It’s not unusual for people who come to the organization through an interest in emoji to end up embracing its priorities. “Working on characters used in a small province of China, even if it’s 20,000 people who are going to use it, that’s a more important use of their time than deliberating over whether the hand of my yoga emoji is in the right position,” Mark Bramhill told me.

Since its creation was announced in 2015, the “Adopt a Character” program, through which individuals and organizations can sponsor any characters, including emojis, has raised more than $200,000. A percentage of the proceeds goes to support the Script Encoding Initiative, a research project based at Berkeley, which is headed by the linguistics researcher Deborah Anderson, who is devoted to making Unicode truly universal. One the consortium recently accepted is called Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong, devised for the Hmong language by a minister in California whose parishioners have been using it for more than 25 years. Still in the proposal stage is Tigalari, once used to write Sanskrit and other Indian languages.

One way to read the story of Unicode in the time of emoji is to see a privileged generation of tech consumers confronting the fact that they can’t communicate in ways they want to on their devices: through emoji. They get involved in standards-making, which yields them some satisfaction but slows down the speed with which millions of others around the world get access to the most basic of online linguistic powers. “There are always winners and losers in standards,” Lawrence Busch says. “You might want to say, ultimately we’d like everyone to win and nobody to lose too much, but we’re stuck with the fact that we have to make decisions, and when we make them, those decisions are going to be less acceptable to some than to others.”"
unicode  language  languages  internet  international  standards  emoji  2017  priorities  web  online  anshumanpandey  rohingya  arabic  markbramhill  hmong  tigalari  nyiakengpuachuehmong  muhammadnoor  mohammedhanif  kenwhistler  history  1980  2011  1990s  1980s  mobile  phones  google  apple  ascii  facebook  emojicon  michaelaerard  technology  communication  tibet 
october 2017 by robertogreco
How Fonts Are Fueling the Culture Wars – Backchannel
"Typography is undergoing a public renaissance. Typography usually strives to be invisible, but recently it’s become a mark of sophistication for readers to notice it and have an opinion.

Suddenly, people outside of the design profession seem to care about its many intricacies. Usually, this awareness focuses on execution. This year’s Oscars put visual hierarchy on the map. XKCD readers will never miss an opportunity to point out bad keming. And anyone on the internet can tell you, Comic Sans has become a joke.

But by focusing on the smaller gaffes, we’re missing the big picture. Typography is much bigger than a “gotcha” moment for the visually challenged. Typography can silently influence: It can signify dangerous ideas, normalize dictatorships, and sever broken nations. In some cases it may be a matter of life and death. And it can do this as powerfully as the words it depicts.

***

Why We’re Afraid of Blackletter

You’ve seen blackletter typography before. It’s dense, old-fashioned, and elaborate. It almost always feels like an anachronism. It looks like this:

[image]

But usually when you see it in popular culture, it looks more like this:

[image]

Or like this:

[image]

You probably know blackletter as the script of choice for bad guys, prison tattoos, and black metal album art—and you wouldn’t be wrong.

Blackletter looks esoteric and illegible now, but it started off as a normal pattern that people across Europe used every day for hundreds of years. It stayed that way until pretty recently. It reigned as the dominant typeface in the English-speaking world for several generations, and remains popular in parts of the Spanish-speaking world today.

Why don’t we use blackletter anymore? The answer is literally “Hitler.” Nazi leadership used Fraktur, an archetypal variety of blackletter, as their official typeface. They positioned it as a symbol of German national identity and denounced papers that printed with anything else.

As you might imagine, the typeface hasn’t aged well in the post-war period. In just a few years, blackletter went from ordinary to a widespread taboo—the same way the name “Adolf” and the toothbrush mustache have been all but eradicated.

The Nazis played a part in this. In 1941, the regime re-characterized Fraktur as Judenletter, “Jewish letters,” and systematically banned it from use. The long history of Jewish writers and printers had tainted the letterforms themselves, they argued, and it was time for Germany to move on. Historians speculate that the reversal had more to do with the logistics of occupying countries reliant on Latin typefaces, but the result was the same. No printed matter of any kind could use Fraktur, for German audiences or abroad. Even blackletter handwriting was banned from being taught in school.

Think about that: The government of one of the world’s great powers banned a typeface. That is the power of a symbol.

***

It’s Hard to Text in Arabic

We take it for granted that we can type any word with a keyboard, but really, you should check your anglophone privilege. In English, each letter stands on its own, while Arabic connects every letter in a word, allowing many letters to take on new shapes based on context. Arabic lends itself to lush and poetic calligraphy, but it doesn’t square with traditional European methods for making typefaces.

Much of the Arab world fell under Western colonial rule, and print communication remained a challenge. Rather than rethinking or expanding the conventions that had been designed around the Latin alphabet, the colonial powers changed Arabic. What we see in books and newspapers to this day is a ghost of Arabic script, reworked to use discrete letters that behave on a standard printing press.

It’s not surprising that colonial powers would pull their subjects closer to their center of gravity. But even today, many Arab countries struggle with that legacy. There are over 100,000 ways to format a word in English; the Arabic world only has about 100 clunky typefaces to support communication between half a billion people.

Rana Abou Rjeily, a contemporary Lebanese designer, is reclaiming Arabic typography. After studying design in the US and UK, she developed Mirsaal, an experimental typeface to bridge the gap between Arabic and Latin text.

Mirsaal looks for the right balance of western conventions to make Arabic work in a modern context. It uses simplified, distinct letterforms, but with the goal of making written Arabic more expressive and authentic.

This isn’t a purely symbolic exercise. The Middle East is dealing with political instability that stems from deep cultural divisions. It is not hard to imagine how a more robust written language might play some role in making a better future.

***

Piecing Together the Balkans

The Balkans are synonymous with fragmentation. The region has seen generations of violence, much spurred by the ethnic tensions within. Their typography reflects these divisions. The regional languages are a hodgepodge of typographic spheres: Latin, Blackletter, Cyrillic, and Arabic. Never mind the locally designed Glagolitic scripts.

Typography took on special meaning during the Cold War, as Latin and Cyrillic alphabets came to symbolize allegiance to global powers.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, typography continues to communicate political leanings, be they nostalgia for the Soviet era or alignment with the globalized West. Using the wrong typeface could get you in a lot of trouble.

In 2013, Croatian designers Nikola Djurek and Marija Juza created the East-West hybrid Balkan Sans. Balkan Sans uses the same glyphs to represent the equivalent letters in Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. In the words of its makers, it “… demystifies, depoliticizes, and reconciles them for the sake of education, tolerance, and, above all, communication.”

Croatian and Serbian are similar languages that could hardly look more different in their written forms. Balkan Sans makes them mutually intelligible, so that two neighbors might be able to correspond over email without thinking twice. They transformed typography from a barrier between nations into an olive branch.

***

The Culture War at Home

The US is not so different from the rest of the world when it comes to tribalism and conflicted identity. This has crystalized in last few months, and we’ve seen typography play a substantial role.

Hillary Clinton ran for president with a slick logo befitting a Fortune 100 company. It had detractors, but I think we’ll remember it fondly as a symbol of what could have been — clarity, professionalism, and restraint.

Donald Trump countered with a garish baseball cap that looked like it had been designed in a Google Doc by the man himself. This proved to be an effective way of selling Trump’s unique brand.

I’m not interested in whether Clinton or Trump had good logos. I’m interested in the different values they reveal. Clinton’s typography embodies the spirit of modernism and enlightenment values. It was designed to appeal to smart, progressive people who like visual puns. They appreciate the serendipity of an arrow that completes a lettermark while also symbolizing progress. In other words, coastal elites who like “design.”
Trump’s typography speaks with a more primal, and seemingly earnest voice. “Make America Great Again” symbolizes “Make America Great Again.” It tells everyone what team you’re on, and what you believe in. Period. It speaks to a distrust of “clean” corporate aesthetics and snobs who think they’re better than Times New Roman on a baseball cap. Its mere existence is a political statement.

The two typographies are mutually intelligible at first glance, but a lot gets lost in translation. We live in a divided country, split on typographic lines as cleanly as the Serbs and the Croats.

***

I’d Like to Leave You With a Mission:

The next time you go shopping, download an app or send an email, take a second to look at the typography in front of you. Don’t evaluate it. Don’t critique it. Just observe it. What does it say about you? What does it say about the world you live in?

The stakes are higher than you think. The next generation of fascists will not love geometric sans serifs as much as Mussolini did. They won’t be threatening journalists in blackletter.

The world is changing around us. We constantly debate and analyze the conflicts between the militaries, governments and cultures that surround us. But there’s a visual war that’s happening right in front of our eyes, undetected. Its power — to divide us or bring us together — hinges on our choice to pay attention."
typography  arabic  history  2017  benhersh  ranaabourjeily  mussolini  politics  donaldtrump  hillaryclinton  design  graphicdesign  division  croatia  serbia  mirsaal  colonialism  decolonization  text  texting  technology  blackletter  adolfhitler 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Fighting Illiteracy With Typography by Yara Khoury Nammour (Works That Work magazine)
"The intriguingly beautiful calligraphic principles of Arabic script have long defied attempts to facilitate mass production by print technologies developed for Roman letters. Unified Arabic is one such attempt, and significant obstacles stand between it and widespread adoption.

In 1932, a Lebanese architect walked into a classroom at the American University of Beirut to fill in for a professor who taught basic Arabic typing skills. In an effort to welcome the class, he started typing ahlan wa sahlan (‘welcome’), but, finding it difficult to locate the right keys for the right variation of the letter heh, he mistakenly typed an initial heh form instead of a medial one. He noticed, however, that what he had typed was still perfectly legible. He suddenly realised that by reducing the number of letter variations, the problem of finding keys on the typewriter could be easily solved without affecting the legibility of the text. He decided then and there to work on unifying all the variations of the Arabic letters. The architect’s name was Nasri Khattar, and he called his project Unified Arabic.

Students of Arabic start by learning its basic, unconnected letter shapes, only to be confronted with a myriad of wildly differing variations. The letter meem, aside from its four basic shapes, has more than 30 ligature forms.

Unified Arabic (UA) is basically a set of 30 letterforms, one for each letter of the Arabic alphabet, plus hamza and lam alef, eliminating the variant forms that make reading and writing Arabic difficult for beginners. The Arabic writing system is based on flowing calligraphic forms that connect letters within words, and the letters vary in shape according to their position in the word. Most of its 28 letters have four varying shapes, initial, medial, final and isolated, but, with the addition of ligature forms (used when writing specific letter combinations) and vocalisation marks, a complete set of glyphs can easily reach up to 150 shapes, depending on the complexity of the script. This made typing Arabic immensely complicated, as the large number of Arabic letter variants was too large to fit on the 44 available keys but Khattar realised that matters could be greatly simplified by distilling the hundreds of variant shapes into their most characteristic forms.

Using a reductive design process, Khattar worked to discover these characteristic shapes. Hundreds of sketches reveal a struggle with the most basic forms on both the functional and aesthetic levels, while other sketches try to find solutions—ranging from the simple to the bizarre—for the dots and the vocalisation marks. Furthermore, the letters are designed to be representative of the streamlined spirit of Western civilisation: quick, mechanised and labour saving, similar to Latin type forms and proportions, which Khattar acknowledged as one of his inspirations.

But would typewriter manufacturers be interested enough to invest in the project? Remington Rand was the first to be approached, but the project quickly proved unrewarding, although one prototype Unified Arabic machine was actually produced. IBM, however, was quick to recognise UA’s socio-political implications, and so the journey began.

‘I am going to stake my reputation as a literacy man: I believe that, using this alphabet, the illiterate will learn in one-tenth the time that it now takes; and that means that probably ten times as many people will learn to read.’ — Frank Laubach

Unified Arabic was not the first attempt to adapt Arabic to mechanical printing processes. As early as the 15th century, printers had attempted to simulate the cursive forms using movable type, but their efforts to stay true to the script’s calligraphic nature resulted in type cases of up to 500 characters per font (roughly eight times the size of the Latin character set), making manual and mechanical typesetting a laborious task at odds with the demands of unit-based mass production.

By the end of the 19th century, the detrimental social and economic effects of the impracticality of printed Arabic were clear: throughout the Levant region (modern-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt) illiteracy was widespread, and books were scarce and expensive, available exclusively to the ruling class and clergy. However, after 400 years of stagnation under Ottoman rule in Syria and Lebanon, and influenced by French and English colonial rule in Egypt, the people of the region were gradually waking up to the distant thunder of the Industrial Revolution coming from the West, setting the stage for renewed efforts to facilitate reproduction of the Arabic printed word.

Spurred by a growing rate of literacy, inadequate supply of books and favourable political circumstances, several reform trials in the Arab region began, instigating a movement of cultural change closely linked to the printed word. This movement, a form of a revived Arab Renaissance, called for a literary cultural awakening, new religious interpretations, modernised political ideas and language reform, opening the door to a new visual interpretation of the Arabic letterforms. By the beginning of the 20th century, the time was ripe for rapid modernisation. Unified Arabic, whose core idea was simplification by eliminating the unnecessary, seemed perfectly matched to its time."
arabic  typography  middleeast  literacy  language  education  yatakhourynammour  unifiedarabic  typewriters  print  printability  masrikhattar  linguistics 
may 2016 by robertogreco
The Ever-Evolving Typographic Life of the Arabic Language - The New York Times
"This past summer the producers of the award-winning television series ‘‘Homeland’’ had a problem. Principal photography for the fifth season was planned for Berlin but critical scenes were set in a Syrian refugee camp. The set designers contracted three Arab street artists — Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl (a.k.a. Stone) — to provide a touch of Middle Eastern authenticity to the Western European backgrounds by way of some generic Arabic graffiti. In the frenzied final days leading up to the filming, it seems no one bothered to check the work. Only after the fact did the artists reveal they had bombed what some call ‘‘the most bigoted show on television.’’ Their tags were indeed political, just not in the way their employers had intended: They provided critiques of the program itself, such as ‘‘ ‘Homeland’ is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh,’’ and, more bluntly, ‘‘ ‘Homeland’ is racist.’’ The artists asserted that their subversion was possible because in the eyes of the Western crew, ‘‘Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East.’’

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that in this moment of extreme anti-cosmopolitanism, where every form of other — from whatever perspective that other is rendered — is subject to suspicion, the mere presence of foreign writing is enough to evoke menace. Indecipherable texts are often metonymies for unknowable threats and unintelligible ideologies. Think of countless summer blockbusters where crates or tanks or missiles emblazoned with unreadable Cyrillic or Chinese characters portend certain doom. We tend to feel safe in our familiar alphabets. In turn, they link us to powerful traditions and communities. The origins of the little serifs on the corners of the letters you are reading here stretch back through the centuries, beyond revolutions, technological and intellectual, to the chiseled inscriptions on the monuments of ancient Greece and Rome. (Renaissance type designers, reviving Roman letterforms, prized the inscriptions on Trajan’s Column as the most perfect model.) Like all design objects, letters too are inherently ideological.

If the Roman letter recalls the chisel, Arabic is borne of the brush. Arabic calligraphy links back to ancient scripture and the origins of Islam. The Koran was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic, and the distinctively fluid form of writing is intertwined with the religion and culture of more than a billion people worldwide. That a writing system as lyrical and visually poetic as Arabic has come to signify something insidious — at least to Western eyes — is not just a little ironic. It speaks to the limitations of a technology-driven global community.

While the first printing presses arrived in the Middle East within decades of Gutenberg’s prototype — the quintessential disruptive technology — Ottoman bureaucrats allegedly outlawed any printing of Arabic text, by penalty of death. The mechanization of sacred writing bordered on blasphemy or at least cultural capitulation. By the time the draconian restrictions against printing were allayed in the 18th century — at least for secular texts such as mathematics and medicine — typographers faced a new challenge: the inherent complexity of Arabic. With 29 letters, each with two or four different contextual shapes, and thousands of possible unique letterform combinations, calligraphic Arabic simply wouldn’t fit the limited matrices of Western machinery that, in the intervening centuries, had developed to accommodate a limited system of Roman upper- and lowercase letters.

For centuries, traditional Arabic calligraphers had steadfastly refused to apply their skills to the creation of movable type, so the calligraphic never became fully typographic in the way, say, the handwriting of Medieval monks was transformed into standardized letters used on printing presses. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that several versions of a simplified Arabic alphabet were developed in collaboration with local calligraphers — underwritten by Western tech giants like IBM and Linotype angling to open up new markets — to work efficiently within the restrictions of Roman-based systems. Simplified Arabic was wildly successful, and is still used throughout the world, but in pruning and standardizing the alphabet, most of the elegant gestures of hand-brushed script were necessarily filtered out. Within the last decade, however, a cadre of highly skilled, mostly Middle Eastern designers, many of them autodidacts retrofitting Roman-based digital font authoring tools, are creating a fully typographic Arabic: one that merges the dizzying eclecticism of original writing systems with contemporary font production.

Prominent among them is Huda Abi Fares. Born in Beirut, she studied graphic design at RISD and Yale in the 1980s at the height of the Swiss modern influence. In 2004, she started the nonprofit Khatt Foundation in Amsterdam as a way of addressing the problem of cross-cultural type design and building a community of like-minded Arabic typographers. Today, the Khatt website showcases the work of more than 1,700 designers around the world. She has also started a project, ‘‘Typographic Matchmaking,’’ which pairs Dutch and Arabic designers together. Two alumni, the Slovakian Peter Bilak from the Netherlands, a world-renowned designer of Roman alphabets, and a Lebanese designer, Kristyan Sarkis, have since established TPTQ Arabic, a new type foundry focusing on the development of high-quality unified Arabic/Roman font families designed for global digital distribution. Think of bilingual contexts, such as the concourse of an international airport or signs on a highway, where an aesthetic coherence between writing systems is essential.

These nascent efforts point to a global modernization that doesn’t come at the cost of cultural specificity or aesthetic homogenization, but synthesizes calligraphic traditions to create new forms. Type designers spend their lives deep in the minutiae of reading and the hidden visual codes that permeate the fabric of our language. There is no form of design that is less noticed or more prevalent: Type touches everyone. Perhaps, just perhaps, these young designers can find a way to cross whatever chasm is dividing us. The task is increasingly urgent. We literally cannot read each other."
arabic  2016  fonts  typography  letterforms  language  michaelrock  politics  hudaabifares  khattfoundation  peterbilak  kristyansarkis  tptqarabic  moveabletype  cyrillic  chinese 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Translation and the news—crossing languages in the age of networked journalism - FOLD
[See site for references relating to each of the different notes.]

"As my time as a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow winds down, I wanted to reflect a bit on what I’ve learned about journalism, translation and the importance of the network in contemporary digital journalism. Much of this applies more broadly—language is going to be and already is a critical issue for technologists concerned about supporting the increased range of people online—, but I’ll focus on the specifics of journalism in this post.

It’s been an incredible few weeks of interviews, conversations, seminars, workshops, historical research (especially at the beautiful Widener Library), Hacks/Hackers, a conference on comments and going beyond them. We also managed to squeeze in a few pilot projects with Bridge, our platform for translating social media. I’ll be writing a longer, more thoughtful version of my time for Nieman Lab in coming weeks, so I’ll not try to craft too much of a logical narrative in this post.

Instead, some notes to jot down:

We’re moving toward a majority internet population. With 3.3 billion online and a 832% growth rate, the internet is incredibly diverse.

The “next billIon” have arrived, and already, language diversity is steadily increasing. I’ve written before about how ostensibly “offline”communities like in rural northern Uganda, North Korea and Cuba are impacted by the internet, and it’s important to keep in mind that the internet has ripple effects far beyond those who are formally online. As we crossed into a majority urban population, even rural areas have now oriented toward cities, providing raw and manufactured materials and serving as dumping grounds.

A similar effect will no doubt take place with the internet—even if not everyone is officially connected with a single user account, they will be pressured to find creative solutions to get connected. (Zachary Hyman and I have a piece coming out soon in Makeshift to this effect, and you can read what Julia Ticona and I discussed in the US context for Civicist.)

With regards to language, the sheer diversity of speakers online is stunning. From 2000 to 2015, we’ve seen 6592% growth amongst Arabic speakers, 2080% amongst Chinese speakers and 3227% amongst Russian speakers, to name a few. Even more striking is the fact that English speakers will soon be the minority online, and the growth of non-Top Ten language continues apace. If the news is breaking, it’s almost always going to happen online too. And more importantly, it will be happening in many more languages than English.

Multilingual content hasn’t caught up with multilingual users.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity. According to the IDN World Report, English content is vastly overrepresented on the web. Part of this, of course, can be explained by the fact that many people speak English as a second language. But other languages, like Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, are severely underrepresented.

This sounds like an opportunity for content creators to make relevant content for language speakers, whose experience of the internet is much more limited than that of English speakers. At the same time, adapting the current business models—advertising and pay to read—for these new markets will be a challenge. As Buzzfeed’s Greg Coleman pointed out, global advertising presents unique challenges. If so many people speak English, why bother with other languages?

As came through in many interviews I’ve done, readers tend to prefer their own language, even if they do speak English. I’d like to dive into this with more rigorous research, but it generally makes sense. As digital journalist and Nieman Fellow Tim de Gier described it to me, the internet is full of road bumps. Our job as journalists is to reduce those road bumps and point people to our articles. If it’s in another language, even one we speak, that’s just one more bump in access.

Networked journalism is here to stay. And it’s an opportunity for more diverse stories.

In 2006, Jeff Jarvis defined networked journalism as a field where "the public can get involved in a story before it is reported, contributing facts, questions, and suggestions. The journalists can rely on the public to help report the story; we’ll see more and more of that, I trust. The journalists can and should link to other work on the same story, to source material, and perhaps blog posts from the sources.... After the story is published — online, in print, wherever — the public can continue to contribute corrections, questions, facts, and perspective … not to mention promotion via links."

He added that he hoped it would be a sort of self-fulling prophecy, as more newsrooms turned to networks to both source and distribute the news. Journalists are shifting from simply manufacturers of news to moderators of conversations.

This month, at the Beyond Comments conference hosted by MIT Media Lab and the Coral Project, it became increasingly clear that major news outlets are striving for an alternative. In a terrific panel moderated by Anika Gupta, journalists like Amanda Zamora, Joseph Reagle, Monica Guzmán and Emily Goligoski pointed out that we need to make a shift from thinking of the audience as an audience to thinking of them more as a community.

To meet both speed and accuracy, translators need better tech and better processes.

In a breaking news environment, both speed and accuracy are critical. Indeed, translation and technology have always worked closely together. There are two examples that stick in my mind. The first is the Filene-Finlay simultaneous translator, developed at IBM and used in the Nuremberg trials. The second is the printing press: in Western Europe, it wasn't until books were translated from Latin to vernacular languages that they started to have an impact.

What does this look like in the digital context? It's something we're exploring at Meedan with Bridge, our platform for social media translation. Other great examples include Yeeyan, a Chinese platform for crowdsourcing news translation; Amara, for subtitling videos on platforms like TED; and Wikipedia.

But just as importantly as the tech, we need better systems and processes. The rigorous training of UN interpreters has made simultaneous interpretation at scale possible today. Glossaries, keeping up to date with the news, pairing interpreters together--this is the stuff that makes the tech powerful, because the humans behind it are more effective.

These processes can be supplemented with new tools in the digital context. Machine translation, translation memories, dynamic and shared glossaries can all help, as can fostering a collaborative mindset. What's most striking to me is the fact that interpretation at the UN is collaborative, with at least two interpreters per language pair. As we do away with the myth that translation is a one-to-one matter (i.e., one translator to one text), we can generate a stronger body of translations made possible through collaboration.

....And that's it for now - I'll be working on a much longer report, complete with case studies and examples, for the Nieman Lab in coming weeks. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!"
journalism  translation  socialmedia  anxiaomina  2016  networkedjournalism  netowrks  diversity  world  languages  inclusion  inclusivity  news  meedan  yeeyan  amara  wikipedia  ted  anikagupta  amandazamora  josephreagle  monicaguzmán  emilygoligoski  jeffjarvis  timdegier  internet  web  online  gregcoleman  spanish  español  chinese  arabic  russian  zacharyhyman  juliaticona 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Unless you speak English, the Internet doesn’t care about you | Fusion
"The internet is global but it is also regional. Cats are to the U.S. and Japan what goats are to Brazil and Uganda. If you speak an uncommon language, the internet can feel downright rural. The problem isn’t just getting online, but whether there will be anything for people who get online to actually do.

“What’s critical to understand is that, with the next billion users coming online, we’re going to see a wide variety of new languages represented online,” said An Xiao Mina, a co-founder of the Civic Beat and a technologist at Meedan working to build a platform to translate social media. “We live in a world of many internets, where even if you reduce the limits of geography, censorship and connectivity, language prevents large swaths of people from connecting with each other.”

But it’s not just ‘obscure’ languages that are discriminated against on the web.

Even use of Arabic—the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world and the fourth most common language among internet users—was until recently limited on many mobile phones. In some places on the internet, it still is. To cope, Arabic speak­ers developed “Arabizi”, a combination of Roman letters and numbers that make it easier to chat. Arabizi is a essentially a transliteration of Arabic into English characters, using numbers to stand in for some of the letters that don’t have direct counterparts in sound, like 7 for ح (ha), which sounds a bit like a guttural “h.”

It’s an ingenious solution, but one that shouldn’t have to exist. When emoji exploded in popularity, developers across all platforms worked quickly to make it easily usable on their devices. Why so slow with Arabic?

Arabic Wikipedia, by the way, has just 400,000 articles. A language spoken by more than 400 million people is less represented than Swedish, a language spoken by just 9 million. The demographics of the internet have historically been very different from that of the offline world, and those colonization effects are dramatic.

Recent research has shown that speaking English is a significant factor in determining whether someone adopts use of the web. Some languages are not well represented online, but others, like Tibetan, are completely invisible, unusable on browsers, operating systems, and keyboards.

The Tibetan blogger Dechen Pemba recently wrote about the frustrations of not being able to access the Tibetan language on a phone. Google, he wrote, failed to develop a Tibetan language interface and only recently incorporated the Tibetan language font on some Android phones. (That’s one way for Apple, which does support Tibetan, to win customers from Android.)

“Given that the Tibetan literary tradition goes back to the 7th century … my pet hate is when Tibetan language is described as ‘obscure,'” he wrote. “I wonder how it is possible that the language of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhists, comprising of as many as 60 million people, can be wilfully left behind in terms of modern technology?”

Facebook’s Free Basics program was controversial in India in large part because it limited the internet resources the digitally disadvantaged would have access to. Would it include access to domestic violence protection programs, or would it be a walled ghetto devoted to social media and online shopping? Language barriers can also force internet users into digital ghettos, or force them to forsake their mother tongue (and its culture) to escape them.

“The fact that a lot of groups have very little local-language content is problematic because it can contribute to a global homogenization of ideas and culture, and perhaps even knowledge itself,” said Mark Graham, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Graham predicts negative impacts on cultural diversity if the Internet’s language is predominantly English, Chinese, and Spanish. A version of this, for example, is happening right now in Iceland, where the packaging on so many imported goods is in English that it’s becoming more common than Icelandic in every day life.

A linguistically divided internet can also lead to the creation of monocultural bubbles. Wikipedia provides a good example: one study showed that most content on Wikipedia is available in exclusively one language. Even English Wikipedia only has articles that correspond with about half the topics of German Wikipedia.

“The Chinese internet is a good example of this,” Graham said. “There are more Chinese internet users online than internet users from any other country. So, this has meant that there is a lot of content out there in Chinese. Which, in turn, means that it is easy for Chinese internet users to exist in their own ‘filter bubble’—not really exposed to different content on the broader Web.”

Mina pointed out that the web’s prioritization of mainstream languages also leaves many tools for political organization and speaking out off-limits to marginalized groups.

“If you don’t speak a top ten language, the internet you have access to is extremely limited,” Mina told me. “Imagine going to a Chinese restaurant and just trying to order based on pictures.”

Graham told me he’d like to see more online spaces like Wikipedia that are digital commons where users can contribute content in any language they like, allowing local internet users to essential built their own web. But getting those digital commons filled with content first requires creating incentives to get people online in the first place. And part of that means making content that is already out there accessible across the boundaries of language. Mina is interested in chipping away at those boundaries by creating technology that translates social media content from one language to another. Scott Hale, a data scientist focused on bilingualism at the Oxford Internet Institute, told me that user interfaces could help break down language barriers by allowing users to interact with them in multiple languages at once. Most online interfaces—Google and Facebook among them— are designed with monolingual users in mind, only surfacing content in one language at a time. Allowing people to easily toggle between languages is one way to break down the linguistic silos that online life creates.

“You can’t just put a bunch of people in the network and expect that they connect,” Mina said.

The internet was supposed to be the thing that made all of our differences irrelevant, that erased borders and boundaries by translating everything into 1s and 0s. But online borders definitely exist with language boundaries that can be impenetrable."
internet  language  languages  web  online  anxiaomina  kristenbrown  wikipedia  arabic  english  translation  homogenization  culture  swedish  freebasics  arabizi  india  iceland  technology  socialmedia  politics  chinese  spanish  español  diversity 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Telling South Sudan’s Tales in a Language Not Its Own - The New York Times
"JUBA, South Sudan — WHEN dozens of people packed a hall in this capital city to celebrate the publication this year of the latest collection of short stories by Stella Gaitano, a South Sudanese commentator called her “our ambassador to the Arab world.” The audience included writers from Sudan, and when the book went on sale a few months later in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, the author received a glowing reception there as well.

“This is what Stella used to do back in college, bring people together,” said Omar Ushari, a former university colleague of Ms. Gaitano and a moderator of the Khartoum event.

In a relatively short time, Ms. Gaitano, 33, has built a distinguished reputation as a writer who brings to life the experiences of the South Sudanese, who have endured war and displacement as their fragile new country formed and then threatened to disintegrate. More than that, though, she does it in Arabic, a language of the country they broke away from.

“I love the Arabic language,” she said. “I am like writers who write in a language other than their own; I am no different.”

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011, after a referendum that followed years of conflict with the north. Scores of indigenous languages are spoken here, but the lingua franca is Juba Arabic, a pidgin language. The elite who have studied abroad or with local missionaries generally also speak English, while Arabic is spoken by university-educated people who lived in the north, like Ms. Gaitano.

Her parents, members of the Latuka tribe, fled the town of Torit, in what is now South Sudan, in the late 1960s, as the flames of the first Sudanese civil war blazed. They took refuge in Khartoum, where Ms. Gaitano was born.

She learned several languages there, speaking Latuka at home, Juba Arabic with South Sudanese of other tribes and Sudanese Arabic in the larger Sudanese society. She learned classical Arabic in school, and studied pharmacology in college — in English.

“We were a creative generation that was forced to deal with several boundaries,” she said. “So we created gates into each cultural circle.”

She grew up in El-Haj Youssef, a poor neighborhood on the perimeter of Khartoum, as the third of seven children. Her interest in the stories of her grandmother, mother and other female relatives from the south kindled her imagination.

“The south, for me, was an imaginary place,” she said. “It was represented to me in the stories of those who went there and came back to Khartoum.”

HER early love of reading, which included the works of the Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih and Arabic translations of works by Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, inspired her to write.

“Writing is the legitimate child of reading,” she said.

At the University of Khartoum, she came into contact with writers, intellectuals and activists, and she began developing her literary niche. “I started writing about myself, my family and my people,” she said.

One afternoon, inspired by her grandmother, she wrote one of her first short stories, “A Lake the Size of a Papaya Fruit,” in just 30 minutes. “It was like a revelation,” she said.

It is the story of a girl and her grandmother in southern Sudan who are left to fend for themselves after the girl’s mother dies in labor, her father is killed by a wild buffalo and her grandfather is executed by the British colonial authorities. The story won a Sudanese literary prize in 2003.

“It was important for me that northern Sudanese realize that there was life, values and a people who held a different culture, who needed space to be recognized and respected,” Ms. Gaitano said.

In “Wilted Flowers,” Ms. Gaitano addressed the challenges faced by people who had fled murderous conflicts in southern Sudan, Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, and were living in shantytowns near Khartoum.

Struggling mothers, drunken fathers and pregnant teenagers living in poverty far from their homelands with little or no government assistance became the characters and setting of the story “Everything Here Boils.”

“I was trying to shed a light on these matters, and send a warning that ignoring people this way would make them feel that this is not their country,” she said. “But the message was understood too late.”

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese exiles returned to the newly independent country with high hopes, but the paradise many thought they would find was chimerical.

“When we came to the south, we found ourselves discussing the same issues that we did in the north: racism, tribalism, corruption, nepotism and political failure,” Ms. Gaitano said.

In her latest story collection, “Homecoming,” Ms. Gaitano reflects on the hopes and disappointments of returning families.

The story “Escape From the Regular” centers on families reunited after independence; the clashes between local people and those from the diaspora; and the irony and power of a commonly used phrase that became both a lament and an excuse: “Don’t you know we were freedom fighters?”

“South Sudanese saw themselves in the mirror,” Ms. Gaitano said. “They did not think that their own brothers, who look like them, could do the same things that others did to them.”

Her husband, who works at the University of Khartoum, and their two children are Sudanese, but like others from the south, Ms. Gaitano lost her Sudanese citizenship with independence. She spends as much time with them as she can. She lives in Juba, and works as a pharmacist, even as her literary career continues to bloom.

CHOL DENG YONG, a professor of Arabic at Upper Nile University in South Sudan, describes Ms. Gaitano’s work as “narrational,” with “an economic use of words” that combines “classical Arabic, colloquial Sudanese Arabic and Juba Arabic.”

Ms. Gaitano said that some of her South Sudanese colleagues, many of whom write in English, have criticized her privately for writing in Arabic, a language they deem a “colonial tool.” English is an official language in South Sudan but Arabic is not, and its cultural future here is uncertain, making some among the Arabic-educated intelligentsia uneasy.

Victor Lugala, a South Sudanese writer who writes in English, offered some insights: “Stella may be the last generation of South Sudanese to write in Arabic,” he said. “Her publishers could promote her work better if her works are translated into English.”

He went on to compare Ms. Gaitano’s association with a language with that of the Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o. “Since Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o decided to write in his mother tongue, Kikuyu, he has had the burden of translating his own works into English,” Mr. Lugala said.

And regional publishers are starting to notice her.

“Without doubt, having read Stella’s short story ‘I Kill Myself and Rejoice,’ ” said Lucas Wafula, an editor for the East Africa Education Publishers, “she will gain great readership once readers get to interact with the themes in her stories.”

Ms. Gaitano said that she was working on improving her English writing and that her works were being translated. Yet she also hopes that Arabic will retain a place in her country.

“Language for me is the soul of the text,” she said. “I love the Arabic language, and I adore writing in it. It is the linguistic mold that I want to fill my personal stories and culture in, distinguished from that of Arabs.”"

[Story refreenced in article:
“I kill myself and rejoice!”
http://www.theniles.org/en/articles/small-arms/2575/ ]

[Other stories here: http://sudaneseonline.com/board/12/msg/Stella-Gaitano-Translated-into-English-By-Asha-El-Said-1449061495.htm ]
stellagaitano  southsudan  literature  language  languages  translation  africa  arabic  jubaarabic  tayebsalih  isabelallende  writing  reading  victorlugala  sudan  ngugiwathiong’o  kenya  storytelling  howwewrite  gabrielgarcíamárquez  ngũgĩwathiong'o  ngugi  ngũgĩ 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Adapting to a more global, more diverse Internet » Nieman Journalism Lab
"“Thanks to denser networks that foster better pipelines for attention, the Internet gives communities a pathway directly to newsrooms.”

According to Quartz’s Next Billion vertical, Internet use is projected to double — from 2.5 billion to 5 billion — between 2012 and 2016. That’s next year, and already, the global diversity of the netizenry and how they use the Internet is starting to change people’s relationship with the news. Much of this growth is expected to occur in Asia, while the fastest growth will be in Africa. These so-called “next billion” Internet users are often different from the first 2.5 billion in their background and lifestyles, representing a plethora of languages, cultures, incomes, and methods of technological access. And the implications, I think, will reach many different aspects of journalism.

The news will break on many networks, and these networks won’t be open.

After the explosions in Tianjin this year, GIFs, photos, and videos circulated on Twitter, Facebook and Sina Weibo. But the first person to break the news did so through a private messaging group on WeChat, posting video of fire outside the chemical plant just minutes before the explosion. For minutes afterward, the mobile-first, private platform was the primary place for sharing and discussing.

Increasingly, eyewitness media is discussed and disseminated on private networks like WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk, Snapchat, Viber, and Facebook Messenger. This is already having significant effects on newsgathering. At the recent TechRaking conference at MIT, journalist Andy Carvin and others pointed out that, when media do surface on the open web, it’s incredibly difficult to find and source the originator, as the images are often stripped of metadata, compressed, and of indeterminate provenance.

Digital journalism, so accustomed to APIs and tools that aid discovery and aggregation, will likely have to adapt. Partnership and advocacy efforts are likely right — platforms can do more to facilitate journalists’ efforts, and newsrooms can build better tech for these platforms. As well, the technological approach to digital journalism will need be supplemented by the traditional relational skills of newsgathering: cultivating sources, building relationships, and fostering trust.

It won’t be enough to speak just one language, or even three.

As news and reports of the Paris attacks rippled through social media, journalists captured and reported on eyewitness media shared in both French and English. Just a day before, a flurry of tweets and Facebook posts in Arabic, French and English discussed the worst bombing in Beirut since 1990.

News reports of the Paris attacks in French were translated to English:

[tweed embeds]

To Chinese:

[tweet embed]

To Arabic:

[tweet embed]

From French to English and then to Italian:

[tweet embed]

Meanwhile, false reports of a tsunami heading for Japan triggered the trending topic #PrayForJapan. An earthquake had indeed happened, but the Japanese-language reports clearly stated it wasn’t strong enough to trigger a tsunami:

[tweed embeds]

In the hecticness of the day, Spanish newspapers picked up a selfie of a Canadian Sikh man Photoshopped to look like he was wearing a suicide bomber’s vest. In Baghdad, a real suicide bomber killed 18 people. It was a day for hashtag prayers for multiple corners of the world:

[tweet embed]

Every day, global trending topics on Twitter alone appear in multiple languages and scripts — when I glance at them at different times of the day, they frequently appear in Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, Korean, and French, often outnumbering the English-language trending topics. English speakers, once the dominant group on the Internet, will soon become just one of many language speakers online.

Global communities will be talking back to media — and demanding better representation.

In recent years, we saw the transformation of #BlackLivesMatter from a hashtag and a nascent movement to a core question in the presidential primary debates. This year also saw #SomeoneTellCNN re-emerge as a satirical hashtag in Kenya in response to the network calling the country a “terror hotbed.” In the past, these tweets yielded minor changes in coverage; this year, a senior executive personally flew to Nairobi to apologize for the statements. And after Facebook turned on Safety Check for citizens of Paris, Beirutis asked why they didn’t get a Safety Check feature, even though their city had just been bombed a day before.

We can expect more of this. Geographically far from most media outlets, people in many regions of the world have historically had few avenues to attempt to improve global reportage of their issues. Thanks to denser networks that foster better pipelines for attention, the Internet gives communities a pathway directly to newsrooms. At its worst, call-out culture can be destructive and foster a herd mentality against the less privileged in society. But at its best, when people organize and amplify their voices to punch up rather than down, they can make real changes in media and media representation. What can we do to listen more effectively?

GIFs won’t be icing: they’ll be the cake.

[gif embed]

Let’s go back to Tianjin. Some of the most powerful images that circulated on WeChat were, in fact, GIFs. While livestreaming video tools like Periscope will push the boundaries of high-bandwidth, high-resolution video, the humble GIF is also on the rise, with built-in tools on sites like Tumblr and Instagram and autoplay features on Twitter now making it easier than ever for people to generate and share compelling moving images.

This matters for global Internet users because GIFs, in addition to being eminently shareable, consume less data — and less data charges. They also work well with smaller screens, whether that’s a low-cost smartphone or an Apple Watch. While cats and dogs will always have a special home on animated media, so will the mews, er, news."
anxiaomina  journalism  2015  messaging  internet  web  socialmedia  language  languages  news  translation  gifs  kakaotalksnapchat  viber  facebook  whatsapp  lineapp  andycarvin  digital  digitaljournalism  online  twitter  arabic  french  english  chinese  mandarin  italian  portuguese  japanese  spanish  portugués  español 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Moroccan Writer and Scholar Fatema Mernissi, 75 | Arabic Literature (in English)
"On writing, she once said: “Writing is one of the most ancient forms of prayer. To write is to believe communication is possible that other people are good, that you can awaken their generosity and their desire to do better.”"
fatimamernissi  arabic  literature  morocco  writing  prayer  communication  generosity  whywewrite 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Nuqta - Created by You, for You.
"The world’s first user-generated mobile museum of arabic calligraphy and typography. Created by you, for you."
arabic  typography  calligraphy  application  ios  iphone  ipad 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Reading Right-to-Left | booktwo.org
"At a conference I attended recently, one of the speakers noted how the US army trains observers to “read” a landscape from right to left. The idea is that, as Anglophones accustomed to reading left to right, reversing the direction of attention brings more concentration to bear on the situation. Moving from right to left disrupts the soldier’s instinctual recognition patterns, and so they are more likely to spot things. This skill has apparently migrated from soldiers to photographers:
“One of the first tricks I learned many years ago had nothing to do with photography, but was drilled into me by an army sergeant. It only took a few smacks up the back of my head to learn how to look from right-to-left when scanning a landscape in an effort to see the hidden “enemy” in our mock battles. This process of reverse reading forced me to slow down and read each tree as if it were a syllable I was seeing for the first time. Even today, about thirty years after I called that sergeant every adjective not found in a decent dictionary, I still find myself scanning a landscape from right-to-left.”

The conference speaker contrasted this way of seeing, and the assumptions explicit within it, with the Japanese way of reading, which may be right-to-left, or vertical:

[image]

One might also, in the context of today’s military operations consider the right-to-leftness of Hebrew and Arabic script (and Farsi, and Urdu) – and from there consider the verticality and three-dimensionality of text and thought online, the way it branches and deepens, how it recedes through the screen, through hyperlinks, into an endless chain of connections and relationships.

This reversal and inversion of language patterns has many historical and thus military uses. In Reality is Plenty, Kevin Slavin relates a tale told to him by a photography professor, who was trained as a World War II radar operator.

When radar signals were received aboard an aircraft carrier, they were displayed on a radar oscilloscope. But in order for this information be used in the midst of battle, the positions needed to be transcribed to a large glass viewing pane, and as part of this process they needed to be inverted and reversed. To perform this operation quickly and accurately, the radar operators were trained and drilled extensively in “upside down and backwards town”, a classified location where everything from newspapers to street signs were printed upside down and backwards. This experience would not so much create a new ability for the radar operators, as break down their existing biases towards left-to-right text, allowing them to operate in multiple dimensions at once.

[image]

This process, in Kevin’s reading and in mine, is akin to much of our experience of new technology, when our existing frameworks of reference, both literary and otherwise, are broken down, and we must learn over once again how to operate in the world, how to transform and transliterate information, how to absorb it, think it, search for it and deploy it. We must relearn our relationship not only with information, but with knowledge itself.

And I was reminded of this once again when I found myself at the weekend defending, for the first time in a long time, but certainly not for the first time ever, the kind of thinking and knowledge production which is native to the internet. In this oft-rehearsed argument, whether it be about ebooks or social media or news cycles or or or, the central thrust is that x technology is somehow bad for us, for our thought, our attention, our cognitive processes etc., where x always tends towards “the internet”, as the ur-technology of our time.

And the truth is that I cannot abide this kind of talk. I know people don’t read books like they used to, and they don’t think like they used to, but I struggle to care. Most of this talk is pure nostalgia, a kind of mostly knee-jerk, mostly uncritical (although not thoughtless) response to entirely rational fears about technological opacity and complexity (this nostalgia, of course, was the basis for the New Aesthetic). But this understandable reaction also erases all the new and different modes of attention and thought which, while they are difficult to articulate because we are still developing and discovering the language to articulate them with, are nonetheless present and growing within us. And I simply do not see the damage that is ascribed to this perceived “loss” – I don’t see the generations coming up being any less engaged in culture and society, reading less, thinking less, acting less, even when they are by any measure poorer, less supported, forced to struggle harder for education and employment, and, to compound the injury, derided at every opportunity as feckless, distracted, and disengaged. I see the opposite.

I’m getting more radical in my view of the internet, this unconsciously-generated machine for unconscious generation. I’m feeling more sure of its cultural value and legacy, and more assertive about stating it. We built this thing, and like all directed culture of the past, it has an agency and a desire, and if you pay attention to it you can see which way it wants to go, and what it wants to fight. We made that, all of us, in time, but we don’t have full control of it. Rather, like the grain of wood, it’s something to be worked with and shaped, but also thought about and conceptualised, both matter and metaphor.

It’s possible, despite the faults of data and design, to be an unchurched follower of the internet: undogmatic, non-sectarian, wary of its faults, all too conscious of its occupation by the forces of capital and control, but retaining a deep faith in its message and meaning. A meaning which it is still up to us to explore and enact, to defend where possible and oppose when necessary. If there is progress, if things can be improved, then they must be improved by new inventions, by the things we have not tried before. No going backwards to the future."
culture  knowledge  internet  japanese  arabic  howweread  understanding  noticing  books  reading  meadia  online  socialmedia  newaesthetic  future  bookfuturism  control  change  data  design  technology  criticalthinking  kevinslavin  observation  seeing  howwesee  waysofseeing  perspective  rewiring  attention  knowledgeproduction  society  difference  cv  canon 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Maryam Saleh: A Musical Nebula
"Maryam Saleh is a musical soul raised in a musical house in a not so distant musically vibrant Kahira. As a child, Saleh was spoiled by a wide array of musicians coming in and out of her house, igniting a passion for the arts from an early age. “My mother was a singer and had a lot of musical friends who filled our house with beautiful sounds. My choice to sing wasn’t random, it was something I grew up with and knew I would do when I got older,” passionately explains Saleh. Growing up understanding the power music has over shaping thoughts and identity, Saleh ignored the pop singers polluting the mainstream and decided to channel the controversial sound of working class cult hero Sheikh Imam Mohammad Ahmad Eissa. According to Saleh, “When I turned 16 I decided to form a band named Gawaz Safar to cover my favourite Sheikh Imam songs. He was banned from singing and his music wasn’t released on cassettes. My goal was to sing his songs publicly - it almost felt like a political decision, but I wanted to expose friends and music lovers to his inspiring works and put together a tribute concert in his honour.”

Sheikh Imam is arguably one of the first underground folk artists to emerge in Egypt. Blinded at the age of five, this inspirational musical prodigy didn’t let his disability stop him from making music, and sang a message which rung true for the underprivileged in society while enraging the ruling class. Teaming up in 1962 with legendary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, the duo began composing political songs that were instantly banned from radio and television and resulted in their imprisonment on multiple occasions. Unable to perform in his home country Sheikh Imam built a career in the mid 80’s playing abroad in major musical hubs like France, Britain, as well as across the Middle East. While most Egyptians of the time were listening to budding artists like Amr Diab, Saleh instead researched alternative sounds that dared to challenge the status quo, which is what drew her to Sheikh Imam’s work.

Resurrecting his work, Saleh’s interpretation of the revolutionary icon was well received and gave her the boost of confidence needed to courageously set out to release an album under her own name entitled Ana Mesh Baghany. Talking about her debut album Saleh tells me that “It was the first album I worked on under my own name instead of hiding behind a band or collaboration. All the music in this album was composed by me except for two songs composed by musical director Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. It was an important album for me because it was my introduction to the musical world and documents my development as an artist.” Ana Mesh Baghany was released by Eka3 record label, and was praised as a successful introduction to Saleh’s work with tracks reaching over a 200k+ views YouTube. Furthermore, the album found success in television as tracks were used in the soundtrack of a Ramadan TV series entitled Farah Leila. “I felt somewhat scared when the album had the opportunity to be taken as sound track in a Ramadan TV series. They ended up using most of the songs in the series, which is a lot more exposure than the kind of success that most underground artists get. I was a little bit scared that this would put me in particular frame as an artist and I don’t like to be framed,” admits Saleh.

To avoid being labeled or framed as a singular genre singer, Saleh continues to expand her musical horizons moving from Sheikh Imam inspired Folk into variety of sounds ranging from Hip Hop to Electro Pop. “When I create a song I do a lot of research looking for new sounds and attempting to share a feeling that most people experience. I tend to search for humour in misery, creating lyrics fitting for a dark comedy.”

Looking to build on the success of her debut album, Mostakell records (a label under Eka3 platform) will be supporting her latest release, Halawella, which will explore new musical territories with a different collaborator, influential Lebanese artist Zeid Hamdan. According to Saleh, “I met Zeid when he was touring with a band called Kaza Mada. At the after party in Alexandria, I began singing with some friends, but I believe Zeid had already gone to bed as he usually sleeps early. Overhearing us singing, Zeid returned joining in with a tambourine and afterwards asked me to record songs with him.” The dynamic duo returned to Cairo and recorded three songs and a video in Alex before Zeid returned to Lebanon. Despite being able to record from scratch in a day, the album would take four years before being completed.

A large reason the album has taken years to make, is due to the hectic schedule of both Saleh and Hamdan. Arguably one of the hardest working musicians in Lebanon, Zeid Hamdan always has something coming out, working with over a dozen outfits across the Arab world and supporting each release with a tour. During that same time, Saleh found herself building the reputation as a successful actress, appearing in television and movies. “I have worked on multiple film projects. I was in Ibrahim Batout’s Ain Shams, Osama Fawzi’s Bel2lwan el Tabe3yah, among other shorts. I was also in the Ramadan TV series Farah Leila starring Leila Elwy, which used most of the songs from Ana Mesh Baghany. The latest film project I took part in is the yet to be released; Akher Ayam el Madina directed by Tamer El Saeed. What people don’t know is that I like to assist behind the scenes as a stylist or director’s assistant a lot more than appearing in front of the camera,” confesses Saleh."
2015  maryamsaleh  music  egypt  zeidhamdan  arabic  sheikhimam 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Featuring a Collaboration between Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan Mostakell Releases Halawella
"Mostakell has revealed the release of Halawella, a new album featuring the cooperation between the Egyptian underground singer Maryam Saleh and the Lebanese composer Zeid Hamdan. The new album, under the name of Halawella, will comprise 10 songs; half of which are inspired by the oeuvre of the salient duo Sheikh Imam and Ahmed Fouad Negm. Maryam has been influenced by both artists in some of her earlier songs. The new album will include remixes of these songs by Zeid, in addition to some of Maryam's songs.

Halawella, which will be released on Thursday 17 September, is the fruitful result of Maryam and Zeid's successful tours since 2010 in Cairo, Beirut, and Tunisia, in addition to their international tours in London, Rome, Amsterdam, and others where Zeid Hamdan's remixes are very well-received.

A powerful voice for her generation, Egyptian singer and songwriter Maryam Saleh composes and performs music that is personal, political and philosophical; intense, intelligent Egyptian music with Arabic language and influences of Trip Hop and Psych Rock. In the past year few years, Maryam has played widely across Egypt, the Arab World, and Europe. Since success collaborating with a number of bands and music projects, Maryam has forged a path as a solo artist, recording and performing her own projects and collaborations. Using her muscular, alluring vocals and charismatic stage presence, Maryam brings her inventive contemporary compositions to life. This charisma has been enriched by her participation in many acting roles as well, in Independent and mainstream Egyptian Films and TV Series, including Ein Shams (2006), Akher Ayam El Madina, Bel Alwan El Tabe'eya (2008), Farah Layla Series (2013), among others.

Zeid Hamdan is a well-known Lebanese composer and producer in the alternative music scene since the 90's. He was dubbed "the godfather of Lebanese underground music" due to his continuous support of Lebanese and Arab bands mixing between diverse types of Arab and international music, such as Kazamada, Zeid and the Wings, Katibeh 5, the New Government, and Soap Kills; a band which originally was formed in 1997 and became a pioneering indie band in the Arab world. By collaborating with them, Zeid mixed electronic music with classic Arabic music, in addition to singing along with the band member Yasmine Hamdan, whose stardom was catapulted after joining the band. CNN network selected Zeid Hamdan as one of the 8 most influential figures in Lebanese culture."
2015  maryamsaleh  music  lebanon  egypt  arabic  zeidhamdan 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Maryam Saleh, the youth icon who sings against singing - Music - Arts & Culture - Ahram Online
"Young singer Maryam Saleh, 28, represents a musical movement that raged in the aftermath of the January 25 revolution, one that is often dubbed independent, or underground, music. Saleh, alongside contemporaries of the same music scene, indeed wandered off the traditional realm of musical performance.

Raised artistically by her father, the late playwright Saleh Saad, she started singing and acting at the age of seven. She then trained and worked with a number of theatre and music troupes, most prominent of which were El-Warsha, Tamy, Habayebna, and Baraka, which she founded. She also starred in Ibrahim Battout's film Ein Al-Shams (Eye of the Sun) and played a role in a television series dubbed Farah Laila (Laila's Wedding) with actress Laila Elwy.

Her first album was labelled Ana Mish Baghanni (I Don't Sing) -- an apt explanation of the type of music that she presents, which may be described as actually being opposed to singing.

The style clearly embraces singing out of tune, or rebelling against the manners of traditional Eastern music, and adopting instead a blend of pop and protest music mostly based on poetic texts that are closely related to the current Egyptian moment without being blatantly political.

The lyrics of her songs -- which were written by significant young writers such as Mostafa Ibrahim, Mido Zoheir and Omar Mostafa -- are responsible for the production of this new musical discourse. Born out of the revolution, they are immersed in the details of its ups and downs and attentive to the personal domain -- which had become absent in mainstream songs restricted instead to sensationalised singing and caught in the ridiculously redundant binary of coming together and abandonment.

Furthermore, young audiences react remarkably well to Saleh's stage performances at independent spaces. The phenomenon begs contemplation, since her style and song lyrics are a topic of sarcasm on Facebook pages such as "Asa7be", which nevertheless perpetuates her presence as an icon. She now even features as the star of several street murals in the city.

This interest is perhaps the result of Saleh's primary focus on expression. She prefers the performative ingredient over traditional musical elements, or rather, abandons the latter altogether, as reflected in her songs Ana Mesh Baghanni (I Don't Sing), Watan El-Akk (Homeland of Chaos), which she composed, Eslahat (Reforms) and Robaeyat Shagar El-Tout: Donya w-Kedb (Quartets of Berry Trees: World and Lies). In these songs, she is more of an actress performing a melodrama, revealing a mix of conflicting emotions, performed in a way that disillusions recipients.

In some of her songs, Maryam Saleh reminds us of caricaturist performances, which brings her closer to the monologues that spread through Egyptian music until the 1960s and waned with the departure of its icons, Ismail Yassin and Shokouko -- whose songs she covered, including "Helw El-Helw" (The Beautiful One).

Yet she does not confine herself to social satire, as is typical of this genre, delving instead into the political realm, as evidenced in her songs Watan El-Akk (Homeland of Chaos) and Sor'et El-Ayam (The Speed of Days). She also covers songs by Sheikh Imam -- including "Nixon Baba" and "Valéry Giscard d'Estaing" -- in special repertoires that she fully dedicates to the revolution's composer and principal representative.

Experience gained by working with El-Warsha and Tamy troupes, as well as the Choir Project, has helped fortify her performance with dramatic and satirical images which emphasise her performative character in a way reminiscent of what the late Yehia Haqqi would call "the cartoonish trait in the songs of Sayed Darwish" – a trait skilfully developed by Saleh, as seen in her contemporary adaptations of Imam's songs, and particularly in her modern compositions co-produced with Tamer Abu Ghazala and Zeid Hamdan.

Despite the reservations that permeate Egypt's music scene regarding Maryam Saleh's performance style, her audiences quickly become engaged by it, particularly when she delivers songs that come closer to the repertoire of traditional Egyptian music. With songs such as Emshi ala Remshi (Walk on my Eyelash) and Tool El-Tareeq (All the Way Through), she emerges as a musician who respects musical norms; with others, such as Wahdy (Alone) -- in which a state of existential crisis intermixes with deep wounds -- she delves into uncharted territories and untraditional practices. The song, resembling the wails of anxiety, lays bare personal pain, focusing a spotlight on this singer who creates engaging music out of dissonance."
maryamsaleh  egypt  music  2014  sheikhimam  performance  arabic 
september 2015 by robertogreco
NaTakallam | A Different Kind of Arabic Learning
"The best way to learn a language is to immerse oneself in its environment. While Arabic’s popularity continues to increase worldwide, traveling to the Middle East, for reasons ranging from cost to time and safety, is not always an option. Furthermore, academic and language institutes tend to teach ‘Fusha,’ formal literary Arabic ( Classical or Modern Standard Arabic [MSA]) , yet students are increasingly interested in `Ammiyyah,’ the local dialect and primary spoken form of Arabic in a given region.

Lebanon, a country of 4 million currently hosts some 1.2 million Syrian refugees, fleeing the now four-year-old civil war. According to the International Labor Organization, almost all Syrian workers in Lebanon (approximately 60% of the total Syrian refugee population) are employed in unprotected and potentially exploitative conditions in the informal economy.

NaTakallam operates on the above two fronts, aiming to alleviate the struggle of jobless Syrians in Lebanon by pairing them with students learning Arabic for conversation-focused classes over the internet. In providing Syrians with work opportunities, the platform also caters to a specific need within the Arabic learning community interested in the spoken Levantine (especially Syrian) dialect.

NaTakallam believes that maximizing one’s language skills relies on complementing traditional academic courses with conversation sessions, ideally in a one-on-one setting. Through this online platform, students gain full flexibility with respect to the timing, length, and format of the sessions. They also engage in a unique cultural experience."
arabic  education  languagelearning  via:unthinkingly  lebanon  syria  refugees 
september 2015 by robertogreco
#Egypt_Delights: A Suez Canal Hashtag Largely Missed by English-Speaking Media — Words About Words — Medium
"1. Real time translations open up new perspectives on global events.

This is a given for anyone who straddles different cultures and linguistic zones, but it bears emphasis. Translating real time content is what we’re trying to optimize Bridge for. But it’s striking to see the difference in Google results between #مصر_بتفرح, the Arabic hashtag, and #Egypt_Delights, Nora’s English-language translation. Searching for the latter yields 0 results. And a similar search for an alternative translation, #EgyptCelebrates, yields just about a handful of pages of Google results.

[image]

Compare that to the original Arabic hashtag, #مصر_بتفرح, which has received more than 191k Tweets during the last seven days, according to Topsy.com:

[image]

Many media outlets wrote about the pomp and circumstance and some of the odd juxtapositions of imagery, but these perspectives largely came from those of journalists rather than citizens. Some social media round-ups we found focused largely on English-language posts, and thus, to a certain extent, a limited number of local perspectives. To our knowledge, only Magda Abu-Fadil at The Huffington Post covered and translated the Arabic hashtag in an English language report.

Compare that to other satirical hashtags in recent memory, like #SomeoneTellCNN in Kenya and #McDStories in the US, both of which trended in English and consequently received broad coverage in English-speaking media outlets. The effect of the language barrier is apparent, even when talking about major trending media around an event of world interest.

The content of Arabic language (and other foreign language) hashtags trends is largely invisible to the English speaking world, and the range of social media reportage therefore remains limited.

2. Sorting through real time content is still a challenge. So is verification.

When translating real-time content around breaking events, it can be hard to figure out the best content to translate. We want to optimize Bridge for mobile users’ efforts to translate social media, but there’s still a crucial first step: finding the content. This is something we struggled with when I worked on Ai Weiwei English, a project I co-founded in 2010, and with greater network density and content diversity, the need for better discovery tools is even more readily apparent. So, our sample translations are just that: a small sample, one that is not necessarily representative of the sheer diversity of responses found on the original Arabic hashtag.

Of course, sorting through local perspectives, regardless of source language, requires verification and vetting of the content and the speaker (something Tom and I wrote about recently for First Draft News). This is especially the case when the individual is making important factual claims about events, but itcan still be important when translating satirical responses. The effort can be worth the time: translating leading figures and average citizens alike can can open a window into a greater understanding of how the country as a whole is responding.

3. Local knowledge and expertise are vital for quality real time translations.

In theory, anyone with sufficient knowledge of Arabic can translate the posts that Nora and Sarah identified. But the best translations often come from those with knowledge on the ground and experience and expertise relevant to the issue. As journalists and Cairo residents, they were well positioned both to identify the right content to translate and to represent it accurately and with relevance for an English-speaking audience.

One good example? How to translate the Arabic hashtag #مصر_بتفرح. Translating Arabic to English requires a lot of knowledge not just of the two languages but of the many social and cultural situations being evoked by the words. Now, #مصر_بتفرح could be translated a number of ways, including #EgyptCelebrates and #EgyptRejoices, as Tom, a fluent Arabic speaker, has pointed out. #EgyptDelightsIn could also be an acceptable translation.

But Nora connected the dots between the hashtag, slogans playing on television, and a New York Times article that translated that slogan as “Egypt Delights.” “It was referenced in the New York Times story as ‘Egypt Delights,’” she noted, “so I thought to use that in translated tweets since readers in English might have already read the story.”

Finding just the right translation can be a challenge, especially when working with vernacular content and words that come from very different language families. These sorts of decisions require deep knowledge of the local context and a broad perspective in both languages to connect the dots and ensure the most relevant translations are used."
anxiaomina  internet  translation  meedan  arabic  twitter  socialmedia  2015  egypt  language  robinsloan 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Aljamiado - Wikipedia
Aljamiado (Spanish: [alxaˈmjaðo]; Arabic: عَجَمِيَة‎ trans. ʿajamiyah) or Aljamía texts are manuscripts that use the Arabic script for transcribing European languages, especially Romance languages such as Mozarabic, Portuguese, Spanish or Ladino.

According to Anwar G. Chejne,[2] Aljamiado or Aljamía is "a corruption of the Arabic word ʿajamiyah (in this case it means foreign language) and, generally, the Arabic expression ʿajam and its derivative ʿajamiyah are applicable to peoples whose ancestry is not of Arabian origin". In linguistic terms, the Aljamía is the use of the Arabic alphabet to transcribe the Romance language, which was used by some people in some areas of Al-Andalus as an everyday communication vehicle, while Arabic was reserved as the language of science, high culture and religion.

The systematic writing of Romance-language texts in Arabic scripts appears to have begun in the fifteenth century, and the overwhelming majority of such texts that can be dated belong to the sixteenth century.[3] A key aljamiado text was the mufti of Segovia's compilation Suma de los principales mandamientos y devediamentos de nuestra santa ley y sunna, of 1462.[4]

In later times, Moriscos were banned from using Arabic as a religious language, and wrote in Spanish on Islamic subjects. Examples are the Coplas del alhichante de Puey Monzón, narrating a Hajj,[5] or the Poema de Yuçuf on the Biblical Joseph (written in Aragonese[6])."

[via https://twitter.com/Ballandalus/status/614554279093923840
http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/literaturaljamiada.html ]
arabic  spanish  español  portugués  portuguese  ladino  language  languages  aljamiado  aljamía 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Yusef Alahmad Art & Design
"Graphic designer from Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar), based in San Francisco, California.
Freelancer + Graphic Design MFA Candidate (Academy of Art University)."
graphicdesign  graphics  design  arabic  typography  yusefalahmad  art  sanfrancisco  saudiarabia 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Nuqta - Created by You, for You.
[See also: http://brownbook.me/virtual-calligraphy/

"A new mobile app is the world's first virtual library for Arabic typography and calligraphy
The world's first user-generated mobile museum of Arabic typography and calligraphy was launched earlier this year. Known as NUQTA, which loosely translates to 'dot', the mobile application invites users to instantly post images of Arabic from anywhere in the world, whether it be graffiti on the streets or a work of art in a museum."]
applications  ios  arabic  nuqta  iphone  typography 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Katib for Mac
"Katib is a no-fuss, distraction-free text editor for languages that are written from right to left.
We understand that Arabic and closely related languages are treated as a second-class citizens in apps. We also understand that it takes a lot of fiddling with settings & typography to simply make them work and look half-decent.

Katib solves these annoying problems so that you can focus on typing and getting your thoughts on the screen."
applications  mac  osx  texteditors  katib  arabic  farsi  urdu  hebrew 
october 2014 by robertogreco
قلب: لغة برمجة
"قلب is a new programming language exploring the role of human culture in coding. Code is written entirely in Arabic and is the basis of code calligraphy, classical algorithms rendered as traditional Arab art."

[now at: http://nas.sr/%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A8/

"قلب is a programming language exploring the role of human culture in coding. Code is written entirely in Arabic, highlighting cultural biases of computer science and challenging the assumptions we make about programming. It is implemented as a tree-walking language interpreter in JavsScript.

All modern programming tools are based on the ASCII character set, which encodes Latin Characters and was originally based on the English Language. As a result, programming has become tied to a single written culture. It carries with it a cultural bias that favors those who grew up reading and writing in that cultural. قلب explores and challenges that by presenting a language that deviates almost entirely from ASCII.

In addition to the language and its interpreter, the قلب project includes a calligraphy series. Traditional Computer Science algorithms are implemented in قلب, and the resulting Arabic source code is used as the content of calligraphy pieces, in effect treating the algorithms as high poetry. The current completed pieces are Hello World, Fibonacci, and Conway’s Game of Life."]

[discussed here at 27:45: https://vimeo.com/134734733 ]

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77KAHPZUR8g
https://github.com/nasser/--- ]
arabic  coding  programming  language  languages  calligraphy  ramseynasser  conwaysgameoflife 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Brevity: Twtr | The Economist
"THIS 78-character tweet in English would be only 24 characters long in Chinese: [image]

That makes Chinese ideal for micro-blogs, which typically restrict messages to 140 symbols. Though Twitter, with 140m active users the world's best-known microblogging service, is blocked in China, Sina Weibo, a local variant, has over 250m users. Chinese is so succinct that most messages never reach that limit, says Shuo Tang, who studies social media at the University of Indiana.

Japanese is concise too: fans of haiku, poems in 17 syllables, can tweet them readily. Though Korean and Arabic require a little more space, tweeters routinely omit syllables in Korean words; written Arabic routinely omits vowels anyway…

Romance tongues, among others, generally tend to be more verbose (see chart)…

Kevin Scannell, a professor at St Louis University, Missouri, has found 500 languages in use on Twitter and has set up a website to track them."
charactercounts  characters  wordcounts  words  kevinscannell  semiocast  weibo  arabic  urdu  farsi  microblogs  efficiency  2012  romancelanguages  portuguese  spanish  english  chinese  language  twitter 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The introduction
""Walking down Alcatraz Avenue. Didn't hear the Arabic "al" in that word until just this very moment. Now I can't un-hear it: Al-qaṭrās!"

—and I’m sure I noticed the “al” this time because I’ve been re-reading Tamim Ansary’s Destiny Disrupted, a terrific and accessible history of Islam.

…This book has the best introduction I have ever read. It’s not long, but it’s written in an almost impossibly cool, casual voice, and it sets the rest of the book up perfectly without ever like, precapitulating the content. Here’s my favorite bit, which gives you a good sense of Ansary’s voice:

"This is the story I tell in the pages that follow, and I emphasize “story.” Destiny Disrupted is neither a textbook nor a scholarly thesis. It’s more like what I’d tell you if we met in a coffeehouse and you said, “What’s all this about a parallel world history?”"

This introduction is like the toss before a great tennis serve. Tamim Ansary is the Roger Federer of introductions."
storytelling  stories  parallelworldhistory  tamimansary  destinydisrupted  arabic  books  2012  etymology  language  introductions  writing  robinsloan 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Bedoun - Wikipedia
"Not to be confused with Bédoins, Bedouin, Beaudoin, or Beaudouin.

Bedoun (Arabic: بِدون ‎, sometimes bedoon, bidūn, bidoun) are stateless persons, from the Arabic bidūn jinsiyya (Arabic: بدون جنسية‎, without nationality).[1] The term is used mostly in Kuwait, where the large bedoun population has been a continuing problem,[2] and Bahrain. Although most of the bedoun are Bedouin, the two terms have different meanings."
people  words  kuwait  persian  arabic  statelessness  bidoun 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Learn 40 Languages for Free with Free Audio Lessons | Open Culture
"How to learn languages for free? This collection features lessons in 40 languages, including Spanish, French, English, Mandarin, Italian, Russian and more. Download audio lessons to your computer or mp3 player and you’re good to go."
languages  language  learning  arabic  spanish  bulgarian  catalan  chinese  mandarin  danish  dutch  english  esperanto  finnish  french  free  gaelic  german  greek  hebrew  hindi  hungarian  indonesian  irish  italian  japanese  korean  latin  lithuanian  luxembourgish  maori  norwegian  polish  portuguese  romanian  russian  swedish  tagalog  thai  ukranian  urdu  vietnamese  yiddish  lessons  māori  catalán 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Why Arabic is Terrific
"So I would like to stand up for the language nerds and give some reasons for studying Arabic that have nothing to do with politics. The language of the National Designated Other is bound to switch to Chinese in a couple of years, but until colleges start teaching Martian, Arabic is going to remain the strangest, most interesting language you can study in an undergrad classroom.

And don't fall for the bait and switch with Chinese or Japanese! They might tempt you with an exotic writing system, but after a few months you find out that the underlying language is pretty vanilla, and meanwhile there is a stack of three thousand flash cards standing in between you and the ability to skim a newspaper.

Arabic, on the other hand, twists healthy minds in twelve ways:…"
education  learning  writing  language  maciejceglowski  arabic  languages  2011  maciejcegłowski 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Mobile Media Toolkit
"The Mobile Media Toolkit shows you how to record audio, from finding a good recording environment to recording phone calls, editing audio, and listening to and sharing reports with others."
mobile  media  tools  audio  video  mobilemedia  onlinetoolkit  recording  journalism  editing  via:danielsinker  english  español  spanish  arabic 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Shura - Wikipedia
"Shura (Arabic: شورى shūrā) is an Arabic word for "consultation". It is believed to be the method by which pre-Islamic Arabian tribes selected leaders and made major decisions.

Shura is mentioned twice in the Quran as a praiseworthy activity, and is a word often used in the name of parliaments in Muslim-majority countries."
government  governance  classideas  democracy  representativedemocracy  islamicdemocracy  islamicculture  arabic  consultation  politics  sharia  islam  civics 
december 2010 by robertogreco
20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World
[via: http://caterina.net/wp-archives/39 ]

"1. Toska [Russian]: At deepest & most painful…sensation of great spiritual anguish, often w/out any specific cause. At less morbid levels…dull ache of soul, longing w/ nothing to long for…

2. Mamihlapinatapei [Yagan (indigenous to Tierra del Fuego]: wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start

3. Jayus

4. Iktsuarpok [Inuit]: “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.”

5. Litost 6. Kyoikumama 7. Tartle 8. Ilunga 9. Prozvonit 10. Cafuné 11. Schadenfreude

12. Torschlusspanik [German]: means “gate-closing panic,” but…refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages."

13. Wabi-Sabi 14. Dépaysement

15. Tingo [Pasquense]: “act of taking objects one desires from house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”

16. Hyggelig 17. L'appel du vide 18. Ya'aburnee

19. Duende: “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.”

20. Saudade"
language  translation  culture  linguistics  words  hyggelig  duende  saudade  tingo  wabi-sabi  schadenfreude  Mamihlapinatapei  toska  litost  tartle  cafuné  portugués  portuguese  español  spanish  russian  german  french  danish  arabic  time  age  precision  art  glvo  scottish  japanese  czech  inuit  yagan  milankundera  vladmirnavakov 
december 2010 by robertogreco
…My heart’s in Accra » Jonathan Lyons on the Islamic resolution of science and monotheism
"This led him to the exploration of Islam’s influence on what we think of as western science and society. He focuses in particular on Adelard of Bath, wondering what kind of person goes to the Holy Land during the crusades not to kill, but to learn Arabic and bring back that scholarship?

His book, “The House of Wisdom“, starts with a description of the unschooled, barbarian European masses knocking on the gates of the learned and sophisticated Islamic lands. He explains that Fibonnaci’s father sent him to a Muslim family to learn his math - he would have learned double-entry bookkeeping, an innovation that hadn’t yet reached the North.

When European monestaries might hold a couple of dozen volumes, Arabic libraries held hundreds of thousands of books. When the sultan decided to donate books to a new school, he sent 80,000 from his personal collection."
science  history  spain  iran  islam  religion  philosophy  arabic  translation  ethanzuckerman  jonathanlyons  españa 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Speech Recognition iPhone App Translates Arabic On the Fly | Popular Science
"Speech technology is advancing quickly; even smartphones offer apps that let you speak commands and perform voice-activated searches. Now, a new app for iPhone and Blackberry can convert spoken Arabic into spoken English (and vice versa). The mobile app's speed of processing and accuracy is unprecedented for such a complex and different pair of languages."
language  arabic  translation  iphone  applications  audio  ios 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Arroba - Wikipedia
"The word arroba has its origin in Arabic ar-rubʿ (الربع), the fourth part (of a quintal). Arroba was a Spanish and Portuguese unit of weight, mass or volume. Its symbol is @. In weight it is equal to about 25 pounds in Spain, and 32 pounds in Portugal. An Italian academic claims to have traced the @ symbol to the Italian Renaissance, in a Venetian mercantile document signed by Francesco Lapi on May 4, sent from Seville to Rome, describing the goods and treasures arriving on a ship from the Americas to Spain 1537. The Aragonese historian Jorge Romance located the appearance of the @ symbol at the "taula de Ariza" registry from 1448, to denote a wheat shipment from Castile to the Kingdom of Aragon. The unit is still used in Portugal by cork merchants, and in Brazil by cattle traders, defined as 15 kg. In the Spanish language and Portuguese language, the term arroba has now become synonymous with the symbol due to its use in e-mail addresses."
arroba  signs  symbols  email  spanish  portuguese  español  renaissance  italian  arabic  measure  volume 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Page F30: Why Norwegian is the easiest language for English speakers to learn
"Persian is easy in terms of grammar, most Western European languages have the advantage of common vocabulary and recognition. Norwegian happens to have both of these, and in this post I'm going to show why Norwegian is the easiest language for your average English speaker to learn."
languages  comparison  norwegian  danish  icelandic  swedish  dutch  german  english  learning  linguistics  norway  language  grammar  via:tomc  persian  arabic  fardi 
august 2008 by robertogreco

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