May 19, 2011


There are two sisters from Iraq in my Level 3 English class, a class provided for new immigrants to Canada. The two women are quiet, so I walk over and sit with them. Tonight I noticed one writing in Arabic under new words.

She was not translating, though. She was transliterating--putting the sounds of English into the writing of Arabic.

"Fleas" = Faa + Laam + Yaa + Miim (those are the letters)

I used to do exactly this in reverse! Figuring out how to represent Arabic in the Roman alphabet was a pet passion in Morocco! Some people use numbers. I used capital letters and accents.

Wednesday, I'll show the young women from Iraq my old lessons, which appear as a tangle of English, French, Arabic, and Arabic-transliterated-into-Roman-alphabet. Hopefully they will get a kick out of it.

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