20 questions for: Dr. Hanada Taha Thomure (#4)
Lisān al-‘Aarab (لسان العرب), the famous dictionary of Classical Arabic, contains 9273 roots (and 4,493.934 words). A huge playground for people who are passionate about Arabic such as…
Hanada Taha Thomure
هنادا طه تامير
The woman who develops standards to measure text levels in Arabic and upgraded the Arabic language curriculum in many Arab countries
- Date of birth: Jan 8th, 1968
- Place of birth: Beirut, Lebanon
- Place of residence: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Personal website: www.hanadataha.com
1. How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
I am Hanada: a teacher and lover of the Arabic language.
2. What was your first Arabic grammar book?
Can’t remember the title, but it is the one we studied at school starting in 4th grade.
3. What is your favorite Arabic book (novel, etc.)?
Most recently it is Mawt Sagheer (موت صغير) -literally meaning “A Small Death” -, a novel that chronicles the life of Ibn Arabi (محي الدين بن عربي).
It was written in 2016 by Muhammad Hassan Alwan (محمد حسن علوان), born in 1979, a novelist from Saudi-Arabia. The book (591 pages) was the winner of the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
What is the story? Mawt Saghreer is the fictionalised account of the life of a Sufi saint, Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, from his birth in Muslim Spain in the 12th century until his death in Damascus. It follows his mystic Sufi experience and heroic travels from Andalusia to Azerbaijan, via Morocco, Egypt, the Hijaz, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Of a sensitive and anxious nature, Muhyiddin struggles with inner turmoil throughout the course of his travels. Witnessing fictitious events including savage military conflicts, he attempts to fulfil his mission against a backdrop of states and numerous cities where he meets countless people. (source: arabfiction.org)
4. How much time does a native speaker of English need to master Arabic?
It will differ for each learner depending on their motivation, level of immersion in the language and whoever is teaching them.
5. What is your favorite Arabic word?
Remark: It denotes bright, shrewd; someone who is brilliant; someone who is nice, humorous.
6. Which Arabic word do you like least?
Remark: It means to wake up.
7. Which Arabic dialect do you like best?
I really appreciate all of them and find them fascinating and quite related. I might have though a soft spot for the Levantine Arabic that I speak.
8. What is your favorite Arabic colloquial word or expression?
Shou fee ma fee? (شو في ما في؟)
It means: what’s up, but in the most rhythmic way possible.
9. What is your favorite Arabic quote or proverb?
One of my favorites is:
.أنت غمامة في شمسك، فاعرف نفسك
It is from Ibn Arabi (ابن عربي) and translates as: You are a cloud upon your own sun, so know yourself.
10. What is the best thing that was ever said about the Arabic language?
.اللغة العربية وطن
By Hanada Taha Thomure (هنادا طه تامير)
11. What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Someone telling me: “In the end, you will just be a housewife.“
12. Which three people would you like to invite for dinner?
Sheikh Muhammad bin Raschid Al Maktum, Bill Gates, and author Salma Aljayyousi.
- Salma Khadra Jayyūsi (سلمى الخضراء الجيوسي), born 1926 or 1927, is a Palestinian poet, writer, translator, and anthologist.
- Sheikh Muhammad bin Raschid (محمد بن راشد آل مكتوم) is the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.
13. What was the last great meal you had?
Zaatar Mana’eesh (مناقيش).
Zaatar Mana’eesh – also pretty common now in Berlin, Germany. If it happens that you are in Berlin, try to visit الضيعة in Neukölln (Sonnenallee 46). It is only for 1 Euro!
photo credit: Gerald Drißner
14.What is your favorite city?
15. Which book would you give to a dear friend?
The Arabic version of “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak.
Elif Shafak was born in Strasbourg (France) in 1971. She is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey.
Remark:The Forty Rules of Love tells two parallel stories – one is set in the thirteenth century, when Rumi encountered his spiritual mentor (the whirling dervish). The other one is contemporary.
16. What is your all-time favorite movie?
Any movie that features Marie Muneeb (ماري منيب).
17. What music do you listen to?
Fairouz, Wardah, Umm Kulthoum, Ella Fitzgerald.
Remark: Warda al-Jaza’iriya (وردة الجزائرية ) was an Algerian-Egyptian singer (1939-2012). She became famous for Egyptian Arabic songs.
18. When were you happiest?
The day I walked seven miles just because.
19. What is your greatest fear?
Losing my health.
20. What is your life motto?
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” – Rumi
Prof. Hanada, thank you for your time.
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