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…
The man who coded the perfect desktop-app for Lane’s famous Arabic-English Lexicon
- Year of birth: 1955
- Place of birth: Liverpool, UK
- Place of residence: Liverpool, UK
- Personal website: https://github.com/laneslexicon/lexicon
1. How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
2. What was your first Arabic grammar book?
A New Arabic Grammar by J.A. Haywood and H.M. Nahmad.
3. What is your favorite Arabic book (novel, etc.)?
Ghadi and Rawan (غدي وروان) by Fatima Sharafeddine (فاطمة شرف الدين) and Samar Baraj (سمر براج). The first novel I read without an English version to check against. Thankfully, it has some tashkil.
Remark: This book was published in 2013 and was on the short-list for the Etisalat Award. It is suitable for children (from 12 to 16).
What’s the story? Fatima Sharfeddine gives the following information on her website: After the summer vacations in Lebanon, Gahdi returns to his school in Belgium were his father works, and Rawan goes back to her routine far from Ghadi, her childhood friend. What is going to happen to Ghadi in Belgium this year? And what crisis does Rawan go through at home? Ghadi and Rawan keep in touch through emails, sharing their worries and helping each other. But will they meet again? This novel consists of two parallel stories, Ghadi’s story, written by me, Fatima, and Rawan’s story, written by Samar Mahfouz Barrage.
4. How much time does a native speaker of English need to master Arabic?
More time than I have spent.
5. What is your favorite Arabic word?
It’s not really the Arabic that I like, it’s that it can mean cheese or cowardice. That pairing makes me smile.
6. Which Arabic word do you like least?
جمع – as a root.
It is often said that the system of roots makes the learning of vocabulary easier: once you know the root, you have a clue to the meaning. Well, mostly yes. But sometimes, what you have is group of very similar looking and sounding words, with different meanings. This root excels in this.
7. Which Arabic dialect do you like best?
Levantine (Because it is the one I’m learning.)
8. What is your favorite Arabic colloquial word or expression?
9. What is your favorite Arabic quote or proverb?
10. What is the best thing that was ever said about the Arabic language?
11. What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
12. Which three people would you like to invite for dinner?
Groucho, Harpo, and Chico.
Remark: For those readers who don’t know who the three above-mentioned guys are… They were the Marx Brothers! The Marx Brothers were a family comedy act (from 1905 to 1949). The core of the act was the three elder brothers: Chico, Harpo, and Groucho. They are considered to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century.
13. What was the last great meal you had?
14.What is your favorite city?
15. Which book would you give to a dear friend?
Remark: Duineser Elegien (English: The Duino Elegies) are a collection of ten elegies written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926).
16. What is your all-time favorite movie?
Babette’s Feast – in Danish, with English subtitles. NOT the dubbed version!
Babette’s Feast (Danish: Babettes gæstebud) is a 1987 Danish drama film directed by Gabriel Axel.
During the late 19th century, a strict religious community in a Danish village takes in a French refugee from the Franco-Prussian War as a servant to the late pastor’s daughters (source: IMDB).
17. What music do you listen to?
I don’t think my brain is wired up for music.
18. When were you happiest?
At university, studying philosophy.
19. What is your greatest fear?
20. What is your life motto?
Graeme Andrews, thank you for your time.
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