February 1, 2023

Ahmed Al KhamisiTuesday, January 17, 2023 – 03:57 PM

In early January 2023, an Egyptian publishing house published a translation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea, which was published by the writer seventy years ago and has been translated into Arabic dozens of times.

What’s new is that the translation is colloquial this time around, especially colloquial Cairo. This work is an attempt to translate literature, and sometimes write it in colloquial language, including Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger translated into colloquial language, and Shakespeare’s 1989 play Othello and his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 2016, and even Abu Alaa Al-Maari’s Message of Forgiveness in 2016. Mustafa Mosharafa’s colloquial novel Kantara al-Kafir was published in the early sixties, as was Louis Awad’s Memoirs of a Missionary Student in 1965. In fact, the literary prize was won by a colloquial novel called Al-Mawluda.

The question here is: for what purpose do they resort to colloquial speech? More precisely, what is the rationale for this? Some argue that he intends to speak colloquially to a wide range of those who do not read eloquent language. Thus, with Kadir’s ability, it turns out that we have readers who ask libraries for a book in the spoken language, because they only improve reading in the spoken language! This is funny and also wrong, because whoever reads the Arabic letters (which are colloquial letters) will be reading eloquent language made easy by the media.

So the reason is something else, like the claim that slang is our national language and should be supported? Here we ask: what slang do you mean? Cairen vernacular, Saidi vernacular, Swahili vernacular, Sinai Bedouin slang or Nuba vernacular, which of these slang do you mean as our national language?! The truth is that slang was and remains a dialect, and dialect is a phenomenon inherent in all languages ​​of the world, for dialect, or everyday speech, is a laboratory of eloquent language, a laboratory in which difficult words are discarded, new ones are introduced, it discards old forms of expression, and creates new ones… and so on, and after it is installed. With this sorting and correction, the vernacular absorbs all this and continues to survive, and the national language remains.

It is understandable, of course, that such arts as cinema, radio, spoken poetry and theater are turning to the spoken, because these arts are turning to a wide sector in which many may not be able to read, but this is absurd for the spoken language. refer to a printed book in authorship and translation, and only the reader asks about books in the first place! Language Every language is based on a vocabulary and a grammar system, and spoken language has no vocabulary other than eloquent language. Moreover, the spoken language does not have a grammatical system, despite all the efforts of Orientalists to establish rules for it, because it is just a dialect and not a language. If it were a language, we would have to say that we have at least six languages. in Egypt.

But the goal of these attempts to amplify vernacular is the first: a blow to the eloquent and easy language that brings together all groups and classes of the country, which directly means the fragmentation of the country itself by destroying its strongest foundations, i.e. means of understanding between all. Second: The notion of Arab culture based on a common language, and that I read here Badr Shaker al-Sayyab and understand him, while in Syria they read Naguib Mahfouz and understand him, and in Morocco they understand the works of Baha Taher … and so on.

One might think that by these attempts and the adoption of the dialect he solves the problems of eloquent language (and he has many problems), but the real solution lies in the development of the classical language and bringing it closer to people. Finally, the fragmentation of the language that unites the nation was and remains the goal of the Orientalists, supporters of English colonialism, in connection with which Wilhelm Spita wrote his book The Spoken Dialects of the Egyptians in 1880, and then William Wilcox. , one of the British colonizers who was an irrigation engineer in Egypt when he translated Shakespeare’s plays into the vernacular in 1892. Some still delve into it consciously, while others are ignorant and confuse languages ​​and dialects.

Folk translated literature


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