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April 28, 2008


The poetry of Arab Andalucia was, finally, re-membered and incorporated into the corpus of Spanish poetry, becoming - in Spanish translation - a major influence on poets of Lorca's generation. Intensely lyrical, vividly imagistic stuff.

("incorporated into the corpus" - gah!)

That root dh-k-r (dh representing voiced th, as in "there") is an interesting one. The dh sound has been lost in most Arabic dialects (Iraqi is an exception), and it's been replaced by d (often in basic everyday words) or z (often in more learned ones). So although 'remember' and 'male' are both from this root, the latter is pronounced (in the Levantine dialect of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) dakar (plural dkuura), but the 'remember' words have z: zakkar is 'remind,' dzakkar 'remember' (Saaret b-maayes 3ala-ma bidzakkar 'it was in May, as far as I remember'). 'Memory' is zaakra (as in "my memory isn't what it used to be") or zikra (as in "I have pleasant memories of it"), 'ID card' is tazkart (pl. tazaaker), 'memorandum' is mzakkra, 'reminder' is muzakkara. One of these days I really have to learn Arabic -- it's a fascinating language.

Oh, and of course there's the Sufi rite of zikr (repetition of praises of God, often accompanied by music and dancing), which is literally 'remembrance.'

Dave, LH: maybe I can find a way to read and explain your comments here to him. It might make him feel good to know he's still making people think about Arabic.

That's very cool about the Sufi rite.

The next posts are less cheerful, but today he was in good shape and spirits.

Beautifull post! Somewhere somebody remarked that all learning is remembering. I cannot remember where I heard that or who said it.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.