A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

The south the south the beautiful south (iii)

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 21, 2007

As we passed under one of the destroyed bridges south of Saida, we saw two signs.

One pointed left and said: Beirut (in English) and bayrut (in Arabic).

One pointed right and said: Janoub (in English) and al-janoub (in Arabic).

Its so silly, S. commented. People who read the sign in Arabic know that “janoub” means “south”. Why doesn’t the English read “south”, to help those who can’t read the Arabic?

I looked at the sign more closely. Something about it did look funny.

In Arabic, “the south” is spelled like this:

اﻠﺠﻨﻮﺐ

This sign, however, spelled out a different word:

ﺍﻠﺤﻨﻮﺐ

That missing dot makes all the difference – “al-Hanoub” means nothing in Arabic. No wonder the sign-makers wrote Janoub in English, rather than “the South”.

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