drinking milk in Egyptian
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 22, 2007
Like most people here, I spent much of the day working in a state of semi-distraction, devoting the rest of my energy to checking up on – and discussing – the news and the rumors circulating throughout the country.
In between discussing whether warnings like:
فتح الاسلام تعلن عن وجود 300 متفجرة في شوارع بيروت و عن نيتها بتفجيرها خلال ساعتين
اذا لم ينسحب الجيش من حدود مخيم نهر البارد
فتح الاسلام ترمي مناشير تطلب فيها من سكان بيروت بمغادرة المدينة و تتوعّد الّلبنانيّين بمزيد من التفجيرات
were valid, and laughing over sms alert advertisements that solicited customers by asking:
“What more could happen in Lebanon?”
I found time to return to an earlier topic: dairy issues.
On my way to work, I stopped at the grocer’s to pick up milk for my tea. The store was out of Silhouette, my usual brand, but the clerk offered me another instead: the rather imperative-ly named Enjoy.
I noticed that the milk was Egyptian, but thought nothing more of it until I went to make my first cup of tea.
The English side of the milk box was ‘normal’: Enjoy was spelled e-n-j-o-y.
The Arabic side, however, was not.
Arabic has a perfectly good letter – the jeem – that corresponds to the English “j”. Were “Enjoy” to be transliterated in standard Arabic, the letters should read:
أ ن ج و ي
Instead, however, the Arabic side read:
أ ن چ و ی
In other words, “Enjoy” was written in Egyptian. In Egyptian Arabic, the “jeem” is pronounced as “geem”. Hence to indicate the hard “j” sound, the graphic designers put three dots below the “jeem”, instead of the usual one.
(The missing dots on the final “yaa” are a stylistic choice – often used in Egyptian printed works, but also found elsewhere in the Arabic speaking world. Its the jeem/geem that makes the spelling truly Egyptian!)