A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

confessing: an acknowledgement

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 8, 2008

It always makes me nervous when Arab friends ask me for help with Arabic. I fully understand that citizenship does not confer fluency, but I feel a greater pressure to know the correct answer when someone from the region will be relying upon it.

So when N found me online the other day to ask how to say “was introduced by”, my first thought was: argh.

I’m awful at introductions, even in English. Using the word “introduce” alone is usually an automatic guarantee that I will blank on the name of the person I am introducing, even when she is my sister. In fact, sometimes I blank on my own name.

But I do know the word for “to introduce” – or at least I thought I did.

I think its إعترف, I said, hedging my bets.

I don’t think so, N said. I’m pretty sure that means “to confess”.

I looked it up in my dictionary, and – horrors. N was totally right.

For the past nine years, I haven’t merely been forgetting names of family and friends while introducing them to one another – I’ve been forgetting names while confessing people to one another.

What a nut I must have sounded like. And the word’s alternate translation isn’t much better: “to acknowledge”.

“Esteemed Colleague X, I would like to acknowledge you to my sister, errr, wait, hang on, her name is coming to me – its on the tip of my tongue …”

Argh, indeed.


5 Responses to “confessing: an acknowledgement”

  1. intlxpatr said

    *dying laughing* Little Diamond, I think it runs in the family. I can’t remember my own name, or my husband’s – my mind just goes blank!

  2. to introduce someone in Arabic is 3arraftoo = عرفت
    with a shaddeh on the ر

    example: I introduced Walid to Sami: 3aarhtoo Walid ila Sami = عرفت وليد الى سامي
    In Lebanese dialect,it is 3arraft Walid 3ala Sami =
    عرفت وليد على سامي

  3. Tantalus said

    I forgot what I wanted to say.


  4. 🙂 khalti, that makes me feel much better – my problem is genetic, not personal! (and what did you say your name was again :D?)

    Kheireddine, you are absolutely right. I should have put the correct verb form in my post, but I thought it wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the story.

    Tantalus, had you been on gchat we could have patched you into our conversation and you could have spared N from watching me flail around in the eighth form!

  5. N said

    No, no, not 3araftoo! How do you make it passive? So as to say: X, introduced by Y, spoke about the urgency of blah blah…

    Yes, it can be easily solved by Y 3arrafa X, but how do you flip it around?

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