|Screenie from al-Jazeera yesterday.|
The Bear is bored here in Damascus. But Bears can be patient.
The Bear thought you might enjoy learning a bit of Arabic. Look at the squiggly lines above the picture. Reading from right-to-left it would sound sort of like:
ar-raiees as-suriee bashar al-assad m'a al-dub al-amrekeeya
The familiar "al-" definite article gets pronounced "al-" in front of some letters, but for others is modified by dropping the "L" sound and replacing it with the sound of the first letter in the word, for ease of pronunciation. So "al-raiees" gets pronounced "ar-raiees" (the president)..
It says: "President of Syria Bashar al-Assad with the American Bear." "al-dub," the second word from the last (right-to-left remember), means "the Bear." The last word is "al-amrikeeya," whose meaning you can probably guess.
Arabic is in the same family as Hebrew, and share triliteral roots, which are fascinating. In fact "dub" means Bear in Hebrew, too. The root has to do with a type of smooth movement. The Arabic word for "tank" comes from the same root as "Bear" -- "dababa," or crawler.
The Bear prefers to believe these ancient semitic roots allude to the Bear's graceful and silky manner of moving.
The other fun thing about triliteral roots is how standard modifications are used to make words. You have probably heard the word "madrassa." It means "school." An "m" is added to a triliteral root to make a word that means "the place where whatever the root means happens." What do you suppose the consonental root d-r-s or "darasa" means? To study. Therefore, a "madrassa" is a place of study: a school! A slightly different standard modification of the same root will make "teacher," instead of "school."
Now you are as bored as the Bear is.