November 08, 2007
Jasim & The Argot Naughts: Why That Name in Iraq?
I come up with naught when I search memories of Eastern Mediterranean Arabs and their dialects, patois, and argots, for Jasim and variants as personal names. Yet every single flippin' story from Iraq has someone named Jasim in it. What's the deal with that? (And yes, my worst allusion-pun ever.)
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Jasim is more of a Gulf name than a pan-Arab one. Though there are variants used elsewhere: Qassim, Kasem, Gasem, etc.
Posted by: Ali K at November 8, 2007 08:37 PM
Very interesting that you would call these variants. I can see how Jasim is Gasem in Egypt, but Qassim?
Posted by: Michael at November 8, 2007 08:53 PM
I should have said that Qassim is the original name, the others (including Jasim) are variants. You'll find the J for Q substitution in a lot of Khaliji words.
Posted by: Ali K at November 8, 2007 09:14 PM
To illustrate my point, here are some examples of the J-Q substitution: 'Ateeq becomes 'Ateej (meaning old); Qiblah becomes Jebla (meaning, well, Qiblah although in the Gulf it can also mean West).
Posted by: Ali K at November 8, 2007 09:27 PM
Yeah, isn't Sharjah in the UAE al-Shaariqah in Fusha? Same/similar for the Shorjah market in Baghdad?
Posted by: Jamal at November 8, 2007 09:33 PM
What Ali K said.
Jasim is just the Iraqi/Gulfi version of Qasim. Similar substitution, but as far as I know only in Iraq and Kuwait, is tch-for-k, as in "tchiifatch" for "kiifak" (how are you).
The difference between J-for-Q and Tch-for-K is that the former has made it into written Arabic - Jasim is spelled with a "jim" - and the latter hasn't - it's still spelled "kiifak" but pronounced "tchiifatch".
The Gasim comes from another pronounciation of "q", this time the Badu one. They also say gahwa coffee), gaal (he said), agulak! (i'm telling you!) and so on.
Third "off-way" to pronounce "q" is by simply substituting it with a glottal stop - done in Levantine cities and some parts of the countryside - that makes qahwah into 'ahweh etc.
Qur'an is ALWAYS pronounced with a hard "qaf", though.
PS: Yes, the pun was horrible, but at least this one didn't take me 2 days to get.
Posted by: MSK at November 9, 2007 02:11 AM
Thanks. So was Abdul-Karim Qassem really Abdul-Gareem Jasim, or Abdul-Kareem 'asemm or, or....?
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 9, 2007 04:19 AM
Yes, the tch-for-k is a very pronounced one in Gulf dialect. I believe it is a Persian influence.
However, not every K is substituted (same with the J-Q). In your example, only the second K would be substituted: Kefitch, and then only to use for the female. If you are talking to a man then it is Kefik. It is interesting how this substitution came to be used this way; in any other dialect the female/male declension would be thus: kefik/kefak.
As for the substitutions making it over to the written Arabic, I believe it is because neither tch nor g have an equivalent letter, unlike J.
Posted by: Ali K at November 9, 2007 07:09 AM
Ya Ali K,
Hmmm ... I've heard "tchifitch" ... southern Iraq / Kuwait.
Very interesting idea about why "tch" and "g" have not made it into written Arabic, but J has. On the other hand, is the J also written in words other than names?
That depends on who pronounces his name. For ex, in the Levant, Gamal Abdel Nasser is pronounced "Jamal Abd an-Nasir". But yes, Qassim becomes 'Assim.
The culturalist connotations of dialects are quite interesting. For ex, as the g-for-q is so strongly associated with Bedu (& I'm talking about "living in the desert in a tent & herding sheep) here in the Levant, it's sometimes hard for me not to laugh when talking/chatting with Saudi/Khaliji friends ... And I'm fairly sure the dialectal "uncivilized-ness" is one of the reasons why Levantines are thinking of Saudi/Khalijis as having no culture etc.
Posted by: MSK at November 11, 2007 04:26 AM
I guess the whole world's turned maglouba or ma'loubeh, or makloubah, or......
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 11, 2007 12:21 PM