Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mithliyoun or Mithliyeen?

Someone sent me an e-mail today, asking why I say "mithliyoun junsiya" (مثليون جنسيا) is an Arabic term for "gay" when Helem lists "mithliyeen junsiya" (مثليين جنسيا). The answer is simple: they are equivalent.

In Arabic, simple masculine plurals take the "-oun" (ون-) or "-een" (ين-) endings. Both mean the same, but are added depending on where they occur in the sentence.

"-oun" is for subjects.

If I want to say, "Gay people are beautiful", I would say "مثليون جنسيا جميلون".

"-een" is for objects.

If I want to say, "I love gay people", I would say "أحبّ مثليين جنسيا".

That's why Helem stands for "Hemaya Lubnaneeya lil-Mithliyeen". It's just grammar. I hope that makes sense.


Blogger Samawel said...

Arabic grammar drives everyone nuts... hehe... even me with my 2 Arabic blogs. Although, sometimes, I would bypass the grammar stuff, and go with what my personal idiolect says sounds right.

July 24, 2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger David M. McClory said...

The usage of "een" when making a reference is not a matter of "subject" or "object", although your readers wiull benefit from the grammar lesson.

The "een" is simply a convention for bringing words into English. No one ever uses "un" or "oon".

July 24, 2006 11:25 PM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

Bah, that's not true, mcclory!

"-een" is not just a convention of bringing words into English, it's standard Arabic, as is "-oon". Granted, in spoken Arabic, people use "-een" much more often, but in written Arabic you don't have a choice but to use both in rigidly-prescribed areas. Otherwise, people will think you are stupid. "-oon" most certainly is used.

July 25, 2006 12:34 AM  

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