On the Constraints the Arabic Language Imposes on Arabic Literature Writers

The Exact Spot Where We Pitched Camp Yesterday

The Exact Spot Where We Pitched Camp Yesterday


It’s been one helluva ride. Whenever I tell people that I translate Arabic literature, I know they’re wondering, Is that even a thing?

Well, kinda. And there are probably several reasons for the world’s reluctance to translate literature written in Arabic. In this post, I will try to uncover some of those reasons.

First, I am going to explain how the way people answer the age-old chicken-or-egg question of “What came first, language or reality?” depends mainly on the language with which they’ve been raised. In other words, I am going to expound on how language determines how we accept reality. Next, I am going to focus on the structure of the Arabic language to try and prove my theory that the way the language works influences the way Arabic speakers write when creating literature. My hypothesis is that, due to its inner structure (which, in my opinion, doesn’t equip Arabic speakers for acknowledging the indispensable figure of the third party—the arbitrator), the Arabic language makes the idea ...Read more

Why “Palestine”?

Naji Al-Ali‘s cartoon

Hot topic, we know. Since we didn’t want to give resentments a chance to fester as you perused the exposition of our opinions while looking to us to confirm your own convictions, we have chosen not to defer the announcement of our disappointing news. The Arabian Stories team won’t be taking a stance on the political situation concerning the area. However, since one cannot avoid making decisions in life, and given that the situation starts to get ugly sooner rather than later if the choices one makes are not founded on criteria one can lay out in syntactically coherent pieces, the Arabian Stories team will try to explain why we have admitted stories involving places that, under international law, currently belong to the state of Israel, which is not considered part of the Arab World.

As this is a linguistic and literary project, we have adopted linguistic criteria. Arabic is the second official language in Israel and, for better or worse, the percentage of Arabic speakers who refer to Israel and the territories comprised within its borders with an Arabic ...Read more