Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hatha maqal hag kalam nafar hindi

I discovered this video a few weeks ago by Telfaz11, a brilliant Saudi based video network that churns out an amazing array of TV genres on youtube for local and regional consumption.

There is much to be said about the video itself and the social and political reality of the very large Indian/other labour force in Saudi Arabia and the gulf (and now increasingly the Levant). I’d actually like to focus on the new dialect of hindu/Arab that has evolved over the last 30 years.
The import of large numbers of labourers from third world countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and other similar countries has been going since the early 1970s when the Oil boom made the Gulf region very rich. Since the majority of those brought in to the Gulf countries spoke only their local hindi or urdu dialects and spoke little Arabic, a new dialect developed that mixed those languages (and some English) and created something which I guess could be called pidgin Arabic (?).
The interesting thing is that it doesn’t actually use the formal Arabic as the basis for the language, but rather the local Arabic dialect such as Saudi, Emirati, Qatari etc…
For example, if you wanted to say “I want to go to School to study”
In Arabic: Uwaddu an adh-haba ila almadrasa l’adrus
In the local dialect: Abee Arooh Almadrassa 7ag Al diraasa
In pidgin Arabic: Hatha nafar yabee yrooh madrasa 7ag dirasa

So it kind of takes out the grammar and the sentence structure and leaves in just the important keyword to convey the meaning.
Sometimes you will find some hindi or other words used such as
You are a trouble maker
Pidgin Arabic: Hatha  nafar wayed jinjaal
Where jinjaal is (I’m guessing) urdu for problem.
The interesting this is that even though throughout the last three decades there have been other nationalities brought in for work that don’t speak urdu/hindi such as Bengalis (mostly from Chitagong) and even Chinese, they all spoke the same Pidgin Arabic dialect, that how mainstream it became.
Arabs from the Levant, Morocco, Iraq and Egypt who move to a gulf country for work, also have to acclimate themselves to this new language, which creates very interesting variations of Pidgin Arabic in different dialects; such as the musical Egyptian accented Pidgin, or the Iraqi half arsed attempt at the dialect that confuses the Indian speaker to no end “Baba hatha kalam hag inta ma fee mafhoom”   
This evolution of language and dialect is fascinating to me because of my prior interest in the evolution of dialects in Arabic. I make it a habit to study old Arabic poetry to mark out the change in dialects from the old Arabic of say the 7th Century to the 13th Century C.E. It’s a bit difficult because of the lack of resources. So this quickly evolving form of language that’s happening right in front of my eyes is a real treat.

I wonder if there is research being done about this anywhere.  

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