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Sam Jer

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello, سلام المسيح عليكم.
I want some advice from any Arab, Arabic-Speaking or Arabic-Learning brethren.
I want to learn, or rather, recommit to learning, Arabic (focusing on Shami, which is the local dialect in Arab speaking communities near me, but also learning Fusha and possibly the Badawi dialect as I know more then one Bedouin). Now I do know enough to know that a lot of day to day phrases are religious which include words such as اللة (Allah / God).
So my question is, how does one navigate speaking and learning Arabic as a Christian? How many of these phrases violate the third commanfment and what alternatives are there?

A second question I have is wgat the diffrence is between Van Dyke and New Van Dyke. Which is better?
 
A second question I have is wgat the diffrence is between Van Dyke and New Van Dyke. Which is better?
1. One is more recent than the other
2. I prefer Dick Van Dyke ;)
sorry, Its only as I do not know the best response to the former part of the post
 
Hi,

I'm no expert in Arabic, but it seems you could say those phrases if you really meant it, regardless of whether or not most Arabic speakers are breaking the third commandment or not. You say 'goodbye' (God bless ye), so why can't you say Inshallah (DV) if you mean it? In Arabic (as opposed to English), you won't seem as though you are talking about the god of Muhammad necessarily. Yes, Muhammadans "blaspheme" their god (in our eyes) because they believe any mention of his name, no matter how flippant, is reminding witnesses and themselves of him.

Also, while these phrases are a part of Middle Eastern culture, you can go without saying many of them, I think. However, my point still stands that if you only say them when you truly mean then and mean them when you say them, it's not in vain, so there is no problem.
 
What of phrases directly from the qur'an ext...? I have been told Christians sometimes do use seperate terms for certain things (such as for example substituting الغب (alRab "the Lord) instead of اللا (allah "god/God"). I have been told once by a Palestinian Baptist that الحمد لله (alHamdu-lila "thank God") is a qu'ranic term and he uses an alternative.

Also, wouldn't your'e suggestion still be a participation in their'e flippant attitude in pretending that all is well and seeming outeardly to do the same, however reverand our intention is inward?
 
I cannot reply to the first part as I don't know enough. I would use alternatives where available.
Also, wouldn't your'e suggestion still be a participation in their'e flippant attitude in pretending that all is well and seeming outeardly to do the same, however reverand our intention is inward?
This is a tough call, and I know what you're getting at. I don't think in this context we are called to be different in not participating just because the culture misuses it. Will you stop saying, O God, in prayer because of blasphemers? Or, God-willing, because of people who say it who aren't Christian? I get it's a bit trickier to discern than that, but that's where I'm coming from. I don't think it's necessary to make life harder for yourself. If you feel particularly bad about it, try to omit them. It seems relatively easy to omit most except when replying to such phrases with the same, etc.

An interesting point, and I hope not to sidetrack from the thread, but wanted to mention something I am familiar with. In British Sign Language (BSL), the sign for "hope" is crossed fingers. That comes across to me as a pagan/not trusting in God action, though I know it symbolises something everyone will get (with the common phrase "fingers crossed" linked to it), but it is wrong. I avoid crossing fingers or making a reference to it, not out of superstition, but because it marks trust in "destiny" or "fate". Even the Christian Signs group (for which I am thankful and I am happy that their signs are so promoted by the main online BSL dictionaries) has that as the sign for "hope". I had to sign, "I hope I can find..." etc. for an assignment, and didn't have a choice. It strikes me that the influences and foundations of some languages are so deeply rooted in a lack of Christianity or does not provide a Christian alternative. :2cents:
 
Just started a little today, and I learned the phrase Allah Yehalik (الله يخليك "may god/God keep you"). It is used to say goodbye, when asking a favour, and a million other situations. The lesson made it sound like it's just a thing you say. Kind of like "hey" is used in English.

Will you stop saying, O God, in prayer because of blasphemers? Or, God-willing, because of people who say it who aren't Christian?
On the other hand, you would not say "O God" if a pen just broke, correct? Seems to me in Arabic you have the same thing cranked up to eleven.
 
On the other hand, you would not say "O God" if a pen just broke, correct? Seems to me in Arabic you have the same thing cranked up to eleven.
I wrote a bit after these analogies showing I am not trying to say "checkmate" to you. I understand the concern. Of course that would be blasphemy. What I mean is that you say we should not use these phrases at all, and I am saying there are some circumstances that are a grey area in Arabic. They would mention God more than we because they do not see blasphemy the same. Not every time you mention God in normal conversation is blasphemy, but it is perhaps the careful attitude of the Church that caused many God-related phrases not to be in our speech (in comparison).

If I say, God bless you, when you sneeze, it would be in vain if I were not meaning it, but not if I did. These kind of things are nuanced, and depends on the heart. That being said, if it is really "cranked up to eleven" (again, I don't know the nuances of the language well), maybe it is in your conscience to avoid such phrases.
 
Certain things are built into language over time. Think Spanish, a-dios or French, a-dieu. This makes it hard. I can’t speak about Arabic but I give you kudos for learning such a difficult language for Westerners.
 
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