Topic: Our Transliteration System

As you may have noticed, we have tried to put on our website www.speakmoroccan.com our own transliteration system. We have thought carefully about it before adopting it finally, and we wonder how do our readers find it. Unusual but practical? It doesn't matter as long as you can get the idea? Not so practical?

Please let us know of any changes you wish to see done.

2 (edited by John 2007-01-20 00:21:34)

Re: Our Transliteration System

The system seems simple enough. I'm wondering why you capitalize the first letter of words, though.

Also, a more detailed pronunciation guide would be helpful. How does one even pronounce words like "lHdd" or "ssbt"? There must be a vowel sound in there somewhere!

Wikipedia says of Darija

"These clusters are never simplified; instead, consonants occurring between other consonants tend to syllabify, according to a sonorance hierarchy."

How does that work exactly?

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Re: Our Transliteration System

John wrote:

The system seems simple enough. I'm wondering why you capitalize the first letter of words, though.

Why not capitalize them? Not sure I got what you meant.

John wrote:

Also, a more detailed pronunciation guide would be helpful. How does one even pronounce words like "lHdd" or "ssbt"? There must be a vowel sound in there somewhere!

There aren't really vowels. What you quoted from wiki sounds like an answer to this. When words like lHdd or ssbt are in standard Arabic al-'aHad and assabt, all those vowels disappear when you're speaking Darija. You just say that like two consonants follow each other in English words (SNow, GRow..), and some vocalization harmony makes it sounds just good.

4 (edited by John 2007-01-20 02:52:52)

Re: Our Transliteration System

Admin wrote:

Why not capitalize them? Not sure I got what you meant.

Arabic does not use capital letters, so it seems unusual to capitalize words in your transliterations. It's not a big deal. smile

Admin wrote:

There aren't really vowels. What you quoted from wiki sounds like an answer to this. When words like lHdd or ssbt are in standard Arabic al-'aHad and assabt, all those vowels disappear when you're speaking Darija. You just say that like two consonants follow each other in English words (SNow, GRow..), and some vocalization harmony makes it sounds just good.

There must be at least one vowel sound in the words "lHdd" and "ssbt" surely? How do you say these words in isolation, if you don't use vowel sounds? Wikipedia says that some consonants become syllabic, in other words, some consonants take on vowel-like properties. So what are the rules for when this happens?

Here it is another way: I assume that your transliteration is a letter-by-letter conversion from the written Moroccan Arabic. But how does the spelling differ from the pronunciation? How are the words actually pronounced?

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Re: Our Transliteration System

John wrote:

Arabic does not use capital letters, so it seems unusual to capitalize words in your transliterations. It's not a big deal. smile

But we didn't write in Arabic letters, we capitalize some letters to let them be distuinguished from the others. Like "d" for dâl, and D for DâD. So you can't assume that letters can't be capitalized because they aren't in Arabic.

John wrote:

Wikipedia says that some consonants become syllabic, in other words, some consonants take on vowel-like properties. So what are the rules for when this happens?.

That happenes implicitely when two more consonnants follow each other in a row. There aren't explicit rules, nothing can make this clearer but hearing a native speaker prunouncing words, which is - I admit - one of our future plans. (not in the short term though).

Re: Our Transliteration System

Admin wrote:
John wrote:

Arabic does not use capital letters, so it seems unusual to capitalize words in your transliterations. It's not a big deal. smile

But we didn't write in Arabic letters, we capitalize some letters to let them be distuinguished from the others. Like "d" for dâl, and D for DâD. So you can't assume that letters can't be capitalized because they aren't in Arabic.

Yes, you use capital letters for the emphatic consonants H S D T. That makes sense. But you also capitalize the first letter in words, for instance on your Days and Time Expressions page, the first letter of all the words is capitalized. This makes it a bit confusing.

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Re: Our Transliteration System

A quote from the "days and time expressions" page:

"These sounds will be written in bold capital letters, not to be confused with normal h/s/d/t in capital letters when at the beginning of a word/sentence"

I think that you missed that between the two tables.

Re: Our Transliteration System

ok, I guess there is no problem then. Thanks!

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Re: Our Transliteration System

You're welcome.
Welcome to the forums too, by the way.

Re: Our Transliteration System

I'm not an expert in Daarija and nowhere close to be.  However, one of the differences I have noticed between Classical Arabic (CA) and Daarija (D) is precisely the "eating" of the vowels.  One day I was asking my husband how something was said in CA and then to say the same in D and voila!  I could pretty much pronouce it in CA but the consonant cluster made it rather difficult to pronounce it in D. hmm

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