Naming in Arabic

Date
1977
Authors
Hawana, Samir
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Quentin G. Johnson
Committee Member
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English
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English
Abstract

When Benjamin L. Whorf said that speech is the best show man ever puts on, he could have modified his statement by adding that personal names are the cleverest manifestations of that show. Many of us tend to accept our names as bestowed by our parents and exert little effort, if any, to understand their significance or even their literal meaning. The writer's wife has a rather rhythmical name, Mah-a, and many friends expressed their admiration of its musical tone. When asked about the meaning of her name, Maha will always answer "it means the eyes of the wild cow." It was a surprise to her husband to find out that Maha, in Arabic, means simply "the wild cow." Such instances of misunderstanding of one's own name lead the writer to assume a widespread lack of awareness on this topic.

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