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لئن كانت مدانة ومرفوضة فإنّها لا تمثّل أكثر من حادثة محلية

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by TryingToSwallowHansWehr, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. TryingToSwallowHansWehr Senior Member

    British English
    I'm doing a reading comprehension exercise on Alhayat, and I came across a clause of a sentence that had a particularly unusual (imo!) structure:

    كل ذلك في بلد يموت عشرات الآلاف من سكانه سنوياً بسبب الجوع والبؤس. بدا للعالم آنذاك أنّ هذه الحادثة لئن كانت مدانة ومرفوضة فإنّها لا تمثّل أكثر من حادثة أفغانية محلية

    Can I clarify the following:

    1. I presume this sentence means,

    'All of this in a country (where) hundreds of thousands of its people die each year, because of hunger and misery. But it seemed to the world that these happenings, which were condemned and rejected, were not representative of anything more than a local Afghan problem.'

    I know that translation takes liberty with the syntax of the Arabic. In particular, am I right in thinking:

    2. That بدا means 'it seems', and here can be used in the past, as 'it seemed'? And does it always need the preposition ل to follow it?

    3. That آنذاك means 'at that time'? Are there any special rules governing its use in a sentence?

    4. Is حادثة singular or plural in the sentence above? Why isn't أحداث used instead?

    5. Can you explain the structure and methodology of لئن كانت مدانة ومرفوضة?

    6. And can you explain the structure and methodology of فإنّها لا تمثّل أكثر من حادثة أفغانية محلية?

    In particular, if this means 'that it doesn't represent...', why does the previous clause imply 'whilst [the deaths] were condemned and rejected'? Normally in English we would not use 'whilst they were condemned' and then 'it doesn't represent' in the same sentence, surely?

    Thank you!
  2. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    I would use وإن rather than لئن but I don't know what is more acceptable.
    بدا للعالم آنذاك أنّ (هذه الحادثة) لئن كانت مدانة ومرفوضة فإنّها لا تمثّل أكثر من حادثة أفغانية محلية
    It appeared to the world at the time that (that incident), despite being condemnable and unacceptable, represented no more than a local Afghan incident.
  3. jack_1313 Senior Member

    English - Australian
    1. إسكندراني has already provided a good translation, so I won't reiterate over that.

    2. بدا أن does not require the preposition ل unless you want to show to whom it seemed or appeared that ... etc. Less frequently, بدا is used with no object to give essentially the same meaning as the verb ظهر.

    3. Not as far as I know. Like in English, adverbs of time can be thrown into pretty much any part of the sentence, as long as they don't interrupt the flow.

    4. حادثة is singular; the plural is حوادث. I have only ever observed حادثة used to refer to bad things. Thus, unlike حدث, I think it carries a strong negative connotation. When the author refers to a حادثة, he is normally talking about an accident, mishap, incident, disaster etc. Perhaps a native speaker can confirm if this is always true?

    5. لئن is ل added to the conditional particle إن (in, "if"). Put together, they equate to something like "although" or "while."

    6. ف is used to introduce the clause dependent on the condition introduce by إن. The إن that follows ف is inna. It is used in its regular capacity to introduce and emphasise a sentence. The conjunction could, for example, be replaced by فهي without making a drastic change to the meaning of the sentence.

    Re. your last comment: There is a contrast of ideas of ideas here. On one hand, the international community did condemn the incident and consider it unacceptable, thereby showing at least some interest in the manner. On the other hand, it didn't really care about it - the incident was not seen as out of the ordinary for a poor, third-world country.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  4. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    (4.) Your hypothesis is true for modern standard Arabic certainly.
  5. TryingToSwallowHansWehr Senior Member

    British English
    Many thanks for the clarifications, and apologies for my delayed reply. I really appreciate you guys taking the time.

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