اقتله واقطع خبره

bamia

Member
Dutch
I stumbled upon أقتله و أقطع خبره in Said Aburish's biography of Saddam Hussein:



The context is that Saddam grew up in the Tikrit area - in the village of Al-Awjah to be precise. According to Aburish it's a place that is known for its inhabitants' rough and sometimes violent ways, hence the bloodthirsty quote (or proverb? not sure) I'm asking about. Would you say the translation Aburish offers is correct? Khabar seems to be used in myriad ways, which is why I'm asking. Also, how would this be pronounced in Iraqi Arabic? Should Q be realised as G in أقطع and/or أقتله ?
 
Last edited:
  • analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I think in the Tikrit area it would be q.

    I think this is a classic case of slight over-analysis of the expression. اقطع خبرو fairly transparently falls within the scope of a bunch of expressions to do with hearing from people. Translating it as 'end his news' is very awkward and exoticising (or given Said Aburish is not a native English speaker simply a classic case of an overly literal translation of an expression into your second language). He's basically just saying 'kill him and make it so we never hear from him again'.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I haven't read the book, but I can say this: the idiom is taken out of context. It literally means 'kill him/it and cut off its news' but when used it refers to actual killing as much as the English 'raining cats and dogs' refers to actual pets falling from the clouds! The idiom is used when you have a problem that you can do something about, it's said to mean 'solve the problem and end all the complaining about it'.

    As for the pronunciation, the قاف in اقتلو as in MSA, and in اقطع it's pronounced as a g (or as an Egyptian or Yemeni ج).
     

    bamia

    Member
    Dutch
    Thanks analeeh and Mahaodeh.

    I haven't read the book, but I can say this: the idiom is taken out of context. It literally means 'kill him/it and cut off its news' but when used it refers to actual killing as much as the English 'raining cats and dogs' refers to actual pets falling from the clouds! The idiom is used when you have a problem that you can do something about, it's said to mean 'solve the problem and end all the complaining about it'.
    Thanks a bunch. I would never have guessed it means that.

    As for the pronunciation, the قاف in اقتلو as in MSA, and in اقطع it's pronounced as a g (or as an Egyptian or Yemeni ج).
    Why? قتل is more of a formal, MSA-y word than قطع ?
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Why? قتل is more of a formal, MSA-y word than قطع ?
    I don't know, that's the way it is in most dialects of Iraqi Arabic (except for Musili, where it's always q), in some words it's pronounced q (such as in the case of qatal to mean kill), in some it's g (as in gaal - said), in some it's k (as in wakit - time), and in some it's j (as in jidir - pot).

    The interesting thing about قتل is that when it's pronounced with a q it means 'to kill', but when it's pronounced a k (kital) it means 'to hit' or 'to beat up'. However, when you say مقتول with a k (maktool) it could mean either 'has been killed' or 'has been beaten up'! I have no idea how this came to be.
     

    Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    The interesting thing about قتل is that when it's pronounced with a q it means 'to kill', but when it's pronounced a k (kital) it means 'to hit' or 'to beat up'. However, when you say مقتول with a k (maktool) it could mean either 'has been killed' or 'has been beaten up'! I have no idea how this came to be.
    Interesting, in which dialects is this the case? I’ve only ever heard it pronounced كتل (or چتل in poetry) with the meaning of ‘to kill.’
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Interesting, in which dialects is this the case? I’ve only ever heard it pronounced كتل (or چتل in poetry) with the meaning of ‘to kill.’
    Baghdad and going up north. chital is very southern, while kital to mean kill is more eastern than northern, maybe also used in the south but I'm not sure. In Tikrit they would definitely say qital. Can't be as sure about Awja though!
     

    Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    I see. I know some Baghdadis who would say kital rather than qital, maybe there's some class aspect involved. Certainly in Furati and probably also Basrawi kital is the normal way of saying 'to kill.' I think čital is more rural and also of the poetic voice.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Well Baghdad has a lot of people that migrated from the south and the east, and in the last decade or so they have increased. So this is not surprising. Keep in mind that I left Iraq in 1994, exactly a quarter of a centry ago as of the 1st of September! So my information may be a little outdated.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top