Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Qittat Ulthar, Jun 11, 2009.
I have found in a dictionary شاذ جنسيا for homosexual; is this a common use, is it derogatory?
yes it is common.
But what may sound more derogatory is مُخنث or لوطي
Should I assume there is no "politically correct" or neutral way to talk about homosexuality?
no! you can use شاذ جنسياً for homosexual ..if you want to talk about homosexuality( الشذوذ الجنسي).. it would not be derogatory
شاذ is exceptional or irregular
جنسياً is sexual
Homosexual is مثلي الجنس
مخنث is effeminate or womanlike
and لوطي is gay
You are correct; there is not. شاذّ can be considered derogatory because it is also used in the context of 'pervert' and perversion. مثلي الجنس was invented to be a quasi neutral term and is a calque of the English homosexual. It is gaining use, but this depends heavily on the media source, the country and environment.
Yes, the new politically correct term is mithliyy مثلي (plural: mithliyyuun/mithliyyiin) مثليين and it's becoming a bit common, though not -yet?- as common as شاذ جنسيًا , but I'm not sure if everyone would understand it, specially that it's usually مثلي and not مثلي الجنس .
شاذ جنسيًا per se is not derogatory. I think it depends on the context and the general tone used to tell if it's meant as a neutral or derogatory term.
I would also add transgender, transsexual, transvestite.
[Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
I am interested in learning how the various dialects express this and similar words, such as Lesbian. Because of cultural and religious reasons, I am aware that this is not a frequent or open topic of conversation, and that many words and expressions are undoubtedly derogatory, but nonetheless it would be good to know a neutral way to express this identity.
The neutral, politically correct word used nowadays is مثلي/مثلية/مثليون جنسيًا which is more or less a calque of the word "homosexual". Most other words are derogatory because homosexuality is generally viewed negatively in Arabic-speaking countries.
I don't think مثلي is understood in Egypt. And yes, any word used would be derogatory. The most common word to my ear is شاذ , homosexuality being شذوذ جنسي. I don't think I've ever heard the word 'lesbian' be mentioned in any Arabic context. Perhaps the most interesting word I've come across is لوطي and though not used in Egypt I expect it would be understood there.
مثلي mithliy from "mithl" which means "like, same".
شاذ or شاذ جنسيا as in abnormal, sexually abnormal.
These 2 are the most neutral. Also they are modern terms.
Other terms are:
لوطي luuTiy (from Lot, the prophet of Sodom and Gomorrah, referring to the actions of his people) means gay (for a male).
سحاقية siHaaqiyyah means lesbian. It's derived from the root s7q (one of its meanings is to grind).
These terms are moderately offensive. Also they are older terms.
There are more offensive words which I'll leave out for now
طنط is used to mean gay in Jordan. The plural is طنطات.
الشذوذ الجنسي may be one of the more neutral terms out there, but it is not completely neutral. The meaning of the root ش-ذ-ذ has to do with the idea of deviance, abnormality, aberrant behavior, so the term still has negative connotations attached to it. I think the most neutral term is المثلية الجنسية as the root م-ث-ل merely has to do with the idea likeness.
المساحقة comes from the root س-ح-ق, which has, among other meanings, to do with grinding or rubbing, as previously mentioned. Applied to lesbians probably in reference to a certain sexual practice. A more accurate translation for the term might be 'tribadism' or 'tribady', but of course, by extension, lesbianism in general.
Speaking of calques, I have wondered if this term was a calque from the Greek τριβάς (tribas) (whence we get the English terms), taken during the Islamic Golden Age when Greek works were translated into Arabic. I know that there were medieval Arabs who wrote about sex and various sexual practices, including lesbianism and male homosexuality. One such work is "جوامع اللذة" by the medieval Arab writer أبو الحسن علي بن نصرالكاتب. Apparently this work has even been translated into English as "The Encyclopedia of Pleasure" see here.
The words مثلي، المثلية are only used in written (as far as I know), and have become quite common in newspapers as a literal meaning and equivalent of a neutral word. Those who have some level of general knowledge can easily understand it, at least from context. But I agree with you that not everyone would.
It is used and understood by anyone who has some knowledge of a foreign word. I think the words "gay" and "lesbian" are becoming common, at least among educated people. They're used in the middle of Arabic sentences, just like we use "merci", "hi", "bye"...etc.
I heard Syrian one( but I am not sure how is it written exactly).
I guess you mean مخنث? I don't know whether this one is as offensive as that خ word, since it's also a biological term (hermaphrodite?) ...
This is interesting. So some people may use the English words gay, lesbian, etc? That sounds so much better than "luti" ;0
There are colloquial words used in the homosexual communities. This blog
is written by a homosexual in the UAE. She discusses terms they use amongst themselves. I had some difficulty making out what was written so maybe you will need some translation help.
The word "شاذ" as I've seen translated has usually been to describe perverseness or more simply put, a "pervert".
Of course the best word to use is not only determined by common usage but also by politics, society, and most of all, the community itself which is constantly providing new words which they feel adequately describes their identity. For example, an observer or common person may use مخنث for "hermaphrodite" while those in the community may say "intersex". However, due to whatever associations that word may have had in the past they may opt for a transliteration or a multi-word phrase which most accurately describes the identity.
The link kifaru provided seems to be transliterations of English words lesbian (ليزبيان), bisexual (بايسكشوال), and boi (called "boya" here) - بويا, as you could with any of the words, ie. "إنترسكس"(intersex).
That's so unfortunate! In Libya طانطات means 'trucks'!
What about khawal? I think it's pretty common in Cairo, is it considered offensive?
Yes it is. (Originally meant a male dancer.)
I didn't know its origin. But it's more than offensive, it's an insult. It can mean "homosexual" and it can mean a person who is not man enough, not a real man.
Yes, according to what I know khawāl originally referred to a man who danced رقص شرقي, especially in the 19th century and in the days before Gamal Abdel Nasser, when this practice was more common. When this practice in general was becoming more frowned upon, the word became associated with someone who was "less of a man" and became the insult it is today.
I also find it interesting when foreign with negative meanings, such as swear words, and words with with uncomfortable associations (to some people), such as gay and lesbian, are used in languages. In addition to English swear words being used in Arabic at times, I know Hebrew also Arabic swear words and probably English as well.
I have wondered if this phenomenon has to do with "second language distance," for lack of better term. That is, one can say a word with a negative meaning in a non-native language and it will not be felt the same way, or as intensely, as the equivalent word in the native language, since all the emotion attached to the foreign word is not present, having not grown up with it. Hopefully that makes sense -- I'm having trouble expressing myself today.
For example, I can say the word خرا in Arabic, but it does not feel as powerful to me as saying the word "shit" in English. Likewise, I have been called the word منحط (munHaTT) before, but it did not hurt my feelings as much as being called "a degenerate" would have in English, since I am removed from the Arabic word.
The word as used in Egyptian Arabic is خَوَل (pronounced khawal) not خَوَال (khawaal/khawāl ; I assume you are using the ā with the line over it to represent the long a).
The meaning may have come to mean male dancer, but the original meaning was "one's slaves, servants, and/or other dependents." From Lisan Al-Arab:
وخَوَلُ الرجلِ: حَشَمُه،
والخَوَل العبيد والإِماءُ وغيرهم من الحاشية،
Apparently it was a collective noun, but could also refer to one, so could also mean just "a slave/servant."
I can see a (loose) connection, though, between this meaning and both a dancer and homosexual man/passive male sexual partner in that I imagine some male slaves were required to perform these tasks at times for slave masters who may have had homosexual tendencies. That may be the path the word traveled to reach its current meaning in the Egyptian dialect. Who knows. Just more surmising on my part.
At any rate, خول reminded me of another word. I don't think it refers it means a homosexual man, per se, but just a man who is effeminate, or not man enough. The word is خيخة (khiikha).
This is also a pejorative term, as far as I'm aware, not to be used lightly.
No, I just goofed. For some reason I thought it was خوال. Thanks for that.
I have also found the term علق in Egyptian Arabic, but I am not sure in what way its meaning differs from خول ... but both of these words are clearly insulting.
Here in Qatar بوية (plural بويات) is used to describe lesbians. From what I've been told it's taken from English "boy" and then the ta'marbuta is added to make it feminine, making something like "girl-boy".
Yes, it's the same in English and American culture hence why I used the term "boi" (a "masculine" female). I was just pointing them out separately.
[Moderator's Note: Merged with a previous thread]
I study Film and Cinema production and I'm currently writing about "Homosexuality in the Islam". I want to get all the facts right. From what I have read the concept of homosexuality doesn't really exist and is more about who is the passive and who the active partner. According to my research, only the passive partner will get punish by the Shariah. A Manyak/Mnyakah or Kulampara (in Turkish) is the active partner, while a maf’ul or ma’bun is the passive partner. In turkish is it call an ibne, from arabic ubna. A Lūṭiyy لوطي (people of Lot, from the bible) is the one that gets penetrated during liwat (anal sex). The Mukhannathun مخنثون mukhannath the effeminate ones, are not regarded as homosexuals. Is this word (definition) correct or do you have a better one, linguistically speaking? Would you please help me translate these concepts. Thanks a lot
Besides the above discussions, there is a relevant article ("Liwāṭ") in EI2 if you have online or printed access to it.
Separate names with a comma.