Lebanese Arabic: gay/homosexual

  • Mina Rady

    Member
    Arabic
    I believe it's "شاذ" for both gay and homosexual in most dialects including Lebanese and Levantine.
    As Egyptian, we say "شاذ" and I can't remember I heard a different word from a Lebanese friend.
    let's wait for someone to confirm the answer.
     

    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    The most common term is certainly شاذ, though I've also seen لوطي used in Lebanon. However, both these are blatantly derogatory. The neutral alternative is مِثلِيّ الجنس or just مِثلِيّ.
     

    Beaz069

    Member
    German
    Thank you guys. Could you please tell me the transliteration in latin letters of the word شاذ
    Would be great.

    Shukran ktir :)
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think it might be šēzz in Lebanese.
    It originally means 'isolated', 'non-conformist', 'someone who doesn't respect the rule', 'irregular', 'abnormal'.
    The predominant meaning is "abnormal, deviant."
    It's a bit like the English word 'queer'.
    Although the core meanings of شاذ and "queer" do have some semantic overlap, saying that شاذ in this meaning is even "a bit" like "queer" is highly misleading.

    As jack points out, شاذ is extremely offensive, whereas "queer" is generally neutral to positive. Also, "queer" isn't limited to "gay" or "homosexual."
    Could you please tell me the transliteration in latin letters of the word شاذ
    Are you going for an offensive/negatively connoted word?
     

    ahmedcrow

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I think I didn't see "gay" equivalent in Arabic, but there's one for "homosexual" "شاذ" or "مثلي الجنس", but "gay" I think it's a word which is born in western Christian culture, I never see something like it in Arabic, but to be more accurate we need one knows Lebanese to tell us the so accurate word in that dialect.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The denotative and connotative equivalent of "gay" in both MSA and Lebanese Arabic is مثلي. The word "gay" does not have its origins in Christianity, as far as I know.
     

    ahmedcrow

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I don't know my friend but I don't believe that "gay" = "homosexual" 100%, I think there's a deference, maybe we can ask English forum, maybe one of 'em is just a dialect and the other is of standard English, also there's "gay" as an adjective and as a noun, maybe there's a relation, I feel that there's a deference.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I never said "gay" and "homosexual" were equivalent in every way; they have the same denotation but differ in connotation and usage. Both can be used as a noun and as an adjective, and both are standard English.
     

    ahmedcrow

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I don't want to make a linguistic risk and say that "gay" is like an expression in the Arabic literature "الجواري الغلاميّة أو الغلاميّات", for that I felt that there's a deference between "gay" and "homosexual", according to that Arabic expression you can call a woman as "gay" but if you said that the woman is a homosexual, it means a deferent meaning, it means lesbianism, but "gay woman" according to the Arabic expression is another meaning.
     

    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    I very much agree that likening "queer" to شاذ is misleading and was going to post about it earlier. The original meaning of "queer" is odd or strange, and the word has now been co-opted by the LGBT community (though it is still sometimes used as a slur by older people). شاذ, on the other hand (and as Elroy pointed out) is more like perverse, perverted, deviant, abnormal is an undesirable way, and so on, and I've never heard people use it to refer to themselves (they just used the English "gay"). This meaning is quite evident from the fact that شاذ is used not only for homosexuality but also other rejected sexual inclinations (for example, the Arabic Wikipedia page for paraphilias is titled شذوذ جنسي).

    That said, it's hard to pinpoint just how derogatory the term شاذ is because it's hard to separate its meaning from the near universal rejection of homosexuality wound into the fabric of society. I've heard people use the term in otherwise intellectual conversations and didn't get the impression that they were intending it as a slur or an indication of their own view on homosexuality - they were just using the word they'd heard thousands of times before, the accepted label for this particular group. مثلي is the term that now dominates the press and scientific literature, but I don't think it has become common enough that it comes to many people's minds as alternative for شاذ when having ordinary conversations. Of course, among people engaged with the issue, the situation is different.

    Ahmadcrow, I didn't understand what you wrote in your last post regarding the difference between calling a woman gay and calling her homosexual.
     
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    ahmedcrow

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Ahmadcrow, I didn't understand what you wrote in your last post regard the difference between calling a woman gay and calling her homosexual.
    I was making a mention that maybe there's a deference according to an Arabic expression in the Arabic literature but there's no proof that the Arabic expression is really the equivalent for "gay" and if there's a proof we'll see that "gay" can be for male or female with a deferent meaning than "homosexual".
     

    Schem

    Senior Member
    Najdi Arabic
    The politically correct term across the Arab world is مثليّ mithliyy. It's the term used by Helem and other Lebanese LGBTQ organizations.

    @barkoosh and others can weigh in with regards to local pronunciation.
     

    apricots

    Senior Member
    English - US
    To put a fine point on it, شاذ and لوطي should be considered as fag/faggot in English and are highly derogatory. To say that these are just the words people are used to and thus not the same is besides the point. They are offensive to Arab LGBTQ and thus derogatory. Many Arabs may not be familiar with the shorthand مثلي but مثلي الجنس should be understood everywhere and these are with should be used.
     

    Aliph

    Senior Member
    Italian
    it’s time that dictionaries like Al Mawreed (English-Arabic), Almaany (English-Arabic), Larousse (French-Arabic), Langenscheidt (German-Arabic) should be updated. Cambridge (English-Arabic) is ok.
    Word Reference, however, still lists also شاذ (English-Arabic).
     
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    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    To put a fine point on it, شاذ and لوطي should be considered as fag/faggot in English and are highly derogatory. To say that these are just the words people are used to and thus not the same is besides the point. They are offensive to Arab LGBTQ and thus derogatory. Many Arabs may not be familiar with the shorthand مثلي but مثلي الجنس should be understood everywhere and these are with should be used.
    To clarify my point a little:
    That said, it's hard to pinpoint just how derogatory the term شاذ is a given speaker intends to be when they use the term شاذ
    My original phrasing of this sentence was poor as it implied that the term itself might not be derogatory, which is not my position at all, as should be clear from my first post in the thread or the first paragraph from my second post. I agree with you that the term should not be used by anyone.

    To say that these are just the words people are used to and thus not the same is besides the point.
    Besides what point, though? The original question was about the language people use, not what language we think they should use, and in that context a discussion about how offensive the terms are in their social context is quite relevant. Again, I agree that شاذ should be the equivalent of "fag", but in reality, it's not. "Fag" is word widely recognized as a slur and profanity that will offend all kinds of people, homosexual or otherwise, when used in public. شاذ, on the other hand, is both a slur and the recognized, dominant label used for this group, and one that is so widely accepted outside of rights-minded circles that people sometimes use it without even realizing that it's a slur. For these reasons, there is no English equivalent. To a gay person, شاذ may be as offensive as "fag" (or even more so, given the denotative meaning), but most other people don't see it as profanity at all.

    For Beaz069, I agree that he or she should obviously use مثلي unless the goal is to replicate how people actually speak (e.g. in the dialogue in a story).

    What about the adjective لوطي is that admitted or is it also derogatory?
    The closest literal translation is "Sodomite", so it's clear why the term is offensive.
     

    apricots

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Again, I agree that شاذ should be the equivalent of "fag", but in reality, it's not. "Fag" is word widely recognized as a slur and profanity that will offend all kinds of people, homosexual or otherwise, when used in public. شاذ, on the other hand, is both a slur and the recognized, dominant label used for this group
    I don't know how linguists approach these issues but I am personally not going to engage in any cultural relativism. It's bigoted and a slur no matter how accepted that bigotry is in public.
     

    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    I share your distaste for cultural relativism when advanced as a argument defending intolerance and bigotry or rejecting what I think are universal human rights. It's just that understanding the nuances of this term is necessary for understanding why, for example, it was possible for Mina to propose it as an equivalent of "gay" without even mentioning that it could be offensive even though a term's offensiveness is evidently pretty important when it comes to suggesting translations to foreigner. And we can still have a linguistic discussion about the role, connotations, and social acceptability of a term without that discussion becoming a defense of it (I thought that's how you took my original explanation, but maybe I'm just being overly sensitive here :p).
     
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    apricots

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I understand your point. I just wanted to make sure there's something in the thread stating that these are slurs without qualification and a learner shouldn't be using them (or anybody IMO, clearly :p.)

    I actually had a teacher when I was in Jordan who corrected Turkish students who were using it. I thought it was a good moment.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think this is a very complex and nuanced matter. My thoughts as someone who is both LGBTQ+ and, having grown up with Arabic and English, feels "at home" in both languages:
    • While شاذ is, or has traditionally been, used as a "default" term of sorts to mean "gay" or "homosexual," I don't think we can in good conscience call it neutral in any context, even when used by people who are not being patently offensive. There is a negative undercurrent no matter how you slice it. And that negative undercurrent is reflective of the homophobia that is so deeply entrenched in the Arab world. In other words, شاذ arose as a default term in Arabic because of negative attitudes towards homosexuality, and this is something that we cannot decouple from the term, no matter how often it's used and by whom. The meaning of the term is transparent, and the negative meaning/connotation is always there. This is why LGBT+ people find it highly offensive.
    • لوطي and "sodomite" are very close denotatively (both refer to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah) as well as connotatively (both are highly offensive); the difference is that لوطي is used much more frequently than "sodomite" and, unlike "sodomite" and like شاذ, has been traditionally used as a "default" term by many. As with شاذ, the negative connotations of لوطي are inescapable no matter who is using it and in what context.
    • I think مثلي was consciously coined as a way to resist or counteract the use of شاذ. As such, مثلي is still not firmly established and feels pretty artificial. Part of what is preventing مثلي from becoming linguistically unmarked is that homophobia unfortunately continues to be widespread and deeply entrenched in Arab society.
    • I would say that the equivalent of "fag/faggot" in Palestinian Arabic is مَنْيَك. I don't know if this is used in other dialects.
    • I think the closest equivalent to شاذ might actually be "homosexual," which, although denotatively neutral, has unpleasant connotations because it sounds clinical and thus othering. It is frequently used by people who have religiously based homophobia, who often say things like "Homosexuality is a sin." (The plural "gays" is another form that is othering and thus not palatable to LGBT+ people even though it seems innocent on the surface.) But شاذ and "homosexual" are not perfect equivalents, because شاذ is denotatively offensive (and thus connotatively negative), whereas "homosexual" is denotatively neutral but connotatively not-so-great, although not as offensive as شاذ.
    • "gay" and مثلي line up pretty well both denotatively and connotatively, but the difference is that "gay" is firmly established and totally unmarked, whereas مثلي has a long way to go before the same can be said of it.
    • To sum up, "fag/faggot" and مَنْيَك line up pretty perfectly; "gay" and مثلي line up very well although not perfectly due to the markedness differences described above; "sodomite" and لوطي line up to some extent but differ significantly in usage; and "homosexual" and شاذ don't really "line up" but have some overlap and are in any case probably closer to each other than either is to any other word in the other language.
     

    Aliph

    Senior Member
    Italian
    As someone who is studying Arabic, I will stay cautious not to offend anybody and use مثلي. It was useful however to get an extended explanation about all those insulting terms.
     
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