Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Anglo-Greek, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. Anglo-Greek Senior Member

    Tartu, Estonia
    What are "Nubians" called in Arabic? (Nubians are a black African people found in Egypt and northern Sudan). Could you please give the translation both in Arabic characters and transliterated into Latin characters?

    Also, is the translation of the term Nubian ever used in the Arab world as a general term to refer to any black African? I believe that, archaicly, such a use of the term "Nubian" did exist in the English-speaking world. If the term is not used to refer to black Africans generally, then what terms are used in Arabic to refer to black Africans? Once again, could you please give translations both in Arabic characters and transliterated into Latin characters?

    Thank you very much :)
  2. xebonyx

    xebonyx Senior Member

    Good questions. I brought up a similar one awhile ago, so this thread may clarify some things:

    Aswad, zinji, and abood, are all terms I've heard used to refer to Black people in Arabic, whether they be African or descendents.
  3. Qittat Ulthar Senior Member

    London, England
    Dutch (Netherlands)
    Am I correct in thinking that as-Suudaan comes from as-Suud, the black people?
  4. Anglo-Greek Senior Member

    Tartu, Estonia
    Thanks a lot xebonyx. So if I wanted a more poetic, slightly archaic term for an African, one that might be used by Arabs as an informal nickname for an Arabic-speaking black friend, regardless of his national origin, then would zinji and habashi be good to use?
    It doesn't have to be politically correct, but I don't want it to be overtly racist.

    I couldn't gather from the thread you linked to what the connotations and/or literal translations of aswad and abood are? I would quite like the term closest in connotations to the English Nubian, so zinji and habashi sound good.
  5. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    I think Nubian in Arabic is just نوبي (nuubi).
  6. xebonyx

    xebonyx Senior Member

    Sorry, I was a little unclear when I posted the link. I was just giving you the spectrum of words that have been used to refer to Black people of different ethnic origins. Most of them I would consider derogatory. I think the one term there's consensus on being appropriate is Aswad- أسود (sing.) , the word for the color black itself; in turn it's used as a classification of people of the indicated color. Think of "negro" in the context of Spanish.

    I wouldn't use 3abd عبد، abeed عبيد which mean slave and slaves respectively. (a "3" is in front of the second transliteration too, but it wouldnt let me type it.) I mistakingly typed abood the first time, confusing it with the word "3aboodiiya" العبوديه = slavery.
    So, as Josh mentioned in the other thread, you will hear this used by racists and those who stick to old fashioned (colonial) terminology who don't recognize its' degree of insult.

    As for poetry, I don't know what's been reclaimed or accepted to use in the Black Arab world--I'd assume it's more acceptable (in the esoteric sense) for a word to be employed artistically by the group of people its used to diminish. In all writing it depends on what your intentions are for using it.
  7. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    In Arabic it's نوبي and the country is النوبة. It's used specifically for Nubians like حبشي is specifically for Ethypians.

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