Thursday, April 21, 2005

دون واللغة العربية

yesterday the the liberal avenger emailed me a link to this blog. what really caught my eye was this analysis of the arabic roots of words from frank herbert's dune series. that, in turn, led me to the even more detailed analysis of dune terms by khalid.

what really amazes me is why the dune-arabic connection never occurred to me before. i went through a serious "dune" obsession phase around my early teens. i read all the novels that were out at the time (that was before brian herbert took over the series from where his father left off), even as they got worse and worse with every one. i saw the david lynch film on opening night, then complained about it to anyone who had the misfortune of standing next to me for more than a couple of minutes.

at least fifteen years before my first arabic class, the dune obsession passed and i moved on to different fads. still, i remember most of the dune terms in khalid's chart. i'm surprised it didn't at least ring any bells as i tried to drill arabic vocabulary into my brain.

what's even more embarrassing is khalid's opening sentence:
Those who are familiar with Frank Herbert's famous novel Dune know that he took his analogy from the oil of the Middle East, and that the novel is symbolic about the dependence of the West on the oil, and the power struggles to control this valuable resource.
i must admit, the analogy never occurred to me. it's seems almost ridiculous that it didn't. it's not at all subtle when i think about it: a backwater desert planet which is the source of a substance that is needed to run starships that drive the intergalactic economy, and the locals' struggle to avoid domination by outsiders who seek to control the substance. call me a dumb 14 year old, but i honestly didn't think of the connection back then. i probably thought it had more to do with tatouine, the desert planet from star wars (which itself had arabic origins. the tunisian town of tatouine is near where lucas and co. filmed the desert scenes from star wars). and never mind that dune predated star wars

anyway, this is a long rambling way of recommending khalid's site, and waiting for dorothy too. both will end up on my blogroll whenever i get around to it