Wednesday, 24 June 2009

questions

The flyer for Toronto's Green Bin recycling program has a problem with its Arabic. There are three languages that use the Arabic script here: the first two languages in the list are Arabic and Persian, and the second last language is Urdu. The Arabic is supposed to be أسئلة ʾâs'ilaʰ, the plural of سؤال su'âl "question". It's strange that the Arabic is rendered incorrectly, with all the letters disconnected, when the Persian and Urdu are rendered correctly.

It's interesting (or maybe not) that five of the languages use a related word for "question": Persian سوال suvāl, Gujarati સવાલી savālī, Punjabi ਸਵਾਲਾਂ savālāṃ and Urdu سوالات savālāt are all borrowed from Arabic سؤال su'âl.

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