Re: Jeff

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Posted by Jeff from ( on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 at 5:11PM :

In Reply to: Jeff posted by Warrior Empress from ( on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 at 11:50AM :

***Scroll down for my response

: Dear Jeff,

: Your translation was pretty spot on, and no I am not offended but deeply flattered that you would take the time to find the meaning of this poem.

: The poem is not accurate assyrian (eastern neo aramaic or whatever!) and is a symbol of my poor native language skills. There are many words that are actually arabic in origin and I guess twisted and churned into being the popular assyrian spoken by those who originate from iraq (ie my parents).

: So by no means can we classify this poem as assyrian, although when you see it written in syriac script it looks like a masterpiece :)

*** Funny you should mention that the poem looks like a masterpiece in our script. I was going to type it up and post it on the forum in our language...although with my skills it would have several spelling errors. I too took a class on our language, at a church, and learned how to read and write, as well as a few useful vocabulary words. The problem is that those teachers know nothing about teaching language as linguists do. They basically teach you enough to read and write so you can learn to recite prayers (and not even really know what they mean... isn't that illogical) in church. Well, once I got all I could out of it and realized there wasn't more to learn, I left. I have several books that I can recommend to you. If you cannot find them anywhere, I can scan and email them to you if you wish. There's more below.

: The beauty in all of this I guess is manifold. It shows how we are a product of our times, grappling to find a way to communicate in a language that is rapidly evolving and simultaneously decaying.

*** That's an interesting way to describe our language. Interesting, and true.

*** Also, a note about private lessons. While priests may know our language well, I have found that it most often people who simply love our language and have studied it in their own time that know it better than the clergy do. Trust me on this one.

*** Thank you for sharing the meaning of your poem and a little bit more about yourself. I think we are all going through this struggle, but none of us has so eloquently explained it via artwork than you... and perhaps Farid the Iraqi Terrorist. The saviour does reside within...

*** P.S. One last request. There are several lines of my translation that have question marks. Can you please go through and correct any errors that I had in the translation? The question marks are there because the people who helped me translate it didn't know the word, and/or I looked up the words in my "English-Surath" dictionaries (I have 3) and they were conflicting or hard to read, etc.

Thank you!

: Assyrian was my first language as a child and even though I studied the language every saturday until I was 12, English superceded my syriac skills to become my fluent tongue. I communicate most eloquently in English, and am reduced to a blabbering twit in assyrian, which pains me greatly I must say.

: I did re-enrol into a saturday adult class at 18 but I spoke such little assyrian at this stage that many people were translating what the teacher had to say in english. Needless to say the average age of the group was 50 and as migrants had poor english skills. Needless to say it was alot of the fun (despite the fact the class started at 10am on a saturday!)

: I stayed for about 2 or 3 years and we even started learning "leeshanah aramaya or leeshana sopraya" as they call it, and this was taken directly as biblical manuscript because of the lack of literature I suppose in aramaic.

: I travelled to Iraq to live with friends and family and this helped improve my spoken modern assyrian, but I fail to speak academically and unfortunately my language skills are limited to domestic/ colloquial assyrian. I still fail to understand assyrian songs and academic/ political speaches in syriac.

: I pray to return to Australia soon (have been working and living in Egypt for almost a year now) to return to some private lessons in syriac. I think the only person who will be able to do this will be a priest, coz they seem like the only breed left who really understand and appreciate the language. I dread having to learn it out of the bible however, so if you know of any cool texts we could use in my class I would appreciate it.

: I have a journal full of assyrian writing and poetry I hope someday to publish. For me the beauty is not in the sound of "soorat" but in the majickal script. I still ask my mum to write me letters in syriac so I never forget it.

: 'Leywa khzeeta' is about the struggle of the assyrian diasporic refugee finding meaning and identity (a common theme in my work, essays, poems and short stories alike). Identity and recognition is the pain that stabs us in the heart i think, not due to national reasons, but personal psychological/ spiritual ones.

: Evanessence sum up these emotions well in their song "Bring me to Life" with the catch cry...

: "Save me from this nothing I've become"

: Shlameh,
: Majidi xoxoxox

: ...Oh and by the way I believe the saviour resides within...

-- Jeff
-- signature .

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