This sentence in Judeo-Arabic was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot who would like to know what it means.

האדא כלאמהום. אלדי יגאוובון עלא האדה מסלכהום. ומא ענדנא גוואב נגרח להאדא גוואבהום

Can you help?

I put it into Google translate and got this transliteration: Hada Achlamhum. Baldi Igaauubon Ala Shahada Msllachhum. Ma Endana Agovab Ngerah Lhada Agovabhum.

7 thoughts on “Judeo-Arabic

  1. I wouldn’t dare to attempt a translation, but I see some discrepancies between the Hebrew text and the transliteration. The consonants are:

    h’d’ kl’mhwm. ‘ldy yg’wwbwn `l’ h’dh mslkhwm. wm’ `ndn’ gww’b ngrH lh’d’ gww’bhwm

    h’d’ / h’dh might be haadha ‘this’. wm’ `ndn’ could be wa-maa `indana ‘and we don’t have’
    -hwm is probably the 3rd person masculine singular pronominal suffix ‘them’ / ‘their’. I’m guessing that kl’mhwm means ‘all of them’. `l’ must be `alaa’ ‘(up)on’, ‘to’.

    So, this phenomenal proof of my fluency in Arabic would give us: This all-of-them. Smurf they-will-smurf upon this smurf-of-theirs. And we don’t have smurf smurf for this smurf-of-theirs.

    Helpful, innit?

  2. Here is the best I could do to put it in Arabic:

    هذا كلامهم الذي يجاوبون على هذه مصلحهم وما عندنا جواب نجرح لهذه جوابهم

  3. Here is a transliteration of the Arabic:
    Hādhā kalāmuhum alladhī yajāwibūna ‘alā hādhihī maṣlaḥatihim wa-mā ‘indanā jawāb nujarriḥ li-hādhihī jawābihim
    Here is my best guess for a literal translation: These are their words which they use to respond to this their custom (maṣlaḥatihim) [?]. We don’t have any response for their response.
    Non-literal translation: This is their argument to justify this custom of theirs, and which we no counterargument to refute.
    There is one thing I am not sure of, and that is the translation of maṣlaḥatihim. According to the website provided by Bronz, this is the meaning of the word, and it makes sense in context. However, there is another possibility. The word maṣlaḥa in Islamic law means “interest” as in something beneficial in the interest of the people. This was often invoked to effect considerable innovation in the legal rules (thus invalidating the criticism that Islamic law is horribly inflexible and stifling). If that is the case here, the passage would mean something like:

    This is their argument to justify this [otherwise non-conventional] practice which is for their benefit, and which we no counterargument to refute.

  4. Looking back, it looks like I made a mistake in transliterating maṣlaḥatihim (actually just maṣlaḥhim, but I added the ta marbuta to properly Arabize it): it should be maslakihim (what threw me off was the use of ṣ instead of s; perhaps a typo). Yes, this is an Arabic word that simply means “their way” and so “their custom” is a perfectly likely translation of this. Actually, at the beginning of the text, the word sulūk (which has the same root) is employed, meaning “behavior” and translated also as custom.

  5. There is some mistake I believe, as the word given earlier, “Baldi” is not in the Hebrew text.
    However, Yankee got most of it, but I don’t think it is something related to religion. It can be simply a normal text, and the world MaslaHa (maslacha) means “benefit, interest, use”, and it is a common word in every day language.
    However, the word “maslacha” here is written with “kaf” but without the dot, so it is spelled as “kh” usually (i.e. scottish, german CH), but in Arabic, the word is supposedly “MaslaHa” with “H” here being the 6th letter of the modern Arabic set, resembling also “chet” (voiced glottal fricative, i think) in Hebrew (8th letter of Hebraic abjad).
    “Kaf” was used as “K” in the beginning of the sentence (second word): Hada Kalamhom (trans: this is their talk), for this reason, the 7th word (i.e. Masla(k)hom) can be read as “Maslach’hom” (their interest) or “Maslak’hom” (their path, way, behavior). Again comparing the word to the Arabic equivalent, the word “interest” would use the “SS” which is equivalent to the Hebrew “Tsadi” letter [but note that in original Hebrew the two had the same sound in Hebrew and in Arabic, while modern Hebrew spell it as TS]. Finally, the world I think is Maslak’hom (their way, path, behavior) and not (their interest).

    The language is Arabic obviously, but I think it is Moroccan variety because the grammar and expressions used are not coherent with classical or modern literature Arabic. The usage of the word “NigraH” [which means “we hurt” in modern Arabic and classical] has been used obviously here to mean “to reply to their answer”.

    Also, there is some, if I can say, a misuse of punctuations. There should not be a period after the first 2 words, because the word after that is “alladi” which means (which, that), i.e. it is a conjugation word linking two phrases.

    Finally, this is my final version in Arabic text:
    هذا كلامهم الذي يجاوبون على هذا مسلكهم. وما عندنا جواب نجرح لهذا جوابهم

    Some corrections added above. As I said, it might be a colloquial Moroccan. There is quite a number of Jews in Morocco, so I won’t be surprised for the type of the language used here and the script.

  6. Does anyone know why when I type this phrase into google translator it gives me the opposite result (“we HAVE an answer etc.)?

    Also, the origin of this dialect it Iraqi, not Moroccan (see link posted above).

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