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The beeping, incidentally, means he's speeding.
September 28, 2012 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Tell me a little bit about this recording I made in a taxi in the UAE. I think it's in Urdu.

I made this recording on a long taxi ride from the Liwa Oasis to Abu Dhabi Airport in August 2010. I'm pretty sure this is one of those Quranic lecture cassettes, but I think I hear him say Pakistan at one point too. My poorly-educated guess is that the language is Urdu. Can anyone give me some broad sense of the subject matter? Thanks!
posted by mykescipark to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
 
I'm not a language expert, but I do speak Urdu and that's definitely not it. I would guess Farsi.
posted by yawper at 3:21 PM on September 28, 2012


I think it's Somali.
posted by Sal and Richard at 3:52 PM on September 28, 2012


Not Urdu at all.

Could be Farsi, but doesn't sound like it to me.

My first guess was an Arabic dialect, but I'm also buying Somali.
posted by Sara C. at 7:49 PM on September 28, 2012


It could be Dari. It doesn't sound quite right to be Farsi, but I don't speak either.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:50 PM on September 28, 2012


I'm not fluent in Arabic so don't take my word for it, but this doesn't sound like any dialect I'm familiar with (also considering that it was a taxi driver in the UAE listening to this, it's likely he was not Arab).
posted by Papagayo at 8:58 PM on September 28, 2012


I'm not fluent in Arabic so don't take my word for it, but this doesn't sound like any dialect I'm familiar with (also considering that it was a taxi driver in the UAE listening to this, it's likely he was not Arab).

Many taxi drivers here are Egyptian, but this is certainly not Egyptian Arabic.

(I also love how you can hear the constant background noise common to all longer distance taxi rides in the UAE - the mandatory speeding alarm!)
posted by atrazine at 10:26 PM on September 28, 2012


Going to agree with Sara C. here, this is definitely not Urdu.

I have a strong feeling it's a South Asian language however, as he mentions 'dedh lakh rupaye' at one point (150,000 rupees) and uses some words found in the general Farsi-Urdu continuum (takreeban = approximately, jashn-e = celebration of, zulum = cruelty, garib dukaandaar = poor/impoverished shopkeepers, dukaan = shop, bazaar = market, sarkaari bangalo = government bungalows, duniya = world).

I can make him out talking about the Deobandis at one point. The song he sings "Wo din hawa hue jab pasina gulab tha", which is Urdu for "The days when sweat was a rose are not gone with the wind." and "Ab itr bhi malo to muhabbat ki boo nahi" (not sure about this, but something like "now even ?? that you can't smell love anymore". This confirms that the speaker is familiar with Urdu and Urdu poetry.

I see he later recites another line of an Urdu poem (shayri), "dono taraf aag ho barabar lagi hui" - "Both sides were equally beset by fire".

Pashto maybe? Arabic/Farsi is definitely unlikely.
posted by Senza Volto at 4:57 AM on September 29, 2012


P.S. I remember the speaker saying 'tol' a lot, and in a completely unrelated incident, I've learned that 'tol' in Pashto refers to all, and therefore 'tol Pakistan' would mean 'all Pakistan' - makes sense. I'm guessing the speaker is a Pakistani Pashto-speaker.
posted by Senza Volto at 7:20 AM on September 29, 2012


I asked an Iranian friend of mine, and he said this:

As far as I can tell it's Pashto. I say that because it sounds very much like Dari Persian, except that it doesn't have Persian grammar from any dialect I can understand, and the accent is definitely Pakistani or Afghani.

He's also using a lot of Arabic expressions of course. As much as I can tell he's talking about people celebrating christmas (jashn-e-eid milad), he uses the word 'mazhabi' a lot, which means religious, and then he gets rather excitable. He's also calling whomever he's talking to 'agha,' which is 'sir' or 'man' depending on the context. Oh, and at one point he screams the word 'aghab!' which means idiot or fool. So as far as I can tell he's really upset about religous issues in Pakistan. The things I might be wrong about is 'agha' which could also be 'ageh' which means 'if' in persian. So it's either pashto, or a mix of Urdu and Persian (which Pashto is) or a mix of the three. It's also more arabic and Urdu sounding towards the beginning and a lot more persian towards the end, which is weird because I can barely understand him when he starts speaking and the angrier he gets the more I can understand him.

posted by atrazine at 12:36 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


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