I met Mohammad Ali at the Raleigh Persian Festival last May, though he wasn’t the one who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. (At least, I have no proof that he does.) I swear to God that was his real name, or at least the name he’d written on his name tag, so maybe he was just playing with us. He was at a booth where you could get your name written in Arabic, which I took him up on.
Interestingly, this is similar to the Arabic word “jannat” or “jannah” which means paradise. This is the eternal paradise, similar to the Christian concept of heaven. Please don’t call me Heaven though since that sounds a bit too much like a stripper name.
I’m pretty sure I matched the correct writing to the right word, but it’s possible I flipped those. If so, forgive me, I don’t speak Arabic or I’d open up my own booth.
This is the second time I’ve had my name translated to a foreign language. The first time happened when my book Chocolate & Vicodin was translated into Chinese and I learned my name was Zhen Nai Te Fa Er Da. I don’t know if that sounds like a stripper name or not.
Updated at 3:00pm ET: Readers of this blog more familiar with the language let me know that not only had I flipped the words, I had them upside down. Whoops! I guess this post should have been titled “Easily Confused.” I have now updated the images so they are correct (I hope). You will need to refresh your browser to see the proper images if you loaded the page before I posted this notice. I think this serves as further proof that you should never ever get a tattoo in a foreign language unless you’re 100% sure what it says 🙂
Oh, and the proper term for the language is Persian-Farsi, not Arabic although it was written in Arabic script.
I wanted to let you know that the language spoken by the Persians (or Iranians) is not Arabic, but Persian-Farsi. They do use the same alphabet, but much like English and Spanish use the same alphabet and have similar sounding words, they are not the same language. So while your name was written in Arabic script, Mr. Ali would probably prefer it if you said your name was written in Farsi. I’m very exicted to learn there is a Persian festival in Raleigh, yet another reason I will have to visit some day!
Yep, they are upside down.
I don’t speak it, but studied enough to follow the alphabet.
And sorry for the continued commentary, but I think the words are reversed as well.
The reason I think so (just what you wanted, a lesson in Arabic!) are the two dashes under the word you have labeled as paradise. They are vowel marks that are generally only used(so I was taught)in kids’ books and the Koran, so kids and readers of the Koran read the words properly. And in Arabic beginner textbooks. It would make sense to me that he added these vowel marks (which represent the short e sound) to properly reflect your name. The placement of the marks would correspond to the vowel sounds in your name.
The single dash over the other word represents the short A sound.
Backing off the geeky language commentary now…
Sad I missed the festival…keep an eye out for the Greek festival, which is nothing but yummy Greek food. And baklava sundaes, ooh…
@Sara, @Elnoz – Thanks everyone. I *think* I have it fixed now.
@JenFul – My name is Janna. Janna means Paradise. Your name and mine are very similar. Even more since my middle name is Donnette lol