Curses and profanity in Moroccan Judeo-Arabic Jonas Sibony.

Even if this formula uses particularly brutal and cruel images, it may obviously notbe understood literally.

The expression nākǝl l-o rās-o,

נָאכְּלוֹ רָאסוֹ….

“I'll eat his head” actually means

“I'll make him pay, I'll crush him”. That's a typical case of exaggerated violent image in use in those sentences.


 The last part: nǝbkā 'orā-h

נְבְּקָּא מוּרָאהּ

“I'll stay behind/after him” actually means “I'll outlive him”.


Some formal categories are very common too, such as sentences beginning with nṛāk

“May I see you”, with preservation of the ancient meaning of the verb ṛā “to see”, as illustrated here:

nṛā-k ma-țḥyā-s u-ma-tskā-s ḥătta l-hād n-nhāṛ! ( Brunot & Malka 1939: 159) :

נְרָאכּ מָא תְחְיָיאס וּמָא תְסְקָּאס חְתָּתא לְחְד אֵנְהָאר

“May (I see) you not live and not last until that day!”


nṛā-k b-ṛ-ṛdǝm iṭēḥ ălī-k!

נְרָאכּ בְרְרדְם יִּתֵח עְלִיכּ

( Brunot & Malka 1939: 157): “May (I see) rubble come

down on you!”


nṛā-k b-l-'ətțāl!:

“May (I see) you run into a murderer!”

נְרָאכּ בְּלְקֵּתָאל


nṛā-k b-l-bāṛōḍ l-inglīzi!

נְרָאכּ בְּלְבָּארוֹד לִינְגְלִיזִי

(Brunot & Malka 1939: 157): “May (I see) you run into a

British gun!”

nṛā-k ḥzoṭ mḥazzaṭ!

נְרָאכּ חְזוֹת מחאזאת

10: “May I see you in the most awful situation / poverty!”


Finally, among those non-specifically Jewish curses are found sentences used mainly by Jews; old-fashioned sentences, referring to ancient social realities:

wəld ṭəṛṛāḥ!:

ווּלְדְ תֵרָּראח

baker’s boy! > you're useless”

Ṭəṛṛāḥ (Premare 1999 (8): 277) initially refers to the job of boys wandering in the streets to find bread from individuals and bring it to the oven of the village. The speakers most often don't know what the sentence refers to but are still aware that it's an insult.

Curses and profanity in Moroccan Judeo-Arabic Jonas Sibony.

הירשם לבלוג באמצעות המייל

הזן את כתובת המייל שלך כדי להירשם לאתר ולקבל הודעות על פוסטים חדשים במייל.

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