A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Elias Muhanna Strikes Back at His Critics; He Quaketh Not With Lugubriosity, But Responds with Humor

For over a week now debate has raged about Elias Muhanna's New Yorker piece about Disney's decision to dub Frozen in Modern Standard Arabic rather than Egyptian Colloquial (my post yesterday has links to the original article and many of the commentaries on it; a majority of the latter (and most of the comments on my own posts), rose to the staunch defense of MSA. Now BBC Newsnight had the bright idea of asking Elias (or rather some professor named "Elias Mahoona," which may be one of those "BBC pronunciations") to retranslate the MSA into a comparably formal English. He has done so, overdoing it just enough to produce hilarious results.

Bonus points for "Quaketh not I" and "Snow instigateth not lugubriosity within me."

I knew Elias Muhanna could be funny from some of his Qifa Nabki posts, It turns out this Mahoona fellow is pretty funny, too.

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