Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale
53 | 2017

Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale
53 | 2017

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Tema
chevron_rightLingue e culture del Medio ed Estremo Oriente

Lingua
en

ISSN
chevron_right1125-3789

e-ISSN
chevron_right2385-3042

Fascicolo
Vol. 53 | Num. 1 | Giugno 2017

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Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale | 53 | 2017

Language, Power and Democracy in Othello, Translated into Egyptian Dialect by Moustapha Safouan: a Realistic, Utopian or Dystopian Challenge? 

Nadia Bovino
Independent scholar
nadiabovino@libero.it

DOI 10.14277/2385-3042/AnnOr-53-17-2

Submitted 13 Nov 2015
Accepted 09 Mag 2016

Abstract

Can the Egyptian dialect be a poetic language? Should it be taught at school? Can it convey literary serious/tragic contents? Moustapha Safouan thinks so, and he also thinks that such a linguistic revolution is necessary in Egypt to boost a democratic process to deprive the dictators of the fake legitimacy they gain from using Modern Standard Arabic instead of the vernacular linguistic variety. His translation of Shakespeare’s Othello into Egyptian dialect, in 1998, is his way to put words into action. This paper presents Safouan’s translation, a provocation and a successful challenge, and the debate it aroused. Language, writing devices, musicality of the translation and the spontaneous reaction of Egyptian native speakers are investigated to demonstrate that there are quite a few points in which Safouan succeeds in conveying sublime intellectual/aesthetic pleasure. Safouan’s Othello shows that the Egyptian dialect can be a poetic language and therefore it might one day turn into a weapon in the hands of the people against the powerful ruling élites, as Safouan wishes.

Keywords
Egyptian Dialect. Othello. Safouan. Power. Poetic Revolution.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License 

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Campo DC Valore

dc.contributor.author

Bovino Nadia

dc.title

Language, Power and Democracy in Othello, Translated into Egyptian Dialect by Moustapha Safouan: a Realistic, Utopian or Dystopian Challenge? 

dc.type

Journal Article

dc.language.iso

en

dc.identifier.uri

http://doi.org/10.14277/2385-3042/AnnOr-53-17-2

dc.description.abstract

Can the Egyptian dialect be a poetic language? Should it be taught at school? Can it convey literary serious/tragic contents? Moustapha Safouan thinks so, and he also thinks that such a linguistic revolution is necessary in Egypt to boost a democratic process to deprive the dictators of the fake legitimacy they gain from using Modern Standard Arabic instead of the vernacular linguistic variety. His translation of Shakespeare’s Othello into Egyptian dialect, in 1998, is his way to put words into action. This paper presents Safouan’s translation, a provocation and a successful challenge, and the debate it aroused. Language, writing devices, musicality of the translation and the spontaneous reaction of Egyptian native speakers are investigated to demonstrate that there are quite a few points in which Safouan succeeds in conveying sublime intellectual/aesthetic pleasure. Safouan’s Othello shows that the Egyptian dialect can be a poetic language and therefore it might one day turn into a weapon in the hands of the people against the powerful ruling élites, as Safouan wishes.

dc.relation.ispartof

Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale

dc.relation.ispartof

Vol. 53 | Num. 1 | Giugno 2017

dc.publisher

Edizioni Ca’ Foscari - Digital Publishing

dc.date.issued

None

dc.dateAccepted

2015-11-13

dc.dateSubmitted

2016-05-09

dc.identifier.issn

1125-3789

dc.identifier.eissn

2385-3042

dc.rights

Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution alone

dc.rights.uri

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

dc.subject

Egyptian Dialect

dc.subject

Othello

dc.subject

Safouan

dc.subject

Power

dc.subject

Poetic Revolution

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53 | 2017

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