Arabic poems for beginners
You can read Arabic poems even if you are a beginner. The poems on this site come with all the information you need to understand the Arabic words and grammar.
The usual ways to read Arabic poems
If you are not a native Arabic speaker, there have so far been two ways to read an Arabic poem:
- Read a translated version of the poem
- Read the poem in the original language and translate it yourself
The advantage of a translation is that it (often) is professional and reflects the overall idea and feel of the poem. The disadvantage is that it is not the original. I do not know whether the words, methafors and style of writing come form the poet or translator. A translation gives me no deeper insight into the original.
If I want to learn Arabic, a translation is seldom helpful. I do not know which words in the translation correspond to which ones in the original. It may not even be the same word, because the poem is changed to suit the target language.
I prefer to translate Arabic poems myself. Than I know that the choice of words, sentence building and the metaphors that I read are the poet's own and not filtered by anyone else. I can form my own view and interpretation of the poem.
Reading and translating Arabic poems is a great way to learn Arabic. You learn new words and see examples of how they can be used grammatically.
Until now, it has been time-consuming to translate Arabic poems. But not now anymore!
A new way to read Arabic poems
To be able to understand a poem in Arabic we need to know the meaning of each word. Knowing how the words are conjugated and their grammatical function in the is also helpful. Therefore, I have linked all that information to each poem.
When you read any of the poems on this site, you can click the sentence that want to know more about. This will take you to a page with all the information you need to understand the sentence: Each word, its translation, its inflection and grammatical function.
If you find any word extra interesting, just click on it. Then you will get to a page with lots of information about that word: its plural forms, phrases where the word is used, related words, a description of how to use the Arabic letters to form the word. All information on this site is linked. You can go from poem to sentence to word to letter - or vice versa.
This site therefore offers a whole new way to read Arabic poems:
- Read the poem in the original language and have access to all the information you need to translate it yourself
By making all the information available, you can understand and translate the poem much faster. You don't need to search words or grammatical information anywhere else. I have saved you all the boring work. You can focus on enjoying the poem.
Translation as a support
On this site there are over a thousand phrases, sentences and poem verses. Each of them has the following information about each word:
- English translation
- The conjugation of the word (number, definiteness and case)
- A button to play audio with the pronunciation of the word
- A link to even more information about the word
In addition, there is a translation of the phrase/sentence/verse line itself. The translation is correct and often more literal than figurative. I have prioritized correspondence with the original over an elegant translations, because the whole purpose of this site is to learn Arabic.
Discover the beauty yourself
Thanks to all the information about each poem, You can read the original in Arabic and discover the beauty of it. I think that gives a much stronger experience than a translation can offer.
Each sentence is translated each for itself, as literally as possible to provide support in understanding Arabic. For a poem, each sentence (verse) is displayed in Arabic together with the translation, as well as a link for more information. The poem is not translated as a whole.
Since the poems are not translated as a whole, their translations may seem clumsy. That's because I have prioritized the main purpose of the site: learning Arabic.
Literal and figurative translations
This site should not be seen as a scanned poetry collection, but as a digital learning material. For those who are not interested in the Arabic language and only want to read a translation in Swedish or English, there are many other resources available. This site is unique because it helps you to take part of the poem in the original language.
Having said that, it happens that I also make free translations of Arabic poems. For example, my Swedish translation of the poem the wind of Malkon Malkon The poem appears first with a literal translation, along with links to more information about each verse. Below, there is my free translation in Swedish.
If I have time and resources in the future, I would be happy to make more free translations. But beautiful translations are not the main purpose of this site. The digital support for learning Arabic is a priority, because it's something unique about this site.