1. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    An anti-cultural guilt

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mans, Jun 19, 2014.

    Recently, when I was studying a news in an English news web, I saw a word in the article that it made me wondered and saddened. After I researched about the root of this word, I saw it has not been existed in the English language previously and has been made by some dishonest political person to strike the culture of a group of good people in the world. The made up word is " Shiite" that is used instead of " Shia" or " Shiah" by some persons knowingly or unknowingly, after it made up by a dishonest character. This word is new and it doesn't exist in the previous English dictionaries, while " Shiah" does exist (as a noun) from many centuries ago.
    I wanted to announce you writers, about this evil replacement so that, you know it is an obvious uncultured guilt to a cultured and peaceful people.
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Thank you for pointing this out. I assumed Shiite was like Mennonite ...the name for a type of religion. I didn't know this was incorrect. I don't think anybody intends this to be 'evil.' It's just what happens when words get badly translated. I stand corrected, and will use Shia in future.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If you think anyone is using the term Shi'ite (I've always seen it with the apostrophe) to in any way liken it to the similar profane word, it isn't used that way. It's a natural English formation using the suffix "ite".

    You are the first person I've ever heard complain and I'm wondering if it's because you misunderstand the translation, the similarity to a certain other word. It's just not so and I hate to se you upset over a falsely interpreted translation. Especially since it is a common form of the word in English and even if we quit using it in the forum you are going to see it again and again.

    Is "Shiite" and "Shia" the same thing?
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's as new as you think. I looked up the etymology on several sites and all stated that the first useage of Shiite ("a member of the Shia sect of Islam") was in the early 1700's. I'm also not sure why it's some sort of insult. ??

    ETA: Just saw above note - and, yes, the confusion may have come in the double versus single "i". (Although I've always been puzzled why people use "shite" instead of "shit" on the internet ...)
     
  5. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Talk about being overly sensitive. Furthermore, the OP makes a classic genetic fallacy.

    Every single language has many terms for elements of cultures that speak other languages, and every single term was new and "made up by a dishonest character" at one point. Should we refer to Spaniards who speak Spanish in Spain as españoles who speak castellano in España? Should we refer to Nepalese people who practice Buddhism as नेपाली जनताको who practice बौद्ध धर्म?

    Use words for what they mean. If you mean nothing offensive, then if you use a commonly understood term to say what you mean, then you will not offend. If someone is offended, then that is not your problem.

    Also, there are all kinds of innocuous words and names that coincidentally look or sound like dirty words. "cock" (has many meanings, including "penis") "shih tzu" (sounds like "shit sue"), "Uranus" (sounds like "your anus" depending on how you pronounce it -- I once told a girl "there is enough gas in Uranus to fill the volume of the earth"), "Homo erectus" ("homo" is the colloquial abbreviation of "homosexual", often derogatory, and "erectus" makes people think of an erect penis), etc.

    Try to see the humor in the language without getting uptight about being associated with something unsavory.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not at all clear as to why you find this word, which is apparently more than two hundred years old, offensive.

    The suffix -ite has existed for a very long time. When I look it up, I see that it has its basis in French, and in Latin before that. It means "follower".

    That suffix tends to be used when designating people associated with a particular group, region, or other identifier. So if you want to communicate "a person from Alabama", you might say "Alabamite". There's Samnite, Canaanite, Carmelite, and so on. Do you find all of these words offensive?

    So this word means "a follower of Shia". I'm not clear on why that would be offensive. If you prefer Shia, and Shia refers to both the religion and to an individual follower, OK. But I can't figure out where you're getting offense, rather than, "That's not the preferred word."
     
  7. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    Please notice that I said, " Shia" or "Shiah" word existed in English for centuries and it is almost close to its spelling in Farsi ( the accurate spelling is ' Shi,aah') but " Shiite" is so far away from its spelling in Farsi and I wonder, how the maker did commit this great wrong. I think it is because the maker had thought," The western people don't know Farsi so they will accept what I offer them." So I inform you, basically, Shiite is different with Shi,ah name.
    Let me I explain the difference of the words in detail :

    In Farsi ........................... In English

    شیعه ....................................... Shi,ah

    ش ........................................... Sh

    ی ............................................... i

    ع................................................... " a" or " aa" ( Of the throat is pronounced)

    ه.................................................... h


    Also it is good you know, Shiite was first used by previous president of America Georg W Bush in a lecture , after attacking of Taliban terrorists to New York buildings while these anti- people terrorists are the enemy of Shiah people too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  8. ChickenFreak
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    So you're saying that the great offense comes entirely from a different spelling? If someone from France refers to my country as "etats-unis" instead of "United States", I'm not going to take that as an insult. I'm still not understanding why this is offensive and evil.
     
  9. daemon
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    False.

    For proof, see this book from 1986 (Bush began his term in 2001) that includes "Shiites" in the title. In fact, it is a book by the Islamic Center of America and it defends Shiites.

    And even if Bush coined the term, so what? Read my previous post. Do you think we should never use a commonly understood English term to refer to something if it just so happens that a person of questionable morals coined the term?
    Heh. And as a speaker of Spanish as a second language, tengo orgullo de llamar mi país "Los Estados Unidos".
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Considering the sensitive situation in the Middle East, it is understandable these things can be misinterpreted as more sinister than they actually are. And it's only respectful to honour the request for correct pronunciation. It can be hard, being a foreigner in any company, I've forgotten how my maiden name is pronounced correctly, I've been pronouncing the anglicised version for so long, simply because most people were too lazy to even try to learn. It's how it is, I came to live here, I have to make concessions.

    @Mans I assure you, most Western people aren't using 'Shiite' in order to offend. It's what they thought was the right pronunciation in their language. In 1980s I remember hearing that pronounciation in a Spanish movie, so it predates George 'Dubya'.

    People translate words all the time, for example, Vienna (English) Wien (Austrian) Beč (Serbo-Croatian). It happens all the time, and in case of Vienna, we've been calling it 'Beč' since the middle ages. My home town is called Beograd but in the West they call it Belgrade. There are even a few bona fide 'Belgrades' in the US. No offence taken by us. Language is a fluid thing and every language has adapted foreign words. :)
     
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  11. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    "Shiah" itself does mean " follower" in Farsi, so it is illogical that a made up word like Shiite is used instead, that it is not similar and familiar to its origin spell in Farsi at all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But that "made up word" has been used for over two hundred years, and is used by the New York Times, by NPR (and, believe me, NPR is not motivated to please George Bush), by the Library of Congress. And if we're worrying about purely coincidental resemblances to other words, then perhaps I should be offended by "etats-unis" and assume that it means that the French are claiming that Americans all have tattoos?

    If you personally prefer "Shiah", that's fine, but you're charging in claiming that the other word is a coined word, a new word, introduced by George Bush, that someone is deliberately trying to offend, and so on. There are no facts backing up those statements.

    Diplomacy will get you a lot further than groundless accusations of evil intent.

    Edited to add: I'm not objecting to the idea that it's best to stick close to the original word, and that the original word works just fine and that it's a bit disrespectful to tack on a French/Latin/English suffix to a word that doesn't need it. Those are perfectly sufficient arguments. Making other arguments that aren't accurate just clouds the issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  13. Mans
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    I referred to a Farsi website that it had some comments about this subject.
    One of the knowledgeable and educated users had a comment that I studied it. in that article he had told that " in Mariam dictionary webmaster ( published in 1978) the "Shiite" word exists and it doesn't mean a bad word and it is used in some of the articles in the west (instead of Shiah) without any offensive propose.
    My mistake was because, I read an article in a small blog before that the author had attempted to show it as an offensive word and I reflected it to the WF without I have had enough investigation about this subject. So in this case I excuse all you writers due to my mistake :)
    Nonetheless, as I said before, the real spell of Shiah is Shiah

    The end
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    When languages are translated from those where the alphabets are different, you get multiple spellings of the same words. The Koran is spelled at least three ways:
    Koran
    Quran
    Qu'ran​

    This site lists 112 spellings of Qaddaffi.

    Beijing used to be spelled Peking.

    This is common with language when the original translations were from the sound of the word alone.


    I'm curious what brought this on, @Mans? Are there people in Iran complaining? Is it something you personally were bothered by?

    Never mind, I think your last post answers this.
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I always assumed it was Shi'a.

    @ChickenFreak - I've always heard people from Alabama be referred to as "Alabamian". Never heard of 'Alabamite'.
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    Suffix ite http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ite#Suffix
    Suffix ian http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ian#Suffix

    There's overlap. In the link above re ite, they cite "descendant of a personage" but there are no ite examples under the category. However, I can think of some cities where it's used:

    Seattlite

    Perhaps there is a rule, like it depends on the ending of the word whether one is an ite or an ian. Then to confuse the issue even more we have er.

    Portlanders.

    :p
     
  17. Mans
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    Dear Ginger,though my logic and affection didn't convince but I considered that it is better I end this subject.
    Why we should not apply the exact spelling of a word in a translation, while it is simple? Why somebodies translate a word mistakenly from a language to another? Why they work optionally and pay no attention to its exact spelling and meaning? Why they do this important task regardless of importance of the matter? Why they invent some words and replace them with the fact of the origin words ? Is there any global academy to verify and check these translated words (or at least the sensitive words)?
    At present, I know both Persian and English languages and can claim that I almost am a knowledgeable person about some matters between these two language. According to this fact, I think, you don't know Farsi while it is my first language, so I understand that Shiite has a wrong shape and spell in compare with" Shiah". Indeed, Shitte is an unknown and unfamiliar word for me because I haven't heard such word or something similar to it in Farsi yet.In other word, this word doesn't exist in Farsi or Arabic.
    Now, I am wondered, who has made this word instead of "Shiah" while there is not any similarity between these two different words with different shape and spelling. Surely, that maker or translator hadn't been a Persian or an aware person.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    Don't get the wrong idea, I'm all for single versions of spelling. It's confusing enough keeping spelling straight for English words.

    But when you say, "exact spelling of a word in a translation," that implies there is an exact spelling. Farsi was not originally written using the Roman alphabet. If they have since changed to using those letters, or there is an official Farsi language source using Roman letters, then you need to consider translations existed before that format existed.

    So you are asking us to use the source you are using, but not considering there is not a single source.

    I found this, for example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Persian

    But there is apparently also a Baha'i Persian romanization, an ASCII Internet romanizations (See also: Fingilish), a Tajik Latin alphabet, a Turco-Persian Romanization, and so on.

    I have no desire to offend you. But you also have to understand Iran is not the only source of the words in question here.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    The fact remains that, as pointed out by several people already, many of whom are polyglots like myself, there will often be adjustments to words entering one language from another. In this case the -ite suffix, right or wrong from the original Farsi, is an ending that indicates the correct meaning and categorization of the word into a word group into English. These things happen all the time from one language to another. Moscow is not called Moscow in Moscow; it's pronounced Moskva. The are no Poles in Poland; they all live in Polsha. And if you really want to see an offensive source for an everyday word, research the etymology for the Russian word for Germans: Hемецкий (Nemyetskiy)
     
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  20. Mans
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    But the voice of alphabets are common between Farsi and Roman. For instance :

    ب ........ B

    ت ............... T

    ر ................ R

    ز ................... Z

    م ................... M

    ل .................... L

    ق - غ ............. GH

    خ ...................... KH

    و ...................... W - V

    پ .......................... P

    گ - ج ................. G - J

    س ....................... S

    and so on

    Also please notice, Shiah is a noun and is not a verb and it should not be changed in a translation. In this situation, that a noun is going to be translated, the translator has to observe the voice of the letters of the noun in the origin language. For example, when someone wants to translate the name of a Chinese that is called " Ling Yong ", He should listen the voices of that noun in Chinese language and then uses the similar voices in English by using the proper letters. So the translator is not allowed to write " Ping Pong " because basically the voice of the letter " P" is different with " L" and " Y"
     
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  21. thirdwind
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    Just to make sure I'm understanding this, both Shia and Shiite refer to the person who practices Shia Islam, right? So they mean the same thing, but it's just that you think Shia should be the only word that's used. Correct?
     
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  22. daemon
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    You are still assuming that "shiite" is meant to be a translation of "شیعه". It is not. It is meant to be a made-up term so that English speakers can refer to followers of شیعه.

    Are you Persian? Do you want English speakers to call you "ایرانی" instead of "Persian"?
     
  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not following the relevance of this. Unless I'm missing something, none of the words being discussed are verbs.
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    I realize this seems simple and straight forward to you.

    Have you considered that people's accents might affect pronunciations of various persian letters? Why is it there are different versions of Persian to Roman letter equivalencies?
     
  25. shadowwalker
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    I doubt very much you will find any translation of any language into any other language that will use the same words, let alone spelling. If the correct meaning is there (as much as is humanly possible anyway), isn't that what matters?
     
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