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  1. #1
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    Default Quick question for native arabic speakers

    Hi

    I long time ago, someone picked my stage name – Zafirah from a baby naming site because it means the same as my English name – Victoria. I hope they both mean ‘successful/victorious’. Now I find it a pain and a bit overblown but I am stuck with it . . .

    Anyway, I’d like to know how to spell it in Arabic. I understand a bit of Arabic and have a good grasp of the grammar, I am not asking how one would simply transliterate it, I am asking how do you spell the real actual name? Some sites have several names from that root, which has the closest meaning to ‘victorious’ ?

    As far as I can tell it must be quite an old name, or all those baby naming sites have picked it out of nowhere. If it is simply a nonsense name, I can live with that as long as it doesn’t mean anything bad!!

    I am guessing it comes from the root ظفر which means victory/success, but how is the actual real female name spelt?

    I am asking native speakers as I am sure there are subtleties that no textbook can tell me, or indeed others like me that are on the long path to trying to understand this language!

    Thanks

    Zaf

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ranya's Avatar
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    I'd say the spelling is ظفيرة although I never came accross this name other in "real life" (I mean other than non-arab dancers... it might be an old name though, which is not in right now).
    If it exists, then Zafira is only used as a name of the root "victorious"... when speaking about someone who is victorious or is experiencing succes one would use the إسم فاعل which would then be in the following form ظافر

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranya View Post
    I'd say the spelling is ظفيرة although I never came accross this name other in "real life" (I mean other than non-arab dancers... it might be an old name though, which is not in right now).
    If it exists, then Zafira is only used as a name of the root "victorious"... when speaking about someone who is victorious or is experiencing succes one would use the إسم فاعل which would then be in the following form ظافر
    Hi

    Thanks for your reply. That is what I suspected (I didn't explain my thoguhts fully before as it seems the more I explain the more people misunderstand me!). . . some name sites list ظافيرة which seems to basically be an adjective . . some also list ظفيرة as a name meaning 'resolute'.

    I can live with it being a made up or very rare/old name, as long as it isn't anything bad . .how I wish back then I had picked something sensible like 'Leila, Zeina' etc LOL.

    Z

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    I have seen Saphira spelt Zafirah or Safirah ( comes from Saphire as in precious stone saphire)
    ~Mosaic
    Last edited by Mosaic; 06-29-2009 at 01:27 AM. Reason: sp
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  5. #5
    Member RanyaRenee's Avatar
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    I'm not a native speaker.... but....

    if the spelling is ظفيرة then the standard arabic pronunciation would be "dhafirah" or a darker voiced "Th" sound at the beginning, with the first "a" sound more like an "ah" than an "a" in apple. I have a musician friend named Zafer, and occasionally his name is spelled Dhafer by other Arabs. Colloquial pronunciation in many countries would be Zafer, with the "ah" sound. (The "a" sound varies with if the consonant is a lighter or darker sound; so safirah, zafirah, and dhafirah may all be spelled and pronounced differently in Arabic).

    I don't know if that helps, but it's some food for thought. I think it's a beautiful name by the way, for what it is worth. Own it, baby!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ranya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zafirah View Post
    Hi

    some name sites list ظافيرة which seems to basically be an adjective . .
    This construction sounds a bit weird to me with the alif and the ya at the same time (I think the adjective would in this case not take the Alif because that makes reference to the ism al-fa3el since the verb comes in its first form having only three letters...sometimes the ism al-fa3el would be used in the role of the adjective, but then you would have to drop the ya) , but then as I told you in real life I never came accross this name nor this word (to say successful in collocquial Arabic would use another word - speaking of lebanese, syrian and egyptian Arabic...I don't know about Moroccan for example...).
    I think it is in general not only a rare name but a rare word. To verify that it has no bad connotation I went and looked it up in my dictionnaries and in my Arabic-English one it wasn't even listed (in my Arabic-French one it was).

    I will ask one of my friends who is a classical Arabic teacher here in Cairo(teaching Arabic grammar for Arabs...so he is even more likely to know because his skills include thorough analysis of the language) and will tell you.

  7. #7
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    oops I spelt the wrong, the 'adjective' version doesn't have the ya.

    Ranya you are being very helpful, I like people that take a grammatical approach!

    I also had the impression it was an old fashioned or rare word, as I can only find it in my older textbooks (for example I have a great one by Haywood and Nahmad but it does seem quite dated in terms of vocab)

    Z

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanyaRenee View Post
    I'm not a native speaker.... but....

    if the spelling is ظفيرة then the standard arabic pronunciation would be "dhafirah" or a darker voiced "Th" sound at the beginning, with the first "a" sound more like an "ah" than an "a" in apple. I have a musician friend named Zafer, and occasionally his name is spelled Dhafer by other Arabs. Colloquial pronunciation in many countries would be Zafer, with the "ah" sound. (The "a" sound varies with if the consonant is a lighter or darker sound; so safirah, zafirah, and dhafirah may all be spelled and pronounced differently in Arabic).

    I don't know if that helps, but it's some food for thought. I think it's a beautiful name by the way, for what it is worth. Own it, baby!
    Hi RanyaR

    Yeah, I discovered that for myself when I finally found the root word in the dictionary. I have to practice saying it with a much more emphatic 'z' (and of course it does change the first 'a' sounds slightly)! It also makes me feel reassured that you know someone with a name from the same root!

    On a side note, in my google adventures I seem to have found words from ظفر (victory) and ضفر (plait/braid/twist) used interchangably, so it seems there is some confusion among native speakers too.

    Z

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ranya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zafirah View Post
    Hi RanyaR

    oops I spelt the wrong, the 'adjective' version doesn't have the ya.

    - yes, but then it would be the ism al-fa3el. it is not adjective (which is called sifa or na3t in arabic). It is often translated and understood as an adjective in English since it can take the meaning of the adjective, but in terms of grammar it would not be called an adjective.
    Some verbs on the contrary do not have the ism al-fa3el, so that the adjective takes on the role of the ism al-fa3el, so we have kareem كريم and not karem كارم ... I would need to check back on my school books but there are 10 forms of adjectives that take on the role of the ism al-fa3el. If you would like I can post them.


    On a side note, in my google adventures I seem to have found words from ظفر (victory) and ضفر (plait/braid/twist) used interchangably, so it seems there is some confusion among native speakers too.

    - between classical Arabic and spoken collocquial Arabic and depending on the place there sometimes is an interchangement of those two sounds. This is particulary true for Egyptian, not so for Lebanese or Syrian.
    For example some words Classical/Egyptian Spoken:



    ضابط ظابط general

    نظف نضف root of the verb "to clean"

    نظارة نضارة glasses - note that here it comes from نظر "to see" so the Egyptian pronounciation changed the root sound.

    I do not know where this comes from, since both sounds are present in Egyptian Arabic and sometimes it seems to me that it is exactly the opposite of the classical pronounciation. I always found it funny
    However I advice you to stick to the sound/letter/character you find in your classical Arabic dictionnary so that you avoid confusion.

    Z
    Hope this helped a bit with your question, feel free if u have more.

  10. #10
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    hi there,
    you wrote alot of stuff and i didn't go through all of it
    The name would be (ظافرة) the Feminine form from اسم الفاعل) ظافر)
    I guess there is a city in Syria named ظافرة not sure though
    The name is somewhat known in the gulf, there is a Saudi novelist named Zafira Al Qahtany. Hope this answers your question.

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