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August 13, 2008 Word of the Day: Uru

In PST, we learned that uru can mean to write or to give birth. We all laughed when we heard that, although the nine months I spent gestating my senior thesis give the truth to that interesting word.

Here in Berberville, though, I’ve only heard it used in the maternal sense. My xalti is da-turu, which literally means “she is giving birth” or “she gives birth”, but when conjugated in the present tense like that *functionally* means “pregnant”. Yes, that’s right, my xalti is giving birth for nine months straight. And to think American women complain if labor takes more than 24 hours! (Kidding, kidding…don’t hate me.)

After two months of hearing da-turu consistently referring to pregnancy, I’d nearly forgotten its other meanings.

Then this afternoon, Ama stopped by my room and asked if I was da-turut. My hand instinctively went to my belly, even while my language centers reminded me that the expression can just as accurately be translated as “writing”.

Which, in fact, I was doing.

My family usually uses the words qra (read/study) or xdm (work) when referring to what I do in a notebook or on my laptop. Occasionally, they’ve used ktb, which is the Arabic verb for write. But today I got uru’d.

(Which might, I’m now speculating, be an idiom for becoming pregnant.)

(Don’t panic, Mom. I’m not.)

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