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11/13/09 Word of the Day: Dua

Dua is how I mentally spell the word pronounced doo-wa.

In training, I learned that it meant medicine, but its usage is broader than that. It probably translates best as chemical.

People use dua to mean drugs (medicinal and recreational), medicinal herbs, plus, I recently learned, herbicides and/or pesticides. A friend's host auntie offered us apples, and when we hesitated, she assured us that they were bla dua. Free from ... dua. Organic, in other words.

Whenever I would cough or have stomach challenges, my host mom would worriedly ask me, "Do you have dua?" Birth control pills are also dua. So are painkillers, antibiotics, and pretty much anything else taken orally.

Injected vaccines, though, get their own name: tesarut. Which is usually translated as "key". More on that another time...

Today we're focusing on dua.

If you put shiba (absinthe) into your tea, that's dua, because it's medicinal: it's good to "raise your temperature". Adding luisa (verbena) isn't dua, because it just makes it tasty.

Z3tr (oregano) is good for upset stomachs, I'm told, but people are more likely to use it as a flavoring than brew it as tea to make it dua.

...and so on.

Tamazight has a small vocabulary, in comparison to most modern languages, so Tam speakers either borrow words from Darija (Moroccan Arabic) or adapt existing words to fill newly discovered language gaps. Are you treating sick crops? Clearly, the chemicals you're applying to the soil serve the same purpose as the chemicals you apply to sick people, hence...dua.

And now I have an old song stuck in my head:
There she was, just a-walkin' down the street,
Singin' "DUA-ditty ditty dum ditty doo."

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps, Dua can also mean: Remedy. And? yes you do sound so compassionate and giving when you said that anything taken orally is considered medicine by some Moroccans in Morocco and You. ( Thanks for the laugh)


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