Mudcat Café message #3941137 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161833   Message #3941137
Posted By: keberoxu
02-Aug-18 - 04:12 PM
Thread Name: BS: what did you name your cat
Subject: RE: BS: what did you name your cat
I didn't tell you folks about the name derived from Arabic.
There is a roundabout story about this name/word.

Many moons ago I took a class that introduced English speakers to the Arabic language. I retained sadly little from the class. We spent much time on that darned alphabet. Our lecturer kept us entertained with little anecdotes; he went to Ain Shams Heliopolis university in his native Egypt, where he studied English and French; then he ended up in the United States teaching his native language to English-speaking North Americans.

Our class was waiting for an order of textbooks, as the bookshop had fewer textbooks than there were students. Not surprisingly, our class included a few government/military types (my location then was not the Northeast but the Southwest US, where military bases are a very big deal). Discussing this glitch during class, one gentleman, a hot-tempered military fellow, impatiently demanded of our lecturer: "Well, when are those textbooks gonna get here?"

" ' Fil mish-mish!' " said our worthy lecturer.
And he calmly took chalk in hand, and sketched the beautiful Arabic script on the blackboard from right to left.

In vernacular conversation, this is a figure of speech much like
when the Spanish speakers say laughingly, " ' Mañana. ' "
You know, when you get the tongue-in-cheek response " ' Mañana, ' "
that the answer -- literally, 'to-morrow' -- in truth means, nobody knows when it will happen, and it may never get done.

Same deal with " ' Fil mish-mish. ' "
That word is a specific cash crop. And when an Egypt native says " ' fil mish-mish, ' " in answer to a 'when' question,
it means:
it shall come to pass when the crop currently ripening in the orchard
has been harvested and brought to the market for sale.

So,
why would anybody call their pet cat "mish-mish" ?
Because a "mish-mish," singular, is one 'apricot,'
and some cats are apricot-colored.

And no, I cannot tell you what two or more apricots are called in Arabic,
because that is farther than my introductory course went
-- plurals in Semitic languages go places that English never goes.