Morgan Al-Moor Profile picture
Jun 23, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Okay, so here's a thread for fellow writers who use Arabic names in their WiPs, and some of the common hair-raising mistakes that happen👇🏽
#amwriting #amreading
1. Don't mix up "Eastern"-sounding names:
This is a very common pitfall people. MANY authors mix up, for example, Arabic and Desi names. AKHTAR and KHAN are not Arabic names. Names that have "IBN" in them are not Desi names. Do your research and respect the cultures.
2. Don't mix up "younger" and "older" Arabic names:
Just like you wouldn't name him "Ricky Dumbledore", don't just pick up a "trendy" name from a baby website then toss it in your fantasy novel. Ask a RL Arabic-speaker how the name sounds to them.
3. Don't mix up Arabic-speaking nations:
Levantine ≠ Egyptian ≠ Moroccan ≠ Arabian Peninsula names.
And don't mix those up with Turkish & Persian names, because these nations (while being Middle-Eastern) are not Arabic-speaking.
4. By all that is good in the world, don't use prefixes or prepositions as separate names. Quick chart:

ABU: Father or owner of—.
UMM: Mother or owner of—.
IBN: Son of—.
BINT: Daughter of—.
ABDUL: Worshipper of—.
MIN: means "from", as in "from a place".
5. Don't throw in some weird punctuation:
Dude, this is not DnD. Seriously, know what need an apostrophe (spoiler: usually nothing), and what needs a dash (spoiler: very few things).
6. Don't mix up first and last names:
Not every Arabic last name ends in "AL—". Depending on which Arabic-speaking culture you're portraying, the last names will vary wildly and will define the character's background. (This point deserves a whole thread).
7. Don’t mix up the cultural spelling:
- Mesut (Turkish) and Masoud (Arabic) are the same name, different spellings, different backgrounds.

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More from @MorganAlMoor

Jan 30, 2018
Out of the goodness of my heart, here are corrections for some misinterpretations regularly seen in fantasy novels set in Middle-Eastern settings. A thread follows👇🏼.
#amwriting #amwritingfantasy #amreading
1. The Middle East is not all desert. Actually, the Middle East is not all hot and dry. Levantine winters are brutally snowy, and Tunisia is known among the locals as “Tunisia the Green”.
2. The word “Harem” comes from “hurum”, meaning “a sacred/forbidden part of a place”, and doesn’t mean women. It had nothing to do with concubines until the Ottomans, and when orientalist paintings started the idea of “whatever is happening in that forbidden part”.
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