Monday, November 21, 2011

It's All in the Name

In taking attendance today, I noticed that it's pretty interesting how my female student's names are constructed.  They have a first name, often chosen from the Qur'an, like Fatima, Mariam, Salama or Mouza.  ( have five Mariams between my two classes)  Their first name is followed by their father's name, then their grandfather's name, then their great-grandfather's name and then their tribal name.  This means that all the kids in a family have the same name except for their first name...easy to remember your brother's name, I guess.

The tribes are old and pre-date the UAE so they can be found all over the Arabian peninsula.  In fact, they are often more closely connected to Yemen or Oman than to the other Emirates in the UAE.  Al Shamsi is an example of one of these tribes and I have a student with that name but there are also sub-sections of each of the tribes.  There are 70 tribes recognized in the UAE and apparently, there can be some prejudice towards certain tribes but I haven't seen that. 

All of the tribes seem to call themselves Bedu (Bedouin) regardless of their names. 

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