What’s hot with Jordan bloggers: smilies, mansaf, numbers, and tagging

I’ve often wondered if Jordanians are more emotionally oriented than Americans. They certainly seem to value socializing more, as witnessed by their ability to drink tea under any circumstances, and by their legendary hospitality, typified by but not limited to their national dish, mansaf.


Mansaf consists of a bed of rice spread with sauteed pine nuts and meat. A sauce called jameed made from goat cheese is poured over a small section of rice. The rice is then scooped into a ball in the palm of the hand (eating with the right hand only) and popped into the mouth. Americans either love mansaf or hate mansaf; there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. I love mansaf. Americans who love mansaf sometimes find themselves eating in restaurants back in the states while their friends keep reminding them not to eat with their hands. Ah, mansaf.

I ran into this photo of mansaf posted on the Majoob blog by a Jordanian blogger. (See the icon at the lower right side of the page.) He blogs at typicalarab.blogspot.com, and identifies himself on the Mahjoob blog as a “certified woman hater”, but with a mensaf photo like that he must have something going for him. You can find even more Jordanian bloggers at Planet Jordan.

Jordanian bloggers seem to be able to converse endlessly without much to say. Much of their conversation is punctuated by emoticons.

These are a few of the most popular ones:


This one is a bit creepy:die.gif

They also like to line up several emoticons of the same type to make a comment:


Or: laughing-on-ground-do7ok.giflaughing-on-ground-do7ok.giflaughing-on-ground-do7ok.gif

Or: hah.gifhah.gifhah.gif

One of the mysteries of Jordanian blogging is the use of numbers to represent sounds of the Arab alphabet. I only know a few of them. The number 3 is ein or ع. So the word I would write as “yani”, meaning “perhaps”, which functions almost as a vocalized pause would be written as “ya3ni”.

The word “al7amdulillah” gives us a clue for the sound for the number 7. The Arabic language has two letters for “H” and the seven clearly represents one of them. The word is “al-Hamdullilah” or “thanks be to Allah”.

So far we have a national food which evokes emotion in everyone who comes in contact with it, some smilies to express emotions, and some symbols for expressing Arabic sounds on the western keyboard. In order to blog we now need something to talk about. This is where the tagging comes in. Jordanian tagging is not like American tagging, which is meant for help with google searches and organizing information. This is more like a “Tag, you’re it” kind of game. To play, someone answers a set of questions and sends it to the blogger. The blogger can then post it on his blog. “Typical Arab” has several of these tags posted on his blog from other bloggers, but he makes a point of never returning them. I wonder how long that‘s going to last. Here is one”tag” he posted from another blogger.

1. My name.
2. Where did we meet?
Mahjoob, but did not talk then, then MSN.
3. How well do you know me (a lot, not so much, not at all)?
Not so much.
4. When you first knew me what was your first impression?
on mahjoob, you were annoying, on MSN it was a very good impression.
5. Am I shy or outgoing?
Extremely Shy
6. Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules?
in between
7. Do you consider me a friend?
I think I do.
8. If there was one good nickname for me, what would it be?
Pesse does not suite you right, I don’t know, Um al.habal maybe.
9. What song(if any)reminds you of me?
No song in my mind.
10. Do I remind you of any characters on TV?
11. A feature that you like about me.
Honest, Shy, Extremely nice and sometimes caring.
12. A feature that you dislike about me.
You trsut people too much.
13. If you could give me anything, what would it be?
I seriously don’t know, maybe a great job, high paid, 3 hours a day !
14. If we spent a day together…..where would we go and what would we do?
Lunch & Movies … 3ala 7sabik :smilie 6afran:
15. If you could describe me in one word, what would it be?
16. What word do I say all the time?
Not a word, but that wierd laughing smilie
17. which of the posts I posted on my blog do you like the most?
My tag :D
18. which of the posts I posted on my blog do you like the least?
Nothing, you have a nice blog.

Some of the answers can be a bit surprising, something like the standardized test I once give my Jordanian students: “The parking lot was a)interesting b) interested c)boring d)bored.” The Jordanians without exception said the parking lot was “interesting”. For something like that, you just have to decide they know how to use participles and throw away the answer key.

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