بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Kan ya ma kan is a place for sharing materials, resources, and ideas regarding Arabic Studies. I specialize in Arabic literature and culture, and I provide Arabic to English translation, generally literary translation. My work aims to help people to increase their knowledge and access to information, and to think and communicate across cultural boundaries.


Bienvenidos • مرحبا بكم • Welcome • ברוכים הבעים • Bienvenue


Why Kan Ya Ma Kan? This is the traditional beginning of stories throughout much of the Arab World (like ‘Once upon a time’ in anglophone stories). Literally, it means “There was, there was not.”In North Africa, storytellers use the similar phrase: ḥājītak (mā jītak), ‘I’ll come to you, I didn’t come to you.’ The contradiction gets listeners’ attention and opens a space for marvelous and fantastic storytelling.

Email: melaniemagidow [at] gmail [dot] com

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