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 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

No responses yet

Leave a Reply