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Note on Transliteration This book transliterates Arabic words by slightly amending the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies system for formal Arabic . Certain cumbersome diacritical marks are omitted, though the hamza and ain are retained. Slight adjustments have been made for prepositions connected to nouns (fil-bayt rather than fi-l-bayt). For strictly colloquial words, I have used a separate system. When the word in question involves no significant difference in pronunciation between the colloquial and the standard (for example, ahl alrif ), the standard, formal transliteration scheme is used. However, I have not taken colloquial words and tried to fit them into a straitjacket of formal Arabic. As a general rule, I have transliterated most words as they are pronounced in Damascene colloquial Arabic. For instance, the ta marbuta is rendered “eh” rather than the more usual “a” or “ah.”). Nonetheless, I have retained the letter qaf, as is standard practice in colloquial transliteration. A New Old Damascus ...

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