End focus, part 2

The West Bank, which we spent 2 days visiting earlier this month, is divided into Areas A, B, & C.

Area A’s (there seemed to be lots of separate places in each category, but I could be wrong) are Palestinian.

Area C ‘s are Israeli.

Area B’s are half and half: Palestinian police, Israeli defense forces (as I recall).

They all look alike. At one point our guide told us he had no idea which kind of area we were driving through. Without signage, you can’t tell, and there’s not a lot of signage.

The only areas that did have signage were Area A’s, which greet visitors with a large red sign in Hebrew, Arabic, and English that reads:

The entrance for Israeli citizens is forbidden, is dangerous to your lives, & is forbidden by Israeli law

We blew past a lot of these signs during our visit. Each time we did, I felt a disorienting combination of amusement and alarm. Alarm that we were entering an area that was dangerous to our lives;1 amusement that, apparently, in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, breaking Israeli law would be a worse fate than possibly dying.

That’s sentence end-focus.

In English sentences, the most important information comes last. So, to me, the sign says that breaking Israeli law is worse than risking my life.

Are sentences constructed differently in Arabic?

I’ve tried to research it a bit, but have found conflicting answers. #footnote

1. I’m not an Israeli citizen, but we were traveling with three people who were.    

AND SEE: Greetings from the West Bank

3 thoughts on “End focus, part 2

  1. Then there’s that closing line from “Bright College Years”: “For God, for country, and for Yale”, an oft-cited example of bathos.


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