The Symbolism of “Tanween” and Disrupting The Familiar

12 October 2018

Creating Change from TANWEEN in Arab Heritage Until TANWEEN at “Ithra”

Nunation is an N sound at the end of words. Sometimes the sound is added to the spoken word only, and not to the written one. It was called this name because it creates an N sound after the last letter, which creates a musical tone in the word. It also has a semantic effect. For example, it emphasizes indefinite nouns and distinguishes nouns from verbs. One trait of perfect languages is that any morphological or phonetic addition to a word is accompanied by a semantic one. And what language is more perfect than Arabic? Hence, it comes at no surprise that nunation is a feature of Arabic only.

In the pre-islamic and the beginning of the islamic eras, a “Noun” (N) letter was added to the end of the word. But then, Arabs travelled and mingled with other nations and were concerned about other nations making mistakes in Quran, so diacritics came about. Thanks to this simple touch, that was made by “Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali,” Confusion was diminished and words were clear. There was no reason to add another letter anymore, as it was now symbolized by repeating one of the 3 diacritics twice at the end of words according to certain syntax rules.

This change revolutionized Arabic writing. It might’ve seemed unusual at first, and it might have caused some disruption, but soon it spread like all useful inventions do. This proves that creative changes will not be welcomed by people only, but will help in making it more common and impactful. Thus, it could be thought that nunation is a symbol of creativity’s ability to add through demolition and replacement. It is also a reminder that this positive disruption is an essential component of our history and civilization, and that it is still present in our daily life and communication.

This is where the creativity season’s name “TANWEEN” came from. It represents a space for the revival of this positive change. It is an annual event to explore creativity in art, science, literature, cultural heritage and entrepreneurship; and to shed light on new opportunities by starting dialogues and encouraging unfamiliar ways of thinking. It explores a different theme each year. This year, the theme is disruption: the first effect the new, innovative idea leaves on us.

45 speakers and 50 activities will take us flying in a sky of creativity, for the period of 17 days. The targeted disciplines are science, manufacturing, fashion and communication. The “Sense and Sensibility” exhibition will present 11 artists and designers, connected by modern art and inspired by creative chaos. As for panels, “TANWEEN” will offer many stories of success and present the latest innovations and technologies in the mentioned fields. Workshops will also be available, because panels and talks are not enough to make a difference. Influential creative changes start from one new idea.