Balforady Tours

The tour guide that I worked with on my last trip to Israel, Baligh Jazy, did a fantastic job. Often a professor has to correct many things a tour guide says, explaining that those things are legends and may not reflect history. Baligh was very different, demonstrating that he was well read on the history and scholarship of the sacred sites around the Holy Land.

Baligh has now set up a web site for his tour company, Balforady Tours. And so I thought I should share the link and draw attention to it.

For those who find his Arabic name difficult to pronounce, he is happy to be called “Billy Rose” – using a similar-sounding English first name plus a translation of his family name.

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  • Ian

    What a great recommendation. So you think, if we was leading a tour of an evangelical group, they’d get the just-legend version? 😉

    And, are there really people who find Baligh so hard to pronounce, they have to call him Billy? Sometimes I despair.

    • James F. McGrath

      The final “gh” is a bit like a French “r” – and if one doesn’t know Arabic or French, it can be challenging for an English speaker. I insisted that my students call him by his actual name. The results were at least an attempt to pronounce his actual name, rather than a mere substitution.

      • Ian

        The Arabic speakers I know (not many, it must be said) seem to hear phonal approximation in ه, ح, خ and غ as accent rather than mispronunciation. Even ‘Balik’ would show willing.

        Pronunciation of individual words or names from other languages is interesting, I’ve not given a lot of thought what I do when I speak.

        I don’t pronounce the names of my French friends in a French accent, unless I’m speaking French, because it sounds highly affected. I instinctively map the phonemes into the range of English sounds. Certain sounds in other languages I do approximate, in among the Anglicized pronunciation. So I say “Llewelyn” with the welsh ll, but not with the welsh vowel sounds.

        Do you pronounce your wife/her family’s names differently when you use it in an English sentence vs in a Romanian sentence?

        • James F. McGrath

          I think that’s a quantum phenomenon and the attempt to pay attention to it will affect the result. :-)

          But I will ask my wife whether in the past her impression is that I pronounce her name and other Romanian names differently depending on what language I am speaking…