Karen McNeil

PhD Student in Arabic · Georgetown University · Washington, DC · karenlmcneil@gmail.com

I am an Arabist and nerd for all things Arabic. I am interested in Tunisian Arabic, Arabic linguistics, and literary translation. For fun I contribute to Wikipedia and code things (like this website) in Python.

Education

Georgetown University

PhD Student
Arabic & Islamic Studies — Arabic Linguistics

Dissertation Focus: Syntax of Tunisian Arabic

Aug 2018 - Present

Georgetown University

Master of Arts
Arabic Language, Linguistics & Literature

Thesis Topic: “ (‘in’) as a marker of the progressive aspect in Tunisian Arabic: A cognitive and historic approach.”

2012

Defense Language Institute

Associate of Arts
Arabic
2005

Wellesley College

Bachelor of Arts
History (with honors) and Spanish
2000

Experience

Defense Language Institute / AAC

Arabic Subject Matter Expert

Redesigning Arabic curriculum for web-based language and cultural training for military foreign area officers. Project involves researching and collecting level-appropriate authentic materials, creating exercises (listening, reading, practical and supplemental), and creating assessments.

Nov 2017 - Present

Brown University

Director of Office of Student Veterans

Inaugurated office and built program to support military-affiliated students on campus. Also served as a first-year and sophomore academic advisor, a member of the Diversity Advisory Board, a member of the Health Careers Advisory Committee, and a First Readings seminar leader.

July 2014 - July 2018

Oxford University Press

Lead Revising Editor (Arabic-English)

Reviewed entries for the Oxford Arabic Dictionary (2014) including verifying the accuracy and naturalness of English translations of Arabic headwords and examples, as well as utilizing the billion-word Oxford Arabic corpus to expand entries and discover new word senses that were previously not reflected in existing monolingual or bilingual Arabic dictionaries. Also prepared resource materials for the team and trained other reviewers.

Oct 2011 - Mar 2015

CJK Dictionary Institute

Associate Editor

Responsible for reviewing and translating entries for the CJK Arabic Learners’ Dictionary. Ensured accuracy of English translations and appropriateness of Arabic examples. Also ensured that sense division, headword selection, organization of entries, and typography follow set guidelines.

Sept 2013 - Aug 2015

Research

Tunisian Arabic Corpus: Created the first large-scale corpus of Tunisian Arabic, available free to the public at tunisiya.org. Corpus contains materials from a wide variety of genres, including folktales, talk radio, blogs, and screenplays, and is accessible through a custom-built search and concordancing tool. This corpus has been of value to scholars all over the world, including in a recent book: Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators by David Wilmsen of the American University of Beirut. The ultimate goal of the corpus is to provide data for reference materials for Tunisian Arabic (and North African Arabic more broadly), most critically a bilingual Tunisian-English dictionary and basic coursebook for Tunisian Arabic. http://www.tunisiya.org

I'm currently working on the translation of Lebanese writer Inaya Jaber's book Nobody Gets Lost in Beirut.

Publications

Books
  • Arts, T. (2014). Oxford Arabic Dictionary (Revising Editor). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Book Chapters
  • McNeil, K. (forthcoming 2018). “Tunisian Arabic Corpus: Creating a written corpus of an unwritten language.” In Hardie, A. et al (eds.), Arabic Corpus Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • McNeil, K. (2017). “Fī (‘in’) as a Marker of the Progressive Aspect in Tunisian Arabic.” In Tunisian and Libyan Arabic Dialects: Common Trends – Recent Developments – Diachronic Aspects. Zaragoza: University of Zaragoza Press.
Translation (Arabic into English)
  • World Literature Today (forthcoming 2018). “I Have the Right to be a Stranger.” Translation, with Miled Faiza, of Arabic short story “Yaḥuqqa liy an akūn gharība” by Inaya Jaber.
  • Banipal. 60: Autumn/Winter 2017. “Lamia Makaddam: Four Poems.” Translation, with Miled Faiza, of four Arabic poems by Lamia Makaddam: “Bāyaʕa al-khubz,” “Iḏā katabtu al-shiʕr yawman,” “Fustān qaṣīr,” and “La budda anna yankasir shayˀun fī al-nihāya”.
  • Banipal. 49: Spring 2014. “Searching for Grandmother’s House.” Translation of Arabic short story “Al-baḥth ʕan bayt al-jadda” by Hassouna Mosbahi.
  • Al Jadid Magazine. Vol. 18, no. 67: 2014. “A Faraway Room” and “Puppets”. Translation of two Arabic poems by Miled Faiza: “Tilka al-ghorfa al-baʕīda” and “Al-dumā”.
  • Banipal. 39: Autumn/Winter 2010. "An Interpretation of the House During Our Absence" and "On the Edge of the World." Translation, with Tristin Cranfield, of two Arabic poems by Miled Faiza: "Taˀwīl al-bayt ithna al-ghiāb" and "ʕAla hāfa al-'arḍ”.
  • World Literature Today. May-June 2008. "An Interpretation of Absence" and "Black and White." Translation of two Arabic poems by Miled Faiza: "Taˀwīl al-ghiāb" and "Abiyaḍ wa aswad”.
Translations (English into Arabic)
  • al-Quds, September 15, 2013. "Qasīdatān." Selected poems by Sharon Olds, with Miled Faiza.
  • al-Ghawoon, May 1, 2010, “Sāḥa min ḥalmatayya ḥalībi.” Selected poems by Sharon Olds, with Miled Faiza.
  • al-Ghawoon, November 1, 2009. "Imraˀa tumazziq fustānahā kay tastaṭīʕa al-jarī." Selected poems by Sharon Olds, with Miled Faiza.
Essays
  • Banipal. Autumn/Winter 2010. “Portrait: Ezzedine Madani,” with Miled Faiza.
  • Jamaliya, September 23, 2007, "'Qatalū al-rasūla' .. nizār qabbānī wa zawjatuhu balqīs - Qirāˀa li-shiʕar nizār qabbānī bi-ʕayūn amrīkiyya ['They Have Killed the Prophet:' Nizar Qabbani and his wife Belquis - A reading of Nizar Qabbani's poetry through American eyes]."
  • Jazoor, September 11, 2007, "'Qatalū al-rasūla' .. nizār qabbānī wa zawjatuhu balqīs - Qirāˀa li-shiʕar nizār qabbānī bi-ʕayūn amrīkiyya ['They Have Killed the Prophet:' Nizar Qabbani and his wife Belquis - A reading of Nizar Qabbani's poetry through American eyes]."
Conference Presentations
  • Presenter, Arabic Linguistic Forum, July 2018. “Use of 'nominal' negation with Tunisian verbs.”
  • Keynote Speaker, International Symposium on Tunisian and Libyan Arabic Dialects, University of Vienna (Austria), July 6, 2015. "Tunisian Arabic Corpus: Creating a Written Corpus of an "Unwritten" Language."
  • Presenter, International Symposium on Tunisian and Libyan Arabic Dialects, University of Vienna (Austria), July 7, 2015. "Fī (‘in’) as a Marker of the Progressive Aspect in Tunisian Arabic: A cognitive approach.”
  • Presenter, Workshop on Arabic Corpus Linguistics, Lancaster University, July 2013. “Corpus-based lexicography for a language with a rich lexicographical tradition: The case of Arabic,” with Tressy Arts, Oxford University Press.
  • Presenter, Workshop on Arabic Corpus Linguistics, Lancaster University, April 2011. “Tunisian Arabic Corpus: Creating a written corpus of an unwritten language,” with Miled Faiza.
  • Presenter, Jil Jadeed conference, University of Texas - Austin, February 2011. “Tunisian Arabic Corpus: Creating a written corpus of an unwritten language.”
Other translations
  • Marcel Khalife: Translated Marcel’s dedication on his son Rami Khalife’s album “Stories” (2016) from Arabic to English, with Miled Faiza. Also interpreted Marcel’s speech at Harvard University, November 8, 2014.
  • Yolla Khalife: Translated titles and lyrics for her album “Hawak” (2015) from Arabic to English, with Miled Faiza.
  • Adonis: Interpreted for Adonis during his appearance at Brown University, March 13, 2013.

Skills

Human Languages
  • Modern Standard Arabic
  • Tunisian Arabic
  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Levantine Arabic
  • Spanish
  • French

Programming Languages & Tools