Egyptian Dialect: Lesson 2

This second Egyptian dialect lesson is from another Disney movie. Monsters Inc. In Arabic it's called شركة المرعبين (sharikat al muribeen) "Monster Company". If you haven't seen it, this clip comes from the beginning of the movie where they are explaining that the monsters have to scare kids in order to power their world with electricity. The monster doing the training leaves the door open and gets yelled at because leaving the door open might let a kid into the monster world and kill them all. There are subtitles in MSA, but they don't match up with what is being said in Egyptian. As always, please let me know if anything could have used more explanation or if there's anything I can do to make these better. Without further ado, let's begin.

  • إيقاف الدرس العملي (iyqaaf al ders al amali)
Stop the practical lesson.

Comments: The original movie says "simulation halted" which sounds better, but if you want an exact translation, which is good when learning, "stop the practical lesson" is word for word.

  • إسمك فتح الباب مش كده؟ (ismek fath il bab mish kida)
Your name is "open door" isn't that right?

Comments: She's making a joke since he left the door open. فتح الباب (fath il bab) is not a real Arabic name.

  • أصحابي بينادوني فتحي (ashabi binadooni fathi)
My friends call me Fathi.

  • أه, فتحي. تقدر تقلي غلطتك ايه؟ (ah, fathi. ti'dar ti'uli galtitak eih?)
Oh, Fathi. Can you tell me what your mistake was?

  • إني وقعت؟ (Inni wa'iat?)
That I fell?

Comments: The word وقع (waqaa) is hard for most people to pronounce in MSA. Egyptian makes it even harder. You'd think that getting rid of the ق (qaf) sound and replacing it with ء (hamza) would make it easier, but it doesn't. It takes some practice.

  • لا لا لا لا, قبل كده (la la la la, 'abli kida)
No no no no, before that.

Comments: Before I could understand Egyptian I remember hearing قبل كده a lot. To me it sounded like "applicator" said with a weird accent. :)

  • حد يعرف أستاذ فتح الباب غلط في ايه؟ أي حد. نرجع الشريط. هنا هوه تمام. فين فين فين... اهو! شفت؟ الباب. سبت الباب مفتوح. و سيبان الباب مفتوح اسوأ غلطة ممكن يعملها الموظفين على شان...؟ (Had yarif ustez fath il bab galat fi eih? Ay had. Nregga a-shareet. Hena ho tamaam. Feen feen feen... aho! Shuft? Al bab. Sibt il bab maftooh. Wa sayabaan al bab maftooh aswa galta mumkin yamilha al muwazzafeen ala shaan...?)
Does anyone know what Mr. Open Door made a mistake in? Let's rewind the tape. Here it is exactly. Where, where, where... here! See? The door. You left the door open. And leaving the door open is the worst mistake a worker can make because...?

Comments: سيبان (sayabaan) is the verbal noun (ing form) meaning "leaving". على شان (ala shaan) is usually just pronounced عشان (ashaan). In MSA it is على شأن (ala sha'n). It is used very often in Egyptian and Levantine and means "because".

  • ممكن يجبلنا برد؟ (Mumkin yagib lina bard?)
We might get cold?

  • ممكن يجبلنا طفل (Mumkin yagib lina tifl)
We might let a child in!

Comments: These last two lines sound better and make more sense in Arabic. The monster in training says literally, "It might bring for us cold." Then the head monster says, "It might bring for us a child." We just wouldn't say it that way in English, but without saying it like that the flow doesn't work.

  • أه! أستاذ أبو عنكبوت (Ah! Ustez abu ankaboot)
Ah! Mr. Spider

Comments: In the Arab world if you've got a big mustache then you're ابو شوارب (abu shawaarib), literally Father Mustache. If you're a car salesman or have a lot of cars or fix cars then you're ابو سيارات (abu sayaaraat). Basically if you have a distinguishing feature or a job that lends itself to this kind of nickname then you're Abu whatever. This monster looks like a spider. I think he's more of a crab, but whatever.

  • ما فيش في الدنيا حاجة مؤذية أو سامة أكثر من طفل آدمي. لمسة منه تموتك. غلطة زي دي ممكن تدخل طفل هنا عندنا في المصنع جوا عالم المرعبين (Ma feesh fi ad-dunya haga mu'ziya ow saama akthar min tifl aadami. Lamsa minu tmowwitek. Galta zayi di mumkin tidakhal tifl andena hena fil masna goowa aalam al muribeen.)
There is nothing in the world more painful or poisonous than a human child. A touch from him kills you. A mistake like this could enter a child here among us in the factory inside the monster world.

  • مش عايز خوف اطفال. عايز روح (Mish Aayz akhawwif atfal. Aayz arawwah.)
I don't want to scare kids! I want to go!

  • إحنا منخوفهم عشان نملأ دي (Ihna minkhawwifhum ashaan nimla dee)
We scare them in order to fill this.

Comments: Here you see how they usually say عشان (ashaan). Here it's better translated as "in order to" rather than "because". The م (m) on in the word منخوف (minkhawwif) is something they do in both Levantine and Egyptian. They put the 'm' before most verbs conjugated for "we" in the present tense. My guess is because it flows better. Just like how they throw in the إ (i) in some places where the words don't flow well without it.

  • بلدنا بتعتمد علينا في تعبيئ صراخ اطفال البني ادمين. بدون صريخ ما عندناش طاقة. أيوه شغلتنا خطيرة و عشان كده لازم تتمرنو احسن تمرين.
Our land depends on us in filling the screams of human children. Without screams we don't have power. Yes, our work is dangerous, and because of that you all must train hard.

Comments: Literally it says "train the best training".

Vocabulary List:
  • مش كده (mish kida) - Isn't that right? Isn't that so? In MSA it's أليس كذلك (Aleysa ka thelik) And in Levantine it's مش هيك (Mish heyk) or مو هيك (Moo heyk)
  • شريط (shareet) - tape. Can mean a VCR tape or sticky tape just like in English.
  • موظفين (muwazzafeen) - Workers
  • جوا (guwa) - Inside. In MSA it's داخل (daakhil). The opposite in Egyptian is برا (barra).
  • عايز (aayz) - want. It can mean "I want", "you want", "he wants" depending on the context.
  • لازم (laazim) - must, have to. Just like عايز it can mean "you must", "I must", etc depending on the conjugation of the verb it goes with.
  • بني آدم (beni aadam) - human. Literally means "son of Adam". The plural is بني ادمين (beni admeen).
  • زي - like. هالولد زي ابوه تماماً (hal walad zay aboo tamaam) That kid is exactly like his father. In MSA زي means uniform.


Egyptian Arabic: Lesson 1

The Arabic The Little Mermaid is called عروسة البحر (aroosat al bahr), literally "bride of the sea", but it more commonly means "mermaid". Like most Disney films dubbed in Arabic, this one is in Egyptian dialect. It shouldn't be too hard to understand with a little explanation. In the clip Ariel is tempted by Ursula's two eels. If anyone has suggestions on how I can make these lessons more helpful, please let me know.

مسكينة. مسكينة و جميلة (Miskeena, miskeena wa gamila)

Poor girl, poor and beautiful.

عندها مشكلة كبيرة قوي. يا ريتنا كنا نقدر نساعدها. طب محنا نقدر (Andaha mushkila kabira awi. Ya reytna kuna ni'dar nasaaidha. Tub mahna ni'dar.)

She has a very big problem. If only we were able to help her. But we are able.

أنتو... أنتو مين؟
(Intoo, Intoo meen)

You... who are you?

ما تخافيش. إحنا نعرف حد ممكن يساعدك. حد ممكن يحقق لك احلامك كلها. تخيلي كده. أنت و أميرك مع بعض للابد (Ma tkhafeesh. Ihna narif had mumkin yasaadik. Had mumkin yaha'a'lik ahlamik kulaha. Takhayeli kida. Inti wa ameerik ma baad lil abad.)

Don't be scared. We know someone who might be able to help you. Someone who might be able to realize all of your dreams. Imagine this. You and your prince together forever.

أنا مش فاهمة (Ana mish fahima.)

I don't understand.

أرسولا تعمل أي حاجة (Ursoola tamil ay haga.)

Ursula can do anything.

ساحرة البحر؟ بس دا... ما اقدرش... لا إمشو من هنا! سبوني في حالي (Sahirat al bahr? Bes da... ma a'darsh... la imshoo min hena! Sibooni fi haali.)

The witch of the sea? But that... I can't... No, get away from here! Leave me alone.

على كيفك. دا كان مجرد إقتراح (Ala keyfik. Da kan mugarrad iqtiraah.)

As you wish. It was just a suggestion.

إستنو (Istenoo)


إيوه؟ (Aywa?)



  • مسكينة (Miskeena) - Poor in the sense of taking pity on someone. It has nothing to do with money.
  • يا ريت (Ya reyt) - If only. The يا (ya) here isn't a normal يا (ya) like if you were calling someone's name. It's just part of the phrase.
  • ما تخافيش (Ma tkhafeesh) - Don't be afraid. The ش (sh) is added to the end of verbs after ما (ma). "I can't" is ما اقدرش (ma a'darsh).
  • حد (Had) - Someone. This comes from the word واحد (wahid) meaning "one".
  • يحقق (yaha'a') - To achieve, to make come to fruition. Since it's Egyptian dialect they don't say the ق (q) like in MSA. They make it a hamza ء which is a glottal stop.
  • في حالي (fi haali) - alone, by myself
  • على كيفك (ala keyfik) - as you wish, do as you like. It's the same as على مهلك (ala mehlik).
  • مجرد (mugarrad) - just, only, simply. The ج (j) is pronounced as a 'g' in Egyptian.


Levantine Arabic: Lesson 1

Since posting the Introduction to Levantine Dialect video I've had requests to continue with Levantine dialect lessons. This lesson will use a clip from the first episode of the MBC series الحب المستحيل (Impossible Love). It's a Turkish show dubbed in Arabic. The specific dialect used is Syrian. This first episode is about the main character, Omar, chasing the only girl he's ever met who didn't want him at first sight. This seems to be a common theme in Turkish dramas because the show عاصي (Asi) has the same idea. It's about a guy who's chasing a girl that doesn't want him, or maybe is just playing hard to get, but in the end she falls in love with him.

لا تواخذني رأفت بيك. تأخرت عليك. سيارتي تعطلت على الطريق (La tuwaakhizni Ra'fat Beyk. Ta'akhart Aleyk. Sayaarti ta'atalat 'atari'.)

Don't hold it against me Mr. Ra'fat. I'm late. My car broke down on the road.

شفناك عمرو افندي لما وصلتك رشا لهون (Shifnak Omar Afundi limma wasalatek Rasha lihoon)

We saw you, Mr. Omar, when Rasha brought you here.

خلينا نحكي. رأفت بيك, شو القصة؟ ليش ما عم نقدر نشتري الأرض؟ (Khalina nahki. Ra'fat Beyk, shoo al issa? Leysh ma am ne'der neshteri al ard?)

Let's talk. Mr. Ra'fat, what's the story? Why can't we buy the land?

المسألة هي... أول شي شو منضيفك عمرو بيك؟ شاي, قهوة, ميلو, كولا؟ (Al masali heyeh... Awal shi sho mindeyfek Omar Beyk? Shay, ahweh, milo, cola?)

The problem is... First of all, what can we get you Mr. Omar? Tea, Coffee, ????, Cola?

Comments: I don't know what ميلو is. I typed it into Google and couldn't find anything. It's got to be a drink or something like that. Maybe I'm hearing it wrong.

يا ريت كولا باردة (Ya reyt cola baardeh)

I'd like a cold cola.

تكرم. عدنان (Tikrum. Adnan!)

You're welcome to it. Adnan!

أمور معلم (Umoor muallim)

At your service, sir!

جبلي كولا بسرعة! مبوز إكتير (Jibli cola bisura. Mbowwiz iktir)

Bring me a cola quickly! Very cold.

حاضر معلم (Hadir muallim)

Yes sir!

المشكلة إنه الأرض إللي عم تطلبها انت في قطعة منها صاحبها واحد من الضيعة. و هذا الزلمي عنده عناد بشكل إكبير إكتير. ما عم يقبل يتخلع عن أرضه بنوب (Al mishikli innoo al ard illi am tutluba enti fi 'ata mina sahiba wahid min adaya. Wa hatha azelami andu anaad bi shekl ikbir iktir. Ma am ye'bel yetkhela an ardu ibnobe.)

The problem is that the land you're asking for, there's a piece of it that's owned by someone from the village. And this man is very stubborn. He isn't accepting to let his land go at all.

كيف يعني؟ انت عرضت عليه سعر منيح؟ (Keyf yani? Enta aradt aley sar imneeh?)

How do you mean? You offered him a good price?

عرضت عليه طبعاً. بس ما عجبه (Aradt aley taban. Bes ma ajabu.)

I offered him, of course, but he didn't like it.

طيب, المصاري مو مهمة. شو بده عطوه (Tayyib, al masaari moo muhim. Shoo bedu atoo.)

Ok, the money isn't important. Whatever he wants, give it to him.

شلون؟ شو ما بده؟ (Shloan? Shoo ma bedu?)

What? Whatever he wants?

شو ما بده (Shoo ma bedu.)

Whatever he wants.

بدي ياك تحلل لي هالقصة من هون لبكرة. و هلق عن إذنك (Bedi yak ithellili hal ussa min hoon li bookra. Helleh an iznek.)

I want you to solve this story (problem) for me by tomorrow. Now if you'll excuse me.

الكولا معلم (al cola muallim)

The cola, sir.

وصلت الكولا يا بيك. أنا بشربها (wasalat al cola ya beyk. Ana bishruba.)

The cola arrived, sir! Eh, I'll drink it.

Vocabulary List:
  • لا تواخذني - Don't blame me/Don't hold it against me. They say the ذ as a ز in this word and in many words in Levantine.
  • شو منضيفك - What can we get you? The noun ضيف means guest. Here they are using it as a verb. So, you could say "What can we guest you?", but that wouldn't really make sense in English. The م in front of the word is added to make things flow better, just like the إ that is inserted before a lot of words like إكتير إكبير.
  • يا ريت - I wish. In this context it means "I'd like" or "I want".
  • مبوز - cold. It also means angry.
  • ضيعة - village
  • زلمي - man
  • بنوب - at all, ever
  • مصاري - money
  • عن إذنك - with your permission. You say this when you are leaving or asking someone if you can do something. Also, بعد إذنك means the same thing.


How to Use the Hans Wehr Arabic Dictionary

The Hans Wehr dictionary is a must have for people learning Arabic, but it is not organized in the same way an English dictionary is which can be confusing at first glance. For that reason I was months into learning Arabic before I bothered to figure out how to look up words. I don't recommend that. It's important to be able to look up words for yourself without having to ask the teacher and depend on their definition which (in my case) wasn't always correct.

In the Hans Wehr you can't go to the letter أ (alif) and find an alphabetical list of all the words that start with أ (alif). The dictionary is divided up into 3 letter verb roots, so if you go to the أ (alif) section you will find all the roots that begin with أ (alif). If you want to look up a word that is not just 3 letters then you have to be able to extract what the 3 letter root is. For words that are only 3 letters like رفع (to raise) then it's simple, you just search for them as they are, but for words that are longer than just 3 letters you have to know how to find the root of the word. For example, if you want to look up the word إستعجب (to be astonished) then you would have to know that the root is عجب and start looking under ع ('ain). If you tried to look up the word under أ (alif) you wouldn't find it, even though it starts with an أ (alif). Looking at the word إستعجب you might wonder, "How do I know which letters make up the 3 letter root?". Well it isn't hard to do with a little practice. The word إستعجب is measure X (ten). You can tell because it starts with إست. All measure X verbs will start with إست. Therefore, you immediately know that the إست is not part of the root. You're left with عجب which is the root.

So, once you know the root of the word you are trying to look up you flip to that root and you'll notice that there will be a transliteration of the root, for عجب it says 'ajiba. After that is goes into giving definitions. It has a few definitions, the roman numeral II, a few more definitions, the roman numeral IV, more definitions, the roman numeral V, definitions, and then finally it says X = V. This may look confusing, but it isn't with a little explanation. The definitions immediately after the root are for measure I. If you see the verb written as عجب then those are the definitions you are looking for. In this case it has written (to wonder, to marvel, be astonished, be amazed) and then it says the words that are commonly used with this word, من and ل, meaning that you would say عجب من or عجب ل basically meaning "amazed at". The roman numeral II signifies that the next definitions refer to the measure II verbs. If you see the very with a shadda عجّب then these are the definitions you want. The shadda on the second letter in a 3 letter root means that the word is in the measure II form. Then you have measure IV which is اعجب. The ا (alif) in front of the root signifies measure IV. Then there is measure V which is تعجّب. There is a ت at the beginning and a shadda over the ج. Then at the very end it says X = V. This means that the measure 10 and measure 5 have the same definitions. So, to recap, to find إستعجب we would look up عجب and go to the X. We'd see X = V and then look at the definitions of measure 5 and we'd know what the word meant.

All of the verb definitions are written right after the root. If the word you're looking up is a noun then it will be after the verb definitions. Sometimes you will have a word that has no root. In this case it will be listed alphabetically and you can look them up just like you would a word in an English dictionary. This includes any cognates such as country names or any word from another language. There is more to the Hans Wehr than just what is written here, but knowing this much will enable you to look up words and not be totally lost with the Hans Wehr dictionary.


Haifa Wehbe Expresses Admiration for Hassan Nasrallah

This video is of Haifa Wehbe هيفاء وهبي being interviewed and asked about who she looks up to. Her answer is the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah حسن نصر الله. I don't think I would describe him the way she did, but to each his (or in this case her) own. This dialogue is in Levantine and more specifically Lebanese Arabic. With the transcript you should be able to follow along without having exposure to this dialect because almost all of the words are found in MSA فصحى but they are said with a Lebanese accent. The spiral and the chairs coming toward each other at the beginning is kind of strange. Not sure what that's about. :)

سؤال تاني. سمي شخص بيدق قلبك إله بس إتشوفيه بس مش كحبيب و لا من افراد أسرتك

Another question. Name a person for whom your heart beats when you see him, but not as a lover and not among the members of your family.

Comments: تاني doesn't always mean "second". This could have been the 4th question.

بيدق قلبي بس شوفه بس مش كحبيب؟

My heart beats when I see him but not as a lover?

اه, بصراحة... و يمكن الحرب خلتني كمان أكثر أتأكد من هالشي. سيد حسن نصر الله. حكمته العالية جداً. روقيه بالتعامل مع كل الأوضاع إللي كانت مدمية و إللي بعدها. أكثر شغلة إللي تعجبني فيه, هالكاريزما بحواره, هالطريقة القوية إللي بتقنعني, مقنع جداً و حكيم. حكمته كتير... و طبعاً هو رجل يحتذى فيه يعني و ينضرب فيه المثل.

Ah, frankly... and maybe the war also has made me more sure of this. Mr. Hasan Nasrallah. His very high wisdom. His dignified way of dealing with all the situations that were bloody, etc. The thing that I like most about him, this charisma in his dialogue, this strong way that convinces me. He's very convincing and wise. His wisdom is very... and of course he is a model man and one the proverbs speak of.

  • دق - to beat or knock
  • صراحة - frankly
  • خلتني - made me or let me. خليني روح means "let me go"
  • شغلة - thing. Just like the word حاجة in Egyptian.
  • مقنع - convincing
  • حكيم - wise. Also means "doctor" in Levantine, but doesn't mean that here.
  • رجل يحتذى فيه - an exemplary man, a good example of a man, role model
  • ينضرب فيه المثل - "the proverb is hit in him" literally. It means basically that he is a guy like in the proverb. Maybe she has a specific proverb in mind but I don't know what it is.


Fairouz al Zayani Reads Al Jazeera Headlines

This clip is from November 7, 2009 and is of the Al Jazeera anchor (مذيعة) Fairouz al Zayani (فيروز الزياني ) reading the headline news. I've written out the transcript in Arabic and the translation into English. After the transcript there is a vocab list of some of the important words in the passage. I recommend listening to the passage once or twice and then going through it with the transcript making sure to note the words that are new to you. This is the main way that I learn and continue to study Arabic, having an audio source along with the transcript and just going over it until I know everything in the passage.

اهلا بكم. قالت جماعة الحوثي إنها سدت هجوم سعودي بري في جبل دخان و مناطق حدودية أخرى و اسرت عدداً من الجنون السعوديين. و كان الحوثيون قد اكّدوا تواصل الغارة الجوية السعودية على قرى يمنية حدودية. و قال مصدر رسمي سعودي إن بلاده شنت غارات جوية مكثّفة على اماكن وجود من وصفهم بمتسللين من جماعة الحوثي في مناطق داخل الاراضي السعودية

Hello and welcome. The Houthi band said that it blocked a Saudi land attack in Jebel Dukhan (Smoke Mountain) and other border areas and that they took a number of the Saudi soldiers prisoner. The Houthis confirmed that the Saudi air raids on Yemeni border villages are continuing. And an official Saudi source said that his country launched concentrated air strikes on the locations of who he described as Houthi infiltrators in areas inside Saudi lands.

قالت المعارضة اللبنانية بعد إجتماع لها في وقت متأخّر الليلة الماضية إنها اتفقت على المضي في تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية في البلاد وفق قواعد تم الإتفاق عليها مع رئيس الحكومة المكلف سعد الحريري. و ضم الإجتماع رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري و رئيس التكتل الإصلاح و التغيير ميشال عون و الامين العام لحزب الله حسن نصر الله و رئيس تيار المردة سليمان فراجية

The Lebanese opposition, after a meeting it had late last night, said that it has agreed on the execution of forming a national unity government in the country according to rules that were agreed upon with the acting president of the government Saad al Hariri. Head of the congress Nabih Berri, head of the Restoration and Change Party Michel Aoun, the secretary general of Hezbollah Hasan Nasrallah, and the head of the Marada movement Suleiman Franjieh joined the meeting.

يعقد البرلمان العراقي اليوم جلسة أخرى لبحث قانون الإنخابات المثير للجدل و من أهم المشاكل التي تعرقل إقرار قانون الإنتخابات, كيفية إجراء الإنتخابات في مدينة كركوك وسط صراع عربي كردي تركماني

Today the Iraqi Parliament is holding another meeting to discuss the controversial election law. Among the most important problems that is impeding ratification of the election law is how to carry out elections in the city of Kirkuk amidst Arabic, Kurdish, and Turkman conflict.

هذا و قد اعلن في بغداد اليوم عن تحالف الوحدة الوطنية لخوض الإنخابات البرلمانية المقبلة و ضمن التحالف الجديد عدد من التجمعات و الحركات و الشخصيات منها تجمع الوحدة الوطنية

In addition to this, an national unity alliance to hold the future parliamentary elections was announced in Baghdad today and within this new alliance are a number of groups, movements, and personalities, among them the national unity group.

قال الرئسي الروسي ديمتري مدفيديف إنه لا يمكن إستبعاد إمكانية فرض عقوبات شديد على إيران إذا لم يحدث تقدم في المفاوضات حول ملفها النووي. من ناحية أخرى قال رئيس لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في البرلمان الإيراني علاء الدين بروجردي إن إيران ترفض إرسال اليورانيوم المخصب الذي تملكه إلى الخارج لزيادة تخصيبه مقابل حصولها على وقود لمفاعل الابحاث النووي في طهران

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that he can't rule out the possibility of imposing severe sanctions on Iran if no progress takes place in the negotiations about its Nuclear program (file). On the other side of the issue, the president of the committee of matters of the exterior in the Iranian Parliament Aladdin Brojardi said that Iran refuses to send its enriched uranium outside the country in order to enrich it further in exchange for receiving fuel for the nuclear research reactor in Tehran.

عقد الرئيس الامريكي باراك اوباما إجتماعاً مع مدير مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي لبحث حادثة إطلاق النار داخل قاعدة فورت هود في ولاية تاكساس. و عقب حادث فورت هود بساعات قتل امريكياً و جرح 6 آخرون في إطلاق نار وسط مدينة اورلاندو بولاية فلوردا

The American president Barak Obama held a meeting with the head of the federal investigations office to discuss the shooting incident inside the Ft. Hood base in Texas. Hours after the occurrence at Ft. Hood 1 American was killed and 6 were injured in a shooting in downtown Orlando Florida.

إلى اللقاء

Until we meet again.


  • سد - to block, repel (as in an attack). The noun means "dam", so you can see the kind of meanings this root has.
  • بري - the adjective for "ground" as in هجوم بري "ground attack"
  • شن - to launch an attack
  • غارة جوية - air raid
  • متسللين - infiltrators
  • وصف - to describe something
  • مكثف - concentrated or dense
  • مضي - to go ahead with, to execute, to implement
  • مكلّف - to be charged with something. الطالب المكلّف بإغلاق الباب (the student who's job it is or who is charged with closing the door). Notice the shadda. Without it the word means expensive مُكلِف
  • عقب or على أعقاب - After, on the heels of. Don't confuse with عقوبات which means sanctions
  • تخصيب - literally means "to make fertile" but in the case of uranium it means "to enrich"
  • مفاعل نووي - nuclear reactor


Assi El Helani: Lebnani w/ Lyrics

The song لبناني (Lebanese) by عاصي الحلاني (Asi El Hillani) was released after the 2008 election in Lebanon and was an immediate hit. It's a nationalistic song about Lebanese heritage and how people from Lebanon should be proud to be Lebanese. To me Asi Al Hellani sounds a lot like فارس كرم (Fares Karam). They both sing in really deep voices and have the same kind of accent, but I like Fares Karam so it's not a bad thing. Here is the song along with the lyrics and translation. I'm sure you'll enjoy it... unless maybe you're Syrian. Just kidding. :P

غطي الشمس بفي جبينك
Cover the sun (light) with the shade of your brow
بيحقلك وطنك دينك
Your country and your religion are your rights
لو هالدني سألت مينك؟
قلن انك لبناني

If this world asked, "Who are you?" Tell them that you're Lebanese

بطل السلم و بطل الحرب
Hero of peace and hero of war
همزة وصل الشرق الغرب
The connector between the east and the west
تتظل تحب و تنحب
To continue loving and being loved
بيكفي انك لبناني
It's enough that you're Lebanese

لبناني و مطرح ما تروح
Lebanese and everywhere you go
حامل وطنك قلب و روح
You carry your country with your heart
and soul
و منك عطر المجد يفوح
And from you the perfume of glory wafts
عطر التراب اللبناني
The perfume of the Lebanese soil

لبناني و كلما بتطل
Lebanese and whenever you appear
بتوزع حبك عالكل
You spread your love to everyone
و الإيدين عليك تدل
And your two hands point out
و تعرف انك لبناني
And know that you are Lebanese

لبناني و اسمك مكتوب
Lebanese and your name is written
ع حد السيف المسحوب
On the blade of the unsheathed sword
لون حروفه حبر قلوب
The color of its letters is the ink of hearts
كلمة وحدة لبناني
One word, Lebanese

لبناني و تسلم هالإيد
Lebanese and bless your hands
اللي بتعرف تعطي و تزيد
That know how to give and exceed
و تخلق بعد الأزمة عيد
And create a holiday after the crisis
و عيد المجد اللبناني
The holiday of the Lebanese glory

غطي الشمس بفي جبينك
Cover the sun (light) with the shade of your brow
بيحقلك وطنك دينك
Your country and your religion are your r
لو هالدنيي سألت مينك؟
قلن انك لبناني

If this world asked, "Who are you?" Tell them that you're Lebanese


Hi in Arabic

As in any language, in Arabic there are many different ways to greet someone. A lot more time is spent on greetings in Arabic than is spent in English. I knew some Arabs just learning English and they were amazed at how quickly we greet each other and then move on. They thought it was kind of rude and thoughtless to give such a small amount of time to greetings. To me the length of Arabic greetings seems strange, but I accept the fact that we both have different cultures and place importance on different things.

1. السلام عليكم (assalaamu 'aleykum)
This literally means "peace be upon you". It is probably the most formal greeting in Arabic. The response is و عليكم السلام (wa 'aleykum assalaam). You hear this a lot more often during Ramadan because everyone feels more religious during that month. Also, after saying السلام عليكم you can add و رحمة الله و بركاته (wa rahmat allahi wa barakaatu). This means "and the mercy of God and his blessings", saying may those be upon you as well. This last part was very hard for me to say when I was starting Arabic.

2. اهلاً و سهلاً (ahlan wa sahlan)
This is translated as "hello and welcome". It's less formal than "peace be upon you" and used in less formal situations. You can respond to this greeting with اهلَين (ahlain) which means "two ahlans". However, that response is really only used in the Levantine region (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine).

3. مرحباً (marhaban)
This is the closest thing to "hi" that they have in Arabic. With this you can reply with مرحبتين (marhabtain) "two marhabans". People will understand everywhere, but it's only used commonly in the Levant.

4. صباح الخير (sabaah alkhair)
We translate this as "good morning". If you want to take it literally then it means "morning of the good". The response is صباح النور (sabah annour) which means "morning of the light". It doesn't make a lot of sense if you take it literally like that, so it's always just translated as "good morning".

5. مساء الخير (masaa alkhair)
Means "good evening". Like with "good morning", the response is مساء النور (masaa annour), "evening of the light".

6. تحية لك (tahia leka)
This actually means "greetings to you". It's not very common to greet someone with this just as it wouldn't be common to say "greetings to you" in English.

MBC's Turning Point (نقطة تحول)

Turning Point is a popular show on the Saudi channel MBC. I like it because it covers topics of all kinds, not just explosions and disasters like Al Jazeera and other news stations seem to cover. Turning Point takes a bit of science, art, history, and sometimes disasters, and provides a more enjoyable way to learn Arabic. When I was taking Arabic classes the word "explosion" إنفجار was one of my first words because of how often it is used in the news. Watching Al Jazeera wasn't hard to do after a few months because of the limited scope of their stories. Their news will almost always consist of

1. Explosions/Car Bombs/Suicide Bombers سيارات مفخخة ,إنفجارات
2. The Most Recent Summit Between World Leaders قمم متعددة الأبعاد
3. Any Natural Disasters Such As Floods, Famines, Earthquakes كوارث طبيعية
4. Clashes With Rebels إشتباكات عنيفة

I realize that these things are important, but when they are the only topics that the channel covers the viewers get desensitized to this death and destruction and stop caring. It's sad to say that people suffering becomes boring and people stop caring when that's all they see on TV every day, but it's true. Here is a clip from نقطة تحول. I transcribed and translated the first minute or so.

العالمة السعودية تصنع تحولات عالمية و تتفوق على رجال
The female Saudi scientist manufactures turning points and excels over men.

الطفلة في ديالى, قصة عبث طفولي صنعت تحولات مأساوية
The (female) child in Dyala. A story of childhood play causing tragic changes.

عارضات الازياء يتحولن إلى فنانات
Clothes models becoming (changing to) artists.

صوته و ألحانه و اغانيه. نقاط التحول في حياته و حياتنا, الفنان محمد عبدو
His voice, his melodies, and his songs. Turning points in his life and our life. The artist Muhammed Abdu.مساء الخير مشاهدين الكرام و اهلا بكم إلى حلقة جديدة من برنامج نقطة تحول. حلقتنا الليلة مليئة بتحولات جديدة و حافنة ايضاً بالمفاجآت. عالمات سعوديات لم يصنعن نقطة تحول في حياتهن الشخصية و في المجتمع السعودي فقط, بل صنعن اكثر من نقطة تحول في العالم. هذا التقرير يلقي الضو على مصيرة المرأة السعودية و بعدها سنلتقي مع واحدة من اهم 15 شخصية عالمية ستغير من وجه الأرض. كونوا معنا

Good evening generous viewers and welcome to a new episode of the program Turning Point. Our show tonight is filled with new turning points and also filled with surprises. Saudi (female) scientists didn't only make turning points in their personal lives and in the Saudi society, but also made more than (just) one turning point in the world. This report shines light on the destiny of the Saudi woman and after it we will with one of the 15 most important international personalities who will change the face of the world. Stay with us.

Vocabulary List

  1. ألحان - melodies
  2. مليئة ب - filled with
  3. مصيرة - destiny, fate, path
  4. عارضة - model
  5. مأساوي - tragic
  6. عبث - play, amusement
  7. تحول - turning, changing

Product Review: Arabic Genie

One of the biggest things that makes Arabic seem so daunting is its alphabet. It basically just looks like a bunch of squiggles and dots before you learn it, as you can see in this screen cap from the South Park episode Imaginationland. Learning the alphabet is an essential first step when learning Arabic. Without knowing it you can't start to learn anything else about the language. One of the most difficult aspects of the Arabic alphabet is the fact that simply adding a dot to a letter, in many cases, makes it a totally different letter. You have ب ,ي ,ن ,ت ,ث which are all the same except for the number of dots they have and whether those dots are above or below. Many people confuse these similar letters for a long time when learning Arabic. You really need a way to distinguish the Arabic letters from each other and remember what sounds they make. That is why the Arabic Genie program is so nice. It offers memory aids for each letter and dozens of exercises that cement the sound and shape of each letter in your mind. It teaches you how to spell English words with the Arabic letters, a method which connects the new Arabic letters to something that you are familiar with and have been using all your life.Once you go through the program and learn the sounds and shapes of each letter, the book introduces you to Arabic calligraphy. I find certain Arabic calligraphy very difficult to read. I remember when I was first learning Arabic I asked my teacher what the logo on the Al Jazeera channel said. My teacher laughed at me and told me that it said "Al Jazeera". It took me months to figure out where each of the letters were in the logo, which dots went with which letter, and which markings were just for decoration. I had to figure it out on my own, but Arabic Genie points out where each letter is in several calligraphies, a tactic which you will be able to apply to all Arabic calligraphy you come into contact with in the future.

Arabic Genie turned out to be a much better program than I expected. It takes things that make total sense to Arabs, but not so much sense to English speakers, and explains them in a way that is perfectly logical and simple. If I ever hit my head and forget Arabic I know where to turn to start relearning it. To buy a copy of the Arabic Genie, click here.


Childrens Song اسناني واوا Asnani Wawa

This is another song by the Birds of Paradise طيور الجنة, a really popular group that sings songs for kids. This انشودة (hymn) has about 4 million views on YouTube. The dialect is Syrian and the lyrics along with translation and explanations are below the video. It's about cavities and brushing your teeth!

يا بابا اسناني واوا
Dad, my teeth hurt

Explanation: واوا is basically the equivalent of the English term "boo boo". It's a word used by children for a small wound or some pain. Haifa Wehbe has a song called ليك الواوا (Look at the boo boo).

وديني عند الطبيب
Take me to the doctor.

ما عاد بدي شوكولاته بس بدي اشرب الحليب
I don't want chocolate anymore but I want to drink milk.

Explanation: ما عاد means "no longer". It is used in MSA as well.

السوسة نخرت في سناني
The worm has decayed my tooth

Explanation: سوسة means "woodworm". Back in the day people believed that when your teeth decayed it was worms eating your teeth. The word تسوّس means "worm eaten" or as we would translated it in English "cavitied".

اه يا اسناني
Ahhhhh, oh my teeth.صورلي الدكتور سني
The doctor took a picture of my tooth for me.

فرجاني ست السوسة
He showed me the cavity.

Explanation: ست means "woman" and sometimes "grandmother". Here I just translated ست السوسة to mean cavity, but it means literally "the lady worm". It's a kids' song, can't take it too literally :)

قاعدة جوى مبسوطة
It (the cavity) was sitting inside happily

بسيطة يا بسبوسة
It's a simple matter, sweetie.

Explanation: They say بسيطة when something can be taken care of easily. It just means "simple". بسبوسة is a Middle Eastern dessert.

والله لا اكل تفاح
I swear I won't eat an apple.

و رح انسى هالحلويات
And I will forget sweets.

رح اكل خضرا و حليب
I will eat vegetables and (drink) milk.

ما بدنا شبس و غازات
We don't want chips or soft drinks.

Explanation: غازات means "soft drinks". It comes from the English word "gas" since the drink are carbonated.

بالسواك و المعجون انا عندي حملة تنظيفات
With a miswak and with toothpaste I have a cleaning procedure

Explanation: سواك is a stick that Muhammad used to clean his teeth and it's mentioned in the Koran so lots of Muslims use it. The English word for it is "miswak" which I hadn't heard of until now. The word حلمة means "campaign" most of the time, as in حملة إنتخابية (election campaign), but here "cleaning campaign" wouldn't make much sense in English so I said "procedure". This is something that a lot of people never understand when learning a language. Each word in the foreign language does not always have an exact translation into another language. You have to translate the word into your language in a way that makes sense and conveys the right meaning. You can't always give the word the definition that you find in the dictionary or in a word list.


Bab al Hara - Syrian Dialect Lengthening Words

Bab al Hara باب الحارة (The Neighborhood's Gate) is a very popular show in the Arabic world. The setting is a neighborhood حارة in Damascus during the beginning of the French control of Syria at then end of the Ottoman rule . It's in the Syrian dialect and to me the way they speak sounds really funny. They often lengthen the last word of their sentences. Syrian is the only dialect I've noticed that does this. They don't even do it in Lebanon right next door to Syria. You can see examples in this clip from the show.
At 00:05 and 00:14 listen to how he says حارة. And at 00:23 how he says ابو غالب. It basically sounds like he's saying ابو غالييييب. At 01:35 is also a good example. Listen to كذاب. And the whole conversation starting at 01:37 is full of it. Anyway, you get the idea. Not every Syrian does this but quite a lot do, so if you ever are wondering where a person is from, if they're lengthening their words then it's a safe bet that they are Syrian.

Here's the theme song from the show. I really like it.


The Green Apple: Health Program on MBC

The Green Apple التفاح الأخضر is a show on MBC about heath, nutrition, and beauty. The dialect is Egyptian, but at times it's MSA with only a hint of Egyptian. Even though a show may be in a dialect there are levels to the amount of slang they can use. Since MBC is a Saudi channel and they get viewers from all over the Arabic world the shows don't have so much regional slang that not all viewers would be able to understand. This definitely isn't the same as the language you hear on the news though. I transcribed the first minute of the clip and wrote out the difficult vocab words.

اهلا بكل مشاهدي التفاح الاخضر و ساعة كاملة من نصائح جديدة و مفيدة للصحة و التغذية و الجمال. و نتواصل معكم من خلال الانترنت تبعتولنا مشاكلكم و نرد عليها من خلال الحلقة او كمان نستضفكم معنا في الإستوديو. ضيوف كثير بعتولنا حاجات و استضفناهم معنا في الإستوديو و حلينا مشاكلهم قدر إستطاعي

Hello to all the viewers of The Green Apple and a complete hour of new and beneficial advice for health, nutrition, and beauty. We keep in touch with you through the internet. You send us your problems and we reply to them throughout the episode and also we host you with us in the studio. Many guests have sent us things and we hosted them with us in the studio and we solved their problems as much as we were able to.

Comments: You'll notice that at the beginning it doesn't say مشاهدين . The nun is dropped when anything plural ending in ين is in an idafa. بعت is how they say "send" in Egyptian. In MSA the word is بعث. And قدر إستطاعي means "as well as I could".انهاردة هنشوف الالوان و الورود ازايها حلو مشكلة مدام ليلى ابازا إللي بتعاني من صداع و توتر و عصبية شديدة جدا في العمل.

Today we will see how colors and roses solved the problem of Madame Laila Abaza who suffered from headaches, tension, and severe stress in her work.

ممكن الدريسنج يحول طبقة سلطة الخفيف لوجبة دسمة جدا. هنقوللكم النهاردة على سر الدريسنج الخفيف و اللذيذ.

It's possible for dressing to change a light plate of salad to a very fattening meal. Today we will tell you about the secret of light and delicious dressing.

السيدة مؤمنة محمد من السعودية بعتت تسألنا تعمل أيه لان هي و ابنها الرضيع بيسافروا كثير ع الطيارة و بيعانوا من الم في الأذن إثناء صعود و هبوط الطيارة.

Mrs. Mumina Muhammad from Saudi Arabia sent in asking us what she should do because she and her infant son travel a lot on planes and suffer from pain in the ear during the take off and landing of the plane.

تثائبي او ابتلعي لعابك او امضغي علكة و بعض الحلوى.

Yawn or swallow your saliva or chew gum and some candy.

Comment: This is the written text on the screen.

Vocabulary List:

  • نصيحة/نصائح - advice and the plural
  • تغذية - nutrition
  • بعث - send
  • حاجة - thing
  • انهاردة - today
  • توتر - tension (وتر is a guitar or bow string, so you can see where the word comes from)
  • تثاؤب - yawn (noun)
  • لِعاب - saliva
  • عِلكة - gum


Al Jazeera News with Transcript

This is a short clip of the summary of the news on 9/20/2009 read by Iman Ayyad إيمان عياد. The transcript will help with recognizing words when you hear them. I remember when I was first learning Arabic one of my biggest problems was that I had trouble telling where one word ended and another began. It was especially a problem when they were putting the fatha, kasra, and damma at the end of all the words like they do on Al Jazeera. What really helped me was having transcripts of audio and video clips that I could used to parse out where the individual words were. The vocab list at the end are words that I thought might be new or difficult.

أهلاً بكم, أعلن البيت الأبيض أن الرئيس الأمريكي باراك اوباما سيلتقلي الرئيس
الفلسطيني محمود عباس و رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتانياهو بعد غداً الثلاثاء. و أوضحت الرئاسة الأمريكية أن هذه القمة الثلاثية ستسبقها لقاءات ثنائية على هامش إجتماعات الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة في نيويورك.

Hello and welcome. The White House announced that the American president, Barack Obama, will meet the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu the day after tomorrow, Tuesday. The American presidency clarified that this tri-party summit will be preceded by bi-party meetings on the margin of meetings of the UN general assembly in New York.

و كان رئيس الحكومة الفلسطينية المقالة إسماعيل هنية قال إن مقترحات الإدارة الأمريكية الجديدة لا تختلف في جوهرها عن مقترحات الإدارات الأمريكية السابقة, مأكداً انه لا أحد مخول بتوقيع أي إتفاقاً نيابتاً عن الشعب الفلسطيني.

And the displaced president of the Palestinian government, Ismail Haniyeh, said that the proposals of the new American administration and no different at their core from the proposals of the last American administration, stressing that no one is authorized to sign an agreement in place of the Palestinian people.

قالت مصادر محلية في محافظة صعدة شمال اليمن إن عشرات الأشخاص سقطوا بين قتيلاً و جريح في مواجهات بين قوات الجيش و
مسلحين من جماعات الحوثي

Local sources in the district of Sa'dah in northern Yemen said that 10's of people fell among the dead and injured in confrontations between the army forces and gunmen from the Houthi squads.يحتفل أكثر من مليار مسلم في مختلف انحاء العالم اليوم بأول ايام عيد الفطر المبارك. يذكر ان معظم الدول العربية اعلنت ان اليوم الأحد هو أول ايام العيد بعد ما ثبتت فيها رؤية هلال شهر شوال.

More than 1 billion Muslims in various parts of the world celebrate today the first days of Eid Al-Fitr Al-Mubarak. It's worth mentioning that most of the Arabic countries announced that Sunday is the first day of the feast after it was proved that the crescent (moon) of Shawwal was seen.

تواعد زعيم الحزب الإسلامي في الصومال شيخ حسن طاهر اويس بمزيد من العمليات التفجيرية ضد قوات الإتحاد الافريقي اذا لم تنسحب من بلاده.

The leader of the Islamic party in Somalia, Sheik Hassan Tahir Uways, promised more explosion operations against the forces of the African Union if they don't withdraw from his country.

قال الرئيس الافغاني حامد كرزاي انه سيطلق في حال اعلان فوزه رسمياً بإنتخابات الرئاسة محادثات سلام مع قادة حركة طالبان.

The Afghan president Hamid Karzai said, in the case of his winning the presidential elections, that he will launch peace talks with the leaders of the Taliban movement.

إلى اللقاء

Until next time.


  • أوضح - to make clear, clarify (it's measure IV)
  • مقالة - dismissed (Ismail Haniyeh was the previous Palestinian president)
  • مقترحة - proposal, suggestion
  • جوهر - essence, content, can also mean "jewel"
  • إدارة - administration
  • نيابتاً عن - in place of, representing (نائب is a representative)
  • مخول - authorized
  • رؤية - vision, sighting
  • هلال - crescent (الهلال الأحمر is the Red Crescent, the Middle East equivalent of the Red Cross)
  • قادة - leaders (usually words ending in ة are singular. This is a rare exception. قائد is the singular.)


Introductory Arabic: The Idafa الإضافة

The idafa الإضافة is a basic construct essential to understanding Arabic. Without understanding it one can never get beyond a beginner's level. The word idafa literally means "the addition". In newspapers you will see اضاف المصدر (adafa almusdar) "the source added" used very often. Arabic is unlike languages like English and Spanish in that there isn't really a word for "of" in the possessive sense. In Spanish you would say "the book of the teacher" to mean "the teacher's book", but in Arabic you would say "book the teacher" to mean the same thing; كتاب الأستاذ (kitaab alustaadh).

When first starting to learn Arabic it seemed so foreign and strange that they don't have the simple word "of". I found myself struggling to form basic sentences because I didn't really understand the idafa. I would throw in the word مِن thinking that it meant "of" instead of "from" and get blank stares from my teachers. Here are some more examples to help drive home the idea of the idafa:

  • صواريخ بعيدة المدى (Sawareekh ba'eedat almada) - Long range missiles, literally "missles long of the range"
  • سرطان الجلد (Sarataan aljild) - Skin cancer, literally "cancer of the skin"
  • تكنولوجيا المعلومات (Technologia alma'loomaat) - Information technology, literally "technology of the information"

When the owner of the object is already a definite noun, such as a proper name, you don't add the alif and lam. For example, if you're talking about Nadir's wallet, you're not going to say "wallet alNadir". You would just say "wallet Nadir". محفظة نادر is correct, NOT محفظة النادر . Here are some more examples:

  • ولاية فلوريدا (wilaayat florida) - The state of Florida
  • مراسل بي بي سي (muraasil BBC) - BBC correspondent (correspondent of BBC)
Something else you may have noticed about idafas is that when the first word in the idafa (the thing that is owned) ends in altaa almarbouta ة it makes a "t" sound. This can be see in the example of "the state of Florida". Even though, by itself, the word ولاية (wilaaya) doesn't have a "t" sound at the end, if it's the first word in an idafa then it does have a "t" sound. If you didn't make the "t" sound at the end of it and just said "wilaaya Florida" it would mean "a state is Florida". My teachers used to always stop me when I wouldn't make the "t" sound at the end in situations like that and I never understood what the big deal was. Some time later I realized that not pronouncing the "t" actually gives the phrase a different meaning.


Learn the Arabic Numbers through Song

In Arabic the word nasheed نشيد means "hymn", but they use the word for many things that in English we would just call songs, so when you see نشيد it doesn't always mean "hymn" in the English sense. Basically all children songs are called نشيد الاطفال. This song for teaching the Arabic numbers was posted on YouTube as نشيد الأرقام literally, The Number's Hymn. It's mainly for kids, but it's also useful for adults learning Arabic.

واحد, إثنان, ثلاثة, أربعة, خمسة, ستة, سبعة, ثمانية, تسعة, عشرة - Wahid, ithnan, thalatha, arba'a, khamsa, sitta, seba'a, thamania, tisa'a, 'ashara

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

وقف الواحد ليصلي - Waqafa alwahid liyusulli

One stood to pray.

ركع الإثان لربه - Raka'a alithnani lirubbih

Two bowed to his lord.

و الثلاثة واحد و إثنان - Wa athalatha wahid wa ithnan

And three is one and two.

و الأربعة إثنان و إثنان - wa alarba'a ithnan wa ithnan

And four is two and two.

و الخمسة كعكة بسكر - Wa alkhamsa ka'ka bisukkar

And five is a cake with sugar.

و الستة وقفت لتفكر - Wa asitta waqafat litufakkir

And six stopped to think.

و السبعة تنظر للنجمة - Wa aseba'a tunthuru lilnejma

And seven looks to the stars.

و الثمانية عكس سبعة - Wa athmaniatu 'aksu seba'a

And eight is the opposite of seven.

و عصى جدي مثل تسعة - Wa 'asa jeddi mithu tisa'a

And my grandpa's cane is like nine.

و الصفر مع الواحد عشرة - Wa assifru m'a alwahidi 'ashara

And zero with one is ten.


Iman Ayyad - Al Jazeera News Anchor

Iman Ayyad إيمان عياد often does the evening news on Al Jazeera. She used to go by the last name "Banoura" بنورة before getting married. This clip was right before the 2008 US elections and Iman and Ali Aldhafeeri علي الظفيري were in Washington covering the elections.

هذه النشرة الإخبارية نقدمها لكم من قناة الجزيرة في العاصمة الأمريكية واشنطن. و أبرز ما فيها عشية الإنخابات

We present this news report to you from the Aljazeera channel in the American capital, Washington and the most prominent news in it on the eve of the elections.

Comments: فيها here refers to "in Washington"

شريف بما يجري فيها في أقل من 24 ساعة على هذا الإشتباك الإنتخابي. الآن يبدو ان ناصر حسيني من ولاية فلوريدا الامريكية قد اصبح جاهزا معنا. ناصر يعني هذه الولاية ما زالت حتى صباح هذا اليوم تشتعل فيها المنافسة و نعلم ان المرشحين قد زاراها صباح هذا اليوم

...Sherif, about what happens in less than 24 hours in this electoral clash. Now it seems that Nasir Huseini from the American state of Florida has become ready with us. Nasir, I mean, this state was still, even until this morning, inflamed in competition, and we know that the 2 candidates have both visited it this morning.

Comments: It was an incomplete sentence, so it's hard to know what she's talking about at the beginning. Sherif was most likely another phone in caller.

اذا فاصل قصير في هذه النشرة. نعود بعده لمتابعتها من العاصمة الامريكية واشنطن فكونوا معنا.

So, a short break in this report. We return after it to continue following the news from the American capital Washington, so stay with us.

و ينضم إلينا حول هذا الموضوعة في الإستوديو ويليام غالستون الخبير في شؤون ال

And joining us about this issue in the studio, William Galston, the expert in matters of...

  1. النشرة الإخبارية - literally means "the publication of the news"
  2. أبرز - most prominent
  3. بما يجري فيها - "about what's happening in..." يجري means "flowing", but in a sentence like this means "happening" or "on going"
  4. إشتباك - "clash". You'll see إشتباكات عنيفة "violent clashes" a lot in newspapers.
  5. قد - in the past tense it means "has" like "has become ready", but in the present tense it means "might" or "could" as in "الإمتحان قد تكوت صعبة" "the test might be difficult".
  6. إشتعل - to flame up
  7. ما زال - still, continues to be
  8. شأن ,شؤون - matter, matters (issue, issues)


Ouf ouf - Nelly Makdessi Lyrics

Nelly Makdessi نيللي مقدسي is a Lebanese pop singer affiliated the the Rotana label. Ouf ouf is her most famous song and what's interesting is that it's simply a Turkish song taken and translated into Arabic. The original singer of the song is Gülşen Bayraktar, a Turkish pop star. I have to say that the Arabic version sounds a lot better though, but maybe I'm biased. Let's see what you think.

على حالك انت بعدك
You are still the same.
ما بتعرف ابدا شو بدك
You never know what you want.
مين مفكر حالك يعني
Who do you think you are?
ما تحلم رح ابقى حدك
Don't dream that I will stay by your side.

Comments: بعد can mean "after", but here it means "still". بعدك بالمدرسة means "you're still at school".
لا تحاكيني ولا تخبرني
Don't talk to me and don't tell me anything.
انا قلبي ياما صبرني
My heart has always given me patience.
من غيرك انت مين
Other than you, who?
ضيع من عمري سنين
Years of my life are lost.

اوف اوف لا تسهرني و لا تحيرني
Ouf, ouf. Don't make me lose sleep and don't confuse me.
اوف اوف يللي مطير عقلي مني
Ouf, ouf. Oh one who has made me lose my mind.
اوف اوف منك ياما جن جنوني
I've gone crazy because of you many times.
بحبك انا داب عيوني
My eyes melted in your love.
يا مجنني حل عني
Oh one who has made me crazy, get away from me.

Comments: يللي مطير عقلي مني literally means "the one who has flown my mind away from me". اوف is a word that Arabs say when there are fed up with or tired of something. ياما means "lots" or "many times". جن جنون means "to go crazy". "He went crazy" would be جن جنونه and حل عني means "get away from me" or "leave me alone".

انا دربي مش ع دربك
My path is not on your path.
و لا قادر قلبي يحبك
And my heart is not able to love you
انا بحالي و انت بحالك
I'm the way I am and you're the way you are.
خلي غيري يجرب حبك
Let someone else try your love.
ياما ليالي و انا سهرانة
There have been so many nights that I couldn't sleep.
بدي من هلق تنساني
From right now I want you to forget me.

مش وقت اللي بدك فيك
ترجع لي لا ما فيك

You can't just come back to be whenever you want to. No, no you can't

Comments: This literally says "Not the time that you want can you come back to me, no you can't". فيّ here means "to be able to". It's different from في meaning "in" because it has a shadda on the ya.


Introduction to Levantine Arabic

Levantine Arabic is spoken in the Levant region which is composed of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. The dialect isn't as different from Egyptian as it is from, say, Iraqi or Gulf Arabic. A few important facts about the Levantine dialect are,
  1. Levantine Arabic changes the ق to a ء in most words.
  2. ة is changed to ي in most words.
  3. The word عم adds -ing to the verb after it.
  4. The letter ب is added before present tense verbs in most cases. This basically just makes the words flow together better.

Here's a list of some high frequency words in the Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Palestinian dialects. Since it's really not very helpful to just see a list an not know exactly how to pronounce the words I've made a video of the correct pronunciations of the words along with sentences to show their uses in context.

  • What - ايش/شو
شو بدك؟ - What do you want?
ايش عم بيصير؟ - What's going on?
  • Where - وين
لوين رايح - Where are you going? (said to a male)
  • Why - ليش
ليش ما بترد على جوالك؟ - Why don't you answer your cellphone?
  • When - إمتى
إمتى رح ترجع من شغلتك؟ - When are you returning from your job? (basically, when are you coming home from work)
  • Who - مين
مع مين عم تحكي - Who are you talking with?
  • How - شلون/كِيف
كيف الأجوا الرمضانية - How is the Ramadan atmosphere?
  • How much - قًدّيش
قديش الساعة؟ - What time is it?
  • Now - هَلّق
هلق انا صرت جاهز - Now I'm ready. (literally, now I've become ready)
  • Good - مْنيح
الجو اليوم مش منيح - The weather today is not good.
  • Tomorrow - بُكْرة
بكرة رح بتشوفيني - Tomorrow you will see me. (said to a female)
  • Yesterday - مْبارِح
وَصَلْتْ مبارح - I arrived yesterday
  • Also - كمان
و شو كمان؟ - And what else?
  • Only - بَس
بس بدي اشرب الحليب - I only want to drink milk.
  • But - بَس
بس ما عرفت إسمه - But I didn't know his name.
  • Not - مش
شكلها مش بطال - She doesn't look bad. (مش بطال means "not bad")
  • Still - لسة
لسة عم ببرم عليه - I'm still looking for him
  • Outside - بَرّا
برا البيت - Outside the house
  • Inside - جوّا
جوا قلبي - Inside my heart
  • With - مع/وَيّا
عم بحكي وياهن - I'm talking with them.
  • Which/Who - إللي/يللي
يللي بيلبس القميص الأصفر - The one who is wearing the yellow shirt.
  • To be able to - فيّ
ما في اركض بسرعة - I can't run fast.
  • In order to/for/because of - عَشان
عشان خاطري فكري شوي - for my sake think a little bit
  • After that - بَعْدين
رح أروح لعند الحكيم و بعدين رح أرجع لعندك - I'm going to go to the doctor and after that I will return to your place. (عند means the "house" or "place of" in this case. حكيم in MSA means "wise man", but in Levantine it means "doctor".)

Disney Songs in Arabic w/ Lyrics on YouTube

I was browsing YouTube the other day and came across 99meemo99's channel. He's a Sudanese guy living in Dubai who has made 56 videos of Arabic Disney songs (Lion King, Little Mermaid, Hercules) with the lyrics written out and translated into English. It's great that he translates these popular songs for free for people trying to learn Arabic. Most of them are Egyptian since that's the language they dub Disney movies in for the Arab world. He's also got the Pokemon theme song, Digimon songs, as well as some other anime songs. Here's the Ducktales opening song from his channel. They translated Duckberg to Duckistan lol!

الحياة دي زي العاصفة هنا في بطستان
عربيات و طيارات
حاجة.. حاجة جنان
و نحل فوازير
عيزالها وقت كتير

This life is like a storm, here in Duckistan.
Cars and planes
Something, something crazy
And we solve puzzles
That take a long time

قصص بطوطية
كل يوم مغامرة جديدة
قصص بطوطية
فيها لعبة و فكرة اكيدة
قصص بطوطية

Every day there's a new adventure
With a definite game and idea

و في خطر حواليك
و غريب بيجري عليك
تعالو بسرعة و شوفو معانا

And there's danger around you
And a stranger is coming at you
Come quickly and look with us
قصص بطوطية
كل يوم مغامرة جديدة
قصص بطوطية
فيها لعبة و فكرة اكيدة
قصص بطوطية
حتلاقو ضحكة و فكرة مفيدة
قصص بطوطية

Every day there's a new adventure
With a definite game and idea
You'll find laughs and a beneficial idea


Myriam Fares - Eih Elly Byehsal Lyrics

The song Eih Elly Byehsal (ايه اللي بيحصل) has been around for about a year, but the music video was just released by Melody Music this week. Myriam Fares (ميريام فارس) is Lebanese, but she sings this song (and a lot of her songs) in the Egyptian dialect because there's a bigger audience for it and it's more widely understood. The lyrics aren't very complicated, but I added explanations for the words and phrases that I thought might be a little bit difficult.

ايه اللي بيحصل
What's happening?

انا عمري النهاردة تولد من جديد
ده عيد النهاردة و مش اي عيد
Today my life is born again.
Today is a celebration, and not just any celebration.

Comments: عيد can mean feast, holiday, celebration, and things like that. The only one that makes sense here in English is celebration. النهاردة means "today" in Egyptian. It's a combination of the two words النهار meaning "day" and ده meaning "this".

يا حبيبى يا حبيبى
انا عاشقة و اوصف بأيه الغرام
ده راح مني تاه مني كل الكلام
ياحبيبى يا حبيبى

Oh, my love. Oh, my love.
I'm in love and how can I describe this passion?
This has made all my speech leave me and be lost.
Oh, my love. Oh, my love.

Comments: تاه means to be lostايه اللي بيحصل
ايه اللي جرالي مالي كده سرحانة بايه
What's happening?
What has happened to me, what's wrong with me, why am I so preoccupied like this.

Comments: ايه اللي جرالي means "what happened to me". مالي means "what's wrong with me". You can say مالك to mean "what's wrong with you". كده means "like this" and is used a lot in Egyptian. سرحانة means "preoccupied" or "lost in thought". It's the feminine form since it ends in ة

ايه اللي بيحصل
ايه اللي جرالي مالي حالي متلخبط ليه

What's happening?
What has happened to me, what's wrong with me, why am I all mixed up.

Comments: متلخبط means "mixed up" or "confused". It probably comes from the MSA word خلط meaning "to mix".

رجعتلي روحي بنظرة عينيك
فداك عمري كله ما يغلاش عليك
يا حبيبي يا حبيبي

You returned my soul to me with one look from your eyes.
My whole life is for you and it costs you nothing.

Comments: فداك means "for you" as in "I would sacrifice my life for you". ما يغلاش عليك literally means "it is not expensive for you".

يا هوايا اللي غيرلي معنى الحياة
و رجع لقلبي حياة و مناه
يا حبيبي يا حبيبي

Oh my love who changed the meaning of my life
And brought back life and hope to my heart.


Language Program Review: Rocket Arabic

Most of the material I post on this blog is geared toward those who already have some knowledge of Arabic. However, I do realize that the majority of students are at a beginner level, so I'm going to start making more posts on the basics of Arabic.

For those in the beginning stages of learning who want to become advanced, I recently had the chance to try a program from Rocket Languages for learning Arabic appropriately named, Rocket Arabic. It's basically a combination of Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone, but for a lot less money. It teaches Egyptian Arabic since that is the most widespread dialect and all Arabs understand it to varying degrees. Their site has lengthy audio samples from their course, one from the beginning part of the course and one from the more advanced section. Unlike Pimsleur they include the Arabic transcripts and English translations. Anyone who has read my posts knows how much I love transcripts! They really help for those times when you just can't seem to hear what word is being said and when you would otherwise be lost. There is also a 6 day free course you can download to see if you think you'll benefit from the full version.The course comes with a computer program as well, which is comparable to Rosetta Stone in that it shows you pictures and you have to choose the correct response. Unlike simply memorizing vocab lists, this type of learning puts the meanings of the words into your mind on a deeper level. You aren't simply correlating a word in English with a word in Arabic, but you're learning like you learned your native language, by seeing what the words mean and connecting them to their meaning instead of to an English word. This improves recall and means that you'll remember the words for the long term, more so than if you had learned them by simply memorizing vocab lists.

I suggest that you go with the digital download version when purchasing Rocket Arabic because it's a full $250 cheaper. For some reason they charge $50 for shipping and handling. Some people like to have a physical copy of things though, so to each his own. The program also has a 60 day money back guarantee so if you find that it's not for you or you change your mind there's no harm, no foul.

My Rating:


Kids Song: The Rabbit and the Fox (الأرنب و الثعلب)

This is another popular song by the Birds of Paradise طيور الجنة . Like all their songs it is strangely catchy and very popular. It's in the Syrian dialect, but even if you aren't used to hearing it spoken it's a pretty simple song. Basically the rabbit asks him mom if he can go out and play. She tells him no because the the fox might get him. Is he supposed to stay inside all the time? I don't know. Anyway, the rabbit goes to the orchard and runs around and sniffs a rose. Then the fox sees him and chases him. The rabbit hides in a hole and the fox gets lost in the orchard. The rabbit goes home crying and his mom tells him that he should have listened to her. You could probably understand this song even if you didn't know a word of Arabic since the video shows everything that happens. That's great for learning a language though. Enjoy!

ايش صار للأرنب لما ما رد على امه؟

  • What happened to the rabbit when he didn't listen to his mom?

Comments: ايش means "what" in Syrian. Most of the time رد means "respond" or "reply", but here it means "obey" or "listen to". You'll notice that they say إم instead of أم in Syrian dialect. صار means حدث , "happened".

قال الأرنب لامه, إسمحي لي روح العب ماما

  • The rabbit said to his mom, "Let me go play, mom."

قالت له لا يا ماما. يمكن يجيك الثعلب. يمكن يجيك الثعلب

  • She said to him, "No." The fox might come for you.

Comments: She says يا ماما which is strange to English speakers since she's talking to her son, but this is something Arab parents do when they talk to their kids.هز الارنب بكتافه ما سمع كلمة امه. راح يتمشى على البستان و يقطف ورد و يشمه

  • The rabbit shrugged his shoulders and didn't listen to his mother's words. He went walking to the orchard and picked a rose and sniffed it.

Comments: هز means "to shake", but "shrugged" works better when talking about shoulders. They say وارد but that's just to make it go with the rhythm. They mean ورد

شافه الثعلب, هجم عليه!! صار يركض و هو خوفان. و تخبأ في جحر صغير. و ضاع الثعلب في البستان

  • The fox saw him and attacked him. He started running and was scared. He hid in a small hole and the fox got lost in the orchard.

إجا الأرنب لامه و عيونه مليانة دموع

  • The rabbit came to his mom and his eyes were filled with tears.

قالت له ثاني مرة, خلي كلامي مسموع

  • She said to him a second time, listen to my words.

Comments: Literally خلي كلامي مسموع means "let my words be heard."