Bedouin Song and Translation

One of my Lebanese teachers exposed me to this song a while back. The singer's name is Fouad Hijazi (فؤاد حجازي) and he's from Jordan. My teacher called his dialect Bedouin and he pronounces the "qaf" (ق) like a "g" in several words in the song. He's singing about his cousin Radya and asking her where she is going. It took a couple listens for this song to grown on me, but I like it a lot now =). Most people I talk to say they don't see how I could like that noise, but any song with a Mijwiz (مجوز) in it I love. The Mijwiz is that flute-like thing they play that sounds kind of like a kazoo. It's in a lot of Arabic songs. A more modern song with it is واحشني ايه by Miriam Fares.

وين رايحة يا راضية يا بنت عمي الغالية - Where are you going, Radya, oh precious daughter of my uncle.

If you didn't know, marrying your cousin is A-OK in the Arab world. So yeah, this guy is singing a love song to his cousin. =\

قلبي أنا عم يتبعك و انت علي قاسية و انت علي قاسية يا بنت عمي راضية - My heart is following you and you are harsh towards me (and you are harsh towards me) oh daughter of my uncle, Radya.

He says قلبي as "galbi". The word عم is used a lot in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. It just gives the verb that it is used before an -ing ending. Also, he says قاسية here as "gaasia".

ثوبك مقصب مخملي و العين سودا مكحلة - Your dress is shiny and purple and your eyes have black mascara on them.

The word مقصب (mugasab) is shiny (Hans Wehr says "embroidered with silver or gold") and مخملي is purple. سودا مكحلة sounds like "so dumb gahali" because he runs the words together. They say ة as a ي all the time in Levantine dialect. For example, لبنانية is pronounced "lubnanii" with no "a" sound on the end.

و بمشيتك تتمايلي زينة بنات البادية - And when you walk you sway. You're the prettiest girl in the baadya.

The word بادية just means the place where the Bedouin live. Usually out in the desert with tents.

يا بنت عمي راضية - Oh, daughter of my uncle, Radya

وين رايحة و ما في حدا ع الدرب و الليل إبتد - Where are you going when there's no one on the road and night has begun?

The word حدا means "anyone". Lots of times in Levantine dialect they'll just say ع instead of saying على. The word درب is road.

خايف عليك من العدى و انت لوحدك ماضية - I'm afraid that you'll get attacked while you're walking by yourself.

In all dialects they often use the فاعل (doer)form when they would conjugate the verb in MSA. He could say أخاف here and it would mean the same thing. Here, العدى is "an attack". It comes from the same root as عدو (enemy). لوحدك is alone or by yourself and ماضية comes from the root مضى which means to "pass by". At first I thought it meant "in the past" like you usually see in the news, but that doesn't make any sense here.

عودي لحمانا وارجعي واصغي لندايا واسمعي - Return to our safety and come back. Heed my call and listen!

Ok, the root عَادَ and رَجَعَ mean the same thing, "return" or "come back". إصغي and إسمعي both are imperative female for "listen". نَدَا means "to call out".

وين ربعنا ماشي معي نحظى بعيشة هادية - Where are our people? They're walking with me. Let's enjoy a life of peace.

In Hans Wehr it says that ربع is "a large group of people or a clan". Again, here he uses the فاعل (doer) form of the verb. ماشي.


Arabic Simpsons: Season 3 Episode 17

00:09 على مهلك الاحسن تتخانق (ala mahlak alahsan tatkhani2): Slow down or you'll choke (على مهلك means "slowly")

00:44 عندي سلاح سري جداً (andi silaah sirri gidan): I have a very secret weapon

1:10 ما لهاش زي (ma lahaash zay): there's nothing like it

1:39 إبتديت أصنع أعظم مضرب في العالم (ibtadayt asna3 a3zam madrab fi al3aalam): I began to make the greatest bat in the world

2:01 قشطة (ishta): literally means "cream", but here it means something like "cool"

3:12 و أنا مضربي من نفس المحل برضه (wa ana madrabi min nefs almahal bardu): and my bat is from the same store too

4:48 الفريق بتاعي أنا هيقسر فريقك أنت زي عنقود العنب (alfaree2 bitaa3ee ana hayu2sur faree2ak enta zay 3an2ood al 3inab): My team will crush your team like a cluster of grapes

4:59 مليون لحلوح ما يلحلحوش الرهان (milyoon lahlooh ma ylahlahoosh al rahaan): A million guinea isn't good enough for the wager? (Ok, this one will take some explaining. لحلوح is another name for the Egyptian guinea. To لحلح something means to make it active or in effect. So, literally it says "A million guinea doesn't make the wager?".)

5:04 ما كنتش مركز معاك. أنا فاكرك هتبدأ بمبلغ اقل (ma kuntish murakkiz maayak. ana faakarak hatabda bi mablag a2a2l): I wasn't focusing with you. I thought you would start with a smaller amount.

6:42 يتفرج على 3 تلفزيونات دول سوى (yatfarrag ala thalath telivizionaat dol sawa): and watch those 3 TVs at the same time (دول means "those" and سوى means "together")

6:49 عرض مغري عشانك (ard mughree ashaanak): a tempting offer for you

7:54 بتلعب وينج يمين (bitalab wing yeemeen): do you play right wing (I'm guessing they mean right field. They don't play a whole lot of baseball in the middle east lol)

9:48 مستحيل ما حدش يقدر يبذل أكثر من مية في المية. بالمنطق أكثر من كده ما ينفعش (mustaheel ma hadish yi2dar yibzil akthar min mia fi al mia. bil muntiq akthar min kida ma yanfash): Impossible. No one can exert more than 100% effort. Logically more than that doesn't work. (بذل جهود means to exert effort. The hypnotist said "your effort will be 110%". ما ينفعش means "it's no use" or "it's no benefit")

9:56 همسكها (hamsikha): I'll catch it

10:37 إخترني (ikhtarnee): choose me

11:21 دلوقت قبل ما نعرف تشكيل الفريق احب اقول لإلي اساميهم مش في القائمة انهم خيبوا املي فيهم (dilwa2ti abl ma narif tashkeel al faree2 aheb a2ool li illi asaameehum mish fi al qayma annahum khayboo amali fihum): Now, before we know the formation of the team, I want to say to those whose names aren't on the list that they have disappointed me. (literally "they have dashed my hope in them")

11:28 في حاجة نقصاهم إسمها الحماس (fi haga na2saahum ismaha al hamaas): There's something they lack. It's called zeal.

12:23 طلع الرخصة بالراحة (tala3 al rukhsa bi al raaha): get out your license, slowly

12:49 حاول ترفع ايدك (hawil tarfa3 iydak): Try to raise your hand.

13:37 ما تخافيش خالص هانقذ قطتك (ma tkhafeesh kaalis hanqiz utatik): Don't be scared a bit! I'll save your cat.

16:18 إستنى أنت (istana enta): wait

16:19 الرجل إلي بيلعب في مكانك موجود (al ragal ili biyal3ab fi makanak mawgood): The man that plays your position is here.

16:23 دكة (dikka): bench

16:31 برا (barra): out

16:41 دول لاعيبة محترفين (dol laa3eeba muhtarifeen): those are professional players

16:43 متعودين على الكلام ده (muta3awwideen 3ala al kalaam da): they're used to that (kind of) talk

16:44 مش بيأثر فيهم أبداً (mish bi yua2thar fee hum abadan): it won't affect them at all

16:50 معايا سوداني (ma3aaya sudani): I've got peanuts (فول سوداني is the long way to say it. Literally Sudanese bean.)

17:00 دليك لي مخي (daleek lee mukhee): massage my brain for me

17:20 قولولي لمل بابا كون ترتفع معنوياته (ooloolee limma baba koon tartafa3 ma3naweeaatu): tell me when dad is in better spirits

17:26 هنقولك (han2oolik): we'll tell you

18:11 كسكتة (kaskita): cap


Translated Songs on YouTube

One of the best ways to learn new things is by putting them to a tune. In 2nd grade I remember learning the US presidents and the state capitals by using songs and you can apply the same principal for learning languages. There are several channels on YouTube dedicated to taking Arabic songs and subtitling them with English. Here are some of my favorites:
Edit 10 February 2009: YouTube decided to ban Ethnikation's account citing copyright infringement. Her new account is Renrooni.

By far my favorite place to find subtitled Arabic songs is Ethnikation's channel. She takes requests for songs to subtitle and is great about responding to questions you post on the videos. As of right now she has over 100 songs and she is constantly adding more. I've discovered so many Arabic songs that I like that I never would have know about otherwise, plus she's pretty hot which is always a plus! Here's a recent song she uploaded called Ma Khalas ما خلاص by Samira Said.

On this channel you'll find about 100 Haifa Wehbe songs. Some of them don't have subtitles, but most of them do. Haifa is probably the most well know pop singer right now in the Arab world. Some people like her, others says she's arrogant and don't like the fact that she's had plastic surgery (عملية التجميل), but you can still use her songs to help you learn.

This guy loves Nancy Ajram and has 15 of her songs subtitled on his channel. If you don't know who Nancy is, she is extremely popular in the Middle East and has a huge following. She's probably not as huge as Haifa, but the fact that she doesn't wear such revealing clothes might account for that. She's also had plastic surgery and you can see before and after pics here. Her style of music varies between love songs and pop. Clinton hasn't added any new songs for over a year, but the songs that are there are still very useful.

I like to find the lyrics written in Arabic so that I can look at them when there are words that I don't understand. Even if you see the meaning in English on the screen it's still nice to make sure you know what they're saying in Arabic. Here are some good sites for Arabic lyrics:


You're late for work!

I found this cartoon online and the language they use isn't very difficult, but maybe reading the handwriting might be a little tough if you're only used to reading text on the computer. Here's what it says and the translation.

قم و أنا أمك ... تأخرت على صلاة الفجر - (Qum wa ana umak... ta2akharta 3ala salaat al fajr) - Get up (و أنا أمك is literally "and I'm your mom"). You're late for the dawn prayer!

زين زين (zayn zayn)- ok, ok

قم و أنا أمك ... تأخرت على دوامك (Qum wa ana umak... ta2akharta 3ala dawwaamak)- Get up! You're late for work! (دوام is literally the work day or work hours)

حرام عليكم يمه... ليش تخلوني اتأخر - (Haram 3alaykum yamma... laysh takhlooni ata2akhar) - ("Haram 3alaykum" is like "curse you") Curse you, mom! Why did you let me be late?!


Arabic Simpsons: Season 3 Episode 16

00:04 انت قلت عايز تعيش في عالم ما فيه زنك (enta 2ulta 3aayiz ta3eesh fi 3aalam ma fiu zinc): You said you wanted to live in a world without zinc.

00:36 إرجعلي (irga3lee): return to me

1:06 ممكن نتكلم عن النحاس (mumkin natkallim 3an al nu7aas): Maybe we can talk about copper

1:19 خربش (kharbish): scratch

1:28 برضه ما كسبناش (bardu ma kasibnaash): I still haven't won.

2:14 بالي طويل قوي (baali 6aweel 2awee): I'm very patient (literally "my mind is very long)

3:29 متطوع (muta6awi3): volunteer

3:41 ما تتحركش احسن تتعور (ma tat7arraksh a7san tat3wwar): Don't move unless you want to lose an eye. (the root عور means to lose an eye. أعور means cyclops)

5:49 لو كنت بمكاني و أنا مكانك هترجعلي اليويو (lo kunta bi makaani wa ana makaanak kataragga3li al yoyo): If you were in my place and I was in your place would you give me back the yo-yo?

6:11 بس كنت متوقعة شكلك يطلع زي الصورة (bess kuntu mutawaqqa3a sheklak ya6la3 zay al soora): I was just expecting you to look like the picture (literally يطلع زي الصورة here can mean "to turn out like the picture")

6:28 البلاعة (al ballaa3a): the drain/sink (It can mean both. The root بلع means to swallow, so literally it is "the swallower")

7:27 الكلاب بتحب بتقعد برا (al kilaab bit7eb bita23ad barra): Dogs like it outside (literally "dogs like to sit outside")

8:42 مش عايز خضار مزفت (mish 3aayiz khudaar muzaffit): I don't want any shitty vegetables (زفت literally means asphalt, but it is also used as a curse word. You can say صباح الزفت instead of صباح الخير when you're having a bad morning.)

9:15 شتيمة (shateema): curse word (also means insult)

10:42 قلبي وقف لما شفت صورتك (albi wi2if limma shufti soortik): My heart stopped when I saw your picture.

11:02 الفقراء المساكين (al fu2araa al masaakeen): the poor poor people (the first poor is like pitiful)

11:50 شنبك (shanabak): your moustache

13:33 برطمان (bar6amaan): a jar

14:48 حاسس اني مسؤول عن إلة حصل (Hasis anni mas2ool 3an illa Hasal): I feel that I'm responsible for what happened

15:14 الكلب هيدخل فيها إزاي يعني (al kelb hayidkhul fiha izzay ya3ni): How is the dog going to enter?

16:34 عصير (aseer): juice (they changed all the beer to juice when they translated it lol)

17:20 جواب وداع (gawaab widaa3): a farewell response

17:44 ما يفرقش معاها شكله خالص (ma yafri2sh m3aha sheklu khalis): It makes no difference to her at all what he looks like

17:46 حتى لو تمساح اكل وشه (Hata lo timsaaH akal wishu): even if a gator ate his face

18:20 مع حب إلة هيدوم عبر العصور (ma3 Hob ila hayadoom 3abr al 3asoor): with a love that will last throughout the ages


Online Arabic Transliteration

There are several different ways to write Arabic in our Latin alphabet. What follows is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Arabic transliteration. This is by far the most widespread method in use and most all Arabs online, when not typing in Arabic characters, use this, so if you ever plan to learn from authentic sources or visit Arabic message boards it will help for you to learn this. It's also the method that I try to adhere to when I'm transliterating. You'll notice that when they add an apostrophe ( ' ) to a number that indicates a dot on top of the Arabic letter. The full article is here.

3 represents the Arabic letter ع .

5 or 7' represent the Arabic letter خ .

6 represents the Arabic letter ط .

6' represents the Arabic letter ظ .

7 represents the Arabic letter ح .

8 represents the Arabic letter ق .

9 represents the Arabic letter ص .

9' represents the Arabic letter ض .

2 is sometimes used to represent the أ when it is in the middle of a word

The numerals 2, 3 and 7 are vastly used in Arabic chatting, because they represent Arabic letters that do not sound like any letter of the roman script. The other numerals can be replaced by roman letters that have a very close pronunciation (for example ظ can be represented by d, ص by s, ق by q) or a combination of roman letters (for example, kh can represent خ).

When numerals are to be avoided, a single quote (') may be used in the place of 2, h in the place of 7 and a single quote (') or double vowels in the place of 3 (for example 3a can become aa).


Arabic Simpsons: Season 3 Episode 9

00:38 شاهد قبر (shahid 2abr): tomb stone

00:50 الحل الوحيد اننا نرميها في الزبالة (al 7al al wa7eed annana narmeeha fi al zibaala): The only solution is that we throw it in the garbage

00:56 هيتهيألك انه مات إمبارح (hayatheya2lek anu maat imbaari7): It will seem to you that he died yesterday

1:09 شنيور (shinyoor): a drill

1:10 تلاقيه في الجراج (tila2ee fi al garage): find it in the garage

2:27 إنتهاء الصلاحية (intihaa2 a9alaa7eeya): expiration date

2:43 الكوافير (kawaafayr): hairdresser

2:53 إيه أسرع و أرخص و أسهل طريقة لانبسط فيها (eih asra3 wa arkha9 wa ashal 6aree2a linbasa6 fi ha): What's the fastest and cheapest and easiest way for you to be happy?

3:41 كل حاجة هتمشي زي الفل (kuli 7aaga hatimshee zay al ful): Everything is going to be great ("zay al ful" literally means "like the jasmine flower")

4:17 تحب بتأجر الشريط ده (t7eb bita2gar al sharee6 da): Do you want to rent that tape?

4:20 ليه؟ خلاص شفت احلى جز (shuft a7la guz): Why? I already saw the best part.

5:08 قفزاته رشيقة لكن قوية كالمحارب (qafazaatu rasheeqa laakin qaweeya kal mu7aarib): His jumps are elegant but he is strong like a warrior (lol)

6:48 و اصلع كمان (wa a9la3 kamaan): and bald too!

8:57 هأشترك وياك (hashtirik wayaak): I will participate with you

9:06 رف البهارات (raf al bahaaraat): spice rack

9:09 و عش البغبغان (wa 3ish al baghbaghaan): and a bird house ("3ish" means "nest" and "baghbaghaan" means parrots, but they showed a picture of a bird house so that how I translated it) Here's a Haifa Wehbe song called انا عندي بغبغان.

9:12 و المراجيح (wa al maraagee7): and the swingset

9:17 إيه صوت ده (eih 9oot da): What's the sound?

12:44 جبس (gibs): Literally "gypsum", but here it means "a cast"

13:06 زي ما انت شايف قدامك (zay ma enta shaayif 2addamak): like you see in front of you

15:11 بابا مش هتيجي (baba mish hateegee): Dad, you're not going to come?

15:18 انا سقعتلك البرنيطة في الثلاجة (ana sa2a3tilak al burnay6a fi al thallaga): I got your hat cold for you in the fridge.

18:43 أنت سواق جامد (enta sawwa2 gaamid): You are an amazing driver

I hope these episodes are helping. They are sure helping me. When I have to listen to a phrase several times to know exactly what they're saying it definitely sharpens my ear.


Arabic Simpsons: Season 3 Episode 5

1:35 ما عزمتنيش (ma 3azimtineesh): you didn't invite me

5:11 ما فيش بدلة لنائب المدير (ma feesh badla li na2ib al mudeer): there's no suit for the assistant manager

5:47 مين كان يصدق ان المفاعلات معقدة للدرجة دي (meen kaan yusadi2 an al mufa3ilaat mu3a2ada lildaraga dee): who would have thought that reactors were so complicated

6:50 إكتمي (iktimee): shut up (fem.)

8:24 هاشوفك مرة ثانية (hashoofak mara thanya): Will I see you again?

8:25 طبعاً في الكارثة الجاية (Tab3an fi al karitha al gaaya): Sure, during the next crisis

9:31 تأثيرك سيء عليَ (tatheerak sayi2 3alaya): you're a bad influence on me

9:56 أنت انقذت حياتنا (enta an2azta 7ayatna): you saved our lives

10:19 فخذة ضان (fa7'dha daan): a thigh of sheep

10:35 هنعلقك على حائط الشرف (han3alla2ak 3ala 7a2iT asharaf): we will hang you on the wall of honor

13:01 أرجوك ما تكراهنيش (argook ma tikrahneesh): please don't hate me

13:15 مش هيعرف مين عمل كده (mish haya3raf meen 3amal kida): he won't know who did that

13:38 كلهم فقدوا حماسهم للشغل (kuluhum fa2adoo 7amasahum lilshu3'al): all of them have lost their zeal for the work

14:24 كسبت الجائزة الثانية في مسابقة الجمال (kasibt al ga2iza al thania fi musaaba2at al gamaal: I won second prize in a beauty contest

15:00 بتهيألي (bithaya2lee): it seems to me

15:18 أكلي زفت (aklee zift): eat shit (imperative form when said to a female)

16:04 كنت عارفة ان المنطق هترجع لعقلها (kunt 3aarifa an al mun6i2 hatarga3 li 3a2la): I knew that she'd come to her senses (literally that the logic would return to her)

17:54 منع سطوة على البنك بغير ما يقصد (man3a sa6wa 3ala al bank bi 3'eyr ma yu2sud): He prevented a bank robbery unintentionally

Arabic Measure Chart

As we know, in Arabic 3 letter roots make up the words. Different permutations of these roots make different words (i.e. adding and alif before the root or a shadda (ّ ) (which lengthens the sound of the letter) on the middle letter of the root changes the word). For example the word رَكَبَ (rakaba) a measure 1 verb means "to ride", while رَكّبَ (rakkaba) means "to install" (literally "to make something ride"). رَكّبَ is a measure 2 verb. Adding a shadda on the middle letter makes a verb measure 2.

You can use the measure of the word to help you with the meaning of the word. If we look back at our example we see that measure 2 takes the measure 1 meaning and does that action to something else. Measure 4 also does this. Measure 4 verbs have an alif in front of the 3 letter root. An example for measure 4 would be دَخَلَ (dakhala) which means "to enter" and أدْخَلَ (adkhala) which means "to make something enter" or "to bring something in".

Here's a link to a measure chart from fatwa-online. The chart is at the bottom of the page and titled "A set of 9 important Arabic Verb Charts". Also, if you are really serious about learning Arabic it's important for you to have a good dictionary. The best Arabic-English dictionary is the Hans Wehr. You look up a word by its 3 letter root and under that it will have a list of all the measures for that root and their meanings. I've gone through 2 copies of this dictionary in my time learning Arabic. I used the first one so much that the cover started to come off. Before long I had lost pages and couldn't look up anything that started with ي. That was when I decided it was time to buy a new dictionary.


Arabic Simpsons: Season 3 Episode 1

I figured I could add a list of some of the words/phrases that are said in the episode. I don't understand every word in the episode, but I do get a lot of it.

0:05 بدر إصحى (badr iSHa): badr, wake up!

0:11 جرا ايه (garaa eih): What happened?

0:12 بابا جرا له حاجة (baba garaa loo Haga): Did something happen to dad?

0:13 كويس جداً (kwayis giddan): very good

0:20 هيبقى عندي ثمن سنين (hayib'a andee thaman sneen): I will be 8 years old

0:49 خد بالك من اختك بطة (khud baalak min ukhtak baTTa): Look after your sister baTTa

1:31 مين سرق قميسي (meen sara' 'ameesy): Who stole my shirt?

1:36 بمبي (bambi): pink

2:47 بمبي مسخسخ (bambi msakhsakh): light pink (msakhsakh also means "fainting")

3:52 إمليلي الإستمارة دي (imleelee al istimaara dee): Fill out this form for me

4:12 قطة ('uTa): cat

5:38 بص عندنا طريقة سهلة قوي (bos andana Taree'a sahla 'awee): look, we have a very easy way

6:39 زود الضغط على مشط الرجلة (zawwid aDaghT ala mishT al rigla): increase the preasure on the instep of your foot

6:49 عشان لمست (ashan lamast): because I wore

6:55 ترتر (tirtir): glitter

8:37 بجد (bi gad): for real

10:37 أرجوكم تعبرو عن مشاعركم بحرية (argookum taabaru an mashairkum bi Hurria): I want you all to express your feelings freely

18:11 يا ريت تعجبك الهدية (ya rait tagibik al hidaya): I hope you like the gift (يا ريت means "I hope" or "I wish")

19:35 كل الناس ضحكت في وشي (kul a nass DaHket fi wishi): All the people laughed in my face


Arabic Simpsons: Season 3 Episode 24

Here's an episode of The Simpsons in Egyptian Arabic. It's pretty hard to understand even if you know MSA to a decent degree, but I still believe that authentic language exposure is good for you. It gets you used to listening to the real language at full speed. There are also people who claim that they've learned a language entirely from watching a lot of TV in that language. I don't know if they're exaggerating or not, but I figure it's worth a try and at the very least it won't make your language ability worse.

I've got 16 episodes on my computer that I'm going to try to upload. I signed up to take the Egyptian DLPT on Feb 4 so I figure these will help my brain get used to the way the Egyptian dialect is spoken and maybe I'll get that 2 that I need to get some extra money every month. Enjoy the episode.


The Arabic Alphabet

Here's a quick run through of the Arabic Alphabet. Since you can only upload 10 min or less videos to YouTube I had to kind of rush. I would have liked to explain the difficult letters more, but perhaps I'll do that in another video.