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."


MBC Program: مسلسلات حليمة (Mosalsalat Halima)

Halima Poland (حليمة بولند) is a popular Kuwaiti actress and host of the show Mosalsalat Halima (literally Halima's series) which the Saudi TV station MBC is airing for the month of Ramadan. مسلسلات حليمة is basically a game show where viewers call in and answer questions about other Arabic TV shows. At the end of the show, Halima impersonates the role of an actress on a show and the callers have to guess who the character is that she is playing. I know the answers to none of the questions, but the show is still fun to watch, mainly because Halima is really bubbly and cute. It's also a good chance to hear some Kuwaiti dialect. She always says بندش على طول which means "let's start right away", and instead of جديد she says يديد since Kuwaitis replace the ج with ي in some words. Also, the ك is sometimes replaced with a "ch" sound and the ق makes a "g" as in "girl" sound. Enjoy!

00:00 - مساء الغلا لكل الجمهور الغالي في كل أنحاء الوطن العربي الكبير من مشرقه و حتى مغربه
Good evening to the precious audience in all parts of the big Arabic world from its east to its west.

00:28 - على بركات الله و بشكل سريع بندش على أول بورد. بعد ما حفظتو بلا شك قواعد اللعبة. و بنشوف شنو هي المسلسلات على بركات الله
With the God's blessings and quickly we enter the first board. Without doubt you still remember the rules of the game. Let's see what the series are, by the blessings of God.

1:01 - أنا مبسوطة انك سهرانة معنا اليوم. أنا إسمي ساهرة. إسم على مسمى
I'm happy that you are staying up late with us tonight. My name is Sahira (literally "the one who stays up late"). That's a good name for you. ("Ism 3ala mosama" basically means, "you're living up to your name". For example, if someone's name was Joy and she was happy and joyful all the time you could say this phrase to her since she's acting like her name.)

02:24 - ! بس انت بروحك؟ وينكم شباب؟ 1, 2, 3
Only you, by yourself? Where are you, you guys? 1, 2, 3! (She says this because only 1 of the guys in the audience shouted "heeya" which is what Halima always say when the answer is correct. "Bi rohak" could be translated as "by your lonesome", but literally means "by your soul".)

02:30 - شفت شلون ساهرة؟ قاع إنحمسك و إنشجعك
You see that, Sahira? They're giving you enthusiasm and encouraging you. (Literally, "shift shloan" means "see how". قاع here adds -ing to the verbs.)

02:57 - لا بها بحماس اكثر
No, it has more enthusiasm (because she said "heeya" with no enthusiasm)

03:33 - تكملين ولا تنسحبين؟
Continue or quit? (literally withdraw)

04:00 - ! صارت ترايد مارك هاذي على فكرة. هنا عم شوف لبنان كل من يطلعني هيييية
This has become a trademark, by the way. Here I'm seeing Lebanon and everyone is going "heeya" to me!

04:16 - ساعة مرصعة بالماس
A watch encrusted with diamonds.

04:53 - هو ده الكلام
That's the talk! (You could say "that's more like it" here. The context is that the caller got the question wrong at first, but then corrected herself. Then Halima says, "that's more like it". It's an Egyptian phrase.)

04:57 - الحين اقدر اقولك هيييية
Now I can tell you "heeya"! ("alheen" is the most common way to say "now" in the gulf and Kuwait)

05:08 - شو عم بتقول إلي جنبك؟
What's the person next to you saying? (عم is used in the Syria region and it adds -ing to the verb. Halima changes from dialect to dialect when she speaks.)

05:42 - تعرفيها بدون إختيارات؟
Do you know it without (seeing) the choices? (because the caller kept giving the answer before Halima read the choices)05:56 - الله يدوم هالضحكة
May God make this laughter continue. (دوم is related to دائما which means "always". "May God make this laughter always be there" would be more exact, but it doesn't flow right in English.)

06:06 - على إطار الضحكة,اليوم بالفزورة رح تبكون لان الفزورة كلها بكي بكي. مسلسل سعودي شهير بس كلها دموع و بكي و صراخ و انا جسد شخصية إن شاء الله تعجبكم
Since we're talking about laughing, today during the riddle you're all going to cry because the riddle is all crying, crying. It's a famous Saudi series, but all of it is tears and crying and wailing. I play a character and hopefully you all will like it. (على إطار is literally "in the framework of". بكي sounds like "bitchy" because in Iraqi and Kuwait they make the ك have a "ch" sound. جسد means to "embody", but here I think "play" is better since she's acting out a scene)

07:19 - إلي بعدو
Next! (literally, "the one that is after it")

08:44 - شفت شلون؟ كنت بلحظة رح تضيعين كل إلي وصلت لها
You see that? In one moment you were going to lose everything you had gotten.

08:48 - اذا الإسحاب مطلوب
Therefore, withdrawing is requested.

09:27 - كيف الأجواء الرمضانية عندكم؟
How is the Ramadan atmosphere there?

10:16 - بداية موفقة لإبتسام. شدي حيلك معايا هذا اول سؤال
A good beginning for Ibtisam. Get ready, this was just the first question. (شد حيلك can mean "pull yourself together", "get it together", "prepare yourself", things like that)

12:39 - الوقت يداهمنا
Time is creeping up on us. ("we're running out of time", that's the idea)

12:59 - والله إتصالك عزيز علي. عزيز جدا. عزيز وايد
I swear, your call is dear to me. Very dear. Extremely dear. (He asked her to help him. The guy who is the answer's first name is Aziz and so she's giving him clues by saying aziz. وايد means "very" in Kuwait.)

MBC Program: خواطر (Thoughts)

This is the 5th season of MBC's Ramadan TV show خواطر (Thoughts) with host أحمد الشقيري (Ahmad Alshukairy). This season is all about Japan. The shows focuses on how clean and sanitary the Japanese are and also how they are so successful and yet still hold on to their customs and traditions. The following is a 5 minute clip from the program as well as the transcript and translation. The host speaks in Saudi dialect which is really close to MSA. There were a few words that I had to look up such as ماصات and حقته, but the majority of it is pretty clear. This is one of my favorite Arabic shows along with مسلسلات حليمة!

Eating in the schools.

و نتابع الإبداعات في المدارس اليابانية في موضوع مهم و هو موضوع الأكل. الطلبة في اليابان بيأكلو في المدرسة كما عندنا كثير من المدارس العربية الطلبة بيأكلو في المدرسة. ولكن هناك فرق. الأكل في المدارس اليابانية بنظام

And we follow the innovations of the Japanese schools in an important subject, the subject of eating. The students in Japan eat in the school just as in many Arabic schools the students eat in the school. But there's a difference. Eating in the Japanese schools follows a system.

Comments: The word طلبة means "students". Just as طلاب also means "students". طالب is "student". The word أكل can mean "eating" or "food".

The period is over. Thank you.
Thanks very much.

تخلصو كلهم يقولو "اريغاتو" يعني "ثانك يو" للمدرسة. شكراً. و بعدين... جاء وقع ايش يا جماعة؟ ايش قاعين يسوو؟ جاء وقت الغداء

As they finish they all say "arigato", meaning "thank you" to the teacher. Thank you. And after that... what time has come, everyone? What are they doing? Lunch time has come.

Comments: تخلص means "to be finished" with something. بعدين means "after that". ايش means "what". قاعدين literally means "they are sitting", but in Saudi Arabic the word قاعد is used to add an -ing to the verb, just like عم is used in Levantine.

لقينا فجاة الطلاب قاعدين يضبّط الماصات. 4 ماصات جمب بعض 4, 4, 4. صارت طاولات. بعدين جابو طاولات. صفوها صف زي البوفي. و لبس 3 طلبة البلوفرات البيضا إلي هم هذول الطلبة, هم المسؤولين عن تقديم الأكل لباقي الطلاب. إجاهم الأكل من المطبخ, حطو الأكل إترصو. كل طالب طلع مفرش جايبه من البيت. حطه على الطاولة حقته

We found suddenly the students organizing the desks. 4 desks next to each other. 4, 4, 4. They became tables. After that they brought tables and lined them up in a line like a buffet. And 3 students wore white pullovers. These students were the ones responsible for serving the food to the rest of the students. The food came (to them) from the kitchen. They put the food (on the trays) and they line up. Every student brings out a place mat they brought from home. He puts it on his own table.

Comments: He calls the white coats the kids are wearing pulloveraat. It took me a while to figure that out. إترص means "to line up". The very last word حقته means "his own". It is used the same way as مالته in Iraqi, بتاعته in Egyptian, and تبعته in Levantine. They all add possession.

قاعدين يجهزو الصحون و يجهزو الأكل لطلبة الفصل. هذه مسؤولية تناوب عليها الطلبة. اليوم هذه المجموعة هي المسؤولة. اليوم التاني تكون مجموعة أخرى

They are preparing the plates and the food for the students of the class. This is a responsibility that rotates among the students. Today this group is responsible (for it). The next day it is another group.

تغسيل اليد قبل الأكل
Washing the hands before eating.
الطلبة يغرفو لبعض... الأكل. و شوف كيف الأمور منظمة. جلسو و لا واحد اكل. ما في احد اكل إلا أن ينتهي كل الطلبة من صب الأكل

The students scoop out the food for each other. And look how things are organized. They sat down and not one of them ate. No one ate until all the students finished getting food.

Comments: The word صب means "to pour" and I've heard it more commonly with liquids, but I guess it can be used with food too.

بتكون هون تقاليد الأكل في اليابان للطلبة. و بتشرح للفصل مكونات الأكل حق اليوم. و لهم اليوم الأكل في رز و لحمة و خضار. و تقاليد الأكل في اليابان انه الرز على اليسار و الشربة على اليمين. فشوف كلهم نفس النظامة

Here are the eating traditions of students in Japan. And she explains to the class the contents of the food today. And today the food is rice, meat, and vegetables. The eating traditions in Japan is that the rice is on the left and the drink is on the right. Look at how all of them follow the same system.

I don't know why, but I heard him say حق اليوم which I just translated to هذا اليوم. That's pretty much the only thing I'm not sure of in this passage.

تخيلو لو النظام هذا الي شفناه في اليابان موجود في بلد إسلامي. الطفل بداءاً ما يطلع... ياباني يطلع و يقول لهم تقاليدنا الإسلامي. تخيلو كل يوم هذا يحصل. تقاليدنا الإسلامية نقول بسم الله قبل الأكل. و الأولاد كلهم يستمعين لسة ما يأكلو. و انه نأكل بيميننا. تخيلو كل يوم طفل مسؤول عن ذلك. و الأطفال قبل ما يأكلو يطبقو هذا السيستم. كل يوم من اول إبتدائي سينشاء لكم جيل و إحترم يقدر نعمة الأكل

Imagine if this system that we saw in Japan was present in an Islamic country. At the beginning a Japanese child (goes) and recites to the others our Islamic traditions. Imagine this happening every day. "Our Islamic traditions are that we say in the name of God before we eat." And the children all listen, still not eating. "And that we eat on the right." Imagine every day a child responsible for that. And before they eat, the children apply that system. Every day beginning in elementary school. A generation will grown up (for you) that will be respectful and value the blessing of eating.

بتقول لهم أنه اليوم الأكل في بيض و البيض فائدته كذه كذه كذه لأنه يفيد إلك بكذه كذه كذه

She's saying to them that today the food is an egg and that the egg has the benefits etc, etc, etc, and that it benefits you etc, etc, etc.


Arabic Videos on LangMedia

I came across this site through a post on the How to Learn Any Language forums. I thought I had found all the good sites for learning Arabic, but this one has stayed hidden from me. It's called LangMedia and they have resources for a lot of different languages, not just Arabic. As far as Arabic goes though, not only does it have a lot of MSA dialouges with translations, but there are also quite of few roleplay videos in the Jordanian, Palestinian, and Syrian dialects (also with translations). I wish I had known about this site a year ago when I was just starting with the Arabic dialects. It would have made the road a lot easier. There's really a lot to be learned from this site.

Here's an example of the kind of videos that are on their website along with the transcription and translation.

رحت انا مع ابوي لتل ابيب و كانت هاذي اجمل مرة بطلع فيها في إجازة. بقيت هناك لأسبوعين. رحت على البحر. رحت على مطاعم. رحت على حديقة الحيوانات. و كان يعني إجازة تستحق يعني أن تتسمى إجازة لأنه كانت أول مرة بروح فيها على حديقة حيوانات. أول مرة بشوف البحر. تعرفت على أصحاب كثير
I went to Tel Aviv with my dad. This was the best vacation I ever had. I was there for two weeks. I went to the sea; I went to restaurants; I went to a zoo. It deserved to be called a vacation because it was the first time I went to a zoo and saw the sea. I made a lot of friends.


Lina Zahr Al Din and the Al Jazeera Headline News

Along with إيمان عياد (Iman Ayaad), لينا زهر الدين (Lina Zahr Al Din) is one of the few reasons I watch the channel. This is one of the Headline News segments I found on Al Jazeera's YouTube channel. 90% of the news on Al Jazeera is about leaders meeting to discuss issues, the death of soldiers, and suicide bombings. This clip is very representative of what is usually covered on the channel. In 3 minutes they manage to discuss all of those things. I'm not going to defend US news stations, but Arab stations really do like to pile on the death and destruction. Hey, if that's what's bringing in the viewers then good on 'em!

For me the new words in this clip are توافد and ذروة and تجاوب. I've probably heard them before but I couldn't remember what they meant. As always, I hope this translation is helpful and if there is anything I could have explained that was confusing or anything you'd like to see more of or less of, please let me know.

اهلا بكم إلى موجز الانباء. واصل الناخبون في جميع انحاء موريتانيا الإدلاء بأصواتهم في إنخابات الرئاسة التي تُجرى بناءاً على إتفاق دكار الذي أنهى الازمة السياسية في البلاد. و يختار الناخبون في هذا الإقتراع رئيساً للبلاد من بين 9 مرشحين يمثلون تيارات مختلفة. و يزيد عدد ما يحق لهم التصويت في الإنتخابات على 1,200,000.

Hello and welcome to the summary of the news. Voters in all parts of Mauritania continue to cast their votes in the presidential elections that are being carried out based on the Dakkar agreement which ended the political crisis in the country. In this election voters choose from among 9 candidates representing different movements. The number of people with the right to vote in the election exceeds 1,200,000.

Comments: You'll notice that I translated إنتخابات and إقتراع both as election. إقتراع can also mean "balloting" but I didn't think that fit too well. Also, even though بلاد is the plural of بلد they are still just talking about 1 country. I guess it could also be translated as "lands".

يواصل شيعة في العراق توافدهم لزيارة مرقد الإمام موسى الكاظم بشمال بغداد ,و هو أحد ائمة الشيعة, لمناسبة ذكرى وفاته وتبلغ المناسبة ذروتها هذا اليوم و يتوقع مسؤولو الأمن أن تبلغ عدد الزائرين أرقام قياسية. و قال لواء قاسم المصوي المتحدث بإسم قوات أمن بغداد إن خطة حماية الزائرين التي أعدت لهذه المناسبة تعد أول خطة أمنية عراقية مئة بالمئة بعد إنسحاب القوات الأمريكية من المدن العراقية.

Shia in Iraq continue flocking to visit the mausoleum of Imam Moses Al-Kathim, one of the Shia Imams, in remembrance of his death. Today the occasion reaches its culmination and security officials are expecting the number of visitors to reach record levels. Major General Kasim Al-Musawi, speaking for the Baghdad security forces, said that the plan undertaken for protecting the visitors on this occasion is considered to be the first 100% Iraqi security plan after the withdrawal of the American forces from the Iraqi cities.بدأ في العاصمة المصرية القاهرة إجتماع لوفدي حركتي حماس و فتح و مسؤولين أمنيين
مصريين. و يهدف الإجتماع لتقييم ما تم إنجازه في ملف المعتقلين في الضفة الغربية و قطاع غزة حيث سيقدم كل وفد تقرير بشأن عملية الإفراج عن المعتقلين و ملاحظاته على اذاء الطرف الآخر في هذا الملف الذي كان سبباً في تعثر المصالحة

In the Egyptian capital of Cairo a meeting has begun between the two movements Hamas and Fatah and Egyptian security officials. The meeting's aim is to assess what has been accomplished about the issue of detainees in the West Bank and Gaza. Each delegation will offer a report on the matter of the release of the detainees as well as what they have noticed in the way of wrongdoings of the other party (Fatah or Hamas) in this issue which has caused a stumbling in reconciliation (between Fatah and Hamas).

نقل مراسل الجزيرة في باكستان عن مسؤول حكومي في مقاطعة اوركزاي القبلية نبأ مقتل 10 أشخاص و إصابة آخرين بجروح في غارة جوية شنتها طائرة تابعة لسلاح الجو البكستاني صباح اليوم. و أضاف المصدر أن الغارة إستهدفت مواقع تابعة لمسلحين قبليين يشتبه في أنهم ينتمون لحركة طالبام باكستان.

ِA correspondent in Pakistan for Al-Jazeera quoted from a government official in the tribal region Oregzai the news of the killing of 10 people and wounding of others in an air raid launched this morning by a plane belonging to the Pakistani Air Force. The source added that the raid targeted locations belonging to tribal gunmen suspected of belonging to the Pakistani Taliban movement.

قتل 3 جنود افغان في تفجير نفذه إنتحاري في قافلة عسكرية بجنوب افغانستان. من ناحية أخرة قال الناطق بإسم الجيش الأمريكي أن مقاتلة امريكية من طراز F-15 تحطمت صباح السبت في شرق افغانستان و أن قائد الطائرة و مساعده قتلا في الحادث.

In a military convoy 3 Afghan soldiers were killed by an explosion executed by a suicide (bomber) in southern Afghanistan. In other news a spokesman for the US Army said that an American fighter of the model F-15 crashed Saturday morning in eastern Afghanistan and that the pilot and his copilot were both killed in the accident.

ذكر تقرير جديد أعده الأمين العام للامم المتحدة بان كي مون ان تجاوب الحكومة السودانية مع قوات حفظ السلام في دارفور قد تحسن و ان حوادث العنف لم تعد شائعة في الإقليم. لكن التقرير إشار إلى أن وضع المدنيين لا يزال مثيراً للقلق.

A new report carried out by the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, mentioned that the cooperation of the Sudanese government with the peace keeping forces in Darfur has improved and that the incidents of violence are no longer widespread in the region. However the report points out that the situation of the civilians is still worrisome.

نهاية الموجز إلى اللقاء.

The end of the summary. See you later.

  • موجز - summary
  • انحاء - singular is نحو. It means directions, sides, or parts as in كل انحاء العالم (all parts of the world)
  • وفد - delegation (a group of people sent to a meeting in another country usually)
  • توافد - flocking or thronging to something. It's from the root وفد . You can see that words involving that root have to do with groups of people going somewhere.
  • ذروة - pinnacle, summit, culmination
  • ملف - a file, but not in a literal sense. I usually translate it to issue or matter.
  • تجاوب - harmony, working together, cooperation
  • حفظ السلام - peace keeping