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.


makkay said...

مدونة أكثر من رائعة .. ولغتك العربية واضح أنها فوق الممتاز .. أتمنى لك التقدم والتوفيق في حياتك ^_^

النشيدة ظريفة :)

لكن أحب أوضح أن هناك خطأ بسيط في ترجمتك للنشيدة

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

actually the sentence says I swear I will eat apples

في الحقيقة لا الموجودة في الجملة ليس المقصود منها لا النفي
هذه الـ لا في الأصل هي مجرد لام ولكن تُنطق في اللهجة الشامية بمد اللام فتصبح لا .. هذه اللام تسمى لام توكيد جواب القسم .. وهي لزيادة التأكيد على ما تقسم عليه

التأكيد = التوكيد = emphasis

مثلاً: والله لأقتلنك
I swear I will CERTAINLY kill you (does that make any sense in English?)

يمين الله لتعودن القدس
I swear to Allah that Al-Quds (jerusalem) will certainly be back

I did a quick search about this topic (so I don't guarantee that these links are good/easy to undersand .. you might try to google for توكيد القسم yourself)

Link 1
Link 2
Link 4

It is funny that al-qasam (an oath) is used to emphasize what you want to say and you can also add more emphasis to an oath :S sounds complicated I know

The Arabic Student said...

Yes lol. It does sound complicated :P. I think they should choose another letter to emphasize things :D. You explain it very well though, thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

a correction there.
this whole siwak thing is NOT in the Qur'an. Rather, people follow it because it is in the Hadits (compilation of Prophet Muhammad pbuh sayings, actions, etc).

so not, it's not Qur'an. it's the hadits, meaning that it's not obligatory to brush ur teeth with siwak. just a tradition.

SodaJerk said...


Like many things in Arabic, the Siwaak/Miswaak has a prolonged, involved and often religious origin, at least according to tradition.

The Siwaak/Miswaak example illustrates this beautifully.

First to basics: It appears that the use of either SIWAAK or MISWAAK is interchangeable in both MSA and dialect. There must be a more precise differentiation than this between the 2 terms, but I don’t have my research tools with me at the moment so I can’t be sure. Obviously, however, both variants have a common origin….S W K but I can’t look it up right now. One appears to be a MASDAR (verbal noun), the other an ACTIVE PARTICIPLE.

There’s an interesting YouTube description of this object. The feature is called “Miswakology Introduction”. The speaker is using modified MSA and he uses the term SIWAAK throughout. This can be viewed at:

Then there’s an incredibly involved (but fascinating) webpage on this subject. It includes references to hadeeth on the miswaak, its proper usage and on and on. Take a look at this at:

This webpage is an excellent mirror into the Arabic “consciousness” that most Westeners find so alien – the persistent and almost mandatory reference to religion for even the most mundane of items or events.

One of the most difficult aspects of “learning Arabic” beyond just knowing MSA and a dialect, is precisely this aspect of the language.

Unless you are aware that this sort of thing is a living aspect of the Arab horizon, you’re still (in my opinion) only at the superficial level of “learning Arabic”.

In fact, it is quite common when living in the Arab world, for people to assume that because you know Arabic so well, you must also be well on your way to becoming a Muslim. That has been my experience. When I tell Arabs that that is not why I’ve learned Arabic, well, they don’t quite understand.

SodaJerk said...

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

Yes, what "makkay" says about the above phrase is correct: It means:

"I swear I will eat apples."

although since this is a child speaking a more appropriate translation would be: "I REALLY PROMISE I'LL EAT APPLES"

TUFAH (apples) is the plural of the singular TUFAHA...تفاحة (apple)

The really interesting point in this phrase, tho, is the LAM ALIF (LA). This is what the song seems to be saying.

However, as "makkay" pointed out, this is not the negative NO (LA) but what is called the "emphatic" or "assertive" PARTICLE (L).

In writing, the (L) should be attached to AKIL and be LAKIL meaning "I will definitely eat".

This is doubly confused and confusing of course because the preceding phrase WALLAHI has all kinds of ALIFS and LAMS which makes it difficult to separate one item from another.

For anyone interested in the "emphatic" particle (L), here's a hugely profound, exhaustive (and exhausting) academic treatment of the subject:

I can't give the URL because when I did, it went all over this page. Just go to Google and type in: the development of arabic la
and one of the first few links gives the entire book ONLINE (by David Testen).

PS You can buy the book on Amazon for $159.00 (ha ha).