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.