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.


Anonymous said...

Your understanding of Arabic - as a westerner - is amazing and should be commended.

I have a question if you don't mind. Studying MSA is fairly simple since it's well structured, whereas dialects are more diverse in the in the amount there are and the difference in vocabulary. How do you exactly find out the definition of many of these words, which unlike MSA words, are impossible to discover. It's also very hard to understand speech in dialect.

Sorry for such a big question, but I too would like to understand dialect but the task just seems impossible. Any books/dictionaries you use??? How did you go about in understanding dialect as good as you do now?


The Arabic Student said...

Well I had a 2 month class in the Levantine dialect and that helped. In addition to that I listen to Arabic songs. You can look up translations to TONS of Arabic songs at

But you can't expect to learn Arabic dialects like you would learn a language with lots of learning materials like Spanish. You kind of have to do your own research and your own piecing together of words here and there and very slowly you will start understanding things. Watching TV shows also helps, even if you don't understand what is being said, just keep at it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot dude, REALLY appreciate the quick response!

Keep up the good work on the blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,it´s off topic but i always wanted to ask you that question:do you know how to write arabic (fast)? i´ve noticed that the printed letters differ greatly from the handwritten ones,i aim at writing arabic faster and easier and
i tried to make out a handwritten letter but it was very hard for me to recognize the structure of the printed letters..
i would appreciate a response
best regards

The Arabic Student said...

I don't really write Arabic that often anymore, but I do type a lot. My typing is becoming decently fast, but still nowhere near as fast as I can type in English.

أبو مرقس said...

This is really great, thanks for publishing this. I've always found Egyptian dialect the hardest to understand. Is it just me or do they talk the fastest?

tajweed quran online said...

mashallah you have done a great job and good research to and i was delighted to find such a nice and resourceful blog

Anonymous said...

what a great site. as a beginner in arabic, it is nice to have some fun supplementary material.

i hope you continue to post more about the egyptian dialect and some fun grammar post (like idaafa!)

Corporate Techy said...

Great site. Keep it up. As a student (former, sadly), I've lost a lot of my 'Araby, but want to be able to keep it up somehow. I remember a lot of the grammar rules, etc, but have forgotten much of the conversation. Any tips? Do you know any resources for Arabic TV shows that are geared towards kids (i.e simple conversation)?

Aj said...

Thanks a lot, I am learning Arabic myself, tried many websites. This one was the most helpful. If there are more lessons on Egyptian dialect, would be great! Thanks again for a great job!

Lonely Punk said...

Here's a nice addition to the very film this clip is taken from with egyptian pop-singer Remy Jamil

I came across this by coincidence while researching the egyptian expression ميت مرّة
and this very related video popped up :)

Love this song!

Unknown said...

Your Arabic is actually good :)
However,you made a simple mistake.
فتح الباب is actually a name, I think the funny part is when he said أصحابي بينادوني فتحي because maybe he meant that فتحي is his nickname, which is a bit strange since فتحي can never be used as a nickname,as it's quite old and not "cute" enough to be a nickname.
فتح الباب isn't actually given as a name to this generation as it sounds strange,however you can find names like أحمد فتح الباب
مصطفى فتح الباب etc..
It's common,but I haven't seen فتح الباب أحمد or فتح الباب مصطفى

Greetings from Egypt :)

The Arabic Student said...

Wow, I had no idea فتح الباب could actually be someone's real name. Thanks for the info.