Levantine Dialect: Lesson 3

This clip is from the 2nd episode of the Turkish soap opera (مسلسلة تركية) Aliya (عليا) dubbed in Syrian Arabic. Even though their lips don't match what they're saying, the Arabic is spoken more clearly in these Turkish dubbed shows than in shows like Bal Al Hara (باب الحارة) where it's really hard to understand everything they're saying. To give some context to the clip, Aliya (not shown in the clip) and her husband (the younger man) split up because he was cheating on her. The older man is Aliya's uncle and he is trying to get Aliya's daughter Rama to come and live with him and Aliya.

The best way to benefit from these clips is to first watch them a few times without looking at the transcript. It gives your brain time to try to understand any gibberish you hear before you give it the answer. The next time you're listening to something similar, your brain is more likely to remember since it had to work to try to understand it before. I hope I wrote that in a way that makes sense. It's the method I follow when trying to learn a new language. You have to make your brain try and struggle first before you spoon feed it.

انا مو جايي لهون لحتى ساوي زيارة (Ana moo jaay la hoon la hata saawi ziyara.)

I didn't come here to make a visit.

Comments: Literally says, I am not coming to here in order to do a visit.

أنا إجيت منشان أخذ راما لعند إمها (Ana ijeet minshaan akhudh Rama la and imma.)

I came in order to take Rama to her mother.

Comments: لعند here just means "to". You can say, "We're going لعند my friend." and that means that you're going to your friend's place.

لا, راما ما بتطلع برات هالبيت. هذا بيت أبوها (La, Rama ma btatlaa barraat hal beyt. Hada beyt abooha.)

No, Rama does not go outside this house. This is her father's house.

مدام جيهان (Madaam Jihaan.)

Madam Jihan.

نحنا ناس ما منحب خراب البيوت (Nihna naas ma minheb kharaab libyoot.)

We are people who don't like to destroy houses.

Comments: Literally it says destroying houses, but it means splitting up families.

إمي, رجااً لا تتدخلي (Immi, rajaa'an la tetdakhali.)

Mom, please don't get involved.

شو؟ نسيت إني إمك؟ (Shoo? Inseet inni immak?)

What? Have you forgotten that I'm your mom?

سماع, دكتور فؤاد. قول لعليا تعقّل و ترجع لبيتها. و إذا كانت مو رضيانة انه ترجع (Smaa doktoor Fouad. Ool la Aliya taa'al oo terja la beyta. Oo iza kanit moo radyani anno terja...)

Listen, Dr. Fouad. Tell Aliya to wise up and come back to her house. And if she doesn't want to come back...

Comments: I had to listen to the first part of this several times before I understood what she was saying. Instead of تعقل و I was hearing تعا (come) and then قلو and I kept asking myself, "what the hell does قلو mean??" :) Then after a few listens it finally clicked in my brain. It's always a good feeling when that happens. Also, in the dialects they will often say "oo" instead of "wa".

امي بيكفّي (Immi bikeffi.)

Mom, that's enough.

ميار, ابني. كل مرأة و جوزها بيختلفو و بتصير مشاكل بيناتن. بس لازم الإنسان يخلي طريق للصلح (Mayyar, ibni. Kil mara wa joza byekhtelfu wa bitseer mashakil beynatun bes lazim al insan yekhelli taree' lil sulih.)

Mayyar, my son. Ever woman and her husband have differences and problems come up between them, but a person has to allow a way for reconciliation.

Comments: Notice he says جوز and not زوج. In Levantine and Egyptian they switch the letters around. They also say متجوز instead of متزوج to mean married.

طالما حضرتك تعرف تعطي نصائح ليش ما نصحت حالك يا دكتور؟
(Taalama hadirtak ibtarif taati nsaaih leysh ma nasahit haalak ya doktoor?)

As long as you're giving advice, why don't you advise yourself, Dr. Fouad?

Comments: تعرف can be ignored here in the translation.

لما مرتك تركتك ليش وقتها ما كنت بتعرف طريق الرجع؟ (Limma martek teriktek leysh wa'ita ma kinta btarif taree' al rajaa?)

When your wife left you why, at that time, didn't you know a way to get her to come back?

هذا مو موضوعنا مدام جيهان (Hada moo moudooana madaam Jihaan.)

That's not our subject, Madam Jihan.

إمي خلصنا بقى (Immi khalasna ba'a.)

Mom, stop it already.

ما خلصنا. لازم أحكي (Ma khalasna. Lazim ahki.)

We're not finished. I must talk.

تركينا... إذا بتريدي (Trikeena... iza bitreedi.)

Leave us... if you will.

Vocabulary List:
  • لحتى (lahatta) - "in order to". In MSA it's لكي (likay).
  • ساوي (saawi) - "doing". شو عم بتساوي means "what are you doing"
  • منشان (minshaan) - "in order to", "because", "for what". There's a joke about this word:
الصيني قال لسوري: شو اسمك؟
قال السوري: من شان شو
قال الصيني: سبحان الله ما توقعته زي اسمي

A Chinese man said to a Syrian: "What's your name?"
The Syrian said: "Min Shan Shoo?" (Meaning, what for.)
The Chinese man said: "My God! I can't believe it's the same as mine!"

  • برات (barraat) - "outside". Also the word برا (barra) means the same thing.
  • عقّل (aqqal) - "wise up", "become smarter". The world عقل (aql) without a shadda means "mind".
  • رضيانة (radyaani) - "satisfied" used for a female
  • صلح (sulih) - "reconciliation"
  • طالما (taalama) - "as long as", this word is MSA
  • حضرتك (hadirtak) - formal way of saying "you".
  • بقى (ba'a) - this word is used a lot. It adds emphasis to something like the word "already" when you say "come on already"


makkay said...

أخطاء إملائية

رجااً لا تتدخلي >> (رجاء) لا تتدخلي
سماع دكتور فؤاد >> (اسمع) دكتور فؤاد
طالما حضرتك تعرف تعطي >> طالما حضرتك (بتعرف) تعطي

Akdeniz said...

طول عمرك ايها المدير الموقع. كنت ابحث عن مواقع كهذه لكي اتعرف بلهجة الشأم. انا قنعان باعمالك هنا و اتوقع الدوام. ههنا بريدي الكتزوني )تكاتب لي من فضلك, انا من نرويج)

Anonymous said...

يا هلا يا هلا

Well finally one of my favourite serial ,which I have mentioned before .Suppose so usefull for all who want to improve Syrian Dialect as me.

Anyway as always i will try to give some explanation\examples for text written above.

*مو(moo)=it has an equivalent in MSA like ليس which simply means "no"

*هالبسكليت مو منيحة

hal-besekleet moo mne7a-This bicycle is not good

*ساوى(saawaa)-to do ,to fix sth

*و ساويت؟=shoo saaweet?What did u do?

ساويلياه=saaweeleeyah -Do\Fix it for me!!!

* منشان(menshaan) =for ,in order to

*منشان البيت=menshaan al-bayt
for the house

*طلع=go out(mostly used in Syrian Dialect),but has more more meanings,but i dont know them really.

طلعت من البيت -Tal3at men al-bayt
He went out of the house

هلأ طلع-halla Tal3a=he went out


الدنيا برد برة=ad-denyya bard barra
It is cold outside

بيسكن برات ع بلد=byeskon barraat 3al-balad
He lives outside the city.


*الزلزلة خربت تلت البلد
al-zalzala kharrabet telt al-balad
The earthquake destroyed a third of th town

*تدخل -tadakhkhal=interfere,

ما بدي تدخل في حياتك
=maa beddi tadakhkhal fee hayyaatek
I don't want to interfere in your affairs\life.

3aqala=to be become sensible,reasonable,etc

يا زلمة ,اعقل!!!!
ya zalama e3qal!!!C'mon man be reasonable!!!



ابوك مو راضي عنك=abook moo raaDee 3annak
Your father is not pleased(dissatisfied) with you

طَالَمَا*=Taalama=, as long as, while

In Syrian Dialect they use also

ما دام=maa daam=as long as

ما دام انت هون خلينا نخلص الشغلة
maa daam enta hoon khallena nkhalles ash-shaghla

As long as you are here ,lets finish the work

As always well done ,Look forward for a new one soon


Quran said...

Well finally one of my favourite serial ,which I have mentioned before .Suppose so usefull for all who want to improve Syrian Dialect as me.


Anonymous said...

You really good. A student who can speak standard arabic and can explain syrian, egyptian and others. wow. It's really good what youre doing. I studied arabic as a child and continue to study as adult at the University of Cairo, but it's a long time since last time I speak arabic especially standard arabic and I am starting to forget a lot of it. It's difficult to maintain your level of mastery especially as a non-arab. I am very interested in Shami dialects and I think theyre beautiful. I improved my syrian by watching turkish and syrian series, therefore, I advice anyone who wants to learn syrian to watch these series especially the syrian ones because they're short in episodes. I wonder if someone would be able to show me where I can find lebanase and palestine dialects resources. I am looking for something very advanced because my arabic is very advanced as I can speak egyptian and standard arabic.

Anonymous said...

I understand this is a very... queer question, but I have a Jordanian friend who speaks... very little English. I am just terrible at idioms in Arabic, but, by god, I need to explain to her what a baby-daddy is (the conversation literally went "What is Baby-daddy?"). Is there anything even vaguely equivalent to that in the Arabic language?