Syrian Arabic from Bab Al-Hara

I've been watching a lot of the Syrian show Bab Al-Hara باب الحارة lately and I really like the way they talk. They usually draw out the last syllable of a phrase. They'll say the whole sentence really fast and then on the last syllable they slow down. In Jordan I spoke in this accent to a taxi driver he replied to me in the same fashion and then called me عقيد (colonel) which is what one of the characters in the show is called. He then told me that he had named one of his sons عقيد because he liked the name so much. It's a really popular show in the Arab world and just finished its 5th season during Ramadan. Here are some phrases that I took from episodes of the show. They are pronounced in the Syrian accent that they use which is a little bit different than the modern day Syrian accent, but I like it better :P.

  • رح تأكل اصابيعك وراها (rah takul asaabee'ak waraaha) - You'll eat your fingers along with it.
This phrase is said about really delicious food. It's so good that you'll eat your fingers too in order to make sure you get all of the taste. Literally it's "you'll eat your fingers behind it."
  • إصطفل (istafil) - Do what you want
Say that you're arguing with someone who's about to do something stupid. You say this when you're fed up and just don't care anymore about what the person does.
  • ما عم بيجيني نوم (ma 'am beejeenee nawm) - I can't sleep
Literally "sleep is not coming to me".
  • مكتوب (maktoob) - a letter
In MSA رسالة is letter, but it's more often called a مكتوب (literally "a written") in Syrian.
  • علمي علمك ('ilmi 'ilmak) - I know what you know.
Literally "my knowledge is your knowledge".
  • ما بيطلع بيدي (ma byatl'a biidi) - I can't do it
Literally, "it can't happen by my hand."
  • طوّل بالك (tawwil baalak) - Calm down/wait a second
Literally, "lengthen your mind".
  • روق (roo') - Calm down
You may also hear روق يا فاروق because it rhymes. فاروق is just a guy's name.


RenJac said...

Hello, Thank you for sharing this :) I really like your blog :)

RenJac said...

can you re video this and say
رح تأكل اصابيعك وراها (rah takul asaabee'ak waraaha) - You'll eat your fingers along with it. Slow pleeeease :D

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! I love this! Thanks:) Keep the vids coming! You are great for those of us that are struggling with learning on our own.

Mesmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris said...

يا أخي، كيف سجلت في الموقع

it is demanding an invite code from me...

The Arabic Student said...

Thanks RenJac and Anon. I'm glad the videos help.

Chris, I thought anyone could join, but after reading the FAQ I found this:

"There's a Maximum Number limit,when That limit is reached we stop accepting new Members,we delete inactive accounts so keep trying"

هناك حد اقصى للمستخدمين,عندما نصل لهذا الحد لا نقبل اى حسابات جديدة...الحسابات الغير مفعّلة لاكثر من 42 يوم يتم حذفها اوتوماتيكيا فيمكنك المحاولة من وقت لأخر,او ببساطة ارسل له دعوة

Timothy said...

Arabic Student,

Keep up the outstanding work! I love this blog. Very informative and your mastery of this language is really inspiring.
Question for you though. I am studying Eastern Arabic and I am having trouble finding a dictionary that focuses on this dialect. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

Emil said...

Thanks for an awesome blog. I've been following your blog for a while now.
I'd like to ask you where you bought your bab al-hara movies. I've looked around for them in online internet movie-shops, but i can't find any.

since my girlfriend and her family are fluent in arabic I now understand spoken levantine arabic fairly well, but i can't read a word. This makes it kind of complicated to look at arabic websites for bab al-hara. some guidlines would therefore be very appreciated!

greetings from sweden

The Arabic Student said...

Timothy, I have struggled to find a good dictionary for any dialect. I've got a few, but every time I look for a word in them I come up empty handed so I've just given up on dialect dictionaries. I'm sure there are good ones out there, but I don't know of them.

Emil, I didn't buy them, but if you go to you can watch them online. I hope they help you. :D

Anonymous said...

Hey I think what you're doing is amazing, I've been trying to learn Arabic for the longest time! And ur blog and vids would definitely help. Thanks a million~

lsergie said...

This is really awesome! Loving "istifel.

Another rhyme for you: "ruh lan ruh," it means "go, so we can go" if you are following someone and they won't move, you can poke your head out the window and shout "ruh lan ruh!"

Marwan said...

If you love bab el 7ara, maybe you'll love this sketch.
I miss a lot to understand, but the few I understood made me really laugh:

Let us know if you finish to find a really good levantine dictionnary. It is really missing for arabic learners.


Ana said...

Hey, the Arabic Student, if you like the way they talk in Bab al Hara, I d recommend another serial called Dabbour , you can find it online. It's very neat, people in Lebanon watch it a lot, it has part one (was lunched on Ramadan 2010) and part two (Ramadan 2011).
Also for the dialect dictionnaries
I found one for those of you reading french:
It s 1300 pages of french lebanese and lebanese french, it's cute, has both arab transcript and transliteration
I also have the dictionary for idioms of Hadia Harb (the one who made Arabic you need - one of the most famous books for learning lebanese), but I don't know where you can buy it online I got it from Librairie Antoine in Leb
There is also the Olive Tree dictionary along with a syrian-russian dictionary, that you can download illegally but I don't know if I am allowed to paste the link here.
And then there also an english-syrian dictionary that you can find on or on . I read some very good reviews of it, it gives you word in context, but unfortunately I can't tell you my own opinion, because I just spent around 300 euro on leb material so it will take at least another six months before I can afford another order.

Hope this helps a bit

Ana said...

ah The Olive tree dictionary, that I mentioned is on Palestinian dialect, and it's huge~ (meaning a lot of work behind it)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, it was awesome. It took me to those days when I was in Iran watching MBC. I learned Slang Arabic from this channel besides that, I knew Arabic grammar from law school. Anytime I see two Arabs are talking to each other I can't help myself from eavesdropping.

Anonymous said...

Can you translate بس لا اعرف هي بقلق? Thanks

Manar H said...

Correction : بس لاعرف هي بقلك
Translation : i'll tell you when i know it ( when i figure it out )