Have a little shame! - إستحي على دمك

I've got 2 phrases for you today that are pretty cool. They are إستحي على دمك and إحترم نفسك . The first is used in Levantine countries and I'm not sure where else, and the second is used everywhere as it is MSA. I've got some clips that illustrate the usage of these phrases as well as a video I made for You Tube.

  • إستحي على دمك (istahi 'ala demek) - Have some shame!
To set up the context for this clip, this girl has been walking around everywhere getting hit on by every guy and finally she gets into a taxi where she thinks she's safe and the taxi driver starts ogling her. The clip is from the Syrian comedy show بقعة ضو (spotlight).


و بعدين معك انت؟ خلاص بقى! إستحي على دمك! حاج البصبصة - And with you too! Cut it out now! Have some shame! Stop ogling!

- بعدين - This word usually means "later" or "afterward", like بسوّيها بعدين "I'll do it later". Here it's used for some emphasis. The sentence would mean the same thing without it.

- خلاص - You say this when you want something to be finished. Like if your mom and dad are arguing and you get fed up with it you can yell خلاص (khalaas) for them to stop.

- بقى - This word is used a lot for emphasis. In MSA it means "to stay" or "to remain" بقينا في الفندق ل3 ايام means "We stayed at the hotel for 3 days." In dialect they use ظل or ضل (same word) to mean "to stay". I guess you can compare بقى to the word "now" in English. For instance. We say "come on now" or "cut it out now" but not really mean for it to be done literally "right now". We say it for emphasis. The word بقى is the same way.

- إستحي - Someone who is shy is مستحي . This word can mean "have shame" or "be shy". Shyness is more accurately خجل though. I knew an old Iraqi guy who would jokingly tell girls to إخجلي when they were being a bit too racy for him :D. It's not appropriate for girls to joke about sex and stuff in Arab cultures.

- حاج البصبصة - The word حاج here means "stop". You'll also see حاجة . It's not like the Egyptian word حاجة which means "something". And بصبصة is ogling.

  • إحترم نفسك (ihtarim nefsek) - respect yourself

In this next clip we have Saddam Hussein being tried. He goes off on a tirade calling the trial a farce and the judge says إحترم نفسك. And without missing a beat Saddam comes up with the quick witted response إحترم نفسك انت "YOU respect yourself!". I don't know how he came up with that one on the fly like that. And the judge responds in Iraqi dialect, آني محترم نفسي . "I do respect myself."


"Respect yourself" is used when you want to say that someone is making a fool of themself.

Here's another example clip for احترم نفسك . This is from the show الاتجاه المعاكس which is a debate show that always ends in arguing and yelling. The guy on the left is saying how bad of a dictator Saddam Hussein was and the guy on the left is supporting Saddam Hussein. The guy on the left just got done saying a bunch of bad stuff about Saddam and the guy on the right isn't too happy about it.


امراً عليك ان تحترم نفسك و تُأدّب ألفاظك جيداً و إلا أسوّي بيك شيء ما تتصور ابداً - I order you to respect yourself and clean up your mouth or else I'm going to do something to you that you can't imagine

This is all MSA except for when he says اسوّي . That's Iraqi.

- تُأدّب ألفاظك - I translate this to "clean up your mouth". ادب is manners (also literature), for example, when someone says that you are قليل الادب it means you are "bad mannered", literally "few manners". لفظ is pronunciation but here he means كلام. So تُأدّب ألفاظك means to "nicen up your talk" or "clean up your mouth" which sounds more natural.

- سوّي - means "to do". This is used in Iraqi and sometimes in Syrian.

- شيء ما تتصور - something that you can't imagine

- ابدا - this means "never", but here you just attribute it to emphasis. I wouldn't translate it as "something you can never imagine!" Personal preference really.


Anonymous said...

Great stuff !! Love the "al ittijah al mu3aks" segment, that show is always very entertaining and is also quite interesting in how it always starts in perfect MSA and then slowly drifts towards dialect when the speakers get riled up. It could make for some good case studies on your blog, how fuzzy the border between MSA and dialect can get.

makkay said...

Hi the Arabic student, you seem to have achieved a native-like understanding of Arabic which is really commendable taking into consideration how scarce learning resources are. I have two comments on your translation.

The word "وبعدين" can't be removed because it doesn't mean "later" in this context. This meaning of "وبعدين" is used when you are fed up with what someone is doing. Actually you can use it on its own saying "وبعدين؟!!" in a loud and angry voice. If I have to translate it, it would be "Then what?" implying that what that person is doing right now is annoying. I don't know if my explanation is clear, but any time you get impatient or fed up with what someone is doing, just shout "وبعدين؟" or "وبعدين معاك؟"

The best English equivalent for the word "يلفظ" is to utter or say something. The noun "لفظ" anything that is said. I'm not sure what precisely pronounce means in English, but for me it is associated with the way or the manner a particular word is said, as opposed to the word utter which means to produce words. To complicate things, we also use the word "يلفظ" to talk about how a word is said, which in that context is best translated to pronounce. A third use of the word "يلفظ" is to spit

I'm being a bit pedantic, but I think it doesn't hurt to know the precise meanings. Salam

Arabglot said...

this is great, bear in mind also that احترم نفسك can be translated 'behave yourself' esp with children/ at school and in response to when people use foul language

kualaganu said...

nice job, keep it on. I just be happy if you can make translation like this for any cartoon movie that you think it is funny and suitable for anyone who want to learn Arabic. Anyway, Just to let you know,I'm now studying Jordanian Arabic.

Anonymous said...

i found small article about it...

wisemanleo said...

Hey man!
We also use:
"3eb 3layk!" (shame on you!)
"walak, 3eb 3layk!" (yo!! shame on you!)
"ya 3ebo ya 3ebo!" (parents to kids, i.e., if caught just coming out of the shower still nude)

Emil said...

thank you for your amazing posts.
I have a question for you. It has nothing to do with this post, but i hope it's okay anyway.

a couple moths ago you did a levantine lesson containg the dubbed turkish show المستحيل (Impossible Love). Do you know where i can see the serie on the internet (streamed)? i've checked mbc but didn't find anything.

thanks in advance and once again, your blog is really good. keep it up!


Zzyzx 686 said...

This is a long overdue thanks for your great posts.I was getting nowhere learning Arabic (Levantine) until I stumbled upon your blogs while looking for the lyrics for Nelly Makdessy songs. Today's little clip is so useful. I listen to it over and over until what I hear finally matches the script you have provided below. It is resources for this process of word recognition which are otherwise so hard to come by. I love the Shankaboot series you recommended.Is that name a contraction of عنكبوت and شارع? "Street spider" would sound like a plausible name for the scooter. Greetings from the بادية

Anonymous said...

id like to make a request :)
could you please translate the song kel el qasayed - marwan khoury?
مروان خوري كل القصايد


Ella said...

Hey, "abdan" isn't such a difficult translation.. it's used exactly the same as "not at all" in Syrian dialect, and then they say "wala mara" or "bal mara" for "never."

Elissa said...

This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Youve got a design here thats not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what youre saying. Great job, indeed.

Majid said...

Actually, the word "بعدين" was not used literally. It doesn't mean "later" but something more like "شو آخرتها معك" or "I'm getting fed up [with what you're doing]".
Also, the guy on الاتجاه المعاكس (which is pronounced "alittijah not al-'ittijah, BTW) doesn't say "أمرًا" but "أولًا". So he's saying "First, you have to 'respect yourself' ...etc".
I would like to note that "احترم نفسك" is usually stronger than "استَحْ على وجهك" and it's usually used in verbal quarrels. Whereas "استحي على دمك" is often used when someone is being generally inappropriate.