Don't Talk About Me - ما تجيب سيرتي

This is a common phrase in the Levant region and it took me a while to work out. It took hearing it in lots of different contexts and eventually the meaning was clear. Literally ما تجيب سيرتي (ma tjeeb seerti) means "don't bring my story", but it is used to mean "don't talk about me". In MSA a سيرة ذاتية (seera thateea) is an autobiography, literally a "self story".

Sometimes it will be used with ع لسانك at the end. ما تجيب سيرتي ع لسانك - "don't bring my story on your tongue". It doesn't always have to be a person who's "story you're bringing" either. For example, if a guy and a girl are out on a date and the girl starts talking about marriage he might say, مين جاب سيرة الزواج بالموضوع؟؟, meaning something like "who's talking about marriage??" or "who brought up marriage??".

Here are 2 example clips to further illustrate the usage of سيرة

  • This first clip is from بقعة ضو , a Syrian comedy show. To give you some context, the guy in the clip is always waiting for this girl outside her house with a bouquet of flowers. She gets angry because she has a fiance.

يا ليلة - Layla.
أوعك ها! أوعك! ما بسمحلك أصلاً تجيب سيرة إسمي ع لسانك - Stop! Stop. I don't allow you to say my name!

The word أوعى is like a warning. It's like saying "I warn you" or like saying "stop". The ك at the end is the "you" pronoun. The ها at the end of the first أوعك is just for emphasis. It isn't the female pronoun.

The root سمح means "to allow" or "to let someone do something". Not to be confused with سامح which is "to forgive", as in الله يسامحك , "may God forgive you".

أصلاً is a hard one to translate. The word اصل means origin and اصلاً means originally... sometimes. But here it doesn't mean that. You have to hear this word used a lot to know when it would fit in a sentence. Here you could translate it as "anyway" or "at all". I just left it out though. It's just an emphasizer.

تجيب سيرة إسمي ع لسانك - "to bring the story of my name on your tongue", but really it just means "to say my name". If it doesn't sound right in English, don't put it in the translation. That's how I do it anyway. You can't translate literally or it's going to sound dumb.

  • This next clip is from a Turkish show dubbed into Syrian Arabic called احلام بريئة Innocent Dreams. This girl's grandmother is yelling at her because she doesn't like the boy she's been hanging around.

من هون و رايح ما بدي شوفك معه و لا بدي اسمع إسمه ع لسانك و لا بدياكي تجيبي سيرته - From now on I don't want to see you with him, I don't want to hear you say his name, and I don't want you to talk about him.

من هون و رايح - "from now on". I made a video about this phrase here.

لا بدياكي - I don't want you. If you say بدي "I want", and what you want is a pronoun, you don't just put the pronoun on the end of بدي. You have to put يا in between. For example. "You want it/him" would be بدكياه . "I want it/her" is بدياها. It's really بدي ياها. There are really 2 ya's there but you can just write it as one.


أبو مرقس said...

Brilliant work thanks for the post. It's hard for me to understand phrases when watching episodes in full because the conversations are so full paced. But your approach of taking a particular phrase and then giving a snippet as an example is a great. I'll keep re watching the snippet until it's cemented.

Is it just me or... do words like تشوف تجيب sound like the beginning 't' isn't pronounced in conversation?

The Arabic Student said...

Sometimes it's hard to hear the ت or ي and I have trouble knowing what the verb is referring to sometimes because of that.

Anonymous said...

Why was ياك used to carry the pronoun on بدي instead of منك which is what I usally see?

The Arabic Student said...

بدي منك = I want from you

بدي ياك = I want you

I hope that helps :)

Some Dude said...

I've been studying Arabic for a good 3 years now, but my amayyah is still poor!

Its so tough to hear it, so not used to it, I really cannot hear the ت in her تجيب !

How did you do it Arabic Student!!?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your help. You are truly amazing. One note, I have been told that to say "بدي ياك" has a sexual connotation so just to caution others.