Lebanese Soap: Ajyal أجيال

The word أجيال (ajyal) means "generations". The singular, "generation", is جيل (jeel). Ajyal is a soap opera shown on the Lebanese station MTV. Simply put it's about beautiful people having romantic and dramatic relationships. There's lots of yelling and crying which turns me off to this show. However it is very popular in Lebanon. To tell you the truth I just skip to the parts with Nadine Njeim (نادين نجيم) and Dalida Khalil (دليدا خليل). This lesson covers a conversation in Lebanese Arabic from the show.

You don't need a lot of context to understand what's going on here. The woman in the clip is a widow and has 3 kids. The man is trying to make his move. She pushes him away.

بعرف انه زيارتي مفاجأة بس – I know that my visit is a surprise, but…

تفضل تفضل بليز – Please, please, please

سوري عن جد ع عجقة الاوراق بس عندنا عشية حلقة ع الهوى و بعد عندي شي 200 سؤال بدي حضرهن - I'm really sorry about the clutter but this evening we have an episode live and I still have like 200 questions I need to prepare.

(عجقة ('aj'a) means congestion or "a lot of stuff everywhere". I've normally seen it used as عجقة سير meaning "congested traffic" or "a traffic jam".)

عن جد بعتذر انه جيت بلا تليفون حتى – I apologize for coming without even a telephone call.

(telephone rings)

هدول الولاد. الله يستر. الو؟ اي ماما؟ - It’s the kids. God protect. Hello? Yes, Mom.

(The phrase الله يستر is said when you want God to make sure everything is alright or help with something. The root ستر has to do with pulling curtains or a veil over stuff to hide or protect. ستارة means curtains.

In Arabic it is common for a mom, dad, aunt, uncle, etc to address kids by using their own name. Like we see here, the mom calls her child "mom". I don't think there's anything like that in English.)

احمد عم يضربها لنور – Ahmad is hitting Noor.

(This means the same thing as احمد عم يضرب نور . In Levantine it can be said like this as well, though.)

طيب حبيبي ما تخاف هلق رح شوف شو بدي اعمل. سوري بس لحظة. ابو ناجي؟ كيفك انا فرح. عمول معروف فيك تطللي ع البيت شوف بس ليش احمد و نور عم بيخبطو بعضن؟ الله يخليلياك ابو ناجي. إذا في شي خبرني. اوكي باي – Ok, baby. Don’t worry. Now I’ll see what I can do. Sorry. One moment. Abu Naji? How are you? This is Farah. Do me a favor. Can you look in on the house for me and see why Ahmad and Noor are fighting? God keep you for me, Abu Naji. Let me know if there’s anything. Ok bye.

(عمول معروف means "do me a favor". You can't really look at it and figure out what it means. You just have to memorize it. If you use MSA rules then a معروف is "a known". "Do me a known" makes no sense.)

انا من شان هيك جايي لعندك – This is why I came.

(لعندك literally means "to you")

لانه الولاد عم بيخبطو بعضن؟ - Because the kids are fighting?

لا. بصراحة من شان عدة اشياء. اولاً بدي اشكرك على الربورتاج عن جد كتير حلو لو ما بستاهل قد ما سببتلك مشاكل بيوم التصوير. و شغلة تانية كمان بدي اعتذر على إللي سببتلكياه بالبيت. كمان بدي قلك انه احمد بده متابعة. و الدكتور زوين -سامعة فيها مو هيك؟ - هي معالجة نفسية للاطفال يللي بتطلع ع التلفزيونات و هي بتطلع عندكن هون كمان – No. Frankly for a few reasons. First of all I want to thank you for the report. It was really very nice even though I don’t deserve it because of how many problems I caused you on the day of filming. And the second thing, I also want to apologize about what I caused for you at your house. I also want to tell you that Ahmad needs looking after. And Dr. Zwain - you’ve heard of her, right? – she is a psychologist for children who goes on TV and she’ll come to you here too.

(بستاهل means "I deserve")

بعرفها – I know her.

اي فهي بنت عمتي و... فإذا بتريدي... – Yes, she’s my cousin and… if you want…

مرسي كتير. عم عذبك كتير معي – Thanks a lot. I’m torturing you a lot.

("I'm torturing you" is basically like saying "I'm putting you out")

ولو ما في عذاب ابداً – No way. It's no torture at all.

بس بصراحة انا ما عم بفهم إهتمامك الزايد – But frankly, I’m not understanding why you care so much.

بصراحة انا انسان كتير صادق. ما بخطط للاشياء. بس حس انه بدي اعمل شي بعمله من دون لا سؤالات و لا جوابات – Frankly, I’m a very truthful person. I don’t plan things. When I feel that I want to do something, I do it without questions or answers.

مسيور تيو إذا انت انسان صادق, انا انسانة صادقة و صريحة كمان. اولاً بدي اشكرك على اهتمامك فيّ و بالولاد. و تانياً بتمنى عليك تضلك بعيد عننا لانه انا مرأة ارملة و وضعي مش كتير بيسمحلي ابني صداقات مع رجال و خاصةً زيارات مفاجأة هيك بالشغل و حتى عندنا بالبيت – Mr. Theo, if you’re a truthful person, I am a truthful and frank person as well. Firstly, I want to thank you for your caring about me and about the kids. And secondly I want you to stay away from us because I’m a widow and my situation doesn’t much allow me to build friendships with men and especially surprise visits like this at work and even at our house.


Anonymous said...

معروف in the religious sense also can mean a "good deed",the context of which applies here.shes saying "do me a good deed",so to speak,which a favour is.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, can you explain one thing to me? Why do they sometimes omit the ا in front of verbs like رح شوف بدل رح اشوف and عم عذبك بدل عم اعذبك

it's hard to figure it's a verb or not.

Unknown said...

This blog has become one of my primary resources for learning Levantine Arabic.

As an additional resource for Lebanese Arabic, may I suggest onnanoyononaka's channel on YouTube? In particular, I've been watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=369-L9kPEpk.

I don't know whether the music is to your taste, but I love it and the videos always seem to have subtitles in both Lebanese Arabic and English.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate you breaking down what their saying in both Arabic and english translation. I was able to read along to help me understand better AND learn the definition. I thank you SO much for that and I hope you can continue doing that for video's that aren't too long.

Also, do you mind doing some more posts in masry dialect? It's my favourite and would like to learn more

thankss :)

alfannaan said...

yay! I am using ajyal to begin learning lebanese dialect. I am so glad I found this page - thanks soooo much and I will be back. (I must admit that Nadine drew me in as well)

alfannaan said...

just a couple things I would add. in present tense verbs the prefix is still there, between the bi and the stem: I apologize: بأعتذر
I don't know: ما بأعرف
Though the sound of qaf is just like hamza, the word for 'now' is هلاء

İstanbullu İngiliz said...


Ilan said...

Wow- you've done a great job of explaining the video, thanks! It's so helpful when someone goes beyond the grammar and into the nuances of everyday speech.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

That's a feature of lebanese and damascene levantine arabic : they drop the a- in the first person of the imperfect : ba3mel -> b3mel (i'm doing) bashuuf -> bshuf (i'm watching) or in the subjonctive where you have non initial b- e.g. aqull -> qull (that i tell you) etc.
This is a way to recognize central levantines because in Palestine or in Alleppo they keep thé a.