Tuesday

Very Egyptian Phrases

Egyptian is a very distinctive dialect. There are several words that give it away. You've got فين (feen, where), كده (kida, like this), أوي (awi, very), and they pronounce all their ج (j) as English G's. It's hard to confuse Egyptian with another dialect once you've had some exposure to it. This post is basically a sampling of some very Egyptian phrases.



1. يا راجل انت جننت ولا ايه؟ (Ya Ragil enta gannent wala ee) - Man, have you gone crazy or what?

The word ولا means "or" in Egyptian and in other dialects. It's a combination of و (and) and لا (no), but just remember that it means "or". جنن means "to go crazy". The word مجنون (crazy) which is usually one of the first words any Arabic student learns comes from the same root.

2. بقلك ايه (ba'ulak ee) - I'll tell you what...

This is used the same way we use it in English. You can say it before you tell someone something.

3. هو ده الكلام (huwa da alkalaam) - That's what I'm talking about

Literally this means "that is the talk". When something goes the way you want it to or someone says something you agree with you can use this phrase.

4. مش كده (mish kida)- Isn't it like that? مش هيك, أليس كذلك

It takes a lot of exposure to different Arabic dialects before you can differentiate between accents, but before you can do that there are words that are very specific to certain dialects. The word كده is specific to Egyptian. If you hear it then you are definitely listening to Egyptian dialect. كده literally means "like this".

5. ايه إللي جابك هنا (ee illi gaabak hena) - What brings you here?

This can be said in a mean way or if you're just wondering why someone is there. It's all about tone.

6. بجد (bigad) - For real

This is the same as Levantine عن جد. It can be translated as "really", "for real", "seriously", etc.

7. بصو بقى يا جماعة (busu ba'a ya gamaa'a) - Look, everyone.

This would be said to get the attention of a group of people. بص means "look". بقى is a strange word that basically just gives emphasis. It also means "to become" in some sentences.

8. رايحة فين يا حببتي (rayha feen ya habibti) - Where are you going baby?

I put this one here because it's very Egyptian. فين is "where". It comes from في اين which is MSA. Also, the way they say حببتي (habibti) instead of حبيبتي (habibati).

9. وحشتني قوي (wahashtani awi) - I missed you very much.

This phrase took a while to wrap my mind around. You would think it would be وحشتك (wahashtak), right? After all, in English we say I missed you. But in Egyptian they do it the other way around. So if you wanted to say "Did you miss me?" you'd say وحشتك؟ , but "I missed you" is وحشتني. I think of it as "You made me miss you." The action is being done to the other person.

19 comments:

Akdeniz said...

where u been man? Ive been checking your blog everyday, no updates. Whats up?

suhat said...

thank you for the information.

Anonymous said...

Izzayak ya basha...

Ana asif...I'm pretty sure dialects use Kida as well..Libyans and Sudanese also. It's important to mention you are focusing on Arabic as spoken by Cairo. Not Egyptian as spoken in upper Egypt

Lakin, yanni keep it up man!

George said...

I believe ولا meaning or is not a combination of و and لا (no) as it is pronounced ولّا, it could possibly be a combination of و and الّا (only, save, other than, etc.).

Anonymous said...

no offence this is the ugliest arabic dialect.. Levantine specially Lebanese sounds so beautiful when it's spoken and heard.

JH said...

Feyn is used outside of Egypt in some places. Some Yemeni speakers use "feyn" for example.

Anonymous said...

Agree that the Egyptian dialect is ugly as hell. Arabic Student, it's funny how you change your voice when doing the Egyptian dialect.

Anyway, like Akdeniz said, update your blog more often!!

Anonymous said...

lol jokes when you changed your voice to be more egyptian

One thing you should do is comparative dialect, that would be a big guide for us miskiin Arabic students who have yet to master this 3amayah game!!

Anonymous said...

No offense, but men who speak Levantine "specially Lebanese",sound like fairies.

ahmedzs said...

should be انتا اتجننت ولا ايه
not انتا جننت ولا ايه

Louis 'Lui' Penny said...

Kida is also Sudanese! :)
Your Egyptian accent is so funny! you sound qaahiryyyy

Koen said...

Like the blog. Bravo 3lek!

What does weheshtny really mean? I always assumed it was derived from wehsh (as in awful)... So 'you've made me feel awful'? Is that correct?

Thomas Curran said...

The Egyptians not pronouncing their q's reminds me of Cockneys not pronouncing their t's:
The wa'er in Gibral'er don' taste like i' ough' 'o. (The water in Gibralter don't taste like it ought to)

lashel said...

1) You're AWESOME!

2) Is وحشتني used even when you're currently away? I get it after you've been apart and are reunited, but right now I'm a continent away from the person, and to use the past tense seems inaccurate.

3) Do I say وحشتيني to said missed person's mom when I get back and see her? :) (She is also very missed!)

lashel said...

P.S. You are AWESOME *قوي*. And furthermore, you're awesome.

Anonymous said...

You are awesome! Please continue what you're doing. In a matter of minutes I learned so much already! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Contratulations for your blog and your mastery of arabic!

I am from Algeria, I speak and understand both فصحى and the Agerian dialect but because I was not exposed to Egyptian movies in my youth, I understand nothing when people from Egypt talk to me. I think your blog will be very useful to me in order to communicate with my Egyptian friends other than in English.

Did you learn arabic during your chidhood? If no, let me say that it is very impressive!

Do you have some tips on how to learn a new language?

Aisha Elmasre said...

Lol lebanese is the ugliest of all the arabic dialects u all eat your words dont hate on egyptian just coz u guys sounds like gronks!!

Gareth Jackson said...

Thankyou Arabic student, I found this very useful and constructive. This dialect is beautiful as are the woman who speak it :-)