Monday

Fairouz Lyrics - هالسيارة مش عم تمشي

I decided to look up the full version of this song because I had heard people singing parts of it several times on various TV shows. Fairouz's songs are a big part of Lebanese culture and the culture of the entire Arab world and this is a popular one that everyone seems to know. I like it because it has a catchy tune and it's actually about something concrete. It's about a car being broken down. You could translate the title as This Car isn't Going. This song is also good for learning Lebanese vocabulary. There are a lot things specific to Lebanese dialect in the lyrics. I've written out the lyrics to the song and put a vocab list at the end. Vocab words are in red.


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اسمك شغلك ضيعتك
انا اسمي زيون
عندي بالمدينة محل بيع صحون
وستي من ضيعة كحلون
الله معك ع كحلون



Your name, your job, your village?
My name is Zayoon.
In the city I have a shop where I sell dishes.
And my grandmother is from the village of Kahloon.
God with you to Kahloon.


هالسيارة مش عم تمشي
بدنا حدا يدفشها دفشة
يحكو عن ورشة تصليح
وما عرفنا وين هي الورشة



This car isn't going
We need someone to give it a push
They talk about a repair shop
But we don't know where the repair shop is


مبارح شفناهن رايحين
على قمر العشاق طالعين
و نحنا بمطرحنا واقفين
والسيارة مش عم تمشي


Yesterday we saw them going by
They were going to lovers' moon
And we are stopped in our place
And this car isn't going


يغيب نهار يطل نهار
والناطر ناطر على نار
بيجي مختار بيروح مختار
والسيارة مش عم تمشي


A day goes by and another day dawns
And the waiter waits on a fire
A mayor comes and a mayor goes
And this car isn't going


و يا أهل ميس الريم ضلوا اتذكروني
كلما حبو اثنين تبقوا اتذكروني
لا تنسوا زيون لا تنسوا زيون
اللي ستها من كحلون
مطرح اللي بيبكي وبيحفر الحسون
اسمه على خيال الحور
بكحلون

Oh people of Mais al Reem, remember me.
Whenever two people fall in love, remember me
Don't forget Zayoon. Don't forget Zayoon.
Who's grandmother is from Kahloon.
Where the goldfinch cries and digs
his name on the poplar's shadow
In Kahloon


Vocabulary List:

1. سِت (sit) - lady. This word can be used to refer to a woman who is married or to a grandmother. In this song it means grandmother. This is not to be confused with the word 6 which is either ست or ستة . There's an Egyptian show called راجل و ست ستات (A man and 6 women) who's name plays on the similarity between these 2 words.

2. دفش (dafash) - to push. This comes from the MSA word دفع (dafa'a) which means the same thing. In Lebanese they will take the last letter of a word and change it to a ش (sh) sometimes. Another example is the word قبش (qabash) which means "to bury". It comes from قبر (qabara) which means the same thing. I'm sure there are more words that do this is well. If you see a word you don't know and it ends in a ش (sh), just try to think of words you do know that just have a different last letter. You might be able to figure out the word.

Also, in the song the lyric goes بدنا حدا يدفشها دفشة (we need someone to give it a push). That literally means "we need someone to push it a push".

3. قمر العشاق ('amar al'asha') - the moon of lovers. If someone is "going to lovers' moon" it's just a way of saying they are in love.

4. مطرح (matrah) - place/location. Same thing as مكان (makan).

5. الناطر ناطر على نار (alnaatr naatr 'ala nar) - literally "the waiter is waiting on a fire". نطر (natar) means "to wait". الناطر (alnaatr) just means "someone who waits". It isn't the guy at the restaurant who serves you that we call the waiter in English. This sentence just means they are "waiting anxiously". Imagine if you were waiting for something and having to stand in a fire while you waited. That's the feeling this conveys.

6. مختار (mukhtar) - village leader. No real translation for it in English. Chief or mayor would be the closest.

7. ضل (dal) - stay/remain.

8. الحسون (alhassoon) - goldfinch (popular bird in Lebanon)

9. خيال (khyaal) - shadow

10. الحور (alhoor) - poplar tree (popular tree in Lebanon, but not as popular as the الارزة , the cedar)

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.
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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.
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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.