Books in Different Languages on Amazon

I'm not talking about books for learning foreign languages, although there are plenty of those. I'm talking about books written for native speakers. I didn't realize there were so many books in different languages on Amazon. It's not immediately obvious how to find these books on the site and it seems like they hide the foreign section or at least they don't really care if you find it or not. It took me a bit of searching and I eventually stumbled on it by accident. If you go to "Advanced Search" it only lets you choose English, French, German, and Spanish.

Typing "Arabic" into the search is just going to give you books for learning Arabic. If you want authentic books written for native speakers of whatever language you're looking for then you need to go here. That link takes you to where you can view all the foreign language books on sorted by language. As you would expect, there are a ton of books in Spanish, French, and German, but they have less common languages as well. There are nearly 20,000 books in Arabic and 500 books in Farsi. They even have languages like Armenian, Bengali, and Malay.

I bought The Crime in Arabic by Naguib Mahfouz and a book of Arabic short stories that has both Arabic and English. I'm trying to do more reading in MSA. Reading is something that I haven't focused a lot on and so I feel it's a skill I am weak in.

I hope this was helpful. I've been trying to find a place that sold Arabic books that shipped to the US. I didn't think Amazon did it because I could never find anything but books for learning languages. Maybe they don't advertise this because there isn't a big demand for it? But eventually languages learners need to move past books that teach language and on to real authentic materials written in the foreign language.


Lebanese Public Service Announcements

On the MTV Lebanon website there is a daily clip called Minal (مين ال). The title is a pun. Every clip ends with him saying مين قال؟ انا ال. بشوفكم بكرة (Who said? I'm Al. I'll see you tomorrow.) The word قال and the guy's name ال (Al) are pronounced the same way in Lebanese. You'll get the pun better after you watch the clip.

The daily 1-minute clips have information about anything and everything. There is one about oatmeal and one about neck ties. They are good for someone learning Arabic because they cover words for everyday things and they are short. I learned how people say hairdryer in Lebanon from the episode on hair loss. It's سشوار (sishwaar). There is a bit of English and French thrown into these clips, but that's authentic for Lebanon. There is just so much context in these clips that even if there's a word you don't know, you can usually guess what it means from it either being written in English on the green screen background or drawn. They showed a picture of a hair dryer when they said سشوار.

This clip is about Champagne. I've included the transcript and key vocabulary words.

هاي. بأهم المناسبات و الأعياد بتكون قنينة الشامبانيا موجودة على الطاولة. شامبانيا أصله نبيذ بس مش نبيذ عادي انما في مفرقعات او سباركلنج. الأهم من هيك أنه هو بس من منطقة شامبانيا بفرانسا. و مش كل السباركلنج واينز بيحق إلهن يسمو شامبانيا. بس يللي موجودين بهالمنطقة. نوع العنب يللي مصنوع منه الشامبانيا هني البينو نوار, شاردوناي, و البينو مونياي. الضغط يللي موجود بقنينة شامبانيا هو 3 مرات أكثر من ضغط دواليب سيارة

Hi. On the most important occasions and holidays there is a bottle of Champagne on the table. Champagne is basically wine but not just any wine for it has fire works (he means the bubbles) or sparkling. More important than that is that it is only from the Champagne region in France. And not all sparkling wines are allowed to be named Champagne. Only those that are found in this region. The type of grapes that Champagne is made from are Pino Noir, Chardonnay, and Pino Meunier. The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is 3 times greater than the pressure of car tires.

تعرفو أنه ماريلن مونرو أخذت بوبلي باث او حمام بشامبانيا؟ و عازت أكثر من 350 قنينة لتعبي الباث توب. شامبانيا يُعد من المشروبات الروحية الأغلى و الأكثر عظمة. اكتُشف عدد هائل من القناني على متن التايتانيك. المفرقعات الموجودة بالشامبانيا تطلع من الكعب لسطح الكاس. و الشامبانيا يللي نوعيته منيحة البوبولز بيطلعو على مدار الكاس و مش بس بالنص. مين قال أنه اكسبيرينس الشامبانيا بتبلّش من فتح القنينة؟ انا ال. بشوفكن بكرة

Did you know that Marilyn Monroe took a bubbly bath, or a Champagne bath? And it took more than 350 bottles to fill the bath tub. Champagne is considered among the most expensive and most luxurious spirit drinks. A huge number of bottles were found on board the Titanic. The bubbles found in Champagne go from the bottom to the surface of the glass. And in good quality Champagne the bubbles go all around the glass, not just in the middle. Who said that the Champagne experience begins upon opening the bottle? I'm Al. I'll see you tomorrow.

Key Vocabulary:

قنينة (aneeneh) - bottle
نبيذ (nbeed) - wine
مفرقعات (mufarqa'aat) - fireworks
بيحق إلهن (bee ha' ilun) - they deserve to be/they have the right to be
دواليب سيارة (dawaaleeb sayyaara) - automobile tires
تعبّى (ta'abba) - to fill
على مدار ('ala madaar) - all around. A common phrase used by news stations is على مدار الساعة which means "around the clock", as in around the clock coverage.
بلّش (bellish) - to start


Syrian Arabic - Worth its Weight in Gold

I was watching Bab Al Hara (باب الحارة)looking for new words or phrases to do a post on and I found a good one, "worth its weight in gold". This is a Syrian show and the way the guy says it in the clip is really quick so I made a video with the phrase pronounced more slowly.

All you need to know to give this clip context is that this guy is coming to give Abu Hatim (ابو حاتم) some news. They are not friends.

(In the video there is an error. I say هزر for "guess" instead of حزر which is the correct word for "guess". Hard H is the one you want.)

شو؟ ان شاء الله جايب اخبار معتة مثل العادة (shoo? inshallah jayib akhbar m'iteh mithl al'aadeh.) - What? I hope you've brought bad news as usual.

He's being sarcastic when he says ان شاء الله . He doesn't really hope it's bad news.

معِتة - bad, terrible

مثل العادة - as usual

جايبلك خبر بيسوى تقله دهب (jayib lak khabar byiswa tu'loo dahab) - I've brought you news that's worth its weight in gold.

Literally this phrase is "I'm bringing you news thats weight equals gold."

The word جايب (jayib) is the فاعل (fa'il) or "doer" form of جيب (jeeb) which means "to bring".

يسوى (yiswa) - "it equals"

تقله (tu'loo) - "its weight". In MSA it would be ثقله , but often in the Levant region the ث becomes ت and the ق becomes a ء . This is difficult at first, but you get used to it after listening a lot.

دهب (dahab) - "gold". In MSA the word is ذهب , but the ذ becomes a د in dialect.

عن صهري ابو شهاب؟ ('an Suhri abu shhab?) - About my brother in law Abu Shihab?

You'd have to have watched the show for this to mean anything to you.

صهر (Suhr) - brother in law

The way he says شهاب almost sounds like شاب because the ه is very light.

لا والله ما حزرت يا ابو حاتم. هالخبرية مو عن سهرك ابو شهاب (la wallah ma Hazart ya abu hatim. hal khabariyeh moo 'an suhrak abu shhab) - No, you didn't guess (correctly), Abu Hatim. This news is not about your brother in law Abu Shihab.

حزر (Hazar) - to guess