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


Saudi Dialect Lesson

The Saudi Gamer podcast is something that I listen to every week. Video games are one of my interests and it’s always good to have resources that interest you when you are learning a foreign language. The thing is though, the video game resources I can find are either in MSA (written) or Gulf Arabic (spoken). No Egyptian. No Levantine. I imagine this has something to do with the affluence of the gulf over other areas of the Arabic world, or maybe something about the rest of the Arab world fighting for a bite to eat. That doesn’t leave much leisure time for video games.

I’ve been listening to this podcast since December 2011, so a little over a year, and I couldn’t understand much at all when I first started listening. It’s amazing how much your brain can pick up if you just keep doing something. I haven’t had any lessons in Saudi dialect but I can understand it, at least this podcast, pretty well now. If you’ve got some form of Arabic down pretty well, be it MSA or some other dialect, it isn’t such a huge ordeal to learn another form.

Anyway, this post is a transcript from a part of episode 115 where they talk about Blizzard making World of Warcraft free to play up until level 20. You can listen to the entire podcast here. The clips starts at 48:05 and goes until 51:35 just in case you want to listen to it there. In hindsight I should have made the clip shorter, but I wanted to get all the context in there and not leave you something ambiguous.

Also, I want to let you know that most of the stuff in this clip is used in other dialects too, just some dialects use certain things more often or less often. For instance,ببلاش (free) is said in Egypt as well as in this Saudi clip عشان (in order to or because) is used in Levantine, and there are tons of other examples. After having exposure to different dialects you realize how many similarities there are even at first it doesn’t seem so. I think the accent and the way things are said makes people think the dialects are so different from each other.

((The Arabic text in this post varies from small to large. Blame it on Blogger. Their font changer works randomly with Arabic. If the small text is too small to read, hold down Ctrl and move your mouse wheel. That will change the text size.))

Links to the audio (several because they inevitably go down eventually):


في الخبر إللي الصراحة صدمني و ماني متأكد منه. انت راعي وورلد اوف واركرافت. هل صحيح انه الشركة الحين سمحت لأي احد يلعب ببلاش الى ما يوصل لليفل 20؟

There's some news that, frankly, shocked me and I'm not sure about it. You're the World of Warcraft guy. Is it true that the company now has allowed anyone to play for free until reaching level 20?

انت راعي وورلد او واركرافت - Basically this means “you’re the Word of Warcraft guy” or “you’re the one concerned with it” or “you’re the one who knows about it”.

ببلاش - for free. Comes fromب لا شيء "for nothing".


ايوه بس... اوكي. الخبر الان, قبل ما ننتقل في هذا الخبر, الان فتحوا او الباتش الجديد إللي اسمه رايج اوف ذا فاير لاندز. طبعاً بالنسبة لواحد زيي انا خلصت كل البوسز إللي كانو موجودين اول و الريدز. يعني بالعربي ما صار عندي شي جديد في اللعبة أساويه... خلصت الكونتنت كله تقريباً. الان نزلوا الباتش الجديد إللي هو رايج اوف ذا فاير لاندز. فتحوا مناطق جديدة في اللعبة. فتحوا رايدز جديدة و بوسز جدد و يعني كويستات كثيرة فأي أحد يلعب واو حيقدر ينبسط...

Yes, but... ok. The news now, before we get to this news, now they've opened... or the new patch called Rage of the Firelands. Of course with regard to someone like me, I have finished all the bosses that were there in the beginning and the raids. I mean in Arabic I don't have anything new in the game to do... I finished pretty much all the content. Now they came out with a new patch, Rage of the Firelands. They opened new areas in the game. They opened new raids and new bosses and, I mean, lots of quests, so anyone who plays WoW is going to be able to have fun...

بالعربي - literally means “in Arabic”, but in English we would say “in plain English”

نزل - this words has a lot of different uses in Arabic. It can mean to get out of a car, to go down a mountain, but here it is used to mean “to come out with something”, in this case a patch for a video game.

ينبسط - have fun, be happy. انا مبسوط - I am happy


هل تحس بالليفل حقك؟ انت واصل لليفل عالي صح؟

Do you feel your level? You've reached a high level, right?

حقك - “yours” or “belonging to you”. All dialects of Arabic have a word like this. In Egyptian it is بتاع. In Levantine it is تبع. In Iraqi they say مال. These all indicate possession. الليفل حقك is the same thing as ليفلك. It’s just another way of saying that it’s yours. حق


انا خلاص ماكس. 85

I'm done. Max. 85.


ايه فهل تحس انه بالاضافات هاذي الجديدة انه تدخل تموّت و تخلّصها و خلاص؟

Right, so do you feel that with these new additions, that you can go kill anything and be done with it?

موّت - measure 2 of موت (death), so it means to make something dead, or to kill something.


لا. شوف. الواو... الرايدز او الغارات الجديدة إللي مسوينها مرّا صعبة. مرّا مرّا صعبة يعني. حتى لو انك واصل لأقوى ليفل و بأحسن قير هو ما يفرق عليك انت بس لازم القروب كله إللي معاك, لأنك أنت ما تطلع لحالك, تطلع كفريق. الفريق كله إللي معاك لازم يكونوا يعني ناس "ايبك" على قولهم. ناس كذا تلعب مظبوط. ولازم طبعاً تفاهم في الفينتريلو إللي هو البرامج التحارب في الصوت زي كذا ع اساس يقدر ينسقوا بينهم. فلا هي ممتعة و مسلية جدا يعني فيعني بالعكس شي ممتاز انه بيسووا هذي الاشياء و بعدين ببلاش يعني. انت ما انت دافع شي. فهذه الخطوات ذكية جدا من بليزرد انه يسوي ذي الحركات. طبعاً الحركة الجديدة إللي سواها و هي خطوة ذكية أيضاً هي خطوة تسويقية. اول كان عندك الترايل إللي هو النسخة التجريبية من اللعبة. كان يخليك تلعب بمدة 14 يوم. بس بعد 14 يوم يقفّل عليك. خلاص ما تسوي شي إلا لين ما تشتري اللعبة. طبعاً هذا ال14 يوم هل وصلت ليفل 20 ولا ما وصلت هم ما لهم شغل.

No, look. WoW... the new raids or the new "ghaaraat" that they've done are very difficult. Very, very difficult. Even if you've reached the strongest level and are in the best gear, it makes no difference to you, but your whole group that's with you (has to be max level and have the best gear too), because you don't go by yourself, you go as a group. The whole group that's with you has to be, I mean, "epic" people as they say. People who can play well. And of course there must be an understanding of Ventrillo which is the program where you can talk and fight (VoIP) so that they can coordinate between each other. So, no it's very fun and enjoyable, I mean, so on the contrary it's something excellent that they've done this and on top of that for free. You're not paying anything. So these steps are very smart from Blizzard that they're making these moves. Of course this new smart step is also a marketing step. At first you had a trial which is a "trial copy" of the game. It let you play for 14 days. But after 14 days it locked you out. Done. You can't do anything until you buy the game. Of course (during) these 14 days, have you reached level 20 or not reached it, they don't care. (That's how it used to be. Now it's free until you reach level 20.)

مرّا - very. Could also write it مرّة. This word also means “one time”.

على قولهم - “as they say”. He says the group members need to be epic.

مظبوط - correct or right

على اساس - so that

لين - the same thing as حتى “until”. I think it comes from ل and حين “until the time”.

ما لهم شغل - “they don’t care” or “it makes no difference to them”.


الآن قالوا لا. إحنا نسوي شي جديد اسمه وورلد اوف واركرافت بيقنرس او ايش يسموه؟ ستارترز ايدتشن. يعني نسخة المبتدئين. يندّيك اللعبة و مفتوحة لين ليفل 20. يعني ينديك تلعب و تكمّل و ان شاء الله طفيت اللعبة اليوم و انت بتكمّلها بعد اسبوعين. بس اهم شي ما توصل لين ليفل 20 و خلاص. بعد كذا ما ينديك تكمّل.

Now they've said "No, we're going to do something different." It's called World of Warcraft Beginners or what-do-you-call-it... starters edition. Meaning "starters edition". They give you the game and it's open until level 20. I mean you can play and finish and turn off the game today and continue it in 2 weeks. But the important thing is when you reach level 20 it's done. After that you can't keep going.


طيب جميل عندي بس سؤال واحد بس بالنسبة للخبر هذا. هل بتكون جميع الاماكن مفتوحة لي؟ لأني اذكر بعض الالعاب إللي تيجي كذا محدودة او يعني مجاناً يقولك بس بعض الاماكن تروح لها اما تروح في كل الاماكن لا.

Ok, Jamil. I have just one question with regard to this news. Are all the locations open to me? Because I remember some games that come limited like this or free, they tell you that you can only go to some of the locations, as for going to all the locations, no.


انا اقولك حاجة. أولاً وورلد اوف واركرافت كطبيعة اللعبة انت عشان توصل للمناطق الجديدة حقة الإكسبانشنس اصلاً لازم تعدي ليفل 20 تعدي ليفل 70 حتى. عارف؟ فانت اصلاً كشخصيتك ما تقدر توصل للمناطق البعيدة. فاهم قصدي؟ فانت إللي فعلاً إللي انت بتلعبه هو وورلد اوف واركرافت الإكسبانشن الأول. فاهم قصدي؟ اما بالنسبة لبرنيق كروسيد و ما بعد برنيق كروسيد انت ما تقدر تدخله اساسأ. إلا لين ما توصل للليفل المطلوب. حتى لو اني عندي اللعبة الكاملة ليفل 20 ما اقدر ادخل المناطق هاذي.

Let me tell you something. First of all, World of Warcraft, in the nature of the game you have to be over level 20, or even over level 70 to reach the new locations of the expansions. You know? So you, as your character, you can't reach far away locations. Know what I mean? So you, actually what you're playing is the first expansion of World of Warcraft. Know what I mean? As for Burning Crusade and what comes after Burning Crusade you can't enter it. Until you reach the required level. Even if I have the whole game I can't go to those places at level 20.

حاجة – something

عشان – in order to

حقة الاكسبانشني – of the expansions. حقة makes it possessive just like earlier.

فاهم قصدي؟ - know what I mean?


بس حركة قوية مرّا إجا كذا ان اللعبة تصير ببلاش.

But it's a very strong move to come like this and make the game free.


هي حركة تسويقية. الليفل 20 ترى بسيط. توصل في يومين 3 ايام.

It's a marketing move. Level 20 is very simple though. You can reach it in 2 or 3 days.


لا. يموين 3 ايام تقعد كل يوم 4 ساعاة صح؟

No, 2 or 3 days sitting for 4 hours each day right?


لا لا لا لا. الليفل 20 مرّا سهل انك توصل ليفل 20. شي ما تتخيّل السهولة حقتها. ترى اول كان صعب. الآن صار مرّا سهل

No, no, no, no. Level 20 it is so easy to arrive to level 20. You can't imagine how easy it is. You see, in the beginning it was hard. Now it's very easy.


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