Syrian Arabic Lesson: It's Out of My Hands

This lesson is on Syrian Arabic and the clip is from the show يوميات مدير عام (Dailies of the General Manager) on MTV Lebanon.  The phrase is "It's out of my hands", الشغلة مو بإيدي.  There are other things to learn from this clip though.  I learned the phrase فالج و لا تعالج , which basically means "the situation is hopeless". 

The context of the clip is that a guy is coming to a government office to turn in a form to enter some competition.  The government bureaucrat tells him that the deadline for entry has passed.  The guy keeps begging him to put the form through, but the official says there's nothing he can do.  It's out of his hands.  The transcript, translation, and explanation are below.


  • اليوم ما بقدر.  إمبارح كنت بقدر.  استوعبت ولا ضل عدلك ياها؟
Today I can't.  Yesterday I could have.  You get it?  Or should I keep repeating it for you?

استوعب - "to absorb or ingest", but it is also often used to mean "to understand or comprehend"
ولا - or
ضل - keep, continue (also spelled ظل)
عد - repeat
لك - for you
ياها - it

  • يعني ما رح تاخذ مني طلب المسابقة؟
So you won't take the competition request from me?

يعني means "it means", but it's really just a filler most of the time and can be translated in various ways.  Here I chose "so".
رح - indicates future tense
تاخذ - take
مني - from me
طلب - request
المسابقة - competition

  • و شلون بدي سجله اذا المهلة خلصت؟  لك و بعدين وين كنت لهلق؟  كنت نايم؟
And how am I supposed to record it if the deadline has finished?  And anyway, where have you been til now?  Were you sleeping?

سجل - to record something, to write something down
مهلة - time limit, extension
لك - this word is used to get someone's attention.  It's like "hey you".  Often it is rude.
بعدين - means "after", but here it's like "anyway"
وين كنت لهلق - where were you til now

  • ايه ما لحقت جهز الاوراق المطلوبة الا اليوم
I didn't have time to ready the required papers until today.

ايه - means yes, but he doesn't mean it here.  He doesn't mean "yes I was sleeping".  You know how sometimes you just say "yeah" and it has no meaning?  That's what this is.  It means nothing here.
ما لحقت - this is a very important phrase.  I hear it used all the time in Syrian shows.  It means "I didn't have time" or "I didn't get a chance to".

  • حلو.  و شو ذنبي انا؟
Great.  And how is that my fault?

شو ذنبي انا - literally "what is my fault".

  • دبّرها استاذ.  الله يخليلك اولادك
Work it out, mister.  May God keep your children.

دبّر - the best translation I could think of is "work is out".  There's also the common phrase دبّر حالك which is like "take care of it yourself", "work it out yourself", "do it on your own", "help yourself".  You get the idea.
الله يخليلك اولادك - this is said in a begging way here

  • لك لسا بيقلي دبّرها.  شلون بدي دبّرها اه؟  هلق انت بتقدر ترجّع عقارب الساعة لوراء؟
And he's still telling me to work it out.  How am I supposed to work it out, eh?  Now can you turn back the hands of the clock?

لسا - still
عقارب الساعة - the hands of the clock (also عقارب means scorpions)
لوراء - back

  • دبّرها. ابوس ايدك.  صارلي سنة عم بستنى هالفرصة
Work it out.  I kiss your hand.  I've been waiting for this opportunity for a year.

ابوس ايدك - I kiss your hand.  This is used when begging.
صارلي سنة - literally "it's been a year for me"
بستنى - I wait
فرصة - opportunity

  • لا حول و لا قوة الا بالله العلي العظيم.  اخي هلق انت ليش ما عم تفهم عليّ؟  الشغلة مو بإيدي
There is no strength or power but in the high and mighty God.  Brother, now why aren't you understanding me?  It's out of my hands.

لا حول و لا قوة الا بالله العلي العظيم - This is usually said when you are exasperated or at your wits end.  I did a video explaining it.
الشغلة مو بإيدي - literally "the thing is not by my hand"

  •  يعني فالج و لا تعالج
So it's not going to happen?

فالج - hemiplegia, which is when one side of your body is paralyzed.  The phrase is basically saying that the situation is like this disease and can't be treated.  The situation is hopeless and isn't going to be solved.
تعالج - to be treated (as in a disease)

  • للاسف ايه نعم
Unfortunately, yes.


Anonymous said...

this is a brilliant post - thank you so much! please keep the syrian transcripts coming, what a fantastic resource. bravo 3laik

The Arabic Student said...

Thanks a lot. It's good to know that people read these posts and benefit from them :).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts. It is so hard to find someone to talk to where i live. Your blog helps me so much. I check it every day.

SVS said...

I am learning the Syrian dialect myself and I'm so glad I came across your blog, you seem to know a lot about most dialects. My favorite is the one I'm learning but I like the Egyptian aswel and also think it's necessary because of music movies etc. I was wondering how long it took you to finally be above regular and how did you handle it? Did you learn MSA first or did you start straight with the colloquial dialects? At the moment I'm learning some basic phrases with the Pimsleur Syrian Arabic program. I find it accurate most of the time but seeing as I'm still in the beginners face, I really can't tell with certainty. Aside from that I have a lot of books that I've downloaded including all dialects but I really don't know a good method to learn fast. So that's why I would like to have some pointers from you =)

Btw I can you're enjoying learning each day more and more as am I. Though I would like to find a more fun and realistic way of learning it. For example, some series you would especifically recommend that helped you out, or a certain music artist? Well this comment is getting too long, so hope to hear from you! Shukran!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome post, thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

dude missed an easy bucket at the end... محرج !

Anonymous said...

Dude where have u been?