Tuesday

Arabic Definition of Insanity

This phrase reminds me of the saying "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results".  The phrase is اللي بيجرِّب المجرَّب بيكون عقله مخرَّب (illi beejarrib almjarrab beekoon 'aqloo mkharrab) which literally means "the one who tries what has been tried, his mind is addled", basically the same thing as the first quote.

 
I heard this phrase on الاتجاه المعاكس and here's an audio clip from the show of the host who is Syrian saying it.  Although everyone on the show is supposed to speak MSA they always will break down into their own dialects, especially after the show has been going on for a while and they get tired and angry.

(The video is all messed up مخرّب :), but the audio is clear.)

video



In this clip the host is talking to a guest who wants Ahmad Shafiq to become the president of Egypt.  The host is telling him that Ahmad Shafiq is just the same as Honsi Mubarak.  Why try something you've already tried?

هل جرّب المصريون حكم حسني مبارك؟ جرّبوه - Have the Egyptians tried the rule of Hosni Mubarak? They've tried it.  (rhetorical question)

جرّبناه - We tried it.

جرّبوه - They tried it.

نعم - Yes.

طيب.  و في مثل بسيط بيقلك إللي بيجرّب المجرَّب بيكون عقله مخرًّب - Ok.  And there's a simple saying that tells you, "the one who tries what has been tried, his mind is addled".



Friday

Free Arabic iPhone apps

Just this week I went to Best Buy and got my car set up to play my iPhone through the car stereo.  I should have done this a long time ago and I recommend that any language learner do it too.  Now I can listen to Arabic radio or Al Jazeera in the car.  My commute is about an hour every day and that is time that can be put to good purpose.  This post is about a few of the Arabic iPhone apps that I use in the car on a regular basis.

1. Arabic Radio Stations

The ones that I use are MBC FM and Rotana.  Both of those play mostly Gulf songs which take a while to get used to.  It's very different type of music and before I forced myself to listen to a lot of Gulf music is just sounded like noise to me.  It's all in what you get used to though.  I still don't like a lot of the songs, but 1 out of lets say 5 I will look up on You Tube and add it to my favorites there.  The latest song I found on MBC FM that I like is called شو سوي by the singer اسماء منور .  Stuff by Mona Amarsha (منى امرشا) is good too.  

I've been looking for an Egyptian and Levantine channel to listen to as well.  The best I've found that plays Levantine and Egyptian songs is called ListenArabic.

I found another one called NRJ Lebanon, but every time I've tried it it tells me, "Sorry, no network connection available.  Please try again later."

104.4 Lebanon and Sawt al Ghad (صوت الغد), the two Lebanese radio stations that I've found that work play American music.

Edit: Mark Jacobsen from buildingpeace.net and a few anonymous readers brought to my attention 2 radio apps that let you listen to a lot more Arabic music than I originally listed.  The apps are Tune In and Yala.  In fact, through both of those you can listen to the stations that I listed, so those 2 apps are really the only ones you need for Arabic radio. 

Some stations that I've tried and like so far and like on Tune In are Sham FM (Damascus, Syria), Radio Orient (Beirut, Lebanon), and Sawt El Hara (Egypt).  It's great being able to listen to the same radio stations Arabs listen to.  Not only does it give you practice with the language, but it gives you a cultural dose too.

2. News Stations

Al Jazeera is the main news station that I listen to.  The language is more advanced than BBC Arabic or France 24 Arabic, so it is what I usually listen to in the car.  Although sometimes I'll listen to the BBC Xtra episodes that you can find on the beebArabic app.  They often have more interesting topics that Al Jazeera but the language is simpler and easier to understand.

3. TV shows

MTV Lebanon is the best app that I've found for Arabic shows.  Everything that's available on their website is available on their app.  You can watch news or TV shows there.

beebArabic which is BBC also has a lot of shows as well.  One of my favorites is simply called 4 تك (four tech) and it's about the latest technology.  It's a lot like the Al Jazeera show عن كثب .  In the car I don't actually watch the shows, but you can still learn a lot just from listening to them.

Anyway, don't waste your time in the car listening to American radio!  You could be bettering yourself by learning a foreign language!

Jordanian FemaleShow You Tube Channel

I think I stumbled on this You Tube channel because it is part of a channel I subscribe to called Tahsheeshat تحشیشات (which is also worth visiting by the way).    This channel is called FemaleShow and it is done by a Jordanian girl named Teema.  Rajae Qawwas a Jordanian comedian also makes appearances as he does in this episode.  This stuff has a pretty high production quality and it's great for learning Levantine dialect.  There are subtitles and the stories are actually entertaining.  They're pretty modern and not conservative which is nice.

I've taken my favorite episode and written out some of the things they say along with the time that they are said.

video




رجائي.  خلصو الحجج.  ما يضل إشي أحكي لأهلي.  ما هو حل من حلين.  يا منخطب, يا منترك.
Rajae, the excuses have run out.  There’s nothing left that I can tell my family.  The solution is one of two things.  Either we get engaged or we break up.

Here ما هو just means "it's". ما is not a negation here. Also, the two يا's here, the first one means "either", the second one means "or".  That's how "either, or" is done in Levantine dialects.  Also often times they'll put إمّا after the يا. Like يا إمّا منخطب يا إمّا منترك.  Same thing.

أنا مش انسان حقير بده يوقّف عقبة بطريقك. 1:30
I’m not a lowlife who wants to stand as a obstacle in your path.

بده - This can either mean "he wants to" or "he's going to".  You have to figure it out from context. Here either one works.
حقير - This is MSA and dialect.  It means lowlife.

طبعاً هلق بده يضبّطها بس أنا متأكدة ما رح يلاقي وحدة زيّ بتحبه.  أنا كتير حلوة يعني... جمال بدوي و عيون عليا. 5:53
Of course now he’s going to fix her (get with her), but I’m sure that he won’t find anyone who loves him like I do.  I’m very beautiful… Beduin beauty and ‘Alia’s eyes.

 زيّ - means مثلي , "like me"
I'm not sure who exactly 'Alia is, but the saying means that she has pretty eyes.

بدي أطلب منك طلب بس أنا عارف أنه ممكن يكون محرج شوي 6:04
I want to ask you for something but I know that it might be a bit embarrassing.

محرج - embarrassing 

لا أنا ما منحرج.  عادي
No, I don’t get embarrassed.  No problem.

عادي - this means "normal", but is used often to mean "no problem" or "don't worry".

لا مأنا خايف أنك تتوتري
No, I’m afraid that you will get stressed.

The م at the front of انا means, "it's just that I'm" here.  You can really just get rid of the م and the sentence means the same thing.  

لا أنا كتير هادية و ما بتوتر
No, I’m very calm and I don’t get stressed.

رهيب. رهيب.  بدي مكبس
Great.  Great.  I need a stapler.

لا ماما نسیت تعملي ساندويش اليوم باجي معكم 7:22
No, Mom forgot to make me a sandwich today.  I’ll come with you.

بدك تضل تعرض كتير يعني؟  و جدي عنده جبل و بعرفش مين عنده طيارة.  خلاص.  وفّرلي الحكيات هذول لحدا يكون مهتم بالموضوع لأني أنا مش مهتم نهائياً بالموضوع.  و خلينا نتغدى و إسكت و إدفع 10:00
You want to keep BSing?  My grandpa has a mountain and I-don’t-know-who has a plane.  Whatever, save all this talk for someone who cares about it because I really don’t care about it.  And let’s have lunch and be quiet and pay.

عرض - means "to present", but here "BSing" is better. 
بعرفش مين - literally "I-don't-know-who", or "so and so"
نهائياً - at all

رجائي يا رجائي, رجائاً! بيكّفي تتصل فيّ. يعني أنا تعدّيت هاي المرحلة و عن جد عن جد بتمنالك تشعر نفس الشعور و تتعداها انت كمان.  خلينا نكون أصدقاء أحسن.  13: 20
Rajae, oh Rajae.  Please!  Stop calling me.  I mean I’ve put this stage behind me and I really really hope that you’ll feel the same feelings and put it behind you too.  It’s better if we’re just friends.

The guy's name, رجائي sounds like رجائاً (please), so it's a play on words.
 تعدّى - means "to pass", "to cross", but here it means "to put something behind you", which is pretty much the same thing.
 عن جد - really