Tuesday

Quick Syrian Dialect Lesson

This clip is from the Syrian show رومانتيكا (Romantica) which aired during Ramadan 2012.  The words aren't really hard in this clip.  The speed is the thing that may trip you up.  When I was first learning Levantine dialect it was always the speed and the accent.  I found that I knew pretty much all of the words but just needed to get used to people speaking it.  In this clip I wouldn't have understood where she says وقعت if it were 3 years ago.  It's a bit odd because she pronounces the qaf as a hamza in that word, but then right after that she says بنقذك and she pronounces the qaf as a qaf.  Arabic is fun, huh?


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  • بتخاف ما؟  ما بتعرف تسبح (bitkhaaf maa?  ma bta'rif tisbah) - You're scared, right?  You don't know how to swim.


  • ايه عادي.  في كتير ناس بتخاف من البحر (Ay 'aadi.  fi kteer naas bitkhaaf min albahr) - Yeah, what's so strange about that?  There are a lot of people who are afraid of the sea.

- The word عادي just means "normal".  I didn't translate it that way because it wouldn't sound right in English.  Also notice that ناس is a feminine word since he says بتخاف with it.

  • طيب لا تخاف.  اذا وقعت انا بنقذك (tayyib la tkhaaf.  iza wa't ana banqizak) - Ok, don't be afraid.  If you fall I'll save you.

- Notice when she says وقعت.  Some of the hardest words to understand when starting out with the Levantine dialect are ones that have a ق and ع right next to each other, especially if the qaf is pronounced as a hamza.  Literally she says "if you fell I'll save you".

  • بالله؟!  ايه بلا حكي فاضي و خليّنا ندوّر ع الزلمي (balla?  ay bila haki faadi wu khalleenaa ndawwir 'a azzalami) - Really?!  Quit BSing and let's look for the guy.

- The expression بالله is literally "by God", but it's used to mean something like "Really?!".  You can usually tell from context what the person means when they use it because it's a word that is usually accompanied by emotion or some gesture.  بلا حكي فاضي literally means "without empty talk".  خليّنا is "let's". ندوّر is "we look for".  زلمي is "man" or "guy".  They are looking for somebody by the sea.