Chadian/Sudanese Arabic from Bentley Brown

So a while ago I posted about an American who speaks Sudanese Arabic fluently.  I couldn't understand several parts of the video so I couldn't explain them, but I thought it was worth posting anyway because I had never seen a white guy speaking Sudanese Arabic.  I even showed the video to a Lebanese friend of mine who was taken aback and asked me, "Is this guy mocking them or does he really speak like that?"  He grew up in Chad so that's the way he really speaks Arabic.

Well, I got an email yesterday from Bentley Brown, the guy in the video, filling me in on what he was actually saying.  Below are the notes he sent and a repost of the original video about his movie Faisal Goes West.

Some of the trouble spots: انا الاعجبت مرة واحد. خليني انا الخواجي البتكلم عربي انت كي اتعلمت انجليزي للدرجة دي وين؟


قال لي اتعلمه في أمريكا، في دالاس، يعني الحلة الانا ذاتا مولود فوقه قبال ما مشيت تشاد دا.

Breaking it down:

 I was amazed, shocked. In Chadian Arabic, the reflexive or 5th verb form is made with -ال, not -ات. Functions like a definite article and even follows حروف شمسية rules, i.e. الشافوا is pronounced ash-shaafo and means "they saw each other." 

مرة واحد
very much, a lot
خليني انا الخواجي البتكلم عربي دا
Forget me, the white guy speaking Arabic... (khawaja or khawaji is a derogatory term in Sudan for "white foreigner")

انت كي، اتعلمت انجليزي للدرجة دي وين؟
...where did you learn English so well? (كي is a Chadian word that adds to emphasis, and is also used similar to كدا in Egyptian and Sudanese)

قال لي اتعلمه في أمريكا
He told me he learned it in America... (notice this is one of my Sudanese sell-out moments--in Chadian I would have said اِلْعلّمَه)

في دالاس، يعني الحلة الانا ذاته مولود فوقه Dallas, the town I was born in

that I (instead of اللي or الذي/التي, Chadian and Sudanese Arabic just use the definite article)
Literally means "myself," a sort of colloquial way of saying "ذاتي," but here just used for emphasis.

موْلُود فوقَهْ
In this case, "born in," not "born on." Very colloquial and particular to central Chad, i.e. Ati area where I grew up.

قبال ما مشيت تشاد دا
...before I went [moved] to Chad. قبال ما is the Chadian equivalent of قبل أنْ and دا is used for emphasis, a sort of Chadian marker that gets thrown around a lot.


Helwe wa Kezzabi

Recently I've been watching the MTV Lebanon show Helwe wa Kezzabi (حلوة و كذابة).  It's got some good phrases and is actually interesting to watch.  I even added the opening song to my You Tube favorites.  Plus Dalida Khalil is pretty much the hottest Lebanese actress there is.

This post is a clip from the show where Dalida (both the actress's name in real life and the show) is checking up on her friend Lena because she hasn't been showing up to school.  Lena got told by the guy she liked that he didn't like her so she was staying in bed for days and didn't want to leave the house.  In the clip Dalida is trying to pry out of Lena what's wrong.  The phrase that made me choose this clip was "don't limp in front of a cripple" ما تعرج قدام مكرسح .  I had never heard that before, but you can get what is meant by it from the context of the conversation if you know what the individual words mean.  The English equivalent would be "don't kid a kidder".  Not really a phrase I've heard in daily life, more in old movies, but it's the best equivalent I could think of.  Also تفنيص is a new one for me.  Had to do some research to get the exact meaning.  I settled on BS.

خبريني. انتي كيفك؟
Tell me, how are you?


منيحة؟ من وين لوين منيحة؟
Good?  There's no way you're good. (Or "what do you mean you're good?")

والله منيحة
Really, I'm good.

لينا.  انا صاحبتك و حافظتك عن الغايب. قوليلي شو بكي
Lena, I'm your friend and I've can read you like a book.  Tell me what's wrong with you.

كنت شوي مريضة
I was a little sick.

ما تعرجي قدام مكرسح
Don't limp in front of a cripple.

شو يعني؟
What does that mean?

يا حبيبتي, ما بتضبط معك. انا استاذة بالكذب.  اختصاصي تفنيص.  يعني ما تجرّبي تقطّعي عليّ ولا كذبة
My dear, it doesn't work for you.  I am a teacher in lying.  My specialty is BS.  It means don't try to pass a single lie by me.


MSA and Lebanese, Eating Healthy During Holidays

This 45 second clip is from the MTV 8pm news.  The anchor is speaking in MSA, but the reporter and the lady she interviews are speaking Lebanese dialect.  While it is Lebanese dialect it isn't slang.  It's basically MSA with a little Lebanese added.  Like the word نبلش (let's begin). 


في الخاص, كيف نحافظ على صحتنا و ما نسبة كميات الاكل المسموح بها في موسم الاعياد.

Special (report), how do we maintain our health and what is the proportion of the amounts of food allowed in the holiday season.

 بفترة الاعياد الناس بيستهلكو كميات كبيرة من الاكل العالي الدسم.  الامر الي بيسبب بضرر صحي اضافة إلى زيادة بالوزن.  شو هي الطريقة المعتدلة لناكل وجبات شهية و نحافظ بالوقت نفسه على صحتنا.

During the holiday period people consume large amounts of high fat foods.  This causes damage to health as well as weight gain.  What is a moderate way for us to eat satisfying meals and to maintain our health at the same time?

هلق الطريقة هي الاعتدال.  الاعتدال يعني حتى و لو كان عندنا وجبة ثقيلة ممكن نبلش بالخضراء بالاجمال يعني نبلش بالسلطة, ننتبه على 

المشروبات لانه بالمشروبات كمان في نسبة سعرات حرارية مهمة و اذا كتير الاكل دسم نخفف الكمية.

Now the way is moderation.  Moderation means that even if we have a heavy meal we can start with greens mostly, I mean start with salad.  Pay attention to the drinks because in drinks there is also a large amount of calories and if the food is very fatty we can lessen the amount.


There are a few things I'd like to mention that might help with some confusing parts of the transcript.
موسم الاعياد (mawsim al’ayad) – The holiday season

الاكل العالي الدسم (alakl al’aali aldasm) – high fat foods.  To tell you the truth I don’t know why they said it like this and I listened to it several times to make sure.  I would think that اكل عالي الدسم would have been correct but I’ve learned better than to correct native speakers at their own language.  Anyway, those three words, whether they’ve got the definite ال or not, they mean high fat foods.

وجبات شهية (wajbaat shahiyi) – satisfying meals

حتى و لو كان عندنا (hatta wa law kaan ‘andna) – Even if we had.  This is an important phrase.  If you don’t know it then it would be good to remember.  It comes in handy a lot when trying to express yourself.  The words حتى و لو (even if) are good to know.

وجبة ثقيلة (wajba thaqeela) – heavy meal.  You’ll notice that she actually says wajbi ta’eeli.  That’s the Lebanese way of saying it, changing the th to just a t and the q to a hamza (glottal stop).  You get used to it when you listen to enough of it.

مهمة (mhimi) – Important.  99% of the time this word would be translated as important, but here I went with “large amount of calories” instead of “important amount of calories” because the latter sounds strange.  Just to be clear.

سعرات حرارية (su’araat haraariyi) – calories.  

اذا كتير الاكل دسم (iza kteer alakl dasm) – if the food is very fatty.  You’ll notice that she put كتير before الاكل which, if you’ve studied MSA you know is not the way they do it in proper Arabic, but in Lebanese they do this.  They will sometimes put the adjective before the noun.  Most of the time it will still be اذا الاكل دسم كتير though.