Wednesday

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؟

and

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

Breaking it down:

الاعجبت
 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
...in Dallas, the town I was born in

حِلّة
town
اْلأنا
that I (instead of اللي or الذي/التي, Chadian and Sudanese Arabic just use the definite article)
ذاتَه
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.

20 comments:

Leena said...

Great blog! Arabic is not an easy language to learn or teach. Keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! You are very much appreciated

Arabic Study Hall said...

Thanks! I was looking forward to more notes because MSA is my target, so I don't understand dialect.

Anonymous said...

Notice that in the sentence "Where did you learn Arabic", the speaker places "WHERE" at the end of the sentence like in Egyptian....BUT.....he uses the term "WAYN" instead of the expected Egyptian "FAYN". It would be interesting to find out why Sudanese uses WAYN instead of FAYN.

uri ben-ari said...

'khawaja' is used in Egypt and Palestine too.. e.g. 'khawaja Musa' a nickname for the Jewish persona Moshe Smilansky, an agricultural pioneer who insisted on employing arabs and jews equally.

Dalal said...

Great Blog! How would I contact you for a TV Interview Request?

Kayla C said...

This made me want to learn Arabic. :)
It's been on my list of "to-learn" language for years!

Anonymous said...

ArabicStudent what's happened to you?? I'm sure I'm not the only one eagerly waiting for some new posts on your blog!

Anonymous said...

Can you understand this ?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdvAbGICg_I

Z said...

What state do you live in?

Adam said...

You must have married, because you were so consistent in the past. Please let us know what has pulled you away from this blog. Just for the sake of curiosity.

Adam said...

Where have you gone? I'm sure I speak for many others when I say we'd love it if you'd write a brief post explaining what's been going on with you. Some of us may be worried that something has happened to you. Are you safe? Find a wife? Is she an Arab? Find another job?

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for others but I'd definitely be ready to pay for more content on this blog! Come back Arabic student!

Anonymous said...

I only found your blog and youtube page recently, GREAT help, especially in hooking me up with good resources, especially LBC,MBC,MTV websites.

PLEASE post more often!!

inshallah tirja bi'sallami!

Abu Ya'oob

learning quran said...

Great Post... keep it up buddy

Anonymous said...

I have been following you on youtube and your website for years. It is really cool to see how well you are doing in Arabic. I wish that some day I willl reach your level.

I was thinking about making a website to help others learn Arabic. If you don't mind, can I ask how many hits you normally get on your website?

Anonymous said...

Hello, wondering if anyone or the blog owner could write a lyrics for this song in both romanized arabic and english( translation) ? Thanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YoliqHpXQE

Anonymous said...

Seriously can anyone find out if he is OK?? It's nearly a year since his last update

Anonymous said...

This is a great site and it's a shame that it hasn't been updated for so long now, but I hope the author's doing well, wherever he is. I'll just have to be content with the blog's archive!

SMM said...

Hello sir
I am a beginner in Arabic, but I know English pretty well and my mother tongue is Farsi, I wanna know your secret I mean how did you learn Arabic so well? I also left you a comment about this in you Youtube channel.
Thanks