Monday, 18 March 2013

How do I Pronounce that!?

Hi everyone, it's been a while since we posted, but here is something new we did for you. How to pronounce the numbers in Arabic transliteration?  Here is a video to help you with that. Let us know what you think in the comments!
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Rocket's Red Glare

Piggy-backing off of Rivakay's last post, I would like to share with you one of the first sayings I learned upon arrival in Lebanon.  I think phrases like these are a great way to start learning a language.  Even if you don't understand all the grammar yet, just memorize it. Your friends will enjoy it, as well.

So the phrase is: yo2sof 3omrik/ak.  The difference between the endings "ik" and "ak" is whether you are talking to a male (ak) or a female (ik).  Literally translated, the phrase means: May God bombard your years/age - or - May God launch something at your years/age.  An English translation of the idea behind the phrase would be: I'm going to kill you.  However, this phrase is also used in other senses, but we will keep it simple for now.

It can have both a negative and positive meaning depending on how you use it, naturally.  In the negative sense, you can use it to mean "I'm going to kill you" when angry at someone.  In the positive sense it can be used as "damn!" followed by something positive such as, "damn, you're looking fine/pretty/handsome!" - Yo2sof 3amrik/ak, shu mahdoum(eh)!    

I also like to think of this phrase as it was jokingly explained to me for the first time by my friends as: May God launch a rocket at your years.  Of course, there are many possibilities for this, but a rocket can be a good filler for that special something with which you want to bombard that person.

The third person conjugation for "he" is indicated by the "y" in "yo2sof," implying that it is God who is launching a rocket at your years.  Also, a reminder that since the "q or 9" sound is rarely ever used in Lebanese Arabic the Lebanese use the alif gutteral stop "2" in lieu of it.  Otherwise "yo2sof" would be "yo9sof."

In addition to the above, here is a Lebanese Song that was 'in' some years ago, demonstrating one of the other uses of this phrase. The chorus contains "yo2sof 3omrik". Click here to have a listen and see if you can catch it!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Lebanese Sayings

Whomever you meet in Lebanon will at some point have the perfect saying for the perfect situation. When this blog was first started, we wanted to add something funny in the content and what better than Lebanese sayings. Why funny? Because the literal meaning behind these sayings are bizarre, however when dissected and studied deeply, end up meaning something completely different. So, in order to gather a good amount of Lebanese sayings, I had to go around and ask my parents, my friends and their parents for some really nice ones. And boy did I manage to accumulate a lot! I will introduce one every once in a while, and through that saying, I can teach you some vocab and some grammar.

First, I will introduce the saying in the way it is said in Lebanese Arabic, then  translate it literally, and of course lastly, give you the 'hidden' meaning behind it. If you want to impress someone, or just throw out spontaneous sayings that reflect perfectly the situation, go ahead and try this one out !

Underlined in green and respectively numbered words are explained in the below image.

Please note that the -ing in eating, drinking, and dancing for example, is the '3amb' and most of the times the b is silent, except for in this case - 3am bitkhallef. 3amb is always followed by the verb. So for eating, drinking, and dancing, it would be 3am tekol, 3am teshrab, 3am tor2os, respectively. These verbs describe an action being done by a feminine thing or person or animal because of the 't' right at the start of each verb. Alternatively, for a masculine subject, eating, drinking, and dancing would be 3am yekol, 3am yeshrab, 3am yor2os. As you can see, you replace the 't' with 'y' to switch from a feminine subject to a masculine subject.

That's it for today, feel free to leave us comments if you would like to ask questions or inform us if this is understandable or not. Did you like the saying? Does your culture have a similar saying? Do share!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Gimme some o' that booza

How to order some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream
Here is an example of how you might order something in a shop or a store.  In this case a female customer wants to buy some ice cream, and this is her interaction.

Customer (f.): Mar7aba, kifak?
Hello, how are you?

Storeowner: Mar7aba, ana mni7 u kifik 2nti, demoiselle?
Hello, I’m fine, and how are you, miss?

Customer (f.): Ana kamên mni7a, merci.
I’m well too, thank you.

Storeowner: Kif fineh se3dik?
How may I help you?

Customer (f.): Baddé  Ben & Jerry’s booza, izabitreed.
I want/would like some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, please

Storeowner: Ok, 2ayya no3?
Ok, which flavor?

Customer (f.): Um, please, 3atiné Chocolate Fudge Brownie u Phish Food.
Um, please give me Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Phish Food.

Storeowner: Haydôl?
These ones?

Customer (f.): N3am, haydolik.
Yes, those ones.

Storeowner: Ok, addéch?  Hal 2add mni7?
Ok, how much?  Is this amount good?

Customer (f.): Lla2,  aktar, please.
No, more, please.

Storeowner: Tfaddalé.
Here you go.

Customer (f.): Ok, merci.  Addéch kilshi?
Ok, thank you. How much for everything?

Storeowner: Khamseh u 3ishreen alf.
25,000 LL.

Customer (f.): Ok, tfaddal
Ok, here.

Answer Key for Previous Post
Below is the Answer Key for the exercise given at the end of the previous post.

Lebanese Arabic
You (m.) were there.
Inta kenet honik
Jasmine is tired
Jasmine te3beneh
Tod is happy
Tod mabsout
Jasmine is tall
Jasmine tawileh
Tod is short
Tod 2aseer
I was sad (m. and f.)
Kenet ze3len / Kenet ze3leneh
I am Indian (f.)
Ana Hindiyyeh
I am American (f.)
Ana Amerkeniyyeh
I am French (f.)
Ana Frensewiyyeh

Saturday, 8 September 2012

You were Happy... I am Brazilian

To Review from Basics: Shadda, and the pronunciation of ê.

Hello Again!
Before we start anything, you need to know this:

Lebanese Arabic
INTA (m) / INTEH (f)
YOU (plural)
Please note that when an alphabet is written twice, it is to emphasize that alphabet in pronunciation, (Shadda).

To Be/To exist = “Ken”.

When you want to speak in the present using the verb to be:

For Example:
I am Indian (m)
Ana Hindeh
I am American (m)
Ana Amerkeneh
I am French (m)
Ana Frenseweh
I am Brazilian (f)
Ana Braziliyyeh
I am British (f)
Ana Britaniyyeh
Can you find the verb “kana” yet?
I am here
Ana honeh
You are there
Inta honik
He is happy
Howweh mabsout
She is tired
Hiyyeh te3beneh
Don’t worry about your nationality not being in there, if it is not, leave us a note, and we can let you know how to say it and write it. In all the above examples, the verb "to be" is not used directly. It is implied. That is why you don’t see “ken” anywhere. So, you do not need the verb to be, when talking in the present. As you can see, we just used the personal pronouns introduced in Table.1, and then the adjective, or whatever you want to say afterwards.

Note that the adjectives change their ending, depending if the adjective is describing a male or a female. In general, we will introduce adjectives as they are, in the male sense. For example, Mabsout means Happy, describing a male as happy. Mabsouta means Happy, describing a female as happy. The “a” is added at the end of the word. Not all adjectives for females end in “a”, they also sometimes end in “eh”, as you can see from the adjective for tired. When do we use which? Well with time you will learn, there is no specific guideline.

What if you wanted to use the verb to be in the past? “ken” conjugates into the following:

Lebanese Arabic
I was
Ana Kenet
You were
Inta Kenet / Inteh Kinteh
He was
Howweh Kên
She was
Hiyyeh Kênit
It was
Howweh Kên / Hiyyeh Kênit
We were
Ne7na Kinna
You were
Into Kinto
They were
Henneh Kêno
Note the underlined endings. Keep them in mind because they will be useful for conjugating other verbs.

Now, you try!
Here is some additional vocabulary that you can use to complete the next exercise:
Lebanese Arabic
Try to write these in Lebanese Arabic:

Lebanese Arabic
You were there.

Jasmine is tired

Tod is happy

Jasmine is tall

Tod is short

I was sad (m. and f.)

I am Indian (f.)

I am American (f.)

I am French (f.)

Stay tuned for next time! Verb to be in the future tense, and some funny and weird Lebanese sayings that you can learn and use, and much more !

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mar7aba, Ahla w Sahla Fikon! | Hello, Welcome!

This is our first post of many to come. Be sure to check back for updates! We would always like to hear from you so feel free to comment.

Lebanese Arabic: Background

When one decides to learn Arabic, often the question of “which Arabic?” ensues.  Among the approximately 240 million Arabic speakers worldwide, there exist numerous dialects.  These dialects are generally classified into two families; Occidental, which comprises much of North Africa, and Oriental, which includes dialects from the Nile regions, the Levant, and the Arabian Gulf.  Modern Standard Arabic, or Fus7a is the common language taught in schools, used in administrative offices, literature, and the mass media.  However, for daily life the dialects are what people will normally use.  Each is unique in its mixture of Standard Arabic that came at the time of the Muslim conquest, and of indigenous languages that also existed at that time.  Some Arabic dialects have become well known to the ears of other Arabic speakers across the globe due to the film industry and satellite TV.  Probably the most popular is Egyptian Arabic, followed ever more closely by Lebanese Arabic. 

Lebanese Arabic has developed over time with foreign influence, and the Lebanese borrow some words from other languages, such as Turkish, French, and English.  Lebanese Arabic is considered among the Levantine region of Arabic dialects.  So, that means Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, and Palestinians can understand each other.  One notable difference in Lebanese Arabic is that they don’t pronounce the “9 or q” sound except for a certain pocket of the country, for example.  Within Lebanese Arabic itself are also different accents depending on the region.  They are split up primarily by the regions of the north, of Batrun and Jbeil, Beirut, Mont-Liban, Saida, the surroundings of Saida, the Bekaa, and the Chouf.  None inhibit mutual comprehension among Lebanese speakers. 

Some of this information was obtained from: “Parlons Arabe Libanais,” by Fida Bizri.

Bizri, Fida. Parlons Arabe Libanais. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2010. Print

Lebanese Arabic: Writing and Pronunciation

The blog will contain Arabic script as well as Latin transcription of Arabic words for easier comprehension for those who aren’t yet familiar with script. 

When writing Lebanese Arabic in transcription, we will be using the numbers system that is used in online platforms and SMS.  For a quick refresher, we have listed the letter and pronunciation equivalents below. 

2 = alif, pronounced like a glottal stop
3 = aayn, pronounced like a more guttural “a” sound
5 = kh, pronounced like a “j” in Spanish or the “ch” in German, such as in “Bach”
7 = H, pronounced like a regular “h,” but deeper in the throat, like panting
9 = q, but in Lebanese it is pronounced like a “2” alif.  In MSA and the Chouf region, the “q” is pronounced as normal, deeper in the throat, and not like a “k”.

Arabic vowels are broken down into two categories, generally - long vowels and short vowels.  Long vowels are written using the following three consonant letters, which are substituted for vowels when needed:

- ا Alif, and when written as a long vowel is pronounced "aa," as in "father". Written as "a"  
ي Ya' is used as the long vowel "ee" as in "sheep". It can be written as "ee" or "i."
و Waw, when used as a long vowel is pronounced like "oo" as in "moon". It can be written as "oo" or "u."

Short vowels are written using graphical marks called "7arakeh", made around the consonant.  They are primarily only written in school books and in the Qu'ran.  Short vowels are pronounced more briefly, and are as follows:

fat7a, marked by a tick  above the consonant makes the sound "a."
kasra, marked by a tick  below the consonant makes the sound "i."  In Lebanese Arabic it is sometimes pronounced like "é."
dammamarked by a  above the consonant makes the sound "u" sometimes pronounced "oo."

Not a short vowel, but also important is the shedda as explained below. 
- shedda, marked by a ّ   above the consonant specifying that emphasis be placed on the pronunciation of that letter by pronouncing it in double.  In our transcriptions, we will write the letter twice to signify the presence of a shedda for pronunciation purposes.

Additionally, in Lebanese Arabic there are four other short vowels that are not written in Modern Standard Arabic.  They are:

- o: pronounced with the mouth more closed like "o" as in "Bo."
- é or eh: pronounced like in French, but in English it sounds like "a" as in "convey."  However, sometimes it is pronounced like a soft "i."
- ô: pronounced like "o" but for a longer duration.
- ê: pronounced like "é" but for a longer duration.

That's it for now. Stay tuned to learn Lebanese Arabic with songs, sayings , and much more!