Monday, March 17, 2008

Lesson Two: لازم

New Vocabulary

laazim (لازم) - must, gotta, it is necessary that
3ayza (عايزا) - I, you, she wants (female)
baHibb (بحب) - I love, I'd like to
'awiy (أوي) - very, a lot
Haaga (حاجة) - thing
'albi (قلبي) - my heart
garH (جرح) - wound
akiid (أكيد) - for sure, certainly
al-dunya (الدنيا) - the world, everyone
aywah (أيوه) - yes, yeah
ha (ه or ح) - future tense marker, will
b- (ب) - present tense marker

masha (مشى) - to leave, to go, to walk
3aash (عاش) - to live
istana (استنى) - to wait for, to await

In the last lesson we examined the song "ma xalaaS (ما خلاص)" by Samira Said, and we learned many new basics of Egyptian Arabic. So now that we know a few things about Egyptian Arabic, the different prefixes for verbs, the differences in pronunciation and some different vocabulary, let's see how easy it is to understand another song. The following song is by Sherine Ahmed and is entitled "laazim a3iish (لازم أعيش)" which means "I gotta live." We know that in Standard Arabic to say that something is necessary we may use the phrase "من اللازم" and this is the same in principle. However, it is much simpler; to communicate the meaning of something being necessary one must just say "laazim (لازم) ..."

Listen to and watch the video and read the lyrics below it:

شيرين أحمد - لازم أعيش

عايزة ألملم قلبي وأحضن نفسي وأمشي بعيد
عايزة أطيب جرحي أيوة هطيب جرحي أكيد

عايزة حبك يبعد عني عايزة جرحك يخرج مني
عايزة حبك يبعد عني عايزة جرحك يخرج مني

لازم أعلم قلبي أنا يقسا ولازم ينسا ولازم أعيييش

كنت بعيشلك كل سنيني قلت زماني هعيشه معاك
كنت بحبك أوي ياحبيبي لما بتبعد بستناك

كنت بحس معاك حجات تانية كنت ف عيني كل الدنيا
كنت بحس معاك حجات تانية كنت ف عيني كل الدنيا

لازم أعلم قلبي انا يقسا ولازم ينسا ولازم أعيييش

The first verse:

عايزة ألملم قلبي وأحضن نفسي وأمشي بعيد

Once again, we can see this song begins with the familiar word "3ayza (عايزة)," meaning to want. What does she want to do? The verb "lamlam (لملم)" means to "pack up" or "gather up". Don't worry about learning this, just know that she says "alamlim 'albi (الملم قلبي)." "'albi (قلبي)" is the familiar Standard Arabic word "qalbi (قلبي)," which means my heart, only the "qaff (ق)" is pronounced as a "hamza (ء)." So she says she wants to "pack up her heart" and what else? The verb "HaDan (حضن)" mean to embrace. Again don't worry about this for now, just see that she says "aHDan nafsi (نفسي)," which means "embrace myself" or embrace "my soul." "nafs (نفس)" has both of these connotations. Finally she says "wa amshi ba3iid (وامشي بعيد)." We know from standard Arabic that the verb "masha (مشى)" means to walk. This is true in colloquial Arabic as well, but actually it also means "to go" or "to leave." So here she is saying she wants to "go far away." All in all, she says "I wanna gather up my heart, embrace my soul, and go far away" giving us a pretty clear image of what she wants to do.

What's next?:

عايزة أطيب جرحي أيوة هطيب جرحي أكيد

"aTayyab garHi (أطيب جرحي)" means "I heal my wound," which makes sense since "Tayyib (طيب)" means "good" or "fine." Next she says "aywah (أيوه)," which in Egyptian Arabic means "yes" or "yeah," taking the place of Standard Arabic "(نعم)." "haTayyib garHi akiid (هطيب جرحي أكيد)" is the future tense of course: "I will heal my wound for sure." "akiid (أكيد)" means "for sure" or certainly and is a useful piece of vocabulary. So the whole line means, "I want to heal my wound, yes, I will heal my wound for sure."

Already it's getting easier. Here's the next line:

عايزة حبك يبعد عني عايزة جرحك يخرج مني

This line is pretty easy to understand. See if you can figure it out. Remember that the verb "ba3ad 3an (بعد عن)" means "to get far from."

Here comes the chorus:

لازم أعلم قلبي أنا يقسا ولازم ينسا ولازم أعيش

We've already established that "laazim (لازم)" means "must" or "gotta," so we know that "laazim a3allam 'albi (لازم أعلم قلبي)" means "gotta teach my heart." Here she says "teach my heart to be tough." The verb "'asa (قسى)" means "to be cruel" or "to be hard" or "to be tough." So "a3allam 'albi yi'sa (أعلم قلبي يقسى)" means "teach my heart to be tough." Next we see "laazim yansa (لازم ينسى)," meaing "it must forget," we assume referring to her heart as an extension of herself. And finally, "laazim a3iish (لازم أعيش)," "I gotta live." So the chorus is "Gotta teach my heart to be tough, and it's gotta forget, and I gotta live!"

One more verse to go:

كنت بعيشلك كل سنيني

Here we have the past progressive used again. "kunt ba3iish lak (كنت بعيش لك)," "I was living for you." "kull siniini (كل سنيني)," means "all my years." "siniin (سنين)" is the equivalent of Standard Arabic "سنوات". So the sentence means "I was living all my years for you."


قلت زماني هعيشه معاك

"'ult (قلت)" is of course the Egyptian pronunciation of "," "I said." "zamaani ha3iishuh ma3aak (زماني هعيشه معاك)" shouldn't be hard to understand, if but a little idiomatic. Sherine "topicalizes" "zamaani (زماني)," "my time," when it is actually the object of the sentence. So "zamaani ha3iishuh (زماني هعيشه)" means "my time, I will live it." Thus, the whole sentence is "I said that my time, I will live it with you."

Almost there:

كنت بحبك أوي ياحبيبي لما بتبعد بستناك

"kunt baHibbak (كنت بحبك)" of course means "I was loving you." If you haven't yet memorized "baHibb (بحب)," it is helpful to do so, because it means not just "I love" but "I'd like" as in "I'd like to have something to drink." The word "awiy (أوي)" is certainly Egyptian colloquial although it has roots in Standard Arabic. "awiy (أوي)" is the Egyptian pronunciation of Standard Arabic "qawiyy (قوي)," meaning "strong," but in colloquial it simply means "a lot" or "very," like the Standard Arabic "جداً." So she says "I loved you a lot, my darling." The second half of the sentence should still be seen as in the past because of "kunt (كنت)." She says "lama bitab3ad (لما بتبعد)" it means "when you were going far away." "lama (لما)" means when, but not as a question, and takes the place of Standard Arabic "عندما." After that she says "bastanaak (بستناك)." The verb "istana (استنى)" exists in Standard Arabic as well, meaning "to wait for," however, in Standard Arabic the verb "انتظر" and is absent in colloquial. The whole line, "when you were going away, I was waiting for you."

What else was she doing?:

كنت بحس معاك حجات تانية

The verb "Hass (حسّ)" in Egyptian Arabic means "to feel." There is no verb "شعر" like in Standard Arabic. "Haaga (حاجة)" in Egyptian Arabic does not mean "a need," but rather "a thing." The Standard Arabic word "شيء" has been replaced by "Haaga (حاجة)" completely. "Haagaat taaniyya (حاجات تانية)" then of course means "second things" or in this case "other things." So if the sentence means "I was feeling with you other things," we can say it is about equivalent to the English expression "I felt with you things I never felt before."

The last line:

كنت ف عيني كل الدنيا

Here there is a slight problem of context, but nothing that cannot be resolved. "kunt (كنت)" could mean "I was" or "you were," so we must look at the rest of the sentence to come to a conclusion. We see "fi 3ayni (في عيني)," which of course just means "in my eye" and "kull al-dunya (كل الدنيا)," which means "the whole world." The word "عالم" for "world" is not nearly as common as "dunya (دنيا)" in Egyptian Arabic. From this information, we can infer that "kunt fi 3ayni kull al-dunya (كنت في عيني كل الدنيا)" means "you were the whole world in my eyes."

Listen to the song again and read along to see how much you understand. You may be surprised at how much easier it is to understand now that you are equipped with some basic information. By now, you should be familiar with the essential pronunciation differences of Egyptian Arabic, as well as the way verbs are conjugated. Make sure to keep a list of all the important vocabulary differences. And remember:

لو عايزين تتعلموا لازم تسمعوا المسيقى كتير! هتفهموا كل حاجة في يوم اكيد! يالله تعالوا لأغنية تانية

Next lesson: Tamer Hosni - lissah baHibbak


Hartman said...

This is a very useful site in order to learn (egyptian) arabic. I am fond of Hinds "A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic" and there I found this:

To wrap or pack is not "lamlam" but "lamlim".
To heal is not "Tayyab" but Tayyib".
The word for "strong" may also be written with a "qaf" (q is to be pronounced as a hamza).
In order to make the arabic text more comprehensible I would write for example "baHibbak" with a "alif" after the "beeh".

May the Almighty bless you!
Hartman (from the Netherlands)

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andersun1 said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

this is brilliant. an excellent supplement to my regular arabic study. thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Hartman,

There are many many many ways to transliterate arabic, especially a dialect. Don't get too hung up on the details, especially vowels in a Semitic language. My native speaking Egyptian friends transliterate it differently from each other. It is not standardized, like MSA. The sky's the limit as long as the meaning is conveyed :) - Michelle

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SSAs said...

Is the verbs the same as in Quranic Arabic?

Richard Court said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Court said...

Salam Al3aichum wa ugbar
Inta laazim a3allam una Arabi Baladi minfudlak.
I lived in Maadi for about 12 years as a very young child, from 1939 till 1951. I knew Arabic back then but lost it due to lack of use. I am now 75years of age and regret having lost the ability to communicate in that tong.
I have by chance, found this site and so far I have found it very helpful.

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