Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lesson 8: انت ايه؟

New Vocabulary

anta eh? (انت ايه؟) - what are you? what's your problem?
Haraam 3aleek (حرام عليك) - shame on you!
mish Haraam (مش حرام) - isn't it a shame?
yaa weeli! (يا ويلي) - woe is me!
raaDi (راضي) - satisfied, content, accepting
Tab (طب) - fine then, alright then, ok then, then
'awaam (قوام) - right away, at once, quickly, completely
dam3a (دمعة) pl. dumuu3 (دموع) - tears
3azaab (عذاب) - torment, torture, pain
zemb (ذنب) - guilt, fault, crime
Hanaan (حنان) - tenderness

haan 3ala (هان على) - to be nothing to someone, to be unimportant
taab 3an (تاب عن) - to regret, to have remorse for
xada3 (خدع) - to deceive
raDa (رضى) - to be satisfied, content, pleased

In Lesson 7, we analyzed the persuasive sweet-talk of Egyptian biggest pop star Amr Diab. In this lesson, we move to Lebanon's biggest pop star Nancy Ajram. Although Lebanon is a country of just a few million people, they are responsible for a significant percentage of Arabic pop music releases. However, Lebanese singers sometimes sing in Egyptian or Gulf dialects instead of their own, in order to reach a wider audience. Nancy Ajram rose to fame with her album "Ah we Nuss," which was sung in the Egyptian dialect. This song, "anta eh? (انت ايه؟)" is off that album. "enta eh? (انت ايه؟)" of course means literally "what are you?" but the sense intended in this phrase is like "why are you so cruel?" Like "what are you, what's your problem?"

Listen to this sad song and read along, then we'll discuss:

انت ايه مش كفايه عليك تجرحني حرام عليك
انت ايه انت ليه دموعي حبيبي تهون عليك
طب وليه انا راضية انك تجرحني وروحي فيك
طب وليه يعني ايه راضية بعذابي بين ايديك

لو كان ده حب ياويلي منه
لو كان ده ذنبي مااتوب عنه
لو كان نصيبي اعيش في جراح هعيش في جراح

مش حرام
مش حرام انك تخدعني في حبي ليك
مش حرام الغرام وسنين حياتي وعشقي ليك
ضاع قوام ولا كان لعبة في حياتك بتداويك
ضاع قوام الحنان وحضن قلبي واملي فيك

Let's see what we got here. First verse:

انت ايه؟
مش كفاية عليك تجرحني؟
حرام عليك

Isn't it easier when I put in the question marks? In colloquial Arabic you will see that questions are often just implied by context. For example, almost every line of this song is a question. "mish kifaaya 3aleek tigraHni (مش كفاية عليك تجرحني)," meaning "isn't enough for you to hurt me?" "Haraam (حرام)" means "shame" or "a shame" as we will see. So she says "Haraam 3aleek (حرام عليك)," not a question, but "shame on you!"

Next line:

انت ايه؟
انت ليه دموعي حبيبي تهون عليك؟

The word order of this sentence is a little messed up so let me put it in order for you. "Habiibi, dumuu3i tihuun 3aleek leh? (حبيبي, دموعي تهون عليك)." Ok, so "dumuu3i (دموعي)" is "my tears," which is the subject of the sentence. The verb "haan 3ala (هان على)" means "to be unimportant or nothing to someone" or "to be unnoticed/unvalued by someone." So she says "dumuu3i tihuun 3aleek (دموعي تهون عليك)" meaning "my tears are nothing to you." She's asking why he doesn't care that he makes her cry.

Next line:

طب وليه انا راضية انك تجرحني وروحي فيك؟

"Tab (طب)" is just a little word that has the generally meaning of "then" like "very well, then" or "ok then" or "alright then." It is a contraction of the word "Tayyib (طيب)" meaning "fine." The word "raaDi (راضي)," or in Nancy's case "raaDiya (راضيا)" means "to be content" or "to be satisfied" or "to accept." "annak (أنك)" is just like Standard Arabic, "that you." Put it all together. "Then why am do I accept that you hurt me when my soul is inside you?"

Last line of the verse:

طب وليه يعني ايه راضية بعذابي بين ايديك؟

3azaab (عذاب)" means "torment" or "torture" or "pain." So do you get it?

Here's the chorus:

لو كان ده حب يا ويلي منه

"low kaan dah Hubb (لو كان ده حب)" means "if this is love." "weel (ويل)" is "agony." The phrase "yaa weeli (يا ويلي)" means "woe is me." So the line means something like "woe is me from it (love)" or "my agony is from it" but basically she's saying "if this is love, it sucks!"

Next line, another hypothetical:

لو كان ده ذنبي مااتوب عنه

"zamb (ذنب)" means "crime" or "fault." See how the "dhaal (ذ)" is pronounce as a "z" sound? "taab 3an (تاب عن)" means "to regret something" or "to have remorse." So she says, "if this is my crime, I have no remorse for it."

Last line of the chorus:

لو كان نصيبي اعيش في جراح, هعيش في جراح

"naSiib (نصيب)" means destiny and "garaaH (جراح)" means like "hurting" or "injury." Got it all?

Other verse:

مش حرام؟
مش حرام انك تخدعني في حبي ليك؟

"mish Haraam (مش حرام)" means "isn't it a shame?" The verb "xada3 (خدع)" means "to trick" or "to deceive." So he's doing something behind her back I guess right?

مش حرام الغرام وسنين حياتي وعشقي ليك؟

Are you starting to feel bad for her? Next line:

ضاع قوام؟
ولا كان لعبة في حياتك بتداويك؟

Remember the meaning of "Daa3 (ضاع)," "to be lost" or "to be wasted." "'awaam (قوام)" is an adverb meaning "quickly" or "right away" or "completely." "la3ba (لعبة)" is a toy or a game! So she's asking, "was it all a waste, or was it all a game?"

ضاع قوام الحنان وحضن قلبي واملي فيك

"Hanaan (حنان)" means tenderness and "amal (أمل)" means "faith." Has it all gone to waste?

Listen to the song again now that you know she is asking a series of questions and it makes a lot of sense. Don't forget to learn the important vocabulary above, because we build on this vocabulary each lesson, if not حرام عليكم!

تعالى لأغنية تانية قوام! لازم نروح

Click here for the next lesson, Lesson 9: امتى حتعرف؟


Anonymous said...


You're doing an amazing work for Arabic song lovers and for linguists!

Well done, keep at it!

Note that some Youtube links are no longer working but I could find the missing songs anyway.

Perhaps, you want to add the links to the full translations.

This song is my favourite Arabic song.

It makes me work harder on my Arabic


Anonymous said...

You are AMAZING...I can't believe you put so much work into this...I use your site every day! I love it!

Anonymous said...

i've been looking for a website like this for ages!!!thank you!!!i love it!!

Essam Sorour said...

Hi all ,
my name is Essam عصام
I'm egyptian , live in cairo just like yourselves I'm learning foreign languages like ( French & greek ) so I know how dificult that could be for you , but you are doing such a good job , I could never imagine that there is such a website , god bless you all , please if you any help from any kind in arabic either (عامية slang ) or ( فصحى Formal ) I will be very glad to help you out and do my best for you , my email is
mobile # : 016 470 63 84 if you are in Egypt
seriously don't ever hesitate to contact me and ask for anything ,I know that my language is extremely difficult (lol)
Peace from Egypt

Meera said...

This is Nancy's best song!Arabic is so pretty!

Anonymous said...

the video has been removed :(

Anonymous said...

This is the best translation I've seen of my favorite Arabic song!!

Thanks for making this blog, you really know your stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

your blog helps me a lot, but you may want to check on this song. it's been removed my good man.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

your blog helps me a lot, but you may want to check on this song. it's been removed my good man.