Monday, March 17, 2008

Lesson Three: لسه

New Vocabulary

lissah (لسه) - still, yet
nifsi (نفسي) - I wanna
maHtaag (محتاج) - needing
'aadir (قادر) - can, able to
shaayil (شايل) - carrying, holding, bearing
shaayil min (شايل من) - holding something against someone
bas (بس) - but, just, only
'uSaad (قصاد) - before, in front of

Hass (حسّ) - to feel
samaH (سمح) - to pardon, to forgive
laa'a (لاقى) - to find, to meet
Haka (حكى) - to tell, to speak
irtaaH (ارتاح) - to be at ease, to be comfortable, to be content, to relax
ta3ab (تَعَب) - to tire someone

In the last lesson, we examined the song "laazim a3iish (لازم أعيش)" by Sherine and learned the useful verb "3aayiz (عايز)," meaning "want" and the modal "laazim (لازم)," meaning "gotta" or "must." In this lesson we will learn a useful adverb, "lissa (لسه)," meaning "still," along with another modal "nifsi (نفسي)," meaning "I wanna." The singer of this song is Tamer Hosni, a very popular Egyptian singer who became famous from his duet album with Sherine. The title of the song, "lissa baHibbak (لسه بحبك)," means "I still love you" or "I'm still loving you." The word "lissa (لسه)" means "still," replacing the verb from Standard Arabic "ما زال" in this function. "lissa (لسه)" is not conjugated for person, gender or number, so "ana lissa, anti lissa, huwwa lissa" etc.

Listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics below:

تامر حسني - لسه بحبك

لسه بحبك لسه بحسك
أنا محتجلك نفسى أضمك

بس أنا قلبى شايل منك مش قادر يسمحك
كل ما أجى أصلحك ألاقى قصادى جرحك


نفسى أحكيلك نفسى أشكيلك على اللى تعبنى منك ليك
قلت أنا حبعد مش قادر أبعد نفسى أرتاح فى حضن عينيك
The first verse:

لسه بحبك لسه بحسك

Based on what we learned in the last lesson, you should be able to understand this sentence: "lissa baHibbak, lissa baHissak (لسه بحبك لسه بحسك)" means "I still love you, I still feel you." Listen carefully and notice that he is grammatically addressing a male. This is not uncommon in Arabic music for a male to sing to another grammatical male, and should be taken as a gender neutral object rather than thinking the song as any homosexual overtones.

The next line:

أنا محتاجلك نفسى أضمك

"ana maHtaag lak (انا محتاج لك)" means "I need you." "maHtaag (محتاج)" means "needing" or "in need of." "nifsi (نفسي)" of course is the aforementioned modal meaning "I wanna" or "I wish to" do something that you currently aren't or can't. In this case, he says "nifsi aDammak (نفسي أضمك)," "I wanna hold you."

Next line:

بس أنا قلبى شايل منك

The word "bas (بس)" is extremely important in Egyptian Arabic. It means "but" replacing standard Arabic "" and also means in some case "only" or "just." But what? He says "ana 'albi shaayil minnak (انا قلبي شايل منك)." "shaayil (شايل)" takes the same form as "3aayiz (عايز)," and means "carrying" or "holding" or "bearing." However, "shaayil min (شايل من)" someone means to "have a grudge," much like "to hold against" someone in English. So he is saying, "but my heart holds a grudge against you."

This is why:

مش قادر يسمحك

The verb "'aadir (قادر)" is another useful verb. It also takes the same form as "3aayiz (عايز)" and "shaayil (شايل)" as you can see, and means "can." If we know the verb "samaH (سمح)" means "to pardon" or "to forgive," we can see this line means "I can't forgive you."

Why can't he forgive?:

كل ما أجى أصلحك ألاقى قصادى جرحك

"kullima (كلما)" is the same as in Standard Arabic, and means "whenever." If we know the verb "SalaH (صلح)" means "to make good" or "to reconcile," then we understand the sentence as "whenever I come to make good with you." What happens? The verb "laa'a (لاقى)" means "to find" or "to meet." "'uSaad (قصاد)" means "before" or "in front of" so "'uSaadi (قصادي)" means "before me." He finds before him the all-familiar "garH (جرح)," wound, and thus the sentence means "whenever I come to make good with you I find before me you wound," ie "the wound you left."


"Habiibi (حبيبي)" means "my darling" or "my beloved." Learn it.


نفسى أحكيلك نفسى أشكيلك على اللى تعبنى منك ليك

"nifsi iHkii lak (نفسي احكي لك)" means "I wanna tell you." The verb "Haka (حكى)" means to tell. "nifsi ishkii lak (نفسي اشكي لك)" means "I wanna complain to you." "shaka 3ala (شكى على)" means "to complain about" something. So "3ala illi ta3ibni minnak (على اللي تعبني منك)" means "about that which made me tired of you." All in all he says, "I wanna tell you, I wanna complain to you about that which tired me of you."

And then:

قلت أنا هبعد مش قادر أبعد

Understand? And finally:

نفسى أرتاح فى حضن عينيك

This should be easily understood based on the vocab accumulated thus far. It means "I want to be at ease in the embrace of your eyes." XalaaS! Now you understand everything in this song. Go back and read along as you listen and understand the dilemma that Tamer faces.

From this song you should have learned many important words such as "nifsi (نفسي)," "'aadir (قادر)," and "lissah (لسه)." Review this song and listen to it order to ingrain the structures and pronunciations into your head.

قادر تفهم اكتر؟

Move onto Lesson 4


Anonymous said...

Excellent job for the non native speaker! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great job, great service to Arabic learners, just what I was looking for.
Makes it a breeze to learn...
Alf shukr..


fred said...

great way to learn arabic. please add some converstation from movie clips as well.

sara said...

This is SOO helpful. Even if I know fusha(standard) arabic, I am clueless of Egyptian arabic. Thanx 4 making this blog.

Rain_Drops said...

bass is used in almost all Arabic dialects, including Maltese "Biss" I read that the word can be considered Standard as well!

Chris Gratien said...

yes i have also read that we can consider بس part of Standard Arabic. I actually don't know where it comes from, but it's interesting to point out that the same word بس means something like "enough" in Persian, kind of like one of the uses of بس in Arabic.

Anonymous said...

This is good stuff thanks !!!!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if bahibbik should be spelled بأحِبِّك or بَحِبِّك ? I've seen it spelled both ways, and I guess maybe it depends on the person since it's colloquial? Thanks :)

latest pc games said...

This is SOO helpful. Even if I know fusha(standard) arabic, I am clueless of Egyptian arabic. Thanx 4 making this blog.see my blog

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Chris, for this site. It's great. Continue to post new songs with the explanations. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from your site.

shz said...

Bass (enough/stop) is also used in Indian languages Hindi and Gujratti as well.

shz said...

The word "Bass" meaning to stop or enough is also used in Indian languages too, such as in Hindi and Gudjratti.

Very good site, very different from the standard version Arabic. I wonder how these pure Egyptian words came about.

Ihsan said...

Awesome job! Aid me alot in teaching my student! Never thought of using a song to teach theme

Anonymous said...

Amazing blog. I can't thank you enough for the amazing job you did here. BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO!!!

Anonymous said...

I thank you for your great job

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sadly, only just discovered you. I set off in a couple of days for my second trip to the backstreet Darassa area of Cairo for the moulid of el Hussein. I'm going to listen to the music of the munshideen at the many zikrs , as well of course, to the bigger stars in the midan el hussein on the leila kebira of the moulid. Though the music I will be hearing (and filming and recording) will of course be religious and lyrically based on extraordinarily rarefied, ecstatic Sufi poetry, I really could have done with your expert knowledge of, and lessons in, street-level Egyptian-Arabic, as it comes through the pop songs. Shukran khazeelan! Steve Duke