LEBANESE ARABIC: FROM-GENERAL-TO-SPECIFIC FORMULA — PART 4

Hi.

Before you proceed please read my Disclaimer.

This is one of my favorite parts of Lebanese Arabic.

Quite often you can hear Lebanese native speakers use a relatively general word followed by another one that specifies what or who the speaker is talking about. Confusing, right? Let me give you an example. In the first episode of Fadi w Radhi Vivo said to Fadi:

وينو زياد؟! عطيني ياه!
which literally means Where is he — Ziyad? [Give him the phone!]
So instead of just saying Where is Ziyad, a pronoun shows up in the picture.

It might look confusing to a non-native with a background in fos7a, however my belief is this structure was devised to make things easier, e.g. you can ask Where is he?, then think about the person’s name (suppose you forgot it) and then finally add that name. Or maybe because وينو is a very common question, and it is probably more natural to put something general in the beginning and explain what you mean using a more specific word, which in our example was the name of the person Vivo was looking for.

That example was an easy one. Let’s try something that’s got twists in it. Translate these back into Lebanese. Off you go.

  1. How are your sisters?
  2. Where’s Ziyad?! Give him the phone! (Yes, that was our example but, remember, repetition is a great tool :) )
  3. The thing that I’m not getting is what is there so special about that Sawsan?
  4. Listen, dear, could you please check if Ramona is awake? (This one comes with at least 4 twists, so be careful :) )
  5. - A friend of mine is coming over to my place.
    - What friend of yours?
  6. Why’s your friend so messed up? What’s wrong with her? (This one is going to be a lot shorter in Arabic. Try to figure it out and write it as one sentence.)
  7. What’s wrong with your mother? (Reminiscent of our example, right?)

Done? Good. Now scroll down to see the right answers.

And you might wanna check my other posts on Lebanese, Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabic:

Lebanese — part 1
Lebanese — part 2
Lebanese — part 3
Saudi — part 1
Saudi — part 2
Kuwaiti

Keep scrolling down.

OK.

Now, we’ve reached the part in Arabic. Check your answers please.

1)إخواتك كيفن؟
2)وينو زياد؟ عطيني ياه! (فادي وراضي)
3)أنا اللي محيرني شو اللي عندا سوسن؟ (آخر خبر)
4)ليك، ماما، تقبرني، شوفلي رامونا إزا وعيت. (أبطال وحرامية)
5)- جاية صاحبتي لعندي
- صاحبتك أياها؟
(أبطال وحرامية)
6)شو قصتا صاحبتك مش على بعضا؟ (أبطال وحرامية)
7)شو بها الوالدة؟ (أبطال وحرامية)

This post is shorter but trickier than my two previous ones. Later on I will either throw in some more sentences of this kind or write one more post on the subject.

Remember, it might be a good idea to watch the shows that come between parantheses.

Take care and stayed tuned for more.

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