رومان بوشويف
6 min readJun 8, 2022

Hi there.

First of all I would like to thank my Lebanese friends who patiently explained to me everything that I did not understand.

Please read the disclaimer.

Done? OK.

In Lebanese, as well as in some or all other dialects, ism fa3el and ism maf3ool are often used to speak about the present, PAST AND FUTURE.

Let me give you a couple of examples.


I don’t know what’s wrong with me… (Literally, “I don’t know what’s happening to me…”)

ما بعرف شو صايرلي


Abbas invited us for lunch.

عازمنا عباس عالغدا (من برنامج “مافي متلو”)


At what time you’re coming, love?

أيا ساعة جاي حياتي؟ (من مسلسل “فادي وراضي”)

I think you got the idea. There definitely ARE some variations to that, but I see practice as the best way to figure that out, which is why I have prepared for you a selection of sentences that I heard in Lebanese movies and shows, and translated them into English.

Try to do the reverse translation back into Lebanese then scroll down to check your answers.

I believe this is a very efficient way to learncome up with a version of your own, then compare it with what a native says. Watching those movies and shows and redoing the exercise afterwards might be a good idea too, — repetition is a great tool. I will give you the names between parantheses. If it’s not there, that means I learned the expression from my friends.

Even if you are a master in using ism fa3el when it comes to dialects, you might still want to do this exercise in order to learn some useful, real-life vocab.

Anyway… Let’s get down to business.

1) Why do you keep insisting?

2) Ziyad, Vivo wants to talk to you. Are you gonna stay long in that bathroom, bro?

3) - So, you’re hiring an employee, I take it?
- You’re right! Yeah, an employee to work here. Do you need a job?

4) I used to live a carefree lifestyle and was happy about it until that issue, a very big one, got in the way.

5) Who’s coming to the party?

6) I’ll take the elevator.

7) The girl went to the market with $5,000 into her purse. I’m sure she doesn’t need them. She just wants to spend them to buy a few dresses. But for me… For me it [the money] can change my entire life.

8) I understand what he means but I don’t know how to explain it.

9) OK, Addoul, I’m waiting for you outside (literally downstairs), in the parking area.

10) Abbas invited us for lunch.

11) I don’t know… He called me and said: “Come over, you and Tareq. I’m inviting you for a very special lunch”.

12) And who was I waiting for yesterday at 7?

13) By the way, I’m holding a major clearance sale, for you to know.

14) Why did you lower your voice?

15) I’m afraid bad guys might harm you.

16) Why are you awake so early?

17) My friend is coming over to my place.

18)- Hey, buddy, if you’re gonna stay here long we better become friends — to kill the time.
- Why are we gonna stay here long?
- It depends…
- Depends on what?
- Depends on who’s got your back.

19) I haven’t eaten labneh cheese balls for ages!

20) You’re so lucky, Ramona! You’re getting country food while we don’t even know what we’re eating.

21) Have you heard of Robin Hood?

22) You forgot to put a dot above ha’a.

23) How can this bond together within you? Your name is Shareef (which means noble) but you’re a thief?

24) You came to teach me how to do my job?

25) … but staying at home is annoying (hint: this one’s easy, here ism fa2el comes as an adjective) too.

26) Gulf dialects are difficult. If I have not been living in the Gulf region I would not be able to understand lots of things.

27) The problem is I cannot give you a synonym.

28) I don’t know how to make it [hamdaniyah] but in the end it looks cute (Some context for this one: we were discussing a picture of a third person with his hamdaniyah on.).

29) I’m saying, it’s been a long time since I wanted to meet up with you, so that we could get to know each other.

30) It probably fell out of your pocket somewhere. Check your pocket.

31) - What if you didn’t have it (a sum of money) with you in the first place?
- I didn’t have it with me? Are you serious, Naeem?

32) Or it (a sum of money) fell [out of your pocket] inside the car.

33) Maybe you lost it [out of your pocket] somewhere in the street.

34) OK, what can I tell you? I hope you’ll earn that sum of money to make up for your loss (Hint: translate this second sentence using one word only.).

35) I hope you’ll find it (the sum of meney).

36) What I really can’t understand is what’s so special about that Sawsan…

37) - Could you please turn the music down for me a bit?
- Is it bothering you?
- Oh, come on, there’s no one in here, this place is empty! Why did you put it on??



Now scroll down a bit to see how natives put it.

Here you go:

1) ليه مصرة؟ (فادي وراضي)

2) يا زياد، فيفو عايزتك. مطول يا خيي بالتواليت؟ (فادي وراضي)

3) - حضرتكن طالبين موظف متل ما شفت
- صح! ايه، موظف لهون. حضرتك طالب الوظيفة؟
(مافي متلو)

4)عايش فاضي وراضي لحد ما اجتني هالمشكلة، مشكلة كبيرة كتير. (فادي وراضي)

5) مين جاي عالحفلة؟

6) أنا طالع بالأسنسور.

7)هاذي البنت نازلة عالسوق حاطة خمسة آلاف بجزانا. أكيد مش عايزتن هي، بدّا تشتري فين كم فستان بس أنا، أنا بيغيرولي حياتي (أبطال وحرامية)

8) فهمانة شو قصدو بس ما عارفة اشرح

9)أوكي عدول، ناطرك أنا تحت بالباركنغ (مافي متلو)

10)عازمنا عباس عالغدا (مافي متلو)

11)ما بعرف هو تلفنلي قلي تعا انت وطارق، عازمكن عالغدا غير شكل (مافي متلو)

ما أنا مبارح مين ناطر كنت الساعة سبعة؟ (مافي متلو)(12

13)هيدا أنا عاملة تصفيات عامة على فكرة (مافي متلو)

14)ليه صوتك واطي؟ (أبطال وحرامية)

15)خايفة عليك من ولاد الحرام (أبطال وحرامية)

16)ليش واعية بكير؟ (أبطال وحرامية)

17)جاية صاحبتي لعندي (أبطال وحرامية)

18)ليك حبيبي، إزا مطولين هون الأفضل نصير أصحاب لنِقتُل الوقت
- ليه نحن مطولين هون؟
- حسب
- حسب شو؟
- حسب مين في بظهركن
(أبطال وحرامية)

19)إلي عمر مش آكلة لبنة مكعزلة (أبطال وحرامية)

20)نيالك يا رامونا، بيبعتولك إشيا بلدية بالوقت اللي نحن مش معروف شو عم ناكل (أبطال وحرامية)

21)سامعين بروبن هود؟ (أبطال وحرامية)

22)هون ناسين النقطة عالحاء (أبطال وحرامية)

23)كيف راكبة معك هيك شريف وحرامي؟ (أبطال وحرامية)

24)جاي تعلمني شغلي؟ (أبطال وحرامية)

25)بس كمان القعده بالبيت مزعجه

26)الخليجي صعب انا لو ما عايش بالخليج في اشيا كتير ما بفهما

27)والمشكله ما قادرة اعطيك مرادف

28)أنا ما بعرف اعملا (الحمدانية)، بس طالعة مهضومة

29)هلأ أنا من زمان حابب نلتقى ونتعرف على بعض (مافي متلو)

30)بَرْكِي واقْعِين مِنك شي مَطْرَح. نَبِّش بْجِيبَك (مافي متلو)

31)- بركي مش جايبُون معك من الأساس؟
- معقول مش جايِبُون معي، نَعيم
(مافي متلو)

32)أو واقعين بالسيّارَة (مافي متلو)

33)يمكن واقعين ع الطّريق (مافي متلو)

34)مَعوّضِين. شو بَدي قِلّك يعني؟ (مافي متلو)

35)إيه، إن شَاء الله تْلاقِيُّون (مافي متلو)

36)أنا اللي محيرني شو اللي عندا سوسن؟ (آخر خبر)

37)- بتوطيلي هالموسيقى شوي
- مضايقتك؟
- الله يخليك ما في حدا، المحل فاضي على شو حاطينا؟؟
(مافي متلو)

Hope that was helpful.
Take care.
Stay tuned. And don’t forget to chek out my other posts on dialects:
Lebanese — part 1
Lebanese — part 3
Saudi — part 1
Saudi — part 2