as-sufrah daaymah

maa :araft :an ash-shuurbah.
One afternoon, we were talking about food and our childhood cooking disasters
(he got grounded for not clearing up an exploding pot, I for setting fire to a tissue box, etc.)
when he suddenly said:
"When I was fifteen, I had a signature dish: cream of mushroom soup."
I was surprised, this was news to me. 
"Well," I said, "I've never tried your famous soup ... and I happen to be waayid
It took a couple of hours to make, and the precious scents wafting from the kitchen
almost drove me insane.
"ihiya jaahzah?" I asked every few minutes, peeking into the kitchen for a glimpse
of ash-shuurbah.
"ba:d shwayah," was the eternal reply.
When it finally appeared on the table, the "signature dish" was ladhiidh even fifteen
years later. 
"Did you like it?" he asked.
"I loved it, thank you! as-sufrah daaymah!"
Which literally translates to "your dining area: forever."

ما عرفت عن الشوربة
maa :araft :an ash-shuurbah I didn’t know about the soup
وايد يوعانة
waayid yuu:aanah Very hungry
هي جازة؟
ihiya jaahzah Is it (f) ready?
بعد شوية
ba:d shwayah In a while
ladhiidh Delicious


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

One evening, I invite Theyab to a concert.
His face falls when I tell him it's a performance of Georges Bizet's Carmen.  
"ta:aal, it'll only be for one hour, muu akthar! allaah ykhallii-k! And who knows,
maybe you'll enjoy it?"
He gives me the Look of Death. I know that maa ta:jib-ah these events very much
but he keeps an open mind. I also know that if he comes equipped with a Nintendo 3DS,
iPhone and tablet, kulah yikuun zayn.
waSal-naa at the rather kashkhah venue - Picasso and Miró's old drawing school.
As the lights dim, Theyab points to a member of the front row.
"Is that a midget or a kid?" he asks in a whisper, but a Theyab-whisper,
which is actually quite :aalii.
"shhhhhh," somebody hisses. 
During the first piece, he looks at his phone.
khilaal the next one, I glance sideways and see that he's out-and-out snoring.
So much for the open mind.
As the third piece begins, suddenly I get a nudge in the ribs. Theyab: awake now,
wide-eyed and brimming with excitement.
"muu Sij, they're playing the theme tune from The Aristocrats! khuush filim!"

ta:aal Come on (to a male)
مو اكثر
muu akthar Not more
الله يخليك
allaah ykhallii-k Pleeeeease!
ما تعجبه
maa ta:jib-ah He does not like
كلة يكون زين
kullah yikuun zayn Everything will be fine
waSal-naa We arrive
:aalii Loud
khilaal During
مو صج!
muu Sij! No way!
 خطش فلم!
khuush filim! What a great film!
al-gaTaawah The cats

ukhidh-ay raa7-tich

Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Today's phrase is a double-edged sword. Say ukhidh-ay raaH-tich to any maraah
between the age of adolescence and retirement and you may as well begin
the computer manual / home improvement / jigsaw puzzle that you've been
putting off.

Or, in the case of the Kuwaiti Guy in today's meme, it's a golden opportunity to ogle
his favourite actress.

So "ukhidh raaH-tik" means "take your time" but also potentially take forever,
at least until the job's done. And here's the other side of the coin: it's about patience.
Especially when this happens:

"Shall I try on this dress?"
"Or shall akhidh this nafnuuf instead?"
"What about al-nafnuuf al-azreg?"
"shraay-ik b-hadhaa al-akhDHar?"
"Does maqwit-ii look kabiirah in this?"
"Should I try any of them on?"
"maa :ind-ik maani: tanTurn-ii shwayah ba:d?"

To which the reply is:

maraah Woman
akhidh I take
an-nafnuuf The dress
al-azreg The blue one (m)
shraay-ik What about? (to a male)
b-hadhaa About (lit. “to this)
al-akhDHar The green one (m)
maqwit-ii My bum
kabiirah Big (f)
عندي مانع
:ind-ik maani: Do you mind?
تنطرني شوية بعد
tanTur-ii shwayah ba:d Waiting for me a bit (lit. “you wait for me)
:aadii Whatever
HaaTiin They put ("they" refers to the TV channel)
:al-TV On the TV


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

مو مشكلة
muu mushkillah No problem
bas But
بشرط واحد
b-sharT waaHid On one condition

maa-lii khulg

Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

This weekend we went to the Hammaam as-sibaaHah. The receptionist
gave us the stink eye as we ambled in. "Don't you know yissakr ba:d
thalaathiin daagiigah?" Oh, nisay--naa - weekend times.

We trudged to the dismal-looking maT:am next door. We know we
shouldn't do this to ourselves. But here we are, doing it.

"shinu :indi-hum aakl hinii?" I mumble.
He shrugs. "maadrii."
"Do you mind ordering me something healthy, idha kaan mumkin?"
"Sure, ayiib-lich iyah," he replies.

He brings me burger and fries. Perfect.
"Thanks, :aT-nii iyah," I say.
"Oh no no no, this is maal-lii. Yours is on its way."

Now the stink-eye receptionist is coming over, with a tray.
Did she have every job?

"tfaDHal-ay," she says, putting a cup of green juice on the table.
"shinu hadhaa?" I ask, dumbfounded.
"You asked for something healthy. Clearly we don't offer anything like that,
so I put what's left of my Sultan Center Caesar Salad in a blender for you,"
she replied breezily. "I would have gone to the supermarket to get
ingredients, but it's far away, and, well ... maa-lii khulg."

حمام السباحة
Hammaam as-sibaaHah Swimming pool
yissakr It closes
بعد ثلاثين دقيقة
ba:d thalaathiin daagiigah In 30 minutes
nisay-naa We forgot
maT:am Restaurant
شنو عندهم اكل هني
shinu :indi-hum aakl hini? What’s there to eat here?
maadrii I don’t know
اذا كان ممكن
idhaa kaan mumkin If it’s possible
ايبلچ إياه
ayiib-lich iyah I’ll bring it (m) to you (f)
عطني إياه
:at-nii iyah Give it (m) to me
maal-lii Mine
shinu What
tfaDHal-ay There you go (to a woman)
شنو هذا؟
shinu hadhaa? What’s that?

maalat 3alaa wayh-ik!

Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

"walaa shay. laiish?"
At this he starts laughing. "laaaaaa, maa fahamt-ay! I'm looking at the shop sign
and thinking aloud. shuuf-ay, over there, the Whatup Sports Store."
I grit my teeth. "maalat :ala wayh-ik!"

ولا شي
walaa shay Nothing
laiish Why
ما فهمتي
maa fahamt-ay You didn’t understand (to a female)
shuuf-ay Look (to a female)
maalat Shame
:alaa On
wayh-ik Your face


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

According to official statistics, the third largest religion in Kuwait is Instagram.
I've tried very hard to escape its clutches, and have failed miserably.

Instagram would initially take pride of place at the odd event, but now it has moved
into shuqqat-naa, eats dinner ma:aa-naa and wears khaatam zawaaj.

mumkin tSuurlii Suurah? is code for spiritual surrender to the almighty Apple.
Out comes Father iPhone. And worship begins.

"What shakl of filter?"
"shinu aktib for Facebook?"
"ay social media?"
"I look bad in that shot ... take it again!"

"nzain, nabii shay thaani?" I wonder.

Answers on a postcard. Alternatively, check out the next generation of Apple.


shuqqat-naa Our apartment
ma:aa-naa With us
جاتم  زواج
khaatam zawaaj A wedding ring
 ممكن تصورلي صورة؟
mumkin tSuurl-ii Suurah? Can you take a photo?
shakl Sort / type
شنو اكتب
shinu aktib What should I write
ay Which
نزين، نبي شي ثاني؟
nzain, nabii shay thaanii? So I wonder what else we want?


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

"shfiich?" he asks. I must have a face like a rainy Sunday.
"I've just been to the al-makhfar," is my glum reply.
"You're kidding, what happened?"
"I was riding on my bicycle at less than a kilometre an
hour. And I burned a red."
He waits.
"...yam shurTii," I admit, defeated.
Now he starts laughing. "You didn't see him?"
"The guy was taqriiban two metres from where I was,
in full uniform. He may as well have had disco lights on
his head, but me being me, maa shift-ah. And he fined
me on the spot."
I twiddle my thumbs. "100 euros?"
"But now laazim aruuH lay al-makhfar so that I can pay." 
He asks me if I have to go there today. 
"bas, :ayal laa truuHiin."
"aTHin bruuH," I say, and explain that should I choose
to pay today, I won't get fined another 100 euros baachir.
He can see that this episode has ruined my day.
"shlonich?" he asks.
"zwaynah," I reply, with a shrug.
At this he starts laughing again. "yaHlayl-ich!"

shfiich? What’s wrong? (to a female)
al-makhfar The police station
yam  Next to
shurTii A policeman
taqriiban Approximately
ما شفته
maa shift-ah I didn’t see him
bi-cham How much?
laazim It’s necessary
baruuH I will go
lay To
laa No
بس عيل لا تروح
bas :ayal laa truuH(iin) So don’t go then (m/f)
اظن باروح
aDHin baruuH I think I will go
baachir Tomorrow
zwayn(ah) Okayish (m/f)
yaHlayl-ich How cute you are (to a female)!
yadat-kum Your grandmother

aallah ykhalii-k

Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Moving in together - and not killing each other - requires
the art of give-and-take. It's just that, ba:d shwayyah, you
don't keep score. So it is sahl for every request to be one
step towards ya:nii taking advantage.

sahl Easy
بعد شوية
ba:d shwayyah After a while
ya:nii Like / it means