yawman maa

Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Tarek Al Ghoussein, K-Files Series (2013)

I dream that fii l-mustaghbal, some of the epic architectural projects promised for Kuwait will be completed for all to enjoy. And that maybe hadhaak al-yawm there will be a new city in the Middle East with a mosque, a synagogue and a church standing shoulder to shoulder.

Coming back down to earth, the most immediate of my hopes is that fii yawman maa there might eventually be some water in this swimming pool.

في المستغبل
fii l-mustaghbalIn the future
هذاك اليوم
hadhaak al-yawmOne day
bakhidh-l-iiI will get (lit. I will get to me)
بليستيشن ٤
blaystayshin 4Playstation 4


Every Thursday, or yawm al-khamiis, a Kuwaiti will either host or attend a zuwaarah. An afternoon will be spent catching up with everyone's news and eating, eating, eating. 

While I'm far from Kuwait, maa azuur anybody. I will spend my yawm al-khamiis "studying" Kuwaiti Arabic by watching hit Kuwaiti television series "zuwaarat al-khaamiis." Accompanied by a giant box of Kleenex.

Check out the pilot:

يوم الخميس
yawm al-khamiisThursday
  ما ازور
maa azuurI do not visit


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Ahmadi, Kuwait

How do you say you're going to do something?

In Kuwaiti Arabic you can express actions that you're about to do using verbs:

raaH aruuH - I am going

Add on the preposition li followed by the noun of a place, such as al-maktabah and you've got yourself a sentence. raaH aruuH li l-maktabah.

Note the slight contraction. In speech, the al gets shortened to a single l sound when placed after a preposition. So instead of saying li al-makabah you say "lil maktabah" which is much easier to pronounce. 

But who goes that often to the library? You want to be able to say that you're off to the market (suug) or the shops (dukkaan) to pick up a few things. In which case:

raaH aruuH li s-suug.
raaH aruuH li d-dukkaan.

So where did the extra s and d come from? Read about it here.

To express actions that you're on the cusp of doing, you can also use adjectives as the Kuwaiti guy below does, which you're more likely to hear in conversation.

raayiH I am going (m)
raayHah I am going (f)
لي المكتبة
li l-maktabah To the library
kintaakii Kentucky Fried Chicken


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

"shinu :ind-ich this evening?" he asks me.
"No plans," I reply.
"Would you like to go to a ma:raD tonight? I was walking by the street with all the ma:aariD on the way home from work. I saw this incredible sculpture in the window, and I asked the gallerist if could see illi ma:aruuD."
"But ..." Long pause. Disbelief. "But you don't like ma:aariD," I say, but promptly swallow the rest of my words.
Why am I ruining a moment I've dreamt of for so long - the day I don't have to drag him to a ma:raD, but end up being the one to get invited?
Doing a 180, I beam, grab his arm and utter the eternal word: "yalla!"

shinu What
:ind-ik Do you have (>m)
عندچ :ind-ich Do you have (>f)
الي معروض illi ma:aruuD The one displayed
معاردض m:aariD Galleries
يا الله yalla Let’s go
 ما رحتي maa riHtay you (>f) didn’t go
معرض الكتاب ma:raD al-kitaab the book expo
طايفچ Taayfich it passed you (>f)
نص nuS half
عمرچ :umrich your (>f) life


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Nuria is a self-confessed car crash. One too many privileges later, she has wound up in group therapy. The group's title: Overspenders' Anonymous.

This is her explanation to the group as to what's going wrong:

"raaH aSrif today just like Saraft yesterday. Even aS-Sarraaf at the store says Sarf-ii is ridiculous.  I really should take his advice because al-maSruuf that I get every month just isn't enough to cover my habit.  I keep on hoping that the government will roll out a surprise birthday bonus but they've been tight recently. You would think aS-Sarf is fun but it's become a curse. My spending batteries are maSruufah."

I should introduce Nuria to the Kuwaiti guy below.

راح اصرف
raaH aSrif I will spend
Saraft I spent
الصراف aS-Sarraaf The cashier
صرفي Sarf-ii My spending
المصروف al-maSruuf The allowance
مصروف maSruufah Spent, flat (f)
بسرعة b-sir:ah Quickly

aSrif I spend
tSrif You spend (>m)
tSrifiin You spend (>f)
tSrifuun You spend (>pl)
nSrif We spend
ySrif He spends
tSrif She spends
تصرفون ySrifuun They spend


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Thanks to the laziest of weekends, the extra sleep faad-naa.

Because the long ceaseless hours of work last week maa kaan mufiid. And McDonalds lunches had just about finished us off. How did it happen?

"Where do you want to have lunch?" he had asked.
"Somewhere mufiid," I would reply.
And then he takes me exactly where I am afraid he is going to take me. The pearly gates of McDonalds swing open before us.
"maa min-ik faayidah," I grumble. 

faad-naa It helped us
كان مفيد
kaan mufiid It was helping
ما منك فايدة maa min-ik faayidah Thanks for nothing (>m)
الفوائد al-fuwaa’id The benefits
مافي فايدة maafii faayidah It’s not helpful


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Due to today's end of week fatigue, this post will be a little meditation on sleep, or nawm. 

What do you say when you realise it's midnight and that "award-winning film" you're watching still has three and half hours' of running time? raaH anaam.

Or when the persistent person is calling (again) and your friend has already turned in? gaa:id yinaam (or gaa:dah tinaam if speaking of a girl).

Finally, there's a handy saying in Arabic that means "each to his own":

راح انام
raaH anaam I'm going to sleep
قاعد ينام
gaa:ad yinaam He is sleeping
شبعت نوم؟ shaba:t an-nawm? Did you get enough sleep?
كل واحد kul waaHid Each person
ينام yinaam He sleeps
على :alaa On
اليمب al-yamb The side
إلي illi That
يريحا yiriiHaa He relaxes


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

I don't really like juuaatii so much but ana jaahizah to admit their power
over me. It all began when my mother would tell stories about her child-
hood in South America - conditions were tough, and among other things,
her parents couldn't afford to buy her shoes. This left it's mark: whenever
my sister and I would play barefoot in the garden, she would tell us to
put on shoes fawran or "immediately."

Years later, I began to travel. It was then that I noticed all the abandoned
shoes in the world. Some were mashed-up and left at the side of the road
bas others were barely scratched. It stirred my curiosity - but not much more.

Then, one afternoon as I was walking in Barcelona's old town, I happened
upon a shoemaker's workshop. maadrii why but I couldn't peel myself away.
I must have been standing at the workshop door for an eternity because the man
stopped his work and waited for me to say something.

These days albis an apron and sit beside the shoemaker with a last and knife
in hand. I won't recount how many plasters were required in that first week
(or even now), only that making something that takes care of you and yours -
possibly for life - seems entirely worth the trouble.

juuaatii Shoes
  انا جاهز
ana jaahiz(ah) I’m ready (m/f)
بس bas But
مادري maadrii I don’t know
اي ay Which
البس albis To wear (lit. I wear)


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

Today we're going to talk about chairs, or karaasii.

A little chair-talk is often very mufiid. How might you say, for instance,
"pull up a kursii" or "is this kursii free" in Kuwaiti Arabic?*

After all, the chair is the very threshold to a social life.

It's no surprise then, that a kursii was named after Barcelona, possibly
one of Europe's most sociable mudin. Believe it or not, al-mudayl of the
Barcelona Chair is over 80 years old:

It was designed in 1929 to show off the levels of creativity and innovation
taking place in Barcelona at the time. The humble designer of the Barcelona Chair
also happened to be one of the founders of modern architecture, Mies van der Rohe,
who probably spoke about as much Catalan as I do, and even less Spanish.

Mies van der Rohe based al-mudayl of the kursii on the rather debonair karaasii
of the Roman Emperors:

Despite the glacial perfection of its shakl, the Barcelona Chair is something that
even design gurus would never dream of putting in their home. Most will be found
gracing the lobbies of corporate empires in London or New York, and for better
or worse, they sort of say: "stay back and simply gaze at me."

Many people who visit Barcelona would probably struggle to correlate this
plush, meticulously polished number with a city that is wild, fun, and to put it
mildly, a little rough around the edges.

That is, until you began to see the playfulness in its arched legs.

Or the stand-back-look-at-me austerity of Barcelona's other landmarks:

kursii Chair
kursiiayn Two chairs
كراسي karaasii Chairs (three - ten)
مدينه madiinah City
مدينتين madiintayn Two cities
مدن mudin Cities (three - ten)
المديل al-mudayl The design
شكل shakl The shape

"pull up a chair" - isHab-l-ik kursii (>m), siHbii-l-ich (>f)
"is this chair free" - al-kursii faaDHii? 


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

"I need a new computer," Theyab announced one day. "Using your laptop isn't 
working out. It's not mufiid for what I need to do."

"I knew this arrangement would only last li-muddat five minutes," I sigh.

"I can't do this li-ghaayat next year. I'll go crazy."

"Hadd-ik you're crazy."

"maafii daa:ii you tell me that! I'm going to buy a computer right now."

I roll my eyes. "We've got no space in our apartment for a humongous machine."

He shrugs. "I'll get something really small. laa ta:biin nafs-ich."

Begrudgingly, I agree.

When the next day, a box arrives larger than Theyab and myself put together,
I can barely believe my eyes. It blocks the hallway and I can no longer access the 
kitchen, nor the bathroom, nor the front door.

Theyab starts laughing when he sees my face. "Don't worry, half of the box
is faaDHii."

"Get rid of it fii asra: waqt mumkin!" I tell.

Needless to say, the computer is huge, and looks like a breeze block.

"At least I don't have to use your laptop anymore," he chuckles.

"Uff, you meanie!" I pout. "chadhaab Theyab!"

mufiid Useful
li-muddat For a period of
لغاية li-ghaayyat Until
حدك Hadd-ik Totally (>m)
مافي داعي maafii daa:ii There’s no need
لا تعبين نفسچ laa ta:biin nafs-ich Don’t worry yourself (>f)
فاظي faaDHii Empty
في اسرع وقت ممكن fii asra: waqt mumkin As soon as possible
الوحش al-waHsh The monster