yaa m3awad!





GUY 1: Who's that girl over there? shisim-haa...?

GUY 2: No idea, I think she's new.

GUY 1: Look, look, she's going to swim. Damn, all I've got to wear is this wizaar. 

GUY 2: Here's a tip for life, ya m3awad: girls are like Pokémon, it doesn't matter how good you are, you can't catch any if you don't have balls.

GUY 1: Er...

GUY 2: You can totally borrow my board shorts.

GUY 1: Amazing! fidayt-ik!

The guys swap clothes before Guy 1 heads down to surprise the unsuspecting swimmer..


Arabic
Pronounced?
English

فديتك
 fidayt-ik
I owe you one (>m)
فديتچ
fidayt-ich
I owe you one (>f)
فديتكم
fidayt-kum
I owe you one (>pl)
وزار
wizaar
a sarong
شسمها؟
shisim-haa…?
what’s she called…?

guul shinuu?







According to Urban Dictionary, guul shinuu? is the ideal question to build anticipation, only to then completely undermine it by following up with something boring.

Akram is meditatively deboning some lamb at 7am in his butcher's shop. His wife Umm Khaalid, 47 years of age, stomps in and in her high-pitched way says,"buu khaalid, guul shinuu?"

"haaa?"

"GUUL SHINUU!" she says a hundred decibels higher.

"shinuu?"

" ya aall-ah, guul!"

Losing his patience he says, "wallah maadrii, yaa umm khaalid?"

"You good-for-nothing, yaa kirh-ik!" 

Akram: "inzayn...so guul-ay, what is it?"

"maabii aguul-ik khalaa9! The moment's lost." With a flick of her diamanté-studded shaylah, Umm Khaalid stomps out.

Her husband rhythmically cuts the chunks of lamb with precise swishes of the knife, contemplating the option of marrying a second wife for what seems like the millionth time.


Arabic
Pronounced?
English

قول شنو؟
guul shinuu?
Guess what? (>m)
قولي شنو؟
guulay shinuu?
Guess what? (>f)
قولوا شنو؟
guulaw shinuu?
Guess what? (>pl)
بو خالد
buu khaalid
father of Khaalid
آم خالد
umm khaalid
mother of Khaalid
شيلة
shaylah
Veil
إنزين...
inzayn…
Okay so…
 يا آم خالد
yaa umm khaalid
dearest Umm Khaalid
يا كرهك!
yaa kirh-ik!
How I hate you! (>m)
مابي اقولك خلاص!
maabii aguul-ik khalaa9!
I don’t want to tell you anymore! (>m)
ولله مادري
wallah maadrii
I really don’t know

bi l-magluub





Fact: today's word was taught to me by a one-year old, making it rather essential vocabulary. It also reminded me how interested children are in pointing out how things look and how they work.

This particular baby was excited to shout bi l-magluub! when one of his play blocks was on its head. Or exclaim duur! duur! when one of his toys started to spin around.

But I noticed it was his mum who would say if his t-shirt was bi l-3aks or his hair was m3gad. He was so interested in the world around him, but relatively disinterested in anything too closely related to him.

On that note, I had no trouble imagining it would also be his mother's observation that dar-ah 3afsah.


Arabic
Pronounced?
English

بالعكس
bi l-3aks
inside out
دور! دور!
duur! duur!
round and round
معقد
m3gad
tangled
دره عفسة
dar-ah 3afsah
his room is a mess

tawqiit sayyi2






Dad: Yeah az-zuwaarah ('the family visit') was great, everyone was there, but we didn't have any desert, kul-ah min ('all because of') Theyab.

Abroad Student: Typical lol. aguul, mitaa gaym of thrawn? ('by the way, when's Game of Thrones?')

Dad: Hmm, I think at 8pm.

Abroad Student: tawqiit wayn?

Dad: Let me check. 8pm tawqiit baws6uun, which means 4am tawqiit-naa.

Abroad Student: Cool. So, khal-naa nsawii skaayb as-saa3ah 5 tawqiit-ik ('let's Skype at 5am') just after the show finishes and before you go to work.

Dad: Sure. So anyway, khal-nii akamil-ik ('let me continue'). Finally Theyab came with the kunaafah (Levantine cheese pastry soaked in syrup) while we were putting on our pyjamas but everyone has already gone so I told him tawqiit-ik sayyi2 ya 3amii ('your timing sucks, bro').


Arabic
Pronounced?
English

وين توقيت؟
tawqiit wayn?
which time zone?
توقيتي
tawqiit-ii
my time
توقيتك
tawqiit-ik
your time (>m)
توقيتچ
tawqiit-ich
your time (>f)
توقيتكم
tawqiit-kum
your time (>pl)
توقيتنا
tawqiit-naa
our time
توقيتهم
tawqiit-hum
their time
توقيت بوسطن
tawqiit baws6un
Boston time
توقيتك سء يا عمي
 tawqiit-ik sayyi2 ya 3ammii
your timing sucks, bro

6aazij




Every weekday morning before sunrise, the oldest suug (‘market’) in Kuwait is filled with noise, bustle and people bidding on the shiny piles of fish placed on mats at their feet.

simach 6aazij?” a newbie buyer asks one of the fisherman, who gives him a steely look and replies: “ee, 6aazij 6aazij” since he has just literally roped in the catch from the Gulf.

The best thing about markets is that you have a chance to buy products at their prime, and usually for less than their plastic-covered cousins at the supermarket.

The fawaakah (‘fruit’) are either naa’9jah or slightly under-ripe; the khubz (‘bread’) is never baayit and the khu'9rah (‘vegetables’) that many of us sweet-toothed penitents have to begrudgingly chomp on are, just as the fisherman said of his catch, 6aazjah 6aazjah.

So why does the sight of a hamburger that didn’t use la7am (‘meat’) 6aazij and fries that in all honesty came from bu6aa6 ('potatoes') m3afin still send ‘I want you’ signals to my brain?


Arabic
Pronounced?
English

طازج
6aazij
fresh (m)
طازجة
6aazjah
fresh (f)
ناضج
naa’9ij
ripe (m)
ناضجة
naa’9jah
ripe (m)
بايت
baayit 
stale (m)
بايتة
baaytah
stale (f)
معفن
m3afin
rotten (m)
معفنة
m3afnah
rotten (f)

ma9akht-haa



Some of my immediate circle are lovers of mil7I don't just mean that they enjoy putting salt on every dish (that, too) but even when a meal resembles a Scandinavian winter with the amount of salt pilled on it, their hand will still reach for the little pot to add an extra flourish.

So an unamused-me will end up ironically saying:
taraa waayid ma9akht-haa ('by the way, you totally spoiled it / lit. made it bland or flavourless').

The above phrase is directed at a male (the verb would be ma9akhtay if speaking to a female). For the eagled-eyed among you who are wondering why the subject pronoun is the feminine haa, all shall be revealed: the haa refers to 'the situation' or al-7aalah which is a feminine word. However, in this context, the haa could just as easily be referring to another feminine word, al-wajbah (meaning 'the meal').

Enough grammar, let's get back to ma9akh-haa wa uhuwa kul-ah sahraan bi d-diiwaaniyah. Here's how the sentence works.


ma9akh is the verb, referring to the third person 'he' (so at this point, we're gossiping about a man). The haa pronoun again refers to the situation, al-7aalah because we're saying that he's kind of spoiling things in a general sense.


The next word wa means 'and' ... so I guess we've got more to say.

uhuwa ('he') kul-ah ('always') sahraan ('stays up late') bi ('at') ad-diiwaaniyah ('traditional Kuwaiti gatherings for men').

In other words, he's ruining everything by always staying out late with his friends. And as many a wife might conclude in despair: ana maqhuurah!


Arabic Pronounced? English

انا مقهور
ana maqhuur I’m fed up (m)
انا مقهورة
ana maqhuurah I’m fed up (f)
انا مقهورين
a7na maqhuuriin We’re fed up (pl)
ملح
mil7 salt
بالديوانية
bi d-diiwaaniyah at the traditional Kuwaiti gatherings for men