fii-nii...




Work finished late, so I had to run like crazy to the festival. Surely the acts never ran on time? I'd been wanting to catch a live performance of The Black Keys for a while and here at last they were, in our town.

I missed their performance by a few minutes. Defeated, I found my way to the food tent where Theyab was queuing.

"a7is abchii," I complained. He looked confused.

"'I feel I cry?'" he chuckled, imitating my bad Kuwaiti. "shinuu ya3nii?" ('What does that mean?')

"yaa3nii ... I feel like shedding a tear."

"Oh, you don't say it like that. Use a7is when you feel things outside you.  For example, a7is bi l-hawaa al-baarid ('I feel the cold air') or a7is inn-ik za3laan ('I feel that you're sad'). But when the feeling is inside, say fii-nii."

"Ah! I think I know this one. Is it like when your mum once said fii-nii nawmah? I asked ('I feel like sleeping').

He laughed. "Yes. And you'd say fii-nii bawlah if you feel like peeing and fii-nii kaakaa if you feel like going for a..."

"Got it!" I said brightly. "So you'd use a noun after fii-nii. So how do I say 'I feel like crying' in Kuwaiti?"

"fii-nii bachyah," he confirms (fee-nee-betch-ya). Then he asks: "Hang on, are you sure fii-ch bachyah? You seem pretty upbeat right now."

"I suppose being a language geek has its advantages," I smiled.



Arabic
Pronounced?
English

زعلان
za3laan
sad (m)
زعلانة
za3laanah
sad (f)
زعلانين
za3laaniin
sad (pl)
بولة
bawlah
pee
كاكا
kaakaa
poo
بچية
bachyah
crying
أحس بالهوا بارد
a7is bi l-hawaa baarid
I can feel the cold air
اجس أنك زعلان
a7is inn-ik za3laan
I feel you're sad
شنو يعني؟
shinuu ya3nii?
what does that mean?
يعني...
ya3nii…
it means…