Thursday, September 12, 2019

Shamsi And Qamari Letters with AL

الّلام الشمسية والقمرية
To make a noun definite or specific, we need to add an article like “The” in English, this is the “AL” in Arabic that precedes many nouns ال. Shamsi and Qamari letters change the way you pronounce “AL”. They are also called Sun (shamsi) and Moon (Qamari) letters.
If a noun has “AL” and the first letter of the noun is a Shamsi letter, then the “Lam” of AL is not pronounced.
And in this case, this letter “Lam” ل is called a Shamsi Lam لام شمسيه. The first letter of the word following the Lam is also stressed or doubled.
If the first letter of the word is a Qamari letter, the “AL” is pronounced normally followed by the word. This is called لام قمريه

The Shamsi and Qamari letters

A lot of people find it easier to only memorize one type of letters, usually the Qamari ones, then the rest of the 28 Arabic letters are all Shamsi.
A common mnemonic to help people remember them is this sentence, all the letters are the Qamari ones:
ابـــغ حجك وخف عقيمه
So the Qamari letters are:
أ ب غ ح ج ك و خ ف ع ق ي م ه

Examples of Sun and Moon letters:

The following are words starting with a Qamari letter and when you add “AL”, the ‘Lam” is pronounced:

Examples of words starting with a Shamsi letter, leading the “Lam” in “AL” to be silent:

How to differentiate between them without memorizing?

It is often memorized but the main thing is to keep practicing, specially listening to native speakers. Another way to try to guess the type of the letter, is to assume it is a Shamsi letter, and try pronounce the word as if it was, a Qamari letter would sound and feel very unnatural and difficult to pronounce. However, this needs some little of experience.

Here are all the letters in the Arabic alphabet divided according to their type:

What if the first letter is a “Lam”?

Just like any other letter, “Lam ل” is a Shamsi letter, so you are supposed to drop one “Lam” in “AL” but then stress the first letter of the word which in this case is the same: ل. So basically, you just treat both as one stressed Lam. I found this video on Youtube (and many others) which could be helpful. There is one mistake in the video which is the letter س is actually Shamsi and I think it was just a typo and it was meant to be a “yaa”ي.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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Marriage Wishes In Arabic

There are many ways to say congratulations in Arabic for a wedding. In this post, you will learn the most common and the easiest ways to congratulate someone as well as some variations and different dialects because they can vary depending on the type of wedding.


Common Arabic Wedding Wishes

Simply, saying “Mabrook” is the same as just saying congratulations! It is a general word you can say for any happy occasion. If you want to specifically say congratulations for the wedding you could say

  • “Mabrook”
  • “mubarak lakom al zawaj”
    مبارك لكم الزواج
  • “3ala al fara7” مبروك على الفرح.
    You could also say “alf mabrook al zawaj” which means congratulations for the marriage. In Egypt, we like to say “alf mabrook”, meaning (a thousand congratulations!).

It is a marriage wish because the very origin of the word is “barakah” which is a prayer meaning God’s blessings.
You can also follow “mabrook” with something like this:
تمناتي لك بالزواج السعيد “tamaneyati lak bel zawaj alsa3eed” – I wish you a happy marriage.

Wedding vocabulary [Egyptian dialect]:

The bride العروسة “el3arosa”
The groom العريس “el3arees”
Jewelry gifted by the groom to the bride الشبكة “elshabka”
Ring خاتم “khatem”
Ululation  زغروطة “zaghroota”. For more info, you can read this.
Wedding Intro زفه “zaffa”.
Another way to say congrats: تهانينا “tahanina”.
There is a song called “mabrook” that became one of the most popular Arabic wedding songs, I have not attended one in the last 3 years that haven’t played this song.

Wedding, Nikah and Islamic marriage

In Islam, there are 2 stages to a marriage:

  1. The Islamic marriage agreement (marriage contract)
    عقد القران

    Often called “Nikah” by Asian Muslim communities. This is a ceremonial agreement during which the vows are exchanged, usually between the groom and a the bride’s father as an Arabic tradition (the bride can do the vows herself otherwise). It can also include conditions similar to a prenuptial agreement. After this ceremony, the couple are considered married under Islamic law.

  2. Another crucial part of marriage in Islam is the proclamation

    Which is basically the wedding party that aims to let everyone know about the marriage. Note that the Nikah and the actual wedding can happen on the same day, or can be separate. Sometimes the Nikah can happen months (or even a year or years) before the wedding. This can vary a lot depending on circumstances and familial and cultural traditions.
    The Nikah is commonly either performed as a limited small celebration days or weeks  before the wedding (only for close family and friends), or on the same day.

The Christian Arab marriage traditions are different but I am not an expert on this so I can’t really delve into this. However, you can use the same Arabic marriage wishes mentioned above.

Islamic Marriage Wishes in Arabic

For a Muslim getting married, there are some common prayers or greetings you could say. The most common nikah wish (dua) is this one:
بارك الله لكما وبارك عليكما وجمع بينكما ف خير
“baraka Allahu lakoma, wa baraka 3alaikoma, wa jama3a baynakuma fe khair”.
Which translates to: God bless you (both), God bestow his blessings upon you and may God unite you in goodness.
There is also an Islamic song that has this phrase.

If you want, why not also buy them a personalized Nikah Mubarak card? Check out the link below for one of my favorite designs, you can change it and add the bride and groom’s names, add a special message inside, etc. You will also find other designs that you can use too.

I hope that helps. Let me know in the comments if you know other wishes for a happy marriage in Arabic or if you have any questions!

What to say in Araibic when someone has a baby

Saturday, September 7, 2019

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What To Say In Arabic When Someone Is Sick?

These situations can be sensitive and tricky, even in your own language. There are different ways to show compassion. In this post, I will teach you some basic phrases to say in Arabic when someone is sick, but also what else to say if you feel that you wanted to say more.

Basic phrases in Arabic when someone is sick

  • Get well soon. The literal translation of this English phrase is not very natural in Arabic. The closest is (I wish you a speedy recovery) أتمنى لك الشفاء العاجل “atamanna lak alshefaa al3ajil”.
  • May God cure you, may Allah grant you shifa:  شفاك الله “shafaka Allah” [masculine] or “shafakillah” [feminine].
  • I pray to God that he cures you . ربنا يشفيك “rabena yeshfeek” – Egyptian Arabic.
  • ربنا يقومك بالسلامه “Rabena ye’awemak bel salamah” (literally:  I pray to God that you get up -from your illness bed- quickly). Egyptian.

You will notice that a lot of the things you could say to a person are in the form of small prayers. That is how religion is important in the Arab culture and tradition. Whether the person is Muslim or Christian, what you say will involve some form of mini prayer to God or a wish for recovery. In standard Arabic, Muslims may say to each other:  “tahoor insha’allah” طهور إن شاء الله. It more or less translate to a prayer to God that you recover with no sins. That is linked to Islamic belief that sickness or hardship purifies the soul and clears sins. Sickness is seen as either: a test, a blessing to purify the person, or a punishment/warning.

In Tunisia and some other countries, you might also hear the phrase “la baas 3alaik”  لا بأس عليك which is a prayer to remove harm from the sick person.

More things to say to a sick person in Egyptian/other dialects

  • سلامات “salamat” followed by “ya …[name/my friend/brother etc]. Means many wishes of wellness or blessings.
  • ألف سلامه “alf salamah”, means: a thousand blessings upon you.
  • In gulf countries, you could say “ma choof shar” ما تشوف شر, translation: may you see no harm.

Islamic Get Well Soon Duas

You could say this prayer: أسَألُ اللَّهَ العَظِيمَ، رَبَّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ، أنْ يَشْفِيَكَ
“Asa’alollaha al3azeem, rab al3arsh al3azeem, an yashfeyak”. The simple translation is (I ask Allah, the Great, the Lord of the magnificent throne that he cures yous). This is basically how to say get well soon in Islam. Another dua is to say:
لا بأس طهور إن شاء الله
“la baasa tahooron enshaallah”; the Prophet Mohamed peace be upon him said this to a sick person and it means may Allah make this a purification for the sick person (from sins).

I hope you find these helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions in comments section. I will be happy to help if you heard any other phrases and wanted to know the meaning or if you have any questions about learning the Arabic language in general.

Friday, September 6, 2019

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How To Say Thank You In Arabic

This is one of the most common words in Arabic and any other language. Let’s learn to say thank you in Arabic in different variations and different dialects (darija) as well as Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). This is going to be an easy lesson as you have probably already heard the word “shukran”, which means (thank you), before and wondered about its meaning.
In this article I will use [m] for masculine and [f] for feminine when needed. I will also use number 3 for ع and 7 for ح as these sounds are not present in English. I have not included a lot of grammar or all the different pronouns because this post is for beginners and I am happy to answer any questions if you have some. So let’s dive a bit deeper.


Photo by selfthy on flickr (cropped, resized) | License: CC BY 2.0

How Do You Say Thank You Very Much In Arabic

Standard Arabic:
Shukran jazilan” شكرًا جزيلا means thank you very much.
In the Arabian gulf you might hear “mashkoor” مشكور followed by the name or nickname of the person being thanked.
Shukran Habibi: habibi حبيبي means my love but in this situations, it is not used in a romantic sense. Arabs would say habibi to a friend or a stranger, this is like an American saying “thanks buddy” to a stranger even though they are not “buddies”.
In the levantine (Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan):
“shukran ekteer” شكرًا كتير
Egyptian Arabic:
You can still use “shukran”, sometimes people use “motashaker awi” متشكر أوي if the speaker is a male or “mutashakera” متشكره for females.

Examples of Shukran in Arabic

Thank you brother. “shukran akhi” شكرًا أخي
Thank you for -your good- listening. شكرًا على حسن استماعكم
Thank you for your gift. “Shukran lak 3ala hadeyatek” شكرًا لك على هديتك
Thanks for your hospitality. “Shukran 3ala 7osn aldeyafa” شكرًا على حسن الضيافه
Thank you all. “shukran lakom jami3an” شكرًا لكم جميعًا
I thanked him for coming. “laqad shakartoh 3ala al 7odor” لقد شكرته على الحضور
“Shukran habibi” means thank you my love! Usually NOT used romantically. For example, Arab men say that to friends, family or even strangers. It is like an American saying “thanks buddy”!

Thank you God: You can use the same concept and say “shukran ya rab” شكرًا يا رب but there is a specific phrase for thanking the lord in Arabic which is “alhamdolellah” الحمد لله which means praise to Allah (Allah is Arabic for God in Abrahamic religions).

How to write thank you in Arabic

Shukran in Arabic writing

This is shown in the image next to this paragraph. Remember there are many different ways people like to use the letter “kaf” كـ but as long as it is clear you should be fine. Notice that the hamza or little kaf on top of the kaf is not written when it is connected to other letters. The 2 lines in a red circle are called “tanween” which basically mean the last letter should be pronounced a “noon” ن but not written. We can expand on this later in a separate post for advanced learners.

How to respond to shukran in Arabic

The reply can be something very simple and the equivalent to (you are welcome): you can say “3afwan” عفوًا or al 3afw العفو. You could also say “wala yhemmak” ولا يهمك which means never mention it and is used mainly in Egypt.

Pronunciation of thank you

Here is a video of a cute song called (Thank you, mom), obviously our word is in the beginning of the sentence. You will find other songs using the word Shukran.

Now: over to you. Can you think of examples using the word shukran? Do you have any questions or suggestions of examples to add to this post? Let’s hear from you in the comments section below.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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How To Say I Want In Arabic

One of the most important phrases to learn in any languages is “I want to” because it enables you to communicate something you want to do. In this post we will talk about standard Arabic which you can use virtually anywhere but will also mention a few other dialects.

The main verb “want” يريد would literally mean “he wants”.
To say “I want” you should use:
I want: أنا أريد pronounced [ana oreed]
for short: أريد.
I don’t want: لا أريد , or you can just say no if someone just asked a question: لا

Examples of I want in Arabic

  • You can start the sentence with أريد and then follow it with whatever you want. The word أريد is pronounced [oreedo]. Make sure you don’t stress or prolong the O at the end it should be a short vowel (for more advanced learners, it is a dammah ضمه). The verb is usually followed by a noun, or if it is followed by another verb, you should add أن, which mean “to”, as in the first example below.
  • I want to go home, please. أريد أن أذهب إلى البيت من فضلك
  • I would like some water, please. أريد بعض الماء لو سمحت
    Here is our lesson on Ordering food & drinks in Arabic.

More examples:

I want to …… أريد :

  • meet you مقابلتك [moqabalatak]
  • go [athahab / an ath-hab] أن أذهب / الذهاب
  • I want you in Arabic is أريدك [oreedok, sometimes areedak]

Remember to say please after you say I want in Arabic.

Say it in Egyptian Arabic

I want = أنا عايز (Egyptian dialect, masculine).
The feminine version is أنا عايزه (ana 3ayza). If you don’t want to do something, you can say مش عايز [mesh 3ayez, for masculine] or مش عايزه [mesh 3ayza, feminine]. “No” is the same as standard, although Egyptians add a “hamza” or glottal stop at the end “لأ”.

I want water أنا عايز ميه [ana 3ayez mayyah]
I want to talk to you [ana 3ayez akallemak]

Please note the letter “3” denoted the letter ع.

Political real life example!
People don’t normally use standard Arabic in every day life but rather use the local dialect. However, the standard version could give a stronger or more global feeling and is easier to spread to other countries. During the Arab spring where millions protested against their governments in various Arab countries, a common slogan was used which is الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام [asha3b yoreed esqat elnezam] or “people demand overthrowing of the regimen”. It is used here to mean demand or a stronger form of “want”. See if you can hear it in this video.

Gulf/Saudi/other dialects:

If you are in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or one of the other Arabian Gulf countries, you can use the local dialect and say أبغى [abgha], followed by your request and of course the equivalent of please.

Other tenses, formats:

The past is wanted, which is أراد for masculine or أرادت for feminine.
I will want سوف أريد [sawfa oreed].
For 2 people هما يريدان
Plural [masculine] هم يريدون
Plural [feminine] هنّ يردن
If you want to ask some one else:
Do you want?
[m] هل تريد or [f] هل تريدين

If you prefer to watch a video, then have a look at this short video that summarizes saying I want in Arabic. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. If you want to know more or want to ask about a different phrase, feel free to leave a comment down below. Yalla!, study some Arabic.