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Lesson Transcript

Natasha: Hello. It’s me Natasha.
Judith: Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 9, “Complaining About the Traffic in Arabic.”
Natasha: Hi, my name is Natasha and I’m joined here by Judith.
Judith: Hello, everyone and welcome back to ArabicPod101.com.
Natasha: What are we learning today?
Judith: In this lesson, you will learn how to voice a complaint.
Natasha: This is the rest of the postcard.
Judith: The postcard is from Julia to her friend Aisha in the States.
Natasha: The language used is informal Modern Standard Arabic.
Judith: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Natasha:شوارع القاهرة مخيفة وسائقو السيارات طائشون
Natasha: Now, read slowly.
Natasha:شوارع القاهرة مخيفة وسائقو السيارات طائشون
Natasha: Now, with the translation.
Natasha:شوارع القاهرة مخيفة وسائقو السيارات طائشون
Natasha: The streets of Cairo are scary and the car drivers are reckless.
Natasha:قال لي سائق تاكسي أنه لا يبالي ولكنني أبالي
Natasha: A taxi driver said that he didn’t mind, but I do.
Natasha: عندما رأيت نهر النيل نسيت كل شيء
Natasha: When I saw the shore of the Nile, I forgot everything though.
Natasha: لنيل جميل حقا
Natasha: The Nile is really beautiful.
Natasha: تحياتي، جوليا
Natasha: Best wishes, Julia.
Judith: What is this about driving in the Arab world?
Natasha: Driving standards in the Arab world fall into distinct camps. The clean, smooth and largely empty mega highways of the oil-rich Gulf and the hectic and frankly crazy driving found elsewhere, while a westerner will have little trouble in the Gulf except women who can drive in the Saudi Arabia. It is probably better and not too expensive to hire a car with a driver in other parts.
Judith: Yeah. I hear that Egypt, in particular, is notorious for having the world’s easiest driving tests. If you can drive a bit forward and backward for few a meters, you get a license. So, there are many bad drivers on the road?
Natasha: Yeah.
Judith: How about the public transport?
Natasha: Yeah. We have lot of public transports, buses. We don’t have like, a lot of Arabic countries, or I think, most of them don’t have metros, basically just buses and taxis, but the good thing that the taxis are not that expensive. So, you can actually afford it and the buses are okay, but in some countries, they are really over crowded.
Judith: Well, if you always wanted to rub arms with the locals.
Natasha: How about the rail networks? Is there any place where you can get around by rail?
Judith: I’m not sure, but in Egypt, you can and in Syria as well, and probably in other countries as well.
Judith: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is?
Natasha: مخيفة
Judith: Scary.
Natasha: مخيفة
Judith: Next?
Natasha: سائق
Judith: Driver.
Natasha: سائق
Judith: Next?
Natasha: سيارة
Judith: Car.
Natasha: سيارة
Judith: Next?
Natasha: طائشون
Judith: Reckless.
Natasha: طائشون
Judith: Next?
Natasha: قال
Judith: To say.
Natasha: قال
Judith: Next?
Natasha: تاكسي
Judith: Taxi.
Natasha: تاكسي
Judith: Next?
Natasha: يبالي
Judith: He minds or he cares.
Natasha: يبالي
Judith: Next?
Natasha: رأَى
Judith: To see.
Natasha: رأَى
Judith: Next?
Natasha: نهر النيل
Judith: The Nile.
Natasha: نهر النيل
Judith: Next?
Natasha: تحياتي
Judith: Best wishes.
Natasha: تحياتي
Natasha: Let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first word we’ll look at is "lii" means “to me”.
Natasha: So, "qaal lii" means “he said to me”.
Judith: "taHiiyaatii" is used in the way English uses “best wishes”, but it literally means “my wishes”.
Natasha: "shawaar´u" is plural of "shaari´u" meaning “street”.
Judith: The focus of this lesson is the genitive and the different pronunciations of “l”. There’s a problem with the article “l”. You may have noticed already, sometimes, it’s pronounce "al" and sometimes it seems to fuse into the next letter.
Natasha: For example, the Nile is not "al-niil" but a "an-niil". This is because of something called sun letters and moon letters.
Judith: The "al" fuses into the next letter if that letter is a sun letter and it does not if it is a moon letter.
Natasha: Sun letters are all letters that are articulated with the help of a tongue. For example, “t”, “d”, “s”, “l” and “n” in all their variations that exists in Arabic.
Judith: Moon letters are letters articulated either with lips or back in the throat like, “b”, “k”, “f”, “w” and others. Here’s the complete list of all the sun letters in Arabic.
Natasha: ﻥ‎‮ ‬ﻝ‮ ‬ﻅ‮ ‬ﻁ‮ ‬ﺽ‮ ‬ﺹ‮ ‬ﺵ‮ ‬ﺱ‮ ‬ﺯ‮ ‬ﺭ‮ ‬ﺫ‮ ‬ﺩ‮ ‬ﺙ‮ ‬ﺕ
Judith: And the moon letters are the ones left over.
Natasha: ه‮ ‬ﻱ‮ ‬ﻭ‮ ‬ﻡ‮ ‬ﻙ‮ ‬ﻕ‮ ‬ﻑ‮ ‬ﻍ‮ ‬ﻉ‮ ‬ﺥ‮ ‬ﺡ‮ ‬ﺝ‮ ‬ﺏ‮ ‬ء
Judith: There are 14 sun letters and 14 moon letters. So, the Arabic alphabet is exactly split between the two.
Natasha: Whenever "al" followed by a sun letter, the sun letter is audibly doubled as in "Miidaan AT-Tahrir" square.
Judith: Tahrir Square.
Natasha: "An-Niil"
Judith: The Nile.
Natasha: But not in "al-Qahira".
Judith: Cairo.
Natasha: "Muammar al-Qaddafi"
Judith: Muammar Gaddafi.
Natasha: "al-madrasa"
Judith: The school. In writing, the article is always spelled with an “l”.
Natasha: In addition to meaning the article “l” is also used for genitive constructions.
Judith: That is, when more than one noun is combined. For that, the second noun receives the “l” in front.
Natasha: For example, the friend of a driver is "sadiq al-julia".
Judith: How about the friend’s party?
Natasha: The friends’ is party is "hafla al-Mahmut".
Judith: And the car driver, literally the driver of car?
Natasha: "sa'iq as-sayaara".
Judith: Think of “l’ as meaning “of” in this constructions. That’s just about does it for today.


Judith: Want a free way to build your Arabic vocabulary?
Natasha: Follow our Arabic word of the day at ArabicPod101.com.
Judith: See and hear the word of the day.
Natasha: Plus a sample phrases and sentences.
Judith: Get this daily vocabulary alerts on Facebook, Twitter.
Natasha: And on the ArabicPod101.com blog and add this widget to your own website or blog.
Judith: They’re available in 35 languages.
Natasha: Get this easy instruction at ArabicPod101.com/Arabic-phrases.
Judith: We hope you enjoyed this lesson. See you next week.


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Do you usually get stressed when you are stuck in a traffic jam?

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:09 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Asim,

Thank you for your feedback.

We will consider it for our future development.

Right now what I can suggest is to download the audio and then play it on your device with an audio player app or software and set it to repeat.

Thank you for using ArabicPod101.com!



Team ArabicPod101.com

Thursday at 12:50 AM
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Tuesday at 12:26 PM
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Thank you, Nora!

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:29 PM
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Hi Christi,

1- The alif after سائقوا is a typo! We apologize for that, I will fix it immediately.

The alif after لم يكونوا though, is a silent letter that follows the plural form verb to differentiate it from plural nouns like سائقو for example.

2- The ب is a quotation article. It's like the difference between:

He said he doesn't care.


He said THAT he doesn't care.

The voice actress probably said it unconsciously.

3-The "oo" after "niil" is a vowelling sign, which is explained more thoroughly in the intermediate series.

Vowelling is usually done by automated applications so sometimes we forget to double check if the vowelling is missing on some words. Totally our mistake. We apologize.

Great observations though, and thank you for your constant feedback!


Team ArabicPod101.com

Sunday at 02:05 AM
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Three questions. Why is there an aliph after سسائقوا? We have seen this before with لم يوكونوا and I can't figure out what it is doing there.

Also, second line, Julia is definitely saying ب before inahu, but it's not written even in the vowelled Arabic.

Last, she says ("oo") after Nile before saying jamil, but it's not written, even in the vowelled Arabic.

It's hard for me to know whether any of these are important, or not.

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 08:17 AM
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Hi Ali,

Yeah, sorry for the confusion!

Nahr anNil is in the Egyptian accent.

Nahr unNil is in the Modern Standard Arabic accent.


Team ArabicPod101.com

Saturday at 12:19 AM
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To say Nile River, the lesson audio says as Nahr an Nil.

But in the review track, it is Nahr un Nil.

Which one is correct? Or are both OK?

Shukran lakum.

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 09:07 PM
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Hi Hayley,

We're working on a series that focuses on grammar and conjugation at the moment. Continue with the lessons and when the new series comes out things will make sense later on :).

Good luck!


Team ArabicPod101.com

Tuesday at 08:32 PM
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I try to learn and understand each lesson completely, and I worry when there are conjugations and slight changes to words I don't understand. Should I just move on to the next lesson, and not let it stress me out? Will it all make sense at a later stage?

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 07:04 AM
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Hi masterpxxx,

Thanks for the heads up! I'll report this right away :)