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Lesson Transcript

May: مرحباً اسمي مي.
Danya: و أنا دانيا.
Timothy: Timothy here, Beginner Lesson #3 – What is that? Hi, my name Timothy and I’m joined by May…
May: مرحباً بكم Hello, everyone.
Timothy: …and Danya.
May: أهلاً بكم في ArabicPod101.com. Welcome to ArabicPod101.com.
Timothy: We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from all the listeners and we’d like to extend you a شكراً جزيلاً, thank you very much.
May: شكراً. Thanks.
Danya: شكراً لكم, Thanks, everybody.
Timothy: In the last lesson, we learned how to ask yes-no questions. Let’s review.
May: يا دانيا من أين أنتي؟
Timothy: Danya, where are you from?
Danya: أنا من سوريا.
Timothy: I’m from Syria.
May: هل أنتي من حلب؟
Timothy: Are you Aleppo?
Danya: لا, أنا لست من حلب.
Timothy: No, I’m not from Aleppo.
Danya: أنا من دمشق.
Timothy: I’m from Damascus.
May: يا دانيا من أين أنتي؟
Danya: أنا من سوريا.
May: هل أنتي من حلب؟
Danya: لا, أنا لست من حلب, أنا من دمشق.
Timothy: So, yes-no questions are great for reviewing vocabulary. And today, we’ll show you how to gain new vocabulary by asking what something is. Make sure you come by ArabicPod101.com and checkout the transcripts, Romanization, and translations in the PDF for this lesson. Now, let’s listen to today’s conversation.
May: Today’s conversation occurs between Danya and I as we walk around the mall.
Danya: Yes. I own a new cell phone and May just noticed it.
Timothy: This is a casual polite conversation in standard Arabic. And we’ll focus on how to ask what something is.

Lesson conversation

مي: ما هذا؟
دانية: هذا التلفون الخلوي لي، إنّه جديد.
مي: ولكن إنّه صغير جدّا.
دانية: نعم، إنّه حديث وجميل.
مي: هل سعره عال؟
دانية: نعم، ولكنّه يستحق ذلك.
Eric: One more time with the translation.
مي: ما هذا؟
Timothy: What is that?
دانية: هذا التلفون الخلوي لي، إنّه جديد.
Timothy: This is my cell phone. It's new.
مي: ولكن إنّه صغير جدّا.
Timothy: But it's so small.
دانية: نعم، إنّه حديث وجميل.
Timothy: Yes, it's modern and beautiful.
مي: هل سعره عال؟
Timothy: Is it expensive?
دانية: نعم، ولكنّه يستحق ذلك.
Timothy: Yes, but it's worth it.
Timothy: That’s a nice phone you got there.
Danya: Thank you.
Timothy: Okay. So it seems everybody has cell phones these days.
Danya: I agree. Even teenagers have their own.
Timothy: Do you have a cell phone.
Danya: Yes, of course.
May: Of course.
Timothy: Is it like that in the Middle East? I mean, does everybody carry a cell phone like they do here in the States?
May: Yeah. Actually, you’ll most probably see young kids carrying their own phones.
Timothy: Really? Is it affordable for kids to have their own phones, too?
May: Well, you see, the way cell phones operate often there is quite different than how they operate here in the States. So basically, you buy the actual phone separate from the line.
Timothy: Okay.
May: Once you buy your actual phone, you get to choose a company with whatever plan you want…
Timothy: Right.
May: You get a sim card.
Timothy: Okay.
May: And that’s how your phone starts working. So every company has different plans.
Danya: Right. So you either pay a bill at the end of the month, or you prepaid for the minutes through a card.
Timothy: So where do you get the cards?
Danya: Well, the cards are sold at convenience stores like supermarkets and phone shops. These cards have codes that you enter into your phone and then it automatically adds to your account. Of course, there are different values for each card, depending on how much you want to spend.
Timothy: So you can control the minutes that you pay for.
May: Exactly. As for the phones themselves, their prices vary as well. So you can either buy a really new phone with all these really nice features or you can just buy used phone from any phone shop.
Danya: Though for a lot of youth, showing off the latest cell phone is like showing off their new car. They’re always willing to spend more on their cell phones and its gadgets for that reason.
Timothy: The young people in the Middle East gets special decorations for their cell phones like stickers or beads or bling?
May: Yeah. Girls especially love decorating their phones. I personally used to change my cover every now and then. I don’t do that anymore, but you can always find those phone accessories at just about any phone shop in town.
Timothy: What about ring tones?
May: You can buy them off the internet, phone companies, or even at phone shops, as I said. And a lot of people choose to share them with one another.
Timothy: Okay. So ringtones are really popular, too.
May: Yeah.
Timothy: Everybody has their own.
May: Well, yeah, you know, the latest songs and hits that are out there. It’s all available.
Timothy: Okay. So it seems like people over there also use their phones for entertainment just like here.
May: Yeah. Many people upload music and videos to their phones and share them with friends.
Timothy: What about text messaging? Do you have special devices for texting in Arabic?
May: No. The phones themselves that are sold in the Middle East, they’re actually designed with Arabic as a display language. So the buttons on the phone will have the Arabic characters along with the English. The menu will appear in Arabic and you can also text in the Arabic script. Now that’s an option, of course. You don’t have to stick to that.
Timothy: What about Arabic-speaking people in London or here in the United States?
Danya: Commonly, English is the standard on cell phones. So when people want to say something in Arabic while keeping the phone setup for English, type it using English characters like our PDFs.
May: Except we use numbers that look like Arabic characters for the sounds that don’t exist in English, and of course, this is really a cultural thing that people came up with, so it’s nothing formal. So let me give you an example.
Timothy: Okay.
May: For ع, we use the number 3 and for the sound cayn that also doesn’t exist in English, we’ll use the number 7 because it almost resembles the shape of the letter in Arabic.
Timothy: Okay. Let’s move on to the vocab. First we have…
May: هذا [natural native speed]
Timothy: This or that (masculine).
May: هذا [slowly - broken down by syllable]. هذا [natural native speed].
Timothy: Then we have…
May: هذه [natural native speed].
Timothy: This or that (feminine).
May: هذه [slowly - broken down by syllable]. هذه [natural native speed].
Timothy: And then we have…
May: صغير [natural native speed]
Timothy: Small.
May: صغير [slowly - broken down by syllable]. صغير [natural native speed].
Timothy: The next word is…
May: حديث [natural native speed].
Timothy: Modern or new.
May: حديث [slowly - broken down by syllable].حديث [natural native speed].
Timothy: Then there’s…
May: جميل
Timothy: Beautiful.
May: جميل
Timothy: Next word…
May: سعر [natural native speed].
Timothy: Price.
May: سعر [slowly - broken down by syllable]. سعر [natural native speed].
Timothy: Next word…
May: عالي [natural native speed].
Timothy: High (as in position).
May: عالي [slowly - broken down by syllable]. عالي [natural native speed].
Timothy: All right. Now let’s see how we can use this vocabulary. The first word that we’ll look at is…
May: جميل
Timothy: “Beautiful.” And then the example sentence?
May: هذا حصان جميل
Timothy: “This is a beautiful horse.” Can I use this word to tell my wife she’s beautiful?
May: Yes, but you will have to use a feminine form.
Timothy: How would say “You are beautiful” to my wife?
May: أنت جميلة
Timothy: أنت جميلة. How was that?
May: Very good.
Timothy: Okay. So could she use جميل to call me handsome?
May: Yes. جميل could be used for guys and جميلة for girls.
Danya: But I usually use وسيم for men. It means handsome as opposed to جميل which means beautiful.
Timothy: Great. Can we hear that word again?
Danya: وسيم
Timothy: Handsome.
Danya: وسيم
Timothy: Now let’s hear the full sentence.
Danya: أنتَ وسيم.
Timothy: “You are handsome”, when talking to a man. Okay, what’s the next word?
Danya: صغير
Timothy: Small.
Danya: هذا كتاب صغير.
Timothy: “This is a small book.” Okay, let’s hear another example.
Danya: البنت صغيرة.
Timothy: “That girl is small.”
May: Actually, this could mean either that the girl is physically small or that she is young in age.
Timothy: Okay. So is there a way to be more explicit?
Danya: البنت صغيرة في السن.
Timothy: “That girl is small in years,” right?
Danya: Right.
Timothy: Meaning, the girl is young.
Danya: Right.
Timothy: Let’s hear that sentence again.
Danya: البنت صغيرة في السن.
Timothy: “The girl is small in years,” meaning the girl is young. The word is…
Danya: حديث
Timothy: New or modern.
Danya: هذا هاتف حديث.
Timothy: “This is a new phone.” Another example, but using the feminine form of the word.
Danya: هذه سيارة حديثة.
Timothy: “This is a modern car.” Next word.
Danya: سعر
Timothy: “Price.”
Danya: كم سعر الهاتف؟
Timothy: How much is the price of the phone?
May: The question word كم is used with quantities as in the previous example.
Timothy: Okay.
May: So if you want to ask “what is the price of the phone” instead of “how much is the price of the phone”, then you use the question word ما as in the following example…
Danya: ما سعر الهاتف.
Timothy: “What is the price of the phone?” Okay. And the next word?
Danya: عالي
Timothy: High (as in position that’s up high).
Danya: هذا الهاتف عال السعر.
Timothy: “This phone is of high price,” meaning “this phone is expensive.”

Lesson focus

Timothy: Now, let’s move on to the grammar used in this lesson. Today’s grammar point is non-human gender. In Arabic, absolutely everything has grammatical gender. For example, the word for chair is masculine while the word for table is feminine.
May: We don’t mean that tables are somehow female and chairs are somehow male, we’re just saying that objects are divided into two groups.
Danya: Yes. And words in one group are paired together in a sentence.
Timothy: Can we get an example from the dialogue?
Danya: هذا التلفون خلوي.
Timothy: “This is a cell phone.”
Danya: In this sentence, we use the masculine word هذا to go with the masculine word “telephone.”
Timothy: Can we get another example?
Danya: هذه حقيبة
Timothy: This is a purse.
Danya: So هذه is feminine and حقيبة is feminine as well.
Timothy: Okay. In Lesson 1, we heard هذا and هذه when we said “this is my friend.”
May: هذا صَدَيقي.
Danya: هذِهِ was used because صديقي refers to my male friend.
May: هذه صَدَيقتي
Danya: هذه was used because صَدَيقتي refers to my female friend.
Timothy: So in those examples, هذا and هذه were chosen depending on the gender of the person.
Danya: That’s right. But even when we’re talking about inanimate objects, we still have to make a decision whether to use هذا or هذه
Timothy: So how do we know whether to use هذا or هذه ?
May: Well, you have to just memorize which group of word is in, whether it’s مؤنث meaning female or مذكر meaning masculine.
Danya: There are some clues, though. Like, if a word ends with a sound A like the word جميلة, it is very likely to be feminine.
May: But there are lots of exceptions, so it’s easiest just to memorize the gender of each word as you’ll learn new vocabulary.
Timothy: Today, we learned a really important question for learning Arabic.
Danya: ما هذا؟
Timothy: “What is this?” This is an excellent phrase. I use that all the time. You can hold up something and ask “what is this?”
Danya: ما هذا؟
May: هذه حقيبة.
Timothy: So Danya asked ما هذا؟ using the masculine word for this.
Danya: ما هذا؟
Timothy: But when May responded, she used the feminine word.
May: هذه حقيبة.
Timothy: That’s how you can figure out whether an object is masculine or feminine. Just pick it up, ask ما هذا and then listen for the response. If they say هذا, it’s masculine and if they say هذه, then it’s a feminine word. Can you give us another example?
May: هل هذا ميكروفون؟
Timothy: Is this a microphone?
Danya: نعم, هذا ميكروفون
Timothy: “Yes, that’s a microphone.” And we see that microphone is a masculine word because she responded with هذا.
May: هل هذا راديو؟
Timothy: “Is this a radio?” In this case, May already knew that radio was a masculine word so she used هذا.
Danya: لا, هذا ليس راديو.
Timothy: “No, that is not a radio.”
May: ما هذا؟
Danya: هذا أي باد.
Timothy: “That’s an iPod.” Apparently, iPods are also masculine. This kind of drill is great for starting to think in Arabic. Can we hear that conversation again all the way through?
May: هل هذا ميكروفون؟
Danya: نعم, هذا ميكروفون
May: هل هذا راديو؟
Danya: لا, هذا ليس راديو.
May: ما هذا؟
Danya: هذا أي باد.


Timothy: So what you can do is get together with your learning partner with a bunch of objects and things that of you know the words for and start asking each other “what is this?” ما هذا؟ And you continue on and on and on. Right? You can use this to learn new words if your language partner already knows them, or you can use them to review vocabulary that you already know. That’ll just about do it for today. Make sure you stop by the forum at ArabicPod101.com and join a discussion. Find a language partner or just leave us a comment.
May: إلى اللقاء.
Timothy: Until the next time

Dialog - Standard

Review Track