Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
In this lesson, you will learn a question that will help you improve your Egyptian vocabulary, without carrying a dictionary with you.“How do you say [something] in Egyptian Arabic?” Is a sentence that can amazingly replace your pocket dictionary.
Egypt is famous for its bread, so let’s assume that you want to buy some, but have no idea what to call it in Egyptian Arabic!
GRAMMAR POINT
“How do you say ‘bread’ in Egyptian Arabic?” is
ezzai btʾol ‘bread’ bellmaṣri?
بالمصري؟ ‘bread’إزاي بتقول
Let’s break it down:
(slow) ezzai bt-ʾol ‘bread’ bell-maṣri?
Once more:
ezzai bt-ʾol ‘bread’ bell-maṣri?
The first word, ezzai means, “how”.
(slow)إزاي
ezzai.
ezzai.
This is followed by btʾol, a verb translated in English as “to say”.
(slow)بتقول
bt-ʾol.
btʾol.
Next, we have bell, which means “with” or “in”.
(slow)بِال
bell.
bell.
After bell we have the word in English, which is ‘bread’ in this case.
And at the end of the question there is maṣri translated as “Egyptian”.
(slow)مصري
ma-ṣri .
maṣri .
by the way, the word maṣri, “Egyptian”, has two meanings, just like in English. One is the language, and the other one is the nationality.
You can also use this expression without using any English. To accomplish this, you can use the expression “How do you say this in Egyptian?” In Arabic, “this” is deh.
(slow) deh.
deh.
So “How do you say this in Egyptian Arabic?” is
إزاي بتقول دِه بالمصري؟
ezzai btʾol deh bellmaṣri?
Let’s break it down:
(slow)إزاي بتقول دِه بالمصري؟
ezzai bt-ʾol deh bell-maṣri??
Once again:
ezzai btʾol deh bellmaṣri?
The structure is exactly the same as the previous sentence, except that instead of “bread”, we have the word deh, which is the feminine form of “this” in Arabic.
Altogether, we have:
(slow) إزاي بتقول دِه بالمصري؟
ezzai bt-ʾol deh bell-maṣri?
ezzai btʾol deh bellmaṣri?
While asking this question, you can point at the specific something that you are curious about.
To use the masculine form of this sentence, deh will need to be replaced with dah, the masculine word for “this”. The phrase will change a little bit.
إزاي بتقول دَه بالمصري؟
ezzai btʾol dah bellmaṣri?
(slow) ezzai bt-ʾol dah bell-maṣri?
And in Egyptian Arabic there is no real version of “that”, so it’s even easier. You can use dah, or deh to ask for something far or close to you. But remember, deh is the feminine word, dah is the masculine word.
Let’s say that you’re invited to a birthday. You’ll need to know how to say “Happy birthday” in Arabic. The question sounds like this:
بالمصري؟‘Happy birthday’ إزاي بتقول
ezzai btʾol ‘Happy birthday’ bellmaṣri?
“How do you say “happy birthday” in Egyptian Arabic?”
(slow) بالمصري؟‘Happy birthday’ إزاي بتقول
ezzai bt-ʾol ‘Happy birthday’ bell-maṣri?
ezzai btʾol ‘Happy birthday’ bellmaṣri?
The first word (إزاي) ezzai means “how”.
Then you have (بتقول) bt-ʾol , which is translated as “to say”
(slow) bt-ʾol .
bt-ʾol .
Next we have the words you want to have translated, and at the end of the question comes (بالمصري) bellmaṣri which means “in Egyptian Arabic”.
All together:
ezzai btʾol ‘Happy birthday’ bellmaṣri?
By the way, Egyptian people say
“kull sana w ʾnta ṭaib”
for “happy birthday”.

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H listeners! One of the most important sentences when you learn a language! Which words did you learned this way?