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Lesson Transcript

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to refuse in Egyptian Arabic. There are many situations in our daily lives when we want to refuse, especially when we don’t like or want something. Other than that , Egyptians consider refusing as a form of being polite, in which case refusing becomes a good manner. When someone gives an unexpected present and the gift seems to be too expensive, refusing is considered the proper thing to do in Egyptian culture.
In Egyptian Arabic, “No thank you” is:
laʾ, shokran.
Let’s break it down:
(slow) laʾ, shokran.
Once more:
laʾ, shokran.
The first word laʾ means “no”
(slow) laʾ
After that comes shokran which means “thank you”.
(slow) shokran .
shokran .
Let’s hear the expression again:
laʾ, shokran..
(slow) laʾ, shokran.
This expression is the equivalent of “No, thank you!” and it’s used in the same situations as in English.
Sometimes you might need to refuse something that is given to you, like food, for example. When you feel that what was offered to you is too much say dah kteer .
“This is too much.”
Let’s hear that again:
(slow) dah kteer.
dah kteer.
In this sentence, the word dah means “this”.
(slow) dah.
Next we have kteer, which is translated as “too much”.
(slow) kteer.
Let’s hear the phrase one more time.
(slow) dah kteer.
dah kteer.
دَه كتير
The translation is “This is too much”.
A combination between the two expressions we just covered is also possible - laʾ, shokran, da kteer.
(slow) laʾ, shokran, da kteer.
During your stay in Egypt, you may be invited to people’s house. In most cases, you will be offered food. There is a custom in Egypt to offer more food when the guest is about to finish eating everything that’s on his or her plate. You may feel like saying: “Thank you, but I’m full”.
shokran bas ʾanā šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
Let’s break it down:
(slow) shokran bas ʾanā šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
Once more:
shokran bas ʾanā šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
In this sentence, shokran means “thank you”.
Next we have bas, which means “but.”
(slow) bas.
After that we have ʾanā, meaning the pronoun “I” in English.
(slow) ʾanā
šbiʿt ḫalāṣ is translated as “already full”.
(slow) šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
šbiʿt means “full”, ḫalāṣ means “already”.
Altogether, it is:
(slow) shokran bas ʾanā šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
shokran bas ʾanā šbiʿt ḫalāṣ.
“Thank you but I’m full already.”