beginning, intermediate

Shaykh Munaf’s Arabic conversations: Episode 1

This article will discuss Episode 1 of Shaykh Munaf’s series of Arabic conversations. This one is very simple and goes very slowly, but there are probably some words and expressions used in it that you aren’t familiar with. Here is the video:

The conversation here is between Munaf (مناف munaaf) and Abdur Rahmaan (عبد الرحمان ʕabd ir-raḥmaan).

After some greetings and such, Abdur Rahmaan explains that he is from Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean Sea. Here are the words he uses to say that:

جَزيرة
jaziira
‘island’
الْبَحْر الكاريبيّ
’al-baḥr il-kariibiyy
‘the Caribbean Sea’

When expressing admiration in English, we can say something like ‘That’s great!’, but in Arabic one must be careful not to make the other person think that you are envious and “casting the evil eye” on them. This is why Munaf uses a phrase translated as ‘as Allah wills’ when Abdur Rahman tells him that he is a student at the university:

ما شاءَ الله.
ma shaa’ al-laah.
‘whatever God wills’

This will probably sound very similar to the phrase إن شاءَ الله ’in shaa’ al-laah, which literally indicates that you understand that any plans or intentions have ultimately depend on God’s will:

إن شاءَ الله.
’in shaa’ al-laah.
‘if God wills’

This latter phrase is often used in the sense of ‘hopefully’.

A filler word that Munaf uses is this one:

طَيِّب
ṭayyib
‘good, okay’

Munaf asks Abdur Rahman for his phone number. Here is the word for ‘number’. Opinions vary as to whether the correct pronunciation of this word is raqm or raqam. Munaf uses the latter.

رَقَم/رَقْم
raqm/raqam
‘number’

You may know the word تلفون tilifuun for ‘telephone’, but Munaf uses the native Arabic word هاتف haatif:

هاتِف
haatif
‘telephone’

This word is used more in some countries than in others. In Egypt one usually uses تلفون tilifuun, but in some other countries, that is not considered a real Arabic word.

Putting these two words together, we get:

رقم هاتِف
raqam haatif
‘telephone number’

Munaf needs to grab something to write with and asks Abdur Rahman to wait a moment, using this word:

لَحْظة
laḥḍha
‘moment’

While sometimes Munaf uses the Standard Arabic word نعم naʕam to say ‘yes’, on one occasion here he uses the colloquial word أيوه ’aywa, which is the word for ‘yes’ in Egyptian Arabic and apparently also in Sudanese Arabic.

أَيْوَه
’aywa
‘yes’ (colloquial)

Here’s Trinidad and Tabago in Arabic:

ترينيداد وتوباغو
tirinidaad wa tubaaghu
‘Trinidad and Tobago’

To say ‘right’, Munaf uses the following colloquial word:

صَحّ
ṣaḥḥ
‘correct’ (colloquial)

In Standard Arabic, we would use this related word instead:

صَحيح
ṣaḥiiḥ
‘correct’

You probably know the following phrase as a way to respond to ‘thank you’, like the English phrase ‘you’re welcome’, but it can also be used in the sense of ‘excuse me’, as Munaf uses it here:

عَفْوًا
ʕafwan
‘you’re welcome; excuse me’

If you have completed the Bite-Size Arabic book, then you already know the word آسف ’aasif to say ‘sorry’. Here Munaf uses a related word that means the same thing:

مُتَأَسِّف
muta’assif
‘sorry’

I hope this page helped you get the most out of this video clip. I will do more of these in the future, إن شاءَ الله ’in shaa’ al-laah!



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