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Arabic For Dummies 101: Modern Standard Arabic vs Levant Arabic

posted on: Dec 31, 2020

 

 

 

Arabic For Dummies 101: Levant Addition
BY: Raneem Ghunaim/ Arab America contributing writer  Arabic is considered to be one of the most difficult languages to study. It is ranked #2 on the world’s hardest languages to learn according to a multitude of sites. However, if broken down into different parts it’s not as bad as it seems. In a way, Arabic is divided into two sections, which is how we will look at it today. There is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) which is mostly used for formal writing. Then there is informal Arabic or “street Arabic” which is used to communicate with others on a daily basis.

Being fluent in spoken Arabic is completely different than being fluent in written Arabic. With written Arabic, MSA is almost always used. Standard Arabic is used for newspaper articles, books, news, legal documents, commercials, road signs, advertisements, and much more. Typically students who are beginners start with standard Arabic because, if they travel to an Arab country, directions and most written information is usually in MSA. However, people in the Arab world use “street Arabic.” Each Arab country has its own dialect in street Arabic, which makes learning Arabic a little more challenging for beginners.

Levant Dialect

One of the easier dialects comes from the Levant area: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Historically the Levant was one county, making their dialects very similar to each other, yet each has retained its own unique dialect. Now let’s explore how to say common phrases that you would need to know if you were traveling to an Arab country.

Airport, المطار (Al-Matar)

Arabic For Dummies 101: Modern Standard Arabic vs Levant Arabic

When you are traveling, the first exposure you would have to Arabic is in the airport. Here are some of the more common phrases that you can use to get by without the help of Google Translate! As mentioned before, when you go to any public place most of the signs and directions are going to be in standard Arabic.

Modern Standard Arabic

1- Where is: أين “Ayn”

2- How much: كم “Kam”

3- When is: مَتى “Mata”

4- What is: ما هو “Ma huwa”

At an airport, most of the time you are wondering where terminals are, how much snacks cost, or when planes might arrive. For now keep, these four small phrases in mind, as you will be able to add on to them.

Signs you might see 

1- Arrivals Building: مبنى القادمون “Mabna Al- Kadimoon”

2- Departure Building: مبنى المغادرون “Mabna Al- Mogadiroon”

3- Inspection Office: مكتب التفتيش ” Maktab Al- Tafteesh”

4- Visitors Hall: قاعة الزوار ” Ka’at Al- Zowar”

5- The Main Gate: البوابه الرئيسي “Al- Bawaba Al Raesiyah”

6- Restaurant Hall: قاعة المطاعم ” Ka’at Al-Mata’em”

7- Currency Exchange Office: مكتب الصرافة “Maktab Al-Sirafah”

8- Bank- بنك “Bank”

9- Escalator: السلم الكهرباء ” Al-Silam al Kahruba’i”

10- Payphone: هواتف “Hatif”

If lost, the phrase (Where is: أين “Ayn”) could be put in front of any of these and it would make perfect sense.

Things you might say on the plane

1- When does the plane arrive?: متى موعد وصول الطائرة؟ “Mata maued wusol al taira?”

2- What’s my seat number?  ما رقم مقعدي؟ “Ma Rakam Maikadi”

3- How long does the flight take?  كم تستغرق الرحلة؟ ” Kam Rastaghriq Al- Rihla”

4- Where is the bathroom? أين الحمام؟ “Ayn Al- Hamam?”

5- Can I have some water please? هل ممكن الحصول على الماء من فضلك؟ “Hal Mumkin Al-Husul Ala Al-Maa Min Fadlik?”

Hotel الفندق (Al- Finduk)

Arabic For Dummies 101: Modern Standard Arabic vs Levant Arabic

After safely landing, your next step is to get a ride to your hotel. Here are some common phrases that you might use. Keep in mind that,  while going into the hotel, you will be welcomed by native Arabic speakers. This means you can now use “street Arabic”. If you choose to use standard Arabic it would still be understandable, but it is more common to use spoken Arabic when communicating with native speakers. Below are 10 phrases that might be helpful, and under that, the same 10 phrases are in spoken Arabic. Keep in mind, spoken Arabic is only spoken and not written, while the standard Arabic section could be used both written and verbally.

Modern Standard Arabic

1- What is my room number? ما هو رقم غرفتي؟ “Mahu Rakam Gurfati?”

2- Where is the ice machine? أين مكينة الثلج؟ “Ayn Makinat Al-thalg?”

3- Can I get extra blankets? هل يمكن الحصول على بطانيات إضافيه؟ ” Hal Yumkin Al-Husul Ala Bataniyat Idafiyah?”

4- Where is the nearest restaurant? اين أقرب مطعم؟ ” Ayn Akrab Mata’m”

5- Can I get new pillows please? هل يمكن الحصول على وسادة جديدة من فضلك؟ “Hal Yumkin Al-Husoul Ala Wisada Gadidah Min Fadlik”

6- I want someone to clean my room please اريد شخص ما، ينظف غرفتي من فضلك. “Areed Shaksanma Liyonadif Gurfati”

7- I want to order dinner to my room أريد أن أطلب العشاء إلى غرفتي. “Areed An Atlub Al-Asha’ ila Gurfati”

8- I want to change my room اريد تغير غرفتي  “ِAreed Tageer Gurfati”

9- I want to order tea to my room أريد طلب الشاي في غرفتي. “Areed Talab Al-Shay Fi Gurfati”

10- What is the Wifi password  ما هي كلمات المرور لاستخدام الواي فاي “Mahia Kalimat Al-Murur Listigdam Al- Wifi”

Spoken Arabic

1- What is my room number? شو رقم غرفتي؟ “Shu Rakam Gurfiti?”

2- Where is the ice machine? وين مكينة التلج؟ “Waen Makinat Al-talg?”

3- Can I get extra blankets? ممكن تعطيني حرامات زيادة؟ “Mumkin Ta’teeni Ihramat Ziyadeh?”

4- Where is the nearest restaurant? وين أئرب مطعم؟ “Waen Aarab Matam”

5- Can I get new pillows please?  ممكن تعطيني مخدة جديدة لو سمحت؟  “Mumkin Akud Mukadeh Gadideh Lau Samahit?”

6- I want someone to clean my room please بدي غرفة جديده لو سمحت. “Bidi Gurfeh Idideh Lau Samahit”

7- I want to order dinner to my room بدي اطلب عشا لغرفتي “Bidi Atlub Asha La Gurfiti”

8- I want to change my room بدي أغير غرفتي. “Bidi Agaer Gurfiti”

9- I want to order tea to my room بدي أطلب شاي لغرفتي. “Bidi Atlub Shay La Gurfiti”

10- What is the Wifi password شو الوايفاي بسورد “Shu El Wifi Password”

Restaurant مطعم (Mata’m)

Arabic For Dummies 101: Modern Standard Arabic vs Levant Arabic

When at a restaurant, menus are often written in standard Arabic, but when ordering you would use spoken or “street Arabic.” All the menu items will be written in standard Arabic while the phrases will be in both.

Menu قائمة (Ka-imah)

1- Chicken: الدجاج  “Al- Dajaj”

2- Meat: اللحوم “Al-Luhum”

3- Pasta: المعكرونه  “Al-Makaronah”

4- Salad: سلطه “Salata”

5- Appetizers: المقبلات “Al-Mukabilat”

6- Soups: الحساء or شوربة “Al-Hasa’a” or “Shurabah”

7- Main Dish: الطبق الرئيسي “Al-Tabaq Al-Raisi”

8- Barbeque: مشاوي  “Mashawi”

9- Sandwiches: السندويشات “Al-Sandwishat”

10- Desserts: الحلويات “Al-Halawiyat”

11- Drinks: المشروبات “Al-Mashrubat”

12- Water: الماء “Al-Maa'”

Things You Might Say: Modern Standard Arabic

1- Can I get an extra plate? هل يمكن الحصول على طبق إضافي؟ “Hal Eumkin Al- Husol Ala Tabaq Idafi?”

2- Can I get bread please? هل يمكن الحصول على خبز من فضلك؟ “Hal Eumkin Al-Husol Ala Kubis Minfadlek?”

3- I don’t need that, thank you  انا لست بحاجة لذلك شكرا  “Ana Lasto Behagat Li Thalik Shukran”

4- Do I need to make a reservation? هل أحتاج إلى حجز مسبق؟  “Hal Ahtaj Iila Hajz Musbak?

5- How much is this? كم ثمن هذا؟ “Kam Thaman Hatha?”

6- The food is very good thank you الطعام رائع شكرا لك “Al-taem Ra’e Shukraan Lak”

7- Can I have the bill, please? هل يمكنني أن أحصل على الفاتورة من فضلك؟ “Hal Yumkinni An Ahsoul Ala Al-Fatoorah Minfadlik?”

8- Can I have a table for two? هل يمكنني الحصول على طاولة لشخصين؟ “Hal Yumkinni Al Husoul Ala Tawilah Leshaqsain?”

9- When do you open? متى يفتح المطعم؟ “Mata Yaftah Al-Mata’m?”

10- The view is amazing المنظر الرائع “Al-Manthar Rayie”

Things You Might Say: Spoken Arabic

1- Can I get an extra plate? ممكن تعطيني صحن زيادة ” Mumkin Taetiniin Sahn Ziadih?”

2- Can I get extra salt please? ممكن تعطيني ملح زياده لو سمحت؟ “Mumkin Taetini Milh Ziadih law Samahat?”

3- I don’t need that, thank you لا ما بدي شكرا “La Mabdi ya Shukraan”

4- Do I need to make a reservation? لازم اعمل حجز؟ “Lazim Aemal Hajz?”

5- How much is this? اديش هاي؟ “Adish Hay?”

6- The food is very good thank you الاكل كتير زاكي شكرا “Al-Akil Ikteer Zaki Shukraan”

7- Can I have the bill, please? ممكن الفاتوره لو سمحت؟ “Mumkin El-fatourah Law Samahat?” 

8- Can I have a table for two? ممكن اخذ طاوله لشخصين؟ “Mumkin Akud Tawleh Lashakshin?”

9- When do you open? متى بتفتحو؟ “Mata Taftahoo?”

10- The view is amazing المنظر حلو “Al-Manthar Hilu”

 

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