The verb استغنى/يستغني

استغنى/يستغني (istaghna/yistaghni) is a verb that is utilized in both Modern Standard Arabic as well as various dialects. The meaning of the word is to be rich (enough without), to do without, to have no need for, to manage without, etc. You get the drift. It is often used with the preposition “عن”.

For Levantine Arabic, you may find examples below for the word’s usage:

“بتقدر تستغني عنه؟” (btigdar tistaghni 3ano) – Whether you are referring to an individual or an item, the definition of the sentence essentially translates to “Can you manage without him/it?”

Another example of its usage:

“‘اليوم فيه ناس كتير استغنوا عن الكلمات الأجنبية، مثلا بيقولو ‘حاسوب’ مش ‘كمبيوتر” (il-yom fi naas ikteer bistaghnu 3an il-kalimaat il-ajnabiyye, mithilaan bigoolu “7aasoob” mish “kambyuter”) – This sentence translates to “There’s a lot of people today who can manage without using foreign words — for example they say “[the classical Arabic word for computer]” and not “computer”.

Keep in mind that with Levantine Arabic (as well as other dialects), the “ال” is pronounced as “il” rather than “al”. In addition, the letter “ق” [qaaf] is pronounced as either as a “g” [as in the English word golf] or as a glottal stop [as in the ‘uh’ in the phrase ‘uh oh’]. Typically you will find that many men use the former pronunciation while females use the latter… Apparently pronouncing the “qaaf” as a “g” is regarded as manlier than the alternate glottal stop.


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