The verb خربط/يخربط

The verb خربط/يخربط (kharbaT/ikharbeT) is one of those rare verbs that you’ll find that is comprised of a 4 letter root as opposed to the typical 3. According to Hans Wehr dictionary, the verb means “to throw into disorder, to disarrange, to confuse” and that’s similar to the Levantine colloquial meaning, though in colloquial you’ll also hear it used to mean “to talk in a confused manner or to ramble on about something”. You’ll find the verb conjugations below:

أنا اخربط/خربطت (ana akharbeT/kharbaTit)

أنت تخربط/خربطت (inta tikharbeT/kharbaTit)

إنتي تخربطي/خربطتي (inti tikharbeTy/kharbaTiti)

هو يخربط/خربط (huwa ikharbeT/kharbaT)

هي تخربط/خربطت (heya tikharbeT/kharbaTat)

إحنا نخربط/خربطنا (i7na nikharbeT/kharbaTnaa)

إنتوتخربطو/خربطتو (intu tikharbeTu/kharbaTetu)

هم يخربطو/خربطو (hum ikharbeTu/kharbaTu)

A few examples of how the verb can be used:

هادا بخربطني (haada bikharbeTni) translates to “that confuses me” or “I’m befuddled by this”. The explanation for this is pretty simple: هادا is the colloquial term for “that” and then it’s followed by the verb itself (with the ب prefix)

هي مخربطة (heya mikharbeTeh) translates to “she’s confused”. With verbs such as خربط or ترجم (to translate), the active participle is achieved by just adding the letter م. Thus مخربط will translate to “confused” and مترجم will translate to “translator”.

!منشان الله! خربطت الأوراق (minshaan Allah! kharbaTit il-awraaq) translates to “Oh for God’s sake! I mixed up the papers!” The expression منشان الله is similar to how you would use “for God’s sake” in English and in this instance, the verb خربطت refers to throwing the papers into a state of disorder — basically mixing them up.

Verbs for eating breakfast (فطور), lunch (غدا), and dinner (عشا)

Unlike English and many other languages, Arabic uses specific verbs to denote that one is eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Native English speakers might have a tendency to translate a sentence like “I want to eat breakfast” similar to how they would say the phrase in English, “بدي أكل الفطور”. As you know from previous posts, بدي (biddee) means “I want”, أكل (akl) means “I eat”, and الفطور (al-fiToor) means “breakfast”. It might make sense from an English language syntax, however in Arabic, the word for “eat breakfast” would be أفطر/ يفطر (yifTar/afTar).

To have breakfast:

أنا أفطر/أفطرت (ana afTar/afTaret)

أنت تفطر/أفطرت (inta tifTar/afTaret)

إنتي تفطري/افطرتي (inti tifTari/afTarti)

هو يفطر/أفطر (huwa yifTar/afTar)

هي تفطر/أفطرت (heya tifTar/afTarat)

إحنا نفطر/ افطرنا (iHna nifTar/afTarna)

إنتو تفطرو/افطرتو (intu tifTaru/afTartu)

يفطرو/أفطرو (hum yifTaru/afTaru)

افطرت ولا لا؟ (afTaret wala la?) translates to “did you eat breakfast yet?”

اليوم أفطرت بكير (alyom afTaret bakeer) translates to “I had breakfast early today”.

إفطر معي (ifTar ma3y) translates to “Come have breakfast with me.” In this particular instance, the verb is a command and thus it is pronounced “ifTar” as opposed to “afTar”.

To have lunch:

أنا أتغدى/تغديت (ana atghadda/tghaddayt)

أنت تتغدى/تغديت (inta titghadda/tghaddayt)

إنتي تتغدي/تغديتي (inti titghaddi/tghaddayti)

هو يتغدى/تغدى (huwa yitghadda/tghadda)

هي تتغدى/تغدت (heya titghadda/tghaddat)

إحنا نتغدى/تغدينا (iHna nitghadda/tghaddayna)

إنتو تتغدو/تغديتو (intu titghaddu/tghaddaytu)

يتغدو/تغدو (hum yitghaddu/tghaddu)

وين تغديت مبارح؟ (wayn tghaddayt imbaari7?) translates to “Where did you have lunch yesterday?” The translation is pretty self-explanatory. وين is the Palestinian/Jordanian equivalent of Modern Standard Arabic’s أين.

بدك تتغدي معي؟ (bidduck titghadda ma3y?) translates to “Do you want to get lunch with me?”

To have dinner:

أنا أتعشى/تعشيت (ana at3asha/t3ashayt)

أنت تتعشى/تعشيت (inta tit3asha/t3ashayt)

إنتي تتعشي/تعشيتي (inti tit3ashi/t3ashayti)

هو يتعشى/تعشى (huwa yita3sha/t3asha)

هي تتعشى/تعشت (heya tit3asha/t3ashat)

إحنا نتعشى/تعشينا (iHna nit3asha/t3ashayna)

إنتو تتعشو/تعشيتو (intu tit3ashu/t3ashaytu)

يتعشو/تعشو (hum yit3ashu/t3ashu)

تعشيت عندهم (t3ashayt 3indhum) translates to either “I ate dinner with them” or “he ate dinner with them”. The context in which this is spoken will determine which pronoun is used.

بدي أتعشى هسا (biddee at3asha hessa) translates to “I want to eat dinner now”. Note that the term for now, “هسا”, can be used interchangeably with “هلق” (hella). I’ve noticed that هسا is used pretty frequently in northern Jordan.

The verb سلم/يسلم

Hi everyone. My apologies for not updating the site for the past 3 months — I’ve been quite busy but alas I’ve found some free time to talk about the verb سلم/يسلم (silem/yislam), which is a verb that you’ll hear very often in Arabic expressions of good will. The literal meaning of the verb is to be safe, to be well, to be unharmed, etc. Please note the verb conjugations below:

أنا أسلم/سلمت (ana aslam/silemt)

أنت تسلم/سلمت (inta tislam/silemt)

إنتي تسلمي/سلمتي (inti tislami/silemti)

هو يسلم/سلم (huwa yislam/silem)

هي تسلم/سلمت (heya tislam/silemat)

إحنا نسلم/سلمنا (i7na nislam/silemnaa)

إنتو تسلمو/سلمتو (intu tislamu/silemtu)

هم يسلمو/سلمو (hum yislamu/silemu)

تسلم/تسلمي (tislam/tislami), which translates to “be well” is one of the many expressions for “thank you” that you’ll hear in the Levant. I’ve heard this expression used more frequently than شكرا (shukran) when indicating thanks.

يسلمو إيديك//إيديكي (yislamu yidayk/yidayki) is also an expression that’s often used when purchasing something. The literal translation would be “may your hands be well”. After the vendor hands you the item that you’ve purchased, you can simply reply “يسلمو إيديك” or “يسلمو إيديكي” to express your gratitude for the service.

سلم عليه/عليها/عليهم (sallem 3alayy/3alayyha/3alayyhum) translates to “say hi to him/her/them” with the literal translation being “be well on him/her/them”. If you want to alter the sentence to say “say hi to him for me” then you could simply add a “لي” after the command — “سلم لي عليه”.

يسلم راسكم (yislam raaskom), which means “may God preserve you in good health”, is said when you want to offer condolences to a family. The literal translation is “may your head be well”. On the topic of condolences, you could also say “الله يرحمه/يرحمها” (Allah yir7amu/yir7amha), which translates to “God bless him/her” or “May God have mercy on him/her”.

يسلم تمك (yislam tummuk) should be said to show appreciation for a song, story, poem, etc. The literal translation is “may your mouth be well”.

مش كل مرة تسلم الجرة (mish kull marra tislam il-jarra) is a proverb that literally translates to “the pitcher does not remain intact every time,” meaning that one should not repeat a risky action too often or push his or her luck too far.

The uses of قعد/يقعد/قاعد in Levantine/Jordanian Arabic

For those who are studying Arabic or traveling in Jordan, be sure to keep an ear out for the permutations of قعد/يقعد/قاعد (ga3ad/yug3od/gaa3ed) being used in everyday life. Though in Modern Standard Arabic, you’ll see it used frequently as “to sit”, in Levantine colloquial, and more specifically the Jordanian dialect, you’ll see other definitions attached to the word. To begin, you can find the verb conjugations for the present and past tense of قعد/يقعد below.

أنا أقعد/قعدت (ana ag3od/ga3dit)

أنت تقعد/قعدت (inta tug3od/ga3dit)

إنتي تقعدي/قعدتي (inti tug3odi/ga3diti)

هو يقعد/قعد (huwa yug3od/ga3ad)

هي تقعد/قعدت (heya tug3od/ga3adat)

إحنا نقعد/قعدنا (iHna nug3od/ga3dna)

إنتو تقعدو/قعدتو (intu tug3odu/ga3ditu)

هم يقعدو/قعدو (hum yug3odu/ga3du)

In terms of the usage of قعد/يقعد, its primary definition is “to sit/sit down”.

فات على غرفته و قعد على التخت (faat 3la ghurftu woo ga3ad 3la at-takht) translates to “he entered his room and sat on the bed”.

لما فتت، كان قاعد على التخت (lamma futit, kaan gaa3ed 3la at-takht) translates to “when I entered, he was sitting on the bed”. Note that the term قاعد is the active participle of قعد. Later on in this section, I’ll explain an important secondary meaning for the word قاعد.

بدك تقعدي؟ (biddeck tug3odi?) translates to “would you like to sit?” when asking a female. If you are speaking to a male, you would instead ask بدك تقعد؟ (bidduck tug3od?) If you were to say أقعد/اقعدي (ug3od/ug3odi), it would be telling him or her to sit.

خليك قاعد/خليكي قاعدي (khaleek gaa3ed/khaleeki gaa3edi) translates to “please stay seated” or “don’t get up”.

هو قاعد على نار (huwa gaa3ed 3la naar) is an expression that translates to “he’s really antsy or impatient”. The literal translation is “he is sitting on fire”, which as one might imagine, would probably cause someone to be a little antsy!

قعد/يقعد can also mean to stay or remain, as noted in the following example:

قعد خاطب تقريبا سنتين (ga3ad khaaTib tagreeban sanateen) which translates to “he remained engaged for two years”.

The verb can also mean to start or begin an action. For example, if you were to say قعدت تحكي معي (ga3adat tiHky ma3y), it would translate to “she started talking with me”.

The active participle قاعد (gaa3ed) is frequently used in Jordan and Palestine as a means to  signify an action that’s taking place at this very moment (e.g. I am reading, he is eating, they are talking).

أنا قاعد أحكي معهم (ana gaa3ed aHky ma3hum) translates to “I am talking with them”.

الطلاب قاعدين بستنونا (it-Tulaab gaa3edeen bistanunaa) translates to “The students are waiting for us”.

شو قاعد تاكل؟ (shu gaa3ed takl?) translates to “what are you eating?”

Some of you may be wondering “how do I know when to follow قاعد with a verb that begins with “ب” rather than the regular present tense form of the verb?” The truth of the matter is, there isn’t really a set rule concerning this. I’ve seen it used both ways (e.g. أنا قاعد أحكي/أنا قاعد بحكي). That’s one of the fun things about colloquial Arabic — there really isn’t that many stringent grammatical rules.

And I also forgot to mention that different countries use different words in lieu of قاعد. For example, in Syria you’ll find the عم used. So if you were to ask someone in Syria what they were saying, you would ask “شو عم تحكي؟” Since I resided in Jordan for a short period, that’s the dialect that I decided to focus on for this particular lesson.

The verb هم/يهم

If you plan on learning Arabic, especially colloquial, then it’s important to know the verb هم/يهم (hemm/ihemm) as you’ll be hearing it pretty frequently. Among its many definitions are to worry, to concern, to matter, to interest. In terms of the verb conjugations, you can note the present and past tenses below

أنا أهم/هميت (ahemm/hemeyt)

أنت تهم/هميت (inta tehemm/hemeyt)

إنتي تهمي/ هميتي (inti tehemmi/hemeyti)

هو يهم/هم (huwa ihemm/hemm)

هي تهم/همت (heya tehemm/hemmat)

إحنا نهم/همينا (i7na nehemm/hemeynaa)

إنتو تهمو/ هميتو (intu tehemmu/hemmeytu)

هم يهمو/همو (hum yehemmu/hemmu)

One phrase that you’ll certainly here in any Arabic speaking country will be:

ولا يهمك (wala ihemmuk), meaning “don’t worry”. It is the colloquial equivalent of MSA’s “لا تقلق”. Also note that you would say the word as if the “ي” was silent (ihemmuk rather than yihemmuk).

هادا إللي بهمنا (haada illy behemmnaa) translates to “that’s what worries us”. The sentence is pretty straight forward; don’t forget that إللي is the colloquial equivalent to الذي or التي.

المبارات ما بتهمني (il-mubaaraat ma bet-hemmni) translates to “the sports games don’t really interest me”. Again, pretty straight forward. Alternatively, you could also say “المبارات ما بتهمنيش”, which would have the same meaning, only adding a “ش” at the end.

بهمش (bihemmish) translates to simply “it’s not important” or “it doesn’t matter”. You can use it with a sentence such as بهمش أتدخل؟ (bihemmish atadakhul) which is asking “may I get a word in?” Note that the literal translation is “it doesn’t matter [if] I interfere?”

Now you’ll rarely see the verb used in the past tense, which pretty much negates the “past” conjugations above (but it’s still nice to know!). When you’re speaking about the past, then you should preface the verb with whatever derivative of “كان” that’s grammatically correct.

كان يهمني (kaan ihemmny) translates to “it used to interest me” or “it used to worry me”.

كان الوضع يهمها (kaan ilwaD3a yehemmha) translates to “the situation used to worry her”.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

The verb إكتفى/يكتفي

The verb إكتفى/يكتفي (iktafa/yiktafi) means to be content with or to find sufficient and it’s a word that you’ll find in both Modern Standard Arabic as well as colloquial Arabic. You will find it used with the preposition “ب”, which indicates the noun that one is content with. For example:

“أنا اكتفيت بوعده” (ana iktfeyt bi-wa3do) means that “I was content with his promise”. Remember that you must conjugate each past tense of the verb to correspond with the pronoun, so thus:

اكتفيت (iktfeyt) is used for I and you (masculine)

اكتفيتي (iktfeyty) is used for you (feminine)

إكتفى (iktafa) is used for he

اكتفت (iktafat) is used for she

اكتفينا (iktafeyna) is used for we

اكتفيتو (iktafeytu) is used for you (plural)

اكتفو (iktafu) is used for they

بكتفي باللي عندي (biktafi bi-illy 3andi) translates to “I’m content with what I have.” Note that the colloquial word اللي is the equivalent of the MSA الذي or التي.

هو قنوع، بيكتفي بالقليل (huwa ganoo3a byiktifi bil-galeel) translates to “he’s content with what he has and gets by with little”. The word قنوع can have many meanings, among them “frugal”, “modest”, or “satisfied”.

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.