My Friend’s Big Day
Learn Arabic as it is really spoken. Listen to and read Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.
Toward the beginning of the text, we see قبل ما. Notice that this is followed by a bare imperfect verb even though it refers to the past. However, toward the end of the text, we see بعد ما, which is followed by a perfect verb. (Bare imperfect refers to the “present tense” in Arabic without the بـ prefix. Perfect is the past tense.)
على قد ما is an interesting conjunction in Egyptian Arabic. It is repeated in both clauses. Can you find the example in the text? It expresses that two things were equally true. In this example, there were both funny moments, and touching ones.
In the next sentence, we see مش هنساها. Do you recognize the word هنساها? Hint: It’s a a common Arabic verb. It has both a prefix (the future tense هـ) and a suffix (ـها = her). The verb is نسى (nisi in Cairene Arabic / nasa in Alexandrian Arabic) = to forget). The bare imperfect first-person singular (i.e. “I”) form is انْسى (ansa). The initial ا gets swallowed by the prefix هـ. So, مش هنساها (mish hansaaha) = I will not forget her.
The verb نسى is mentioned above. Notice that the vowel pattern is different in the Cairene and Alexandrian accents (sub-dialects). Verbs which have kasra in the perfect tense in Cairene Arabic will often be pronounced with fatha in Alexandria. Here are some more examples:
Cairene: شِرِب (shirib – to drink); لِبِس (libis – to get dressed)
Alexandrian: شَرَب (sharab – to drink); لَبَس (labas – to get dressed)
Do you have any questions about the text? Leave your comments below.