Arabic

Phrases and Expressions for Eating and Sharing Food in Levantine Dialect

Directions

 Go through the new vocabulary and their translations. After working through the vocabulary, practice these new words and phrases with the flashcard activity. Then proceed to the listening exercise for examples of how these phrases are used and sound in practice. 

Vocabulary

Some of the vocabulary below is specific to the Levantine dialect, while many of these phrases are used and common in other dialects.

أنا جوعان\جوعانة

Transliteration: Ana Jo’an (m); Ana jo’ana (f)

Definition: I am hungry

اتفضل\اتفضل

Transliteration: It fadhal (m); it fadhalee

Meaning: Go ahead, here you go. Used when inviting someone into your home, when handing them something. This generally is used to invite someone to go ahead and do an action (such as come in, eat, sit down)

 يزيد فضلك

Transliteration: Yazeed fadhlak (m); Yazeed fadhlik (f)

Meaning: response to the previous phrase. It is a polite way of accepting the thing given or the gesture.

  بدي شاي

Transliteration: Bidee shay

Meaning: I want tea (بدي is used in the Levant, for ‘I want’)

  على راسي

Transliteration: ‘Ala rasee

Meaning: Literally translates to “from my head.” This is used after someone asks a person to do something for them. It basically means “it’s my pleasure.”

 من عيوني

Transliteration: Min ‘ayunee

Meaning: Literally translates to “from my eyes.” This is used after someone asks a person to do something for them. It basically means “it’s my pleasure.”

  الاكل زاكي

Transliteration: Al-Akel zakee

Meaning: The food is tasty/delicious

  صحتين وعافية

Transliteration: Sahtain wa ‘afiyah (or just Sahtain)

Meaning: This literatlly translates to “two healths and strength to you.” This expression is often used by host (or anyone giving you food, spanning from host to waiter) in wishing a person good health. It is often used after someone compliments the food or finish the meal. This phrase can be used as a response to the previous phrase “the food is tasty”

  على قلبك

Transliteration: ‘Ala elbak (m); ‘Ala elbik (f)

Meaning: This is a response to the previous phrase. It means may the health and strength be upon your heart as well. It literally translates to “upon your heart”. Notice that the ق in قلب is often not pronounced, but replaced with a glottal stop. However, not everyone pronounced ق in that way. For example, in Jordan ق is often replace with a hard g sound. Additionally, in other spaces the ق is replaced with a ك.

 

 

Listening:

  • (في ميل (موسم الثاني، الحلقة الخامسة      Female (Season 2, Episode 5)

Female is a Jordanian comedy about a newly married couple. To listen to an example of صحتين and الاكل زاكي in context, forward to 1:09-1:20. For your first time listening, slow down the speed of the video to 0.75. Listen for the use of الاكل زاكي، الاكل كتييييير زاكي، and صحتين وعافية.

For an example of اتفضل and يزيد فضلك in context, forward to 19:30 in the episode and slow down the speed of the video to 0.75. Listen from 19:30-19:55. The younger character responds to اتفضل two times. Listen for each of those times and pay attention to how he responds to the man inviting him in.

This song اتفضل قهوة is by the Egyptian comedian. While the song is not in Levantine dialect, it gives repetitive clear example of how اتفضل sounds and is used. It also is extremely catchy and a famous classic.

Further practice:

If you have a mentor, practice these phrases with them and be sure to ask for further examples of how these phrases are used in context. If you do not have a mentor, work on writing out a conversation between two people based on the vocabulary and definitions provided here. To further dive into these meanings, google these terms and their meaning in English and Arabic. There are a ton of resources explaining how these terms/phrases are used, in addition you might come across additional learning resources and materials. 

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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.