The Arabian Culture

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Moderator of the Arabic Content
Joined: 21.04.2013
Pending moderation

I was just having a discussion with my friends, about Arabic dialects, we have certain words that used as an answer to "request" and stuff, some are used in formal situations, some are used with the loved ones, but we rarely just answer with plain "Yes" or "ok" in daily life.

For example, if I had a taxi ride with a Saudi driver and I asked him to take right instead of taking left he would answer "Ibsheri" which means "ok" but not just plain ok, the word is derived from "Bushra" which means "good news" so his answer is more like "I'll make you pleased" this is used in formal situations too even with high rank figures. The other word is "Samm" literally it means "Name it" and it's usually a response to someone who calls your name. If someone said "Sara" and I answered "Samm" it means "Name whatever you want, I'll do it". And there is "Labbaih" also used as a response when someone calls you and it means "At your order". Instead of saying plain thank you we say "Teslam" which means "may you always remain safe", or "Yaateek Elafiya" which means "May you remain in good health". Literally I miss this whenever I travel abroad for tourism or such, I miss such answers especially when it has no equivalent in English and other languages. Turkish has some of such expressions as I know.

You may or may not noticed there is a lot of "Sacrifice" in translations lyrics, but there are lots of words that means "I'd sacrifice myself for you" that used all over Arabian countries. In Syria they say "To'borni" literally means "May you put me to grave" it means may I die before you so I don't experience losing you. The same exact meaning used in Arabian gulf as "Fedaitak - male" "Fedaitek - female", and "Ana Fida lek" in Yemen but there is no equivalent in Egyptian dialect.

Examples:
http://lyricstranslate.com/en/ana-fida-lek-%D8%A3%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%81%D8%...

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/tegool-allah-yetaanni-%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%88%D...

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/labbaih-ya-bilady-%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%87...

I don't know why Arabs have such words and expressions about giving away their lives for there loved ones. But, I know that centuries back in history, there are things that matters, things that gives pride and prestige: Being a good poet that competes talents in other tribes, being a good speaker who chooses the right words and make good speech that can convince the others, well manners, being a man of your word, protecting guests who seeks your protection. Some of these are still important till today some of them transformed to another type but still exists. Like protecting your guests at the desert in your tents, as this scene no longer exists today, but it's expected from the man to stand by his friends, relatives and any close one when they need them, especially in the tribes today, it's a shame to reject such a help request.

This song for example (I'm currently working on its English translation) is about 2 guys having the back of their friend, describing what they would do to whoever hurt him:

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B2%D9%8...

And there are other songs with the same theme, concept. I guess understanding the culture helps alot with understanding today Arabic songs and the lyrics itself. I hope this topic will be helpful to achieve this.

I probably will update this topic with whatever cultural thing that I want to share, I had a lot to post and discuss but since my last blog host failed, I was lazy to create any other platform.

Editor from the Land of Fire
Joined: 21.06.2013

Hi. Interesting things you got here. About thank you which means " may you always remain safe" - we also have that ~Azerbaijanis (and of course it is used in Turkish, because turkish is also a turkic language ans it is used in each turkic language). We say "Sağ ol" (sağol in turkish) which means "may you remain safe or healhty". But we also use təşəkkür edirəm/təşəkkür/təşəkkürlər (turkish: teşekkür ederim/teşekkür, teşekkürler), they literally mean 'thank you/thanks'.

Moderator of the Arabic Content
Joined: 21.04.2013

Yes exactly! Regular smile

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016

I see this a lot in Egyptian songs that are translated by Arabs who are not Egyptian (Nothing wrong in this by the way :)). For example: there was a song where the singer says: Hamm ybakki w hamm yeda77ak (هم يبكي وهم يضحّك) which is an Egyptian idiom (has no equivalent in standard Arabic, I believe). But, as the translator was not Egyptian, she missed the whole point. So, I made an explanation to this idiom

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/%D9%87%D9%85%D9%91-%D9%8A%D8%A8%D9%83%D9%8...

and then I re-translated the song. (With non-Arabs it is much worse. and it is quite normal and acceptable)
After that I was always making sure to add such idioms to idioms database in this site, so that other non-Egyptian translators can get the idea right and translate it well. (You can't translate what you can't fully understand).
But, There are some songs that can NEVER be translated by someone whose mother dialect is not the same of the song. Like these foe example:

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/%D8%AF%D9%86%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%86%D8%AC...

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/aseboh-leeh-%D8%A3%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A8%D9%88...

Moderator of the Arabic Content
Joined: 21.04.2013

Honestly there were some Egyptian songs that I needed help in translating Teeth smile like Carmen Sulaiman's (Hodn Dafi), It's funny that we understand the dialect but can't really translate it sometimes Teeth smile then I figured I better stick to my native as there was already lack of gulf translators Teeth smile and I too realized many mistakes in gulf songs translations if it was done by non gulf Arabs, I realize it would be difficult to understand since some words are not common in other dialects, I often make correction comments or make a whole translation, but I never thought of adding idioms explanations Regular smile

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016

I had once to change language of a song of Amr Diab from ARABIC to ARABIC (OTHER VARIETIES) to translate it into Arabic Teeth smile Teeth smile :D.
I think that the idea of adding idioms helps