For International Mother Tongue Day – February 21st
In Lebanon, our mother tongue is Lebanese Arabic, it’s our spoken language while the written language is classical Arabic, it’s so rare to write in Lebanese Arabic unless it’s personal and unofficial, or on social media probably where we usually use Latin letters and even numbers to express in Arabic. (Kifak = How are you). (7 = deep H and 8 is KH etc…).
Lebanese Arabic is different from Standard Arabic; it has significant linguistic influences borrowed from other Middle Eastern and European languages, and is in some ways unique from other varieties of Arabic.
Until the 13th century, all Lebanese spoke the Syriac language, then Muslims shifted to Arabic because they consider it a sacred language, and then the Christians left progressively the Syriac language. The last who left the Syriac language are the Christians Maronite, they kept speaking it until the 19th century even though they kept using the Syriac letters to write Arabic. This is why the Lebanese language vocabulary is mostly borrowed from Syriac, the Christians Maronite took the Syriac language and kind of transformed it into Arabic so we got the Lebanese language, they didn’t choose certain letters, they used the entire language and dressed it the Arabic robe.
We have of course many accents, the north people speak differently than south and the Mount Lebanon and the Capital. But it’s all Lebanese.
مرحبا كيفَك \ كيفِك؟ منيح \ منيحة؟ (Mar7aba Kifak / kifik for feminine, Mni7 / Min7a for feminine= Hello How are you? Good?
This is the common sentence that you will hear in Lebanese.
Few Lebanese lines for the International Mother Tongue Day:
7 is deep H = ح
2 is Eh = ء
3 is AH = ع
7abibi: حبيبي = my love
B7ebak / B7ebik (feminine): بحبَك \ بحبِك = I love you (masculine and feminine)
Shta2telak / shta2telik (f): اشتقتلَك \ اشتقتلِك = I miss you
7ayete: حياتي = My life
Tayyeb: طيّب = delicious
7elou / 7elwi (f) حلو \ حلوي = beautiful or pretty (masculine and feminine)
Mahdoum / Mahdoumi (f): مهضوم \ مهضومي = nice, funny
Yalla: يلّا = let’s go or can also be hurry up! It depends how you’re saying it
Esmi: إسمي = my name is
Shukran: شكراً = thank you. Even though most Lebanese just say Merci مرسي
Tekram: تكرم \ تكرمي = you’re welcome.
Hope you enjoyed some Lebanese words! What is your mother language? And how do you feel about it?
Huguette Antoun – February 21st 2019