Weekly explosions and shootings have become commonplace in Greater Cairo and North Sinai, so much so that a popular traffic app called “Bey2ollak” recently developed a feature called “Where is the Bomb?” which allows users to post and read information on the small-scale bombs – or rumors thereof – in their cities. More recently, on social media, many have bemoaned how the process of dismantling the explosive devices has become a type of sporting event, with large crowds gathering to record police operations on their smart phones and breaking out into chants of “LONG LIVE EGYPT!” every so often. This video pokes fun at this phenomenon, and more generally, at how Egyptians are coping with the wave of insurgency that has plagued the country since 30 June 2013. It also happens to be chock full of useful words and expressions for Arabic learners, so you’ll find a transcription, translation (erring on the literal side), and explanation of important words and phrases below.
ElQonbela (The Bomb)
يا جماعة في ايه يا اخوانا ايه الزحمة دي الشارع واقف عايزين نمشي!
Hey, what’s going on? Hey guys, what’s all this traffic? The street is blocked and we want to leave!
يا جماعة – lit. ‘Hey group!’
يا اخوانا – lit. ‘Hey brothers’
نمشي—lit. ‘walk,’ but also often used as ‘move’ ‘go’ ‘leave’ etc.
بيقولك لاقوا قنبلة من حبة كدا وبيحاولوا يوقفوها
They found a bomb a little while ago and are trying to stop it [from detonating].
من حبة كدا – a little while ago
ما يفكوها على جمب عشان الشارع يمشي…ها؟؟
Why don’t they dismantle it on the sidewalk so the street can move…heh??
ما يفكوها – Here, ‘ma’ is used as ‘why don’t…’ when starting a sentence. Very common and highly useful structure. Ex: ما تذاكر شوية؟ = Why don’t you study a bit?
ها –In my understanding, this a sound you make when you want to rub something in someone’s face or make sure they’re listening to you. Quite useful to know and employ.
ظهرك يا باشا, نوسع يا اخوننا, نزل يا ابني الكراسي هنا بسرعة للبهوات
I’m behind you sir…let’s spread out guys…put out the chairs quickly, son, for the gentlemen
باشا \ بهوات — Review my post on commonly-used titles in Egyptian Arabic here. Quite a few came up in this video!
ايوة يا باشا
تفضل يا حج تفضلاقعد كدا عشان تتفرج وانت مرتاح
Please, sir, sit so you can watch comfortably.
عشان تتفرج وانت مرتاح – Remember that mysterious MSA grammatical structure called الحال? This is an example of it (literally means “so you can sit and you are comfortable”) and it’s one of the more rare Al-Kitab grammar explanations that actually applies to Egyptian Arabic.
يا باشا تحب تقعد قدام؟
Sir, would you like to sit in front?
قدام is used instead of امام (in front of) in Egypt. Likewise, يقعد for ‘sit’ is always used instead of the FusHa يجلس
Structure to note: تحب + فعل means ‘would you like to.’ So تحب تشرب شاي؟ = Would you like to drink tea? This is a bit more polite that using عايز to ask what someone wants to do.
اه يا ريت والنبي
Yes, that’d be great.
يا ريت = “I wish” or “Please do.”
والنبي = lit. “And the Prophet” but is used as a polite way to say ‘please’ in Egyptian.
صلى عالنبي كدا قدام بثلاثة جنيه وورا بجنيه ونص
Pray on the Prophet…front row is three pounds and behind that is one and a half.
ب is used to denote how much something is, just like our FusHa friend بكم
ايه يا عم الهج انا لسة حاضر اول مبارح قنبلة المرغني وقاعد صف اول ودافع جنيه ونص بس
What?? The day before yesterday I was at the Marghany bomb, sat in front, and paid a pound and a half.
Note thatقاعد and دافع are both ism fa3el. That shit is all over the place.
باشا بقولك ايه يا باشا احنى مش كل يوم ربنا يرزقنا بقنبلة الله يرضى عليك. عايزين ناكل عيش…ايوة يا عم هنا…
Sir, I’m telling you, God doesn’t bless us with a bomb every day, May God be pleased with you. We want to make a living…yes, man, over here.
رزق = wealth
عايزين ناكل عيش literally means “we want to eat bread”
وبعدين لو مش عاجبك يا كبير ممكن تروح تتفرج عليها عاليوتوب وتعيش مع البفرينج بقى
Besides, if you don’t like it, you can go watch it on YouTube and deal with the buffering.
بعدين – besides, anyways
يعجب is a strange kind of word – it’s sort of like ‘me gusta’ in Spanish, and the word that determines whether this word is feminine (عاجبتني) or masculine (عاجبني) is the thing being liked, not the person doing the liking.
يا كبير – one of the myraid ways to say ‘man’ or ‘buddy’ in Egyptian.
بقى is a whole thing, so we won’t get into it now. Just think of it as an emphasis word with no literal meaning. It’s more stylistic than anything else.
يا باشا رضا انت لسه هتعد
Sir, you’re still counting?
ايوة يا باشا هنا
Yes, sir, right here
باشا ايه وفروجة ايه؟؟ انتوا ما ج… مين دول؟؟ يابني عايز اروح. يا ابني مشولنا الطريق عايزين نروح اشغالنا واقفة
What do you mean “sir” and what do you mean “watching??” You…who are these people?? I want to go home. Clear the street, I want to go home because I’m blocked in!
دول = ‘these’ in Egyptian, but here since its preceded by مين its understood to refer to people. Masc. This is دا and feminine is دي if you haven’t figured that out by now.
روّح = super commonly used. Means ‘to go home.’
يا عمي خلاص براحتك… حد عايز حاجة تانية يا بشوات؟
Alright man, as you wish…anyone want anything else gentlemen??
براحتك – also means ‘take your time.’
ساقع – In Cairene dialect, this word is usually used to describe cold water, beverages, or food. The opposite is سُخن\سُخنة. I have heard, though, that in Alexandria people us this word for the weather too.
Ginger with cinnamon?
Example of a FusHa n00b mistake not to make when you’re first learning Egyptian: typically if two things are combined in a dish, ب is used to mean ‘with,’ instead of مع. Sometimes even على is used. Ex: فول على طعمية = a sandwich with both foul (Egyptian fava beans) and taameya (Egyptian falafel).
With cinnamon, yeah.
لمون والنبي يا برنس
I’d like lemonade, prince.
فات كتير ولا ايه؟
Did I miss a lot or what?
فات – ‘ happened’ or ‘passed.’ ‘Last week’ in Egyptian is الاسبوع اللي فات (lit. ‘the week that passed.’), ‘last year’ is السنة اللي فاتت, and so on.
لسه اول خامس دقائق
Just the first five minutes.
لسه is an interesting one. If someone asks “Have you done your homework?” and you say لسه, that means ‘not yet.’ But if you say لسه داخل البيت it means ‘I’ve just come home (lit. entered the house. also ism fa3el! ya salam.). Similar idea to ya/todavia no in Spanish.
شكلها معقربة اوي انهارده
It seems really complicated today.
شكل – This word + a pronoun means ‘seems’ or ‘looks.’ Ex: شكلك عيان = You look sick, شكله تعبان انهردا = He seems tired today.
بقولك ايه, هو الليلى دي هتخلص على امتى؟ انا مراتي والعيال خاللوا في العربية
Hey, when is this going to end? I left my wife and kids in the car.
Haven’t pointed this out yet, but: people say بقولك ايه left and right all day err day. It’s typically used in the more intuitive context (as in: let me tell you something / I’ll tell you what).
What he actually literally says in the second half of the line though is ‘They are pickling in the car,’ (from مخلل, which means pickle). Aka, they’re going to be wasting away for a long time. Until they ferment. Probably.
يخلص – (no shadda) To end / be over. يخلّص (with shadda) is to finish (causative, so someone is doing the finishing). Comes from خلاص, obviously.
يا باشامهندس, اهدى وصلي عالنبي, عايزين نعرف نتفرج
Sir, calm down and pray on the Prophet, we want to be able to watch!
I covered the grammatical structure in the second half of this sentence here.
اهدى \ اهدي – Imperative ‘calm down’ to a male or female. Adjective for calm or quiet: هادي
شاي يا باشا
Your tea, sir.
From تسلم ايدك which means ‘Bless your hands.’ Said when someone brings you food or a drink.
يلا فكرونا كدا يا اخوانا مين طلب ايه
Okay guys, remind us who ordered what?
بس الفرجة كدا ما تلذش
But this one isn’t that good.
He literally says something closer to “but this watching is not sweet,” – تلذ comes from لذيذ and the ش on the end completes the negation (started with the ما). He explains what he means more in the next line.
انا لسه شايف واحدة مبارح على اول شارع السكة عندما ايه نار! يجري السلك كدا, تجيله كدا. لما هي تجيله كدا, هو يجيلها كدا!
I saw one yesterday at the beginning of Sikka Street when a fire broke out! [Something about the guy chasing the wire that I couldn’t figure out how to translate properly: something like, “when the wire was like this, it went toward him like this. And when it came toward him like this, he went toward it like this!”]
انا ما دا اي كلام!
But this one is nothing!
I explained the phrase اي كلام here back in March.
السلكة الحمرا! السلكة الحمرا! اعملها بقى! اعملها! اهي جمبك اهي! حمرا
The red wire! The red wire! Do it! Do it! It’s next to you, there! The red!
اهو \ اهي are a bit hard to explain. But to give you an example, if my friend was looking for something and I found it, I’d point at it and say اهو! I guess it means something like, ‘right there!’ If anyone has a better explanation for these words please leave it in the comments wlneby.
بترجع ورا ليه؟
Why are you going back?
انا كنت حاسس انه خلاص
I thought that was it.
حاسس = ism fa3el for يحس, to feel. No one uses يشعر in Egyptian. Except Maha maybe, because she just has so many feelings.
اهدى يا كبتن, مسالة ما قلب قومة لازم تديله برضو وقت للتفكير
Calm down captain, you have to give him time to think.
Does anyone know what ما قلب قومة means? I asked around and couldn’t figure it out.
برضو = also, similar to كمان which is also used in Egyptian and أيضا in MSA. It didn’t make it into the translation because it would’ve made the translation sound stilted, but it’s an important word for beginners.
يا عمي يفكر ايه بس يفكر ايه؟ ما هي سهلة بسيطة! اهي! اهي!
He doesn’t need to think, man! It’s so easy! Just like this!
اهي بس! الف سلام عليك انتو ما حضرتوش التمرينات ايامها …انت تسمع عن السلموني؟
What are you talking about? You guys didn’t see the drills way back when…Have you heard of Salamony?
الف سلام عليك — Lit. “one thousand salaams on you”
سلاموني… دا ناس كان بتجيله من محافظات مصر كلها ايام العز…انا مرة حضرتله قنبلة في الاسكندرية سلام عليك…فكها كدا برجله!
Salamony…people used to come to him from all of Egypt’s governorates during the peak…Once I saw a bomb in Alex …he dismantled it with his feet!
عز = the peak of something. So you can say انا نزلت في عز الزحمة which means something like ‘I went out at prime traffic time.’
ازاي بقولك كدا والله بس انتو غلابة ما حضرتوش الثمانينات! سيادة العميد السلموني, مقدم حسن نيافة, سيادة الرائد احمد ام حشيش…الله يرحمهم ويحسن اليهم
I’m telling you, you guys missed out because you weren’t around in the eighties! Brigadier-General Salamony, Lieutenant Colonel Niyafa, Major Ahmed Om Hashish…God rest their souls.
غلابة usually refers to the lowest rungs on society’s cruel ladder, but here, the speaker is using it to say that these guys are مسكين / missed out.
الله يرحمهم = how to say ‘may they rest in peace’ in Arabic. Add the appropriate pronoun (ه\ها) at the end.
حساب الطلبات يا بهوات لو سمحت
Bills please, gentlemen [baes tho?]
يا عم اصبر شوية, فاضل دقيقتين
Wait a minute man, there’s only two minutes left.
اصبر = command ‘be patient.’ صبر means patience.
فاضل = ‘is left.’ You can stick pronouns on the end to denote how much is left and for whom. Ex: فاضللي نص ساعة كدا = I have half an hour left.
لا يا صاحبي بقولك ايه كل مرة الناس تمشي والدنيا بتولع ومحدش بيحاسبني
No, hey, every time people leave and everything gets crazy and no one pays their bill.
الدنيا بتولع = lit. ‘The world lights on fire.’ If you describe a party or event as مولع it means it’s awesome and full of people and ‘on fire’ as we would say in English.
يحاسب = pay the bill at a restaurant, cafe, or bar
يلا بقى الصفرا بقى, السلكة الصفرا!
Yes, the yellow, the yellow wire!!!
انا قلت الحمرا من الاول محدش سمع كلامي
I said red from the start but no one listened to me.
لا لا لا يا راجل دا لاعب عيال! عارف قنبلة المرغني؟ برقابتها
No man, this is child’s play! You know the Merghany bomb? It was way better!
I’m not super familiar with the phrase براقبتها but to my understanding its used for comparisons.
بقولوكو ايه يا جدعان! في قنبلة دالوقتي عند شارع السكة!
HEY GUYS!!! There’s a bomb right now on Sikka Street!!!
والله العظيم الخبر على فيس اهو
Swear to God I saw the news on Facebook!!!
Fun fact, Facebook is shortened to ‘el-face.’ Similarly, Whatsapp = ‘el-whats.’
طب يلا بسرعة نحضر القنبلة من اولها
Okay, quickly, let’s watch the bomb from the start!
بابا انت رايح فين؟
Dad, where are you going?
بقولك ايه, ااا, اندى امك واخواتك وحصلوني على شارع السكة ها؟ جاري! جاري!
Hey, uhhh, call for your mom and siblings and catch up with me on Sikka Street okay? Quickly! Quickly!
جاري is YET ANOTHER ism fa3el and literally means ‘running.’ Hence, ‘quickly.’
يلا … يلا لم بسرعة عشان نلحق يلا يابني!
Come on, round them up fast so we make it! Come on man!!
I briefly touched on يلحق here.
يلم = collect or gather. Also means to put up your hair: الم شعري ولا لا؟ – Should I put my hair up or no?