Bidoun Phrase Book

    The Contemporary Traveler’s Indispensable Phrases

    In this second part of our series, we offer the open-minded voyager a chance to get in touch with the locals with some elementary Beiruti Arabic. The following are essential phrases that will guide you through your everyday encounters. Check your next Bidouns for Egyptian Arabic and Turkish phrasebooks.

    Yes, I agree, the food’s quite amazing!
    Ya allah el akel shou [shoo] tayyeb!

    This place is, like, Paris of the Orient, you know?
    Hal mahal mitel bareez el-sharq, ma heyk?

    Really - you’ll miss me?
    ‘an jad rah tishta'eelee? (addressing female)
    'an jad rah tishta'lee? (addressing male)
    'an jad, rah tishta'ooli? (addressing plural)

    Bet you say that to everybody.
    Bchartik bit'ooleh heyk lall kell. (addressing female)
    Bchartak bit'ool heyk lall kell. (addressing male)

    A friend of mine said that if Cairo’s nouveau riche, then Beirut is boureois.
    Sadiqti aalet inno iza l-qahira nouveau riche ya'ni Beiroot boorjwaziyyeh.

    A Marxist reading group, every Thursday at Starbucks. That’s really neat.
    Majmoo'a bitne'esh marx kell nhar khamees bi Starbucks. Lazeezeen.

    Love your video installation. Is it about the war?
    Ktir habbeyt el video installation. 'an el harb?

    Are you really sure that’s all thanks to your French education?
    Inteh m'akkadeh inno l-fadel killo la sa'aftik el frensewiyyeh? (addressing female)
    Inta m'akkad inno l-fadel killo la sa-aftak el frensewiyyeh? (addressing male)

    Three languages. That’s impressive.
    Tlet loghghat. Wallah peshhhh.

    Arab intellectuals should be grateful Beirut exists.
    El msa'ffeen el'arab leyzem yeshikroo rabbon inno Beirut maowjoodeh.

    Of course I know you’re Phoenecians. I’d never assume you’re Arabs. It’s so obvious.
    Akeed ana ba'ref inno intoh fini'eeyyeh, ma bee hayteh b'ool 'inkon 'arab. Wadeh mitel noor el-shams.

    Nancy Ajram or Haifa?
    Nancy 'Ajram walla Haifa?

    Please don’t tell anyone.
    Please ma t'oolo lahadan. (addressing plural)
    Please ma t'ool lahadan. (addressing male)
    Please ma t'ooleh lahadan. (addressing female)