Levantine Arabic or as called in Arabic اللهجَة الشَامِية is an umbrella term for various Arabic dialects that are spoken in the Levant; a region in the eastern Mediterranean. This includes Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. The Syrian dialect is spoken in Syria among other Levantine Arabic dialects.
People who are not familiar with the Arabic language and how rich it is might think that there is only one variation: Modern Standard Arabic, which is the formal and official form of the Arabic language and the language of the Qur’an. However, MSA is only used in education, books, news announcements, and official settings, as you will hardly find anyone who uses MSA casually. For example, if you have basic knowledge in MSA and met a Syrian person at work, you will immediately notice that the dialect and accent they use is not what you are familiar with.
That means if you want to learn the Syrian dialect, your MSA knowledge might come in handy but it is not enough. The pronunciation, diction and even vocabulary in the Syrian dialect are distinctive and need to be learned from scratch. The following is some of the essential Syrian dialect words and phrases:
Number 7 is used for the letter ح
Number 3 is used for the letter ع
Number 2 is used for the letter ء
Greetings in Syrian Arabic:
مَرْحَبِا – mar7aba - Hi
أَهْلِينْ – ahlean - Hi
السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُم - assalamu 3laykom - Hello
وَعَلَيْكُم السَّلَام - wa 3alaykom assalam – Hello (reply)
صَبَاحْ الْخِير - Saba7 al5er – Good morning
مَسَا الْخِير - masa2 al5er – Good evening
تِصْبَحْ عَلَى خِير - teSba7 3la 5er – Good night
وانْتَ مِنْ اهْلُو – w enta min ahlo – Goodnight (reply)
مَعْ السَّلَامِة - m3 assalameh – Goodbye
الله يِسَلْمَكْ - allah ysalmak – May God save you (Thank you)
سَلَام – salam – Bye
الله مَعكْ - allah ma3k – Goodbye (May God be with you)
Introducing yourself/basic communication in Syrian Arabic:
شُو اِسْمَكْ؟ - shu esmak? – What is your name?
اِسْمِي أَحمَد – esmi Ahmad – My name is Ahmad
كِيْفَكْ؟ - kifak – How are you?
مْنِيحْ.. و اِنْتَ؟ - mni7 w enta - I am fine and you?
الحَمْدُلله تَمَامْ - al7amdullah tamam – I am fine
منِينْ اِنْتَ؟ - mnen enta? – Where are you from?
أنا مِنْ لِبْنَانْ - ana mn lebnan – I am from Lebanon
تِشَرَّفْتْ – tsharraft – I am honored (to meet you)
Asking for clarification/general comprehension in Syrian Arabic:
بتِحكِي انكليزي؟ - b’ti7ki ingleezy – Do you speak English?
أَنَا مَا بَحكِي سُورِي – ana ma ba7ki suri – I don’t speak Syrian
حَدَا هُون بِيحكِي انكليزي؟ - 7ada hoon b’yi7ki ingleezy – Does anyone here speak English?
مَا عَم بَفهَم – ma 3m bafham – I don’t understand
مَا أفهَم – ma afham – I don’t understand
أَفهَم – afham – I understand
لَو سَمَحت – law samaht – Please or Excuse me
بَعْد اِذْنَك – ba3ad eznak – Excuse me
لَو سَمَحت عِيد مَرَة ثَانِية – law samaht 3ead mara thanyah – Could you repeat what you said?
مُمكِن تِحكِي شُوي شُوي؟ - momkin ti7ki shwai shwai – Could you speak slowly please?
لَحظَة لَو سَمَحت – la6da law samaht – Just a moment please.
Essential Vocabulary in Syrian Arabic:
اِي – e - Yes
لَا – la – No
حَاضِر – 6adir – Yes (more polite)
ال – al – The
وَ – wa - And
مُمكِن – momkin – Maybe (if possible for requesting)
بَس – bas – But/Only/Stop (depending on the context)
مَاشِي – mashi – Sure/Ok
كَمَان – Kaman – Also
شُكْرًا – shukran – Thank you
عَفوًا – 3afwan – You are welcome
شُو – shu – What
اَدِيش – ad’eash – How much?
كَم وَاحَد – kam wahad – How many?
هَاد – had – This (masculine)
هَيْ – hai – This (feminine)
هَدَاك – hadak - That
مَا – ma – Not
فِي – fi – There is/In (depending on the context)
مَعِي – ma3i – I have
كتِير – ketear – A lot
قَلِيل – qalil – A little
شُوب – shob - Warm
بَرد – bard – Cold
حلُو – 7lo – Beautiful/Nice
بَشِع – bashi3 – Ugly