Levantine Arabic/Printable version

Levantine Arabic

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Consonants edit

Letter(s) Romanization IPA Pronunciation notes
أ إ ؤ ئ ء ' [ʔ] glottal stop like in uh-oh
ق '
glottal stop (urban accent)
"hard g" as in get (Jordanian, Beduin)
ع ʕ [ʕ] voiced throat sound similar to "a" as in father, but with more friction
ب b [b] as in English
د d [d] as in English
ض [dˤ] emphatic "d" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)
ف f [f] as in English
غ ġ [ɣ] like Spanish "g" between vowels, similar to French "r"
ه h [h] as in English
ح [ħ] "whispered h", has more friction in the throat than "h"
ج j [dʒ] or [ʒ] "j" as in jump or "s" as in pleasure
ك k [k] as in English
خ [x] "ch" as in Scottish loch, like German "ch" or Spanish "j"
ل l [l] as in English
م m [m] as in English
ن n [n] as in English
ر r [r] "rolled r" as in Spanish or Italian; "r" is emphatic unless:
- followed by the vowel "e" or "i"
- followed by no vowel but preceded by the long vowel "i"
س ث s [s] as in English
ص [sˤ] emphatic "s" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)
ش š [ʃ] "sh" as in sheep
ت t [t] as in English
ط [tˤ] emphatic "t (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)
و w [w] as in English
ي y [y] as in English
ز ذ z [z] as in English
ظ [zˤ] emphatic "z" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)

Formal MSA words edit

Some letters preserve the original sound in usually formal words from [[w:Modern Standard Arabic].

Letter(s) Romanization IPA Pronunciation notes
ذ [ð] voiced "th" as in this
ق q [q] guttural "k" pronounced further back in the throat
ث [θ] voiceless "th" as in think

Additional sounds in loanwords edit

Some sounds that don't exist in Arabic are rendered as follows:

Letter(s) Romanization IPA Pronunciation notes
ج غ ك g [g] "hard g" as in get
ب p [p] "p" as in pen
ف v [v] "v" as in vat

Vowels edit

Short vowels edit

Sign Romanization Environment IPA Pronunciation notes
ـَ (Fatḥa) a near emphatic consonant [α] as in got (American pronunciation)
elsewhere [a~æ] as in cat
ـِ (Kasra) e / i before/after ḥ or ʔ [ɛ] as in get
elsewhere [e] or [ɪ] as in kit
ـُ (Ḍamma) o / u [o] or [ʊ] as in full

The difference between the short vowel pairs "e" and "i" as well as "o" and "u" is not phonemic. The vowel quality is usually "i" and "u" in stressed syllable.

Stressed "i" and "u" merge in North Levantine. They usually become "i", but might also be "u" near emphatic consonants. Syrian tends to pronounce both of them as schwa [ə].

Long vowels edit

Letter(s) Romanization Environment IPA Pronunciation notes
ـَا ā near emphatic consonant [αː] as in father
elsewhere [aː~æː] as in can
Imāla in North Levantine [ɛː~eː] as in face, but plain vowel
ـَي ē any [eː]
in open syllable in Lebanese /ay/ as in price or in face
ـِي ī [iː] as in see
ـَو ō any [oː] as in boat, but plain vowel
in open syllable in Lebanese /aw/ as in mouth or in boat
ـُو ū [uː] as in food

The long vowel "ā" is pronounced similar to "ē" or even merge to "ē" in North Levantine, when it's not near an emphatic or guttual consonant.

The long vowels "ē" and "ō" have envolved form the MSA diphthongs "ay" and "aw". Those diphthongs are preserved in open syllables in Lebanese.

Final vowels edit

Vowels in word final position are shortened. As result more short vowels are distinguished.

Letter(s) Romanization Environment IPA Pronunciation notes
ـَا ـَى ـَة a near emphatic consonant [α] as in got (American pronunciation)
elsewhere [a~æ] as in cat
ـَا ـَى e Imāla in North Levantine [ɛ~e] as in get, but closed vowel
ـِة e [e]
ـِي i [i]
[e] (Lebanese)
as in see, but shorter
merged to "e" in Lebanese
ـُه o [o] as in lot, but closed vowel
ـُو u [u]
[o] (Lebanese)
as in food, but shorter
merged to "o" in Lebanese

Helping vowels edit

Helping vowels are optionally inserted in order to simplify pronunciation. They might be marked in romanization as superscript vowels "e" and "o".

The helping vowel is "e" most of the time, but usually "o" if the preceding (usually stressed) syllable has the vowel "o" or "u".

Helping vowels are typically inserted in the following cases:

  • Before an initial cluster of two consonants, if the preceding word or prefix doesn't end in vowel
  • Between a final cluster two consonants, if the following word or suffix doesn't start with a vowel
  • After the first consonant in a cluster of three consonants
  • After the second consonant in a cluster of four consonants
  • Geminated (doubled) consonants are pronounced as a single consonant if they precede another consonant

Stress edit

The stress in Levantine Arabic can be predicted. It might be marked as bold vowel in romanization.

  1. If the last syllable superheavy (long vowel + final consonant or vowel + final consonant cluster), it takes the stress.
  2. Else, if the second last syllable is heavy (long vowel or vowel + final consonant) or superheavy, it takes the stress.
  3. Else, the third last syllable takes the stress, or the first syllable in shorter words.
  4. Prefixes as well as Hamza al-Waṣl (initial vowel that disappears if the preceding word ends in a vowel) are ignored.


Yes and no edit

Default meaning Reply to a negative question
أيوه 'aywa
إيه 'ē (N) / آه 'ā (S)
نعم naʕam (formal)
yes no (agreement)
لأ la' no yes (contradiction)
مبلا mbala -

Negation of verbs edit

Verbs are negated with the particle ما (ma) preceding the verb and the optional suffix ـش‎ (-š).

Examples Commonly used in Notes
mā + verb ما كتب ma katab (“he didn't write”)
ما بعرف ma baʕref (“I don't know”)
the whole Levant - the particle ma is stressed
ma + verb + -š ما كتبش ma katab-š
ما بعرفش ma baʕref-š
Jordan, Palestine - ma is unstressed, the stress of the verb is shifting
- same form as in Egyptian Arabic
verb + -š بعرفش baʕref-š Palestine - ma is unstressed, the stress of the verb is shifting
- only used with non-past forms (present, subjunctive)

Imperative edit

In order to negate the imperative, the subjunctive form is used.

Verb form Example
Positive Imperative نسى nsā (North)
إنسى 'insa (South)
Negated Subjunctive ما تنسى ma tinsa
ما تنساش ma tinsā-š / تنساش tinsā
لا تنسى la tinsa (formal)

Pseudo verbs edit

Pseudo verbs like بدّ (bidd-, “want”) and عند (ʕind-, “to have”) are negated with the partile ما (ma) as well, but usally without the suffix ـش‎ (-š).

ما بدّي يّاه ma biddi yyā (“I don't want it”)

Negation of nouns, adjectives etc. edit

Nouns, adjectives, adverbs and partiples are negated with the preceding particle مش (miš, in the South sometimes pronounced “muš”) or مو (mu, only in Syria).

As modal verbs like لازم (lāzem, “must”) and ممكن (mumken, “may”) are technically adverbs, they are negated the same way as well.

While particles preceding verbs like عم (ʕam, progressive marker) and رح (raḥ, future marker) are usually negated like verbs (see above), they can be negated with مش (miš/muš) as well.

Personal pronouns

In Levantine Arabic, pronouns can appear either as independent words or as suffixes, depending on their function.

Standalone forms edit

Standalone pronouns are used as subject preceding the verb. When used without a verb the meaning of "to be" is implied.

The pronouns can be omitted when the person is obvious by the conjugation of the verb.

Masculine Feminine Plural
1st person
(I, we)
نحنا / إحنا
niḥna (North)
'iḥna (South)
2nd person
3rd person
(he, she, they)
هن / هنن / هم
hinne / hinnen (North)
humme (South)

Suffix forms edit

Suffix pronouns have different functions, depending on what kind of word they are attached to:

  • Show possession if attached to nouns
  • Object if attached to verbs or prepositions
  • Subject if attached to conjuctions
Masculine Feminine Plural
1st person
(me, my, us, our)
ـي / ـني
-y (after vowel)
-ni (after verb)
2nd person
(you, your)
-k (after vowel)
-ki (after vowel)
ـكن / ـكم
-kon (North)
-kom (South)
3rd person
(him, his, her, them, their)
silent after vowel
ـا / ـها
-(h/w/y)a (North)
-ha (South)
ـن / ـهم
-(h/w/y)on (North)
-hom (South)

Some suffix pronouns have a different pronunciation if they are attached to a word ending in a vowel.

The suffix of the 1st person singular has a different form when attached to verb.

The suffix of the 3rd person masculine singular is silent after a vowel, but it has effect on the stress and vowel length.

Examples (South Levantine) edit

Nouns, prepositions, conjuctions Verbs
Consonant Tāʼ marbūṭah Vowel Consonant Vowel
Example بدّ
1st singular بدّي
plural بدنا
2nd masculine بدّك
feminine بدّك
plural بدكم
3rd masculine بدّه
feminine بدها
plural بدهم


Interrogative pronouns edit

مين mīn who
لمين la-mīn whose
شو šū
إيش 'ēš (South)
لشو la-šu for what
ليش lēš why
أيّ 'ayy
أنو 'anū (masc.)
أني 'anī (fem.)
إيمتى 'ēmta when
وين wēn where
لوين la-wēn where to
من وين min wēn
منين mnēn
where from
كيف kīf
شلون šlōn (Syria)
قدّيش 'addēš how much
كم kam how many
كل قدّيش kull/kill 'addēš
كم مرّة kam marra
how often

In Lebanese the variants ليه (lē, “why”), قدّيه ('addē, “how much”) and إمتى ('imta, “when”) are also common, which are shared with Egyptian Arabic.

Yes-no questions edit

In order to turn a statement into a simple yes-no questions, the intonation is rising at the end of the sentence.


Tenses edit

Tense Example Usage
past tense عمل ʕimel he did /
he has done
subjunctive يعمل yaʕmel he ... (to) do - after another verb or pseudo-verb
- after conjuctions introducing the subjunctive
present tense بيعمل byaʕmel he does /
he is doing
- general facts
- habitual or recurring actions
- ongoing actions (instead of present progressive)
- future actions (instead of future tense)
progressive عم يعمل ʕam yaʕmel he is doing - ongoing actions (not for verbs of motion)
future tense رح يعمل raḥ yaʕmel
حيعمل ḥa-yaʕmel
he will do
imperative عمول ʕmōl (N)
بيعمل 'aʕmel (S)

Participles edit

Participle Example Usage
active participle عامل ʕāmel (is) doing - ongoing actions for verbs of motion
- current state for verbs of perception
passive participle معمول maʕmūl (is) done - expressing the passive voice

Compound tenses edit

Formation Example Usage
كان (kān) + past tense كان عمل kān ʕimel he had done
كان (kān) + subjuctive
كان (kān) + active participle
كان يعمل kān yaʕmel
كان عامل kān ʕāmel
he used to do /
he was doing
كان (kān) + progressive كان عم يعمل kān ʕam yaʕmel he was doing
كان (kān) + future tense كان رح يعمل kān raḥ yaʕmel he was going to do


Formation edit

The stem of the subjunctive is usally formed by changing the vowels of the past tense 3rd person singular. It can be predicted for form II-X verbs, however it must be learned for form I verbs.

The given form is the 3rd person singular with the prefix “y-”, other persons are derived from it.

Note that any stressed “i” in an emphatic environment can become “u” in North Levantine.

Form Type Stem vowel(s) Past Subjunctive
I regular a → a فتح fataḥ يفتح yiftaḥ
a → i مسك masak يمسك yimsik
a → u درس daras يدرس yidrus (N) / yudrus (S)
i → a فهم fihim يفهم yifham
i → i (rare) عرف ʕirif يعرف yaʕrif, yiʕrif
defective i (N) / a (S) → i حكيiki (N) / حكىaka (S) يحكي yiḥki
i → a نسي nisi ينسى yinsa
a → a (rare) قرا 'ara يقرا yi'ra
hollow a → i جاب jāb يجيب yjīb
a → u شاف šāf يشوفūf
a → a (rare) نام nām ينام ynām
geminate a → i حسّass يحسّ yḥiss
a → u حطّaṭṭ يحطّ yḥuṭṭ
a → a (rare) ضلّall يضلّ yḍall
II / Iq regular a → a-i علّم ʕallam يعلّمallim
defective a → a-i خلّىalla يخلّي yḵalli
IV (rare)
V / IIq
IX (rare)

Conjugation edit

Usage edit

Future tense edit


Conjugation edit

The present tense (also called b-imperfect) is formed by adding the prefix بـ (b-/bi-) to the subjunctive form.

The b-prefix is pronounced “b-” if the subjunctive prefix is stressed and “bi-” if its unstressed, resulting in the following conjugation:

Person Pronoun Stessed Unstressed
1st sg أنا
بفهم bi-fham (N)
ba-fham (S)
بجيب b-jīb (N)
ba-jīb (S)
pl نحنا / أحنا
منفهم mni-fham منجيب min-jīb
2nd m إنت
you (m)
بتفهم bti-fham بتجيب bit-jīb
f إنتي
you (f)
بتفهمي bti-fham-i بتجيبي bit-jīb-i
pl إنتو
you (pl)
بتفهمو bti-fham-u بتجيبو bit-jīb-u
3rd m هو
بيفهم / بفهم byi-fham (N)
bi-fham (S)
بجيب bi-jīb
f هي
بتفهم bti-fham بتجيب bit-jīb
pl هن / هم
بيفهمو / بفهمو byi-fham-u (N)
bi-fham-u (S)
بجيبو bi-jīb-u
  • North and South Levantine differ in the 1st person singular (I) and 3rd person masculine (he) and plural (they).
  • When the prefix is stressed, the South Levantine 3rd person masculine is the same as the 1st person singular in North Levantine.
  • The 2nd person masculine (you) and 3rd person feminine (she) share the same form.
  • In the 1st person plural (we) the prefix becomes assimilated resulting “mn-/min-”, however some speakers pronounce it as “bn-/bin-”.

Usage edit

Present progressive edit

The present progressive is formed by the particle عم (ʕam) followed by either the subjunctive or present tense of the verb, depending on the region and personal preference.

It is used to emphasize an ongoing action. It's usage is less frequent as in English, as the present tense itself can be used instead.

The present progressive is not used with verbs of motion, where the active participle is used instead.


Greetings edit

The response is usually different than the greeting itself.

Phrase Responses
هلا! / يا هلا! hala! / yā hala! Hi! (informal) -
مرحبا! marḥaba! Hello! مرحبتين! marḥabtēn! Two hellos!
مراحب! marāḥeb! Many hellos!
أهلا! / أهلا وسهلا! 'ahlan! / 'ahla w-sahla! Welcome! أهلين! 'ahlēn! Two welcomes!
أهلان فيك! 'ahlan fīk(i)! Welcome to you!
السلام عليكم! as-salāmu ʕalēkom! Pease be upon you!
(muslim greeting)
وعليكم السلام! wa-ʕalēkom is-salām! Upon you be peace!
صباح الخير! ṣabāḥ il-ḵēr! Good morning! صباح النور! ṣabāḥ in-nūr! Morning of the light!
مسا الخير! masa l-ḵēr! Good evening! مسا النور! masa n-nūr! Evening of the light!

Goodbye edit

Phrase Responses
باي! / يلّا باي! bāy! / yalla bāy! Bye! (informal) -
بخاترك! b-ḵātrak/ek! Goodbye (Leaving person)
“With your permission!”
مع السلامة! maʕ is-salāme! Goodbye (Remaining person)
“Go safely!”
مع السلامة! maʕ is-salāme! Goodbye (Remaining person)
“Go safely!”
الله يسلّمك! 'alla ysallmak/ek! Goodbye (Leaving person)
“May God keep you safe!”
تصبح علي خير! tiṣbaḥ ʕala ḵēr! Good night!
“May you morning on goodness!”
تلاقي الخير! tlā'i l-ḵēr! “May you encounter goodness!”
وإنت من أهله! w-'inta/i min 'ahlo!


Degree edit

شويّ šwayy a litte, a bit
كتير ktīr very
أنجق 'anja' / بالكاد bil-kād hardly, barely
عالآخر ʕal-'āḵer / عالخالص ʕal-ḵāles totally, extremely
لألله la-'alla “to Allah”

Frequency edit

دايمًا dāyman always
كتير مرّات ktīr marrāt often
مرّات marrāt sometimes
عادةً ʕādatan / بالعادة bil-ʕāde usually, normally
قليل ما 'alīl-ma seldom, rarely
بالمرّة bil-marra / أبدًا 'abadan never, not at all (negated phrase)

Modality edit

يمكن yimken / بلكي balki maybe, perhaps
أكيد 'akīd / بالتأكيد bit-ta'kīd certainly, definitely, for sure
طبعًاabʕan / بالطبع biṭ-ṭabᵉʕ of course, naturally

Time edit

هلّا halla / halla' (most common), هسّا hassa (South)
regional: هلقيت hal'ēt (Jerusalem), إسّا 'issa (Galilee)


Phrases edit

Masculine Feminine Translation
إنت من وين؟ 'inta min wēn?
من وين إنت؟ min wēn 'inta?
إنتي من وين؟ 'inti min wēn?
من وين إنتي؟ min wēn 'inti?
Where do you come from?
أنا من الأردن 'ana min il-'urdon I'm from Jordan.
أنا أردني 'ana 'urdoni أنا أردنيّة 'ana 'urdoniyye I'm Jordanian.
وين ساكن؟ wēn sāken? وين ساكنة؟ wēn sākne? Where do you live?
ساكن في عمّان sāken fi ʕammān ساكنة في عمّان sākne fi ʕammān I live in Amman.

Countries edit

Arab countries edit

Country Nationality (masculine)
- Arab عربي ʕarabi (plural without suffix)
الجزاير il-jazāyer / الجزائر il-jazā'er Algeria جزايري jazāyri / جزائري jazā'iri
مصر maṣr Egypt مصري maṣri
الإمارات il-'imārāt The Emirates إماراتي 'imārāti
العراق il-ʕirāq Iraq عراقي ʕirāqi
الأردن il-'urdon Jordan أردني 'urdoni
لبنان libnān (N) / lubnān (S) Lebanon لبناني libnāni / lubnāni
المغرب il-maḡreb Morocco مغرب maḡrebi / muḡrabi
فلسطين falasṭīn Palestine فلسطيني falasṭīni
السعودية is-suʕūdiyye Saudi Arabia سعودي suʕūdi
سوريا sūrya / sūriyya Syria سوري sūri
تونس tūnes Tunesia تونسي tūnesi
اليمن il-yaman Yemen يمني yamani

Americas edit

Country Nationality (masculine)
الأرجنتين il-'arjentīn Argentina أرجنتيني 'arjentīni
برازيل brāzīl Brazil برازيلي brāzīli
كندا kanada Canada كنداوي kanadāwi
كولومبيا kōlōmbya Colombia كولومبي kōlōmbi
المكسيك il-maksīk Mexico مكسيكي maksīki
أميركا 'amērka / أمريكا 'amrīka United States (coll.) أميركاني 'amērkāni (plural without suffix)

Asia edit

Country Nationality (masculine)
الصين iṣ-ṣīn China صيني ṣīni
الهند il-hind India هندي hindi
إندونيسيا 'indōnīsya Indonesia إندونيسي 'indōnīsi
إيران 'īrān Iran إيراني 'īrāni
اليابان il-yābān Japan ياباني yābāni
باكستان bākistān Pakistan باكستاني bākistāni
تركيا turkiyya Turkey تركي turki (plural: أتراك 'atrāk)

Europe edit

Country Nationality (masculine)
فرنسا fransa France فرنساوي fransāwi
ألمانيا 'almānya Germany ألماني 'almāni (plural without suffix)
إيطاليا 'īṭālya Italy إيطالي 'īṭāli
روسيا rūsya / rūsiyya Russia روسي rūsi
إسبانيا 'isbānya Spain إسباني 'isbāni (plural without suffix)
بريطانيا briṭānya United Kingdom بريطاني briṭāni

Nationalities edit

Nationalities are formed from the country names by adding the Nisba suffix. The definite article is removed if present.

Masculine Feminine Plural
ـي‎ -i ـيّة‎ -iyye ـيّين‎ -iyyīn

Many countries end in ـيا‎ (-ya). This ending is replaced by the Nisba suffix. In many cases the plural form has no suffix at all.

Examples of deriving nationalities from countries
Country Nationality Case
Masculine Feminine Plural
لبنان libnān لبناني libnāni لبنانيّة libnāniyye لبنانيّين libnāniyyīn suffix added
الأردن il-'urdon أردني 'urdoni أردنيّة 'urdoniyye أردنيّين 'urdoniyyīn suffix added, definite article removed
سوريا sūrya سوري sūri سوريّة sūriyye سوريّين sūriyyīn -ya replaced by the suffix
ألمانيا 'alnya ألماني 'alni ألمانيّة 'almāniyye ألمان 'almān -ya replaced by the suffix, plural without suffix


Singular Plural
لون lōn ألوان 'alwān colour

Basic colours are "defect" adjectives. They have a special feminine and plural form.

Masculine Feminine Plural
أحمر 'aḥmar حمراamra حمرumᵒr red
أصفر 'aṣfar صفراafra صفرufᵒr yellow
أخضر 'aḫḍar خضراaḍra خضرuḍᵒr green
أزرق 'azra' زرقا zar'a زرق zirᵉ' (N) / zurᵒ' (S) blue
أسود 'aswad سودا sōda سود sūd black
أبیض 'abyaḍ بیضا bēḍa بیض bī white

Other colours are Nisba adjectives derived from nouns.

Masculine Feminine
بردقاني burd'āni
أورانج 'ōrãnj (Leb.)
بردقانية burd'āniyye orange
نهدي nahdi / ليلكي lēlaki
موف mōv (Leb.)
نهدية nahdiyye
ليلكية lēlakiyye
بنفسجي banafsaji بنفسجية banafsajiyye violet
زهري zahri / زهر zahᵉr زهرية zahriyye pink
بني binni بنية binniyye brown
رمادي ramādi
سكني sakani (S)
رمادية ramādiyye
سكنية sakaniyye (S)
كحلي kuḥli كحلية kuḥliyye navy blue
خمريamri خمرية ḫamriyye dark red
فضي fiḍḍi فضية fiḍḍiyye silver
دهبي dahabi دهبية dahabiyye gold

As أرانج ('ōrãnj) and موف (mōv) are loanwords, they are invariable and don't have a feminine form.


Clothes edit

تياب tyāb
أواعي 'awāʕi
توب tōb garment, item of clothing
قميص 'amī
كنزة kanze (N)
shirt, blouse
بلوزة blūze
بنطلون banṭalōn trousers, pants
صبّاط ṣubbāṭ (N)
كندرة kundara (S)
shoes (pair of)

Washing and ironing edit

غسيل ḡasīl laundry; washing
نشّافة naššāfe
مجفّف mjaffef (N)
clothes dryer
مكوى makwa
مكواي mikwāy
جحش كوي jaḥš kawi ironing board
غسّالة ḡassāle washing machine


عيلة ʕēle family

Core family edit

أب 'abb
بي bayy (Leb.)
father إم 'imm mother
بابا bāba dad ماما māma mom
أخ 'aḫḫ
خيayy (Leb.)
brother إخت 'iḫt (N)
أخت 'uḫt (S)
إخوة 'iḫwe
إخوات 'iḫwāt (N)
brothers; siblings خيات ḫayyāt (N)
خوات ḫawāt (S)
ابن ibᵉn / ولد walad son بنت binᵉt daughter
ولاد wlād sons; children بنات banāt daughters
أبي 'abi (Syr.)
بيي bayyi (Leb.)
أبوي 'abūy (S)
my father
أخي 'aḫi (Syr.)
خييayyi (Leb.)
أخوي 'aḫūy (S)
my brother

Grandparents and grandchildren edit

جد jidd
سيد sīd
grandfather جدة jidde
ست sitt
جدو jiddo grandpa تيتا tēta grandma
حفيد ḥafīd granson; grandchild حفيدة ḥafīde granddaughter
أحفاد 'aḥfād gransons; grandchildren حفيدات ḥafīdāt granddaughters


Cardinal numbers edit

0-2 edit

The numbers one and two have a masculine and a feminine form. As the singular and dual form of the noun already imply the number, those numbers are only used with a noun in order to stress it. In that case the numbers follow the noun like an adjective.

Masculine Feminine
0 ٠ صفرifᵉr
1 ١ واحد wāḥad واحدة waḥde
2 ٢ تنين tnēn تنتين tintēn

3-99 edit

The numbers 3 to 19 have two forms as well, one used independently and one preceding a noun. The noun is plural only after the numbers 3 to 10. After numbers larger than 10 the singular is used.

Independent Before noun
3 ٣ تلاتة
tlāte (N)
talāte (S)
تلات / تلت
tlāt / tlat (N)
talat / tlat (S)
4 ٤ أربعة
5 ٥ خمسة
6 ٦ ستّة
7 ٧ سبعة
8 ٨ تمانية / تمانة
tmāne (N)
tamanye (S)
tman / tmin (N)
taman / tman (S)
9 ٩ تسعة
10 ١٠ عشرة
Independent Before noun
11 ١١ حدعش
12 ١٢ تنعش
13 ١٣ تلتّعش
14 ١٤ أربعتش
15 ١٥ خمستعش
16 ١٦ ستّعش
17 ١٧ سبعتعش
18 ١٨ تمنتعش
19 ١٩ تسعتعشر
20 ٢٠ عشرين
30 ٣٠ تلاتين
40 ٤٠ أربعين
50 ٥٠ خمسين
60 ٦٠ ستّين
70 ٧٠ سبعين
80 ٨٠ تمانين
90 ٩٠ تسعين

100 and above edit

100 ميّة
pronounced as “mīt”
before a noun
200 ميتين
dual of ميّة (miyye)
300 تلت ميّة
attributive form
+ ميّة miyye
400 أربع ميّة
... 900
1,000 ألف
2,000 ألفين
dual of ميّة ('alf)
3,000 تلت آلاف
t(a)lat t-ālāf
attributive form
+ t + آلاف (ālāf)
4,000 أربع آلاف
'arbaʕ t-ālāf
... 10,000

As ألف ('alf) is technically a noun, the numbers 11,000-999,000 are created with attributive form of the number followed by ألف ('alf, singular).

Ordinal numers edit

before noun
أول 'awwal أولى 'ūla first
تاني tāni تانية tānye second
تالت tālet تالتة tālte third
رابع rābeʕ رابعة rābʕa fourth
خامسāmes خامسةāmse fifth
سادس sādes سادسة sādse sixth
سابع sābeʕ سابعة sābʕa seventh
تامن tāmen تامنة tāmne eight
تاسع tāseʕ تاسعة tāsʕa ninth
عاشر ʕāšer عاشرة ʕāšra tenth
آخر 'āḫer last

Ordinal numbers can either precede or follow the noun. When preceding the noun, the masculine singular form is used without the definite article.

There are no ordinal numbers above 10, instead the cardinal numer is used following the noun.


Before noun After noun
أول مرة 'awwal marra المرة الأولى il-marra l-'ūla the first time
المرة العشرين il-marra l-ʕišrīn the 20th time
آخر مرة 'āḫer marra the last time

Fractions edit

Singular Plural
نص nuṣṣ أنصاص 'anṣā half
تلت tilᵉt (N) / tulᵒt (S) تلات tlāt third
ربع ribᵉʕ (N) / rubᵒʕ (S) رباع rbāʕ quarter
خمسimᵉs (N) / ḫumᵒs (S) أخماس 'aḫmās fifth


وقت wa'ᵉt time

Units of time edit

يوم yōm إيام 'iyyām (N) / أيام 'ayyām (S) day
ليلة lēle ليالي layāli night
ساعة sēʕa / sāʕa ساعات sēʕāt / sāʕāt hour; clock
دقيقة da'ī'a دقايق da'āye' minute
ثانية sānye (N) / ṯāniye (S) ثواني sawāni (N) / ṯawāni (S) second

ساعة (sēʕa/sāʕa) is one of the few word that is often pronounced with "ē" even in South Levantine. I doesn't only mean "hour" but also "clock" or "watch".

Time of the day edit

نهار nhār daytime
صبح subᵒḥ morning
ضهرuhᵒr noon
بعد الضهر baʕd iḍ-ḍuhᵒr afternoon
مسا masa (m) evening
ليل lēl nighttime
نص الليل nuṣṣ il-lēl midnight

Telling time edit


When telling the time you literally say "the hour is" (الساعة is-sēʕa / is-sāʕa) followed by the feminine (1-2) or independent (3-12) form of the number for the hour.

The minutes can be expressed by their exact number or by a fraction (half, third, quarter) of an hour. The word for minute (دقيقة da'ī'a) is only used for numbers larger than 10.

For fraction that are nearer to the next hour, they are substracted from it using the word "except" (إلا 'illa).


قديش الساعة؟ 'addēš is-sēʕa What time is it?


Fraction Minutes
الساعة تنتين is-sēʕa tintēn 2:00
الساعة تنتين وخمسة is-sēʕa tintēn w-ḫamse 2:05
الساعة تنتين وعشرة is-sēʕa tintēn w-ʕašara 2:10
الساعة تنتين وربع is-sēʕa tintēn w-rubᵒʕ/ribᵉʕ الساعة تنتين وخمستشر دقيقة is-sēʕa tintēn w-ḫamᵉstašar da'ī'a 2:15
الساعة تنتين وتلت is-sēʕa tintēn w-tult/tilt الساعة تنتين وعشرين دقيقة is-sēʕa tintēn w-ʕišrīn da'ī'a 2:20
الساعة تنتين وتلت is-sēʕa tintēn w-nuṣṣ الساعة تنتين وتلاتين دقيقة is-sēʕa tintēn w-talatīn/tlātīn da'ī'a 2:30
الساعة تلاتة إلا تلت is-sēʕa talāte/tlāte 'illa tult/tilt الساعة تنتين وأربعين دقيقة is-sēʕa tintēn w-'arbaʕīn da'ī'a 2:40
الساعة تلاتة إلا عشرة is-sēʕa talāte/tlāte 'illa ʕašara الساعة تنتين وخمسين دقيقة is-sēʕa tintēn w-ḫamsīn da'ī'a 2:50


Days edit

يوم yōm day
إيام 'iyyām / أيام 'ayyām days
اليوم il-yōm today
مبارح mbēreḥ / mbāreḥ yesterday
أول مبارح 'awwal mbēreḥ/mbāreḥ day before yesterday
بكرة bukra tomorrow
بعد بكرة baʕd bukra day after tomorrow
بعد تلات إيام baʕd tlāt 'iyyām (N)
بعد تلت ايام baʕd talatt iyyām (S)
in three days
قبل ... إيام 'abᵉl ... (')iyyām
من ... ايام min ... (')iyyām
... days ago

مبارح (mbēreḥ/mbāreḥ) is one of the few words that is often pronounced with "ē" even in South Levantine.

In South Levantine the numbers have a special form before a few words including the plural form of "days" and "months". A "t" sound is added and the hamza is removed from the next word.

Weeks edit

أسبوع 'usbūʕ / جمعة jumʕa week
أسابيع 'asābīʕ / جمع jumaʕ weeks
هالأسبوع hal-'usbūʕ
هادا/هيدا الأسبوع hāda/hayda l-'usbūʕ
this week
الأسبوع الجاي il-'usbūʕ il-jāy next week (lit. "the coming week")
الأسبوع الماضي il-'usbūʕ il-māḍi last week (lit. "the past week")

Days of the weeks edit

الأحد il-aḥad Sunday
التنين it-tanēn / il-ᵉtnēn Monday
التلاتا il-talāta Tuesday
الأربعا il-'irbʕa (N) / il-'arbʕa (S) Wednesday
الخميس il-ḫamīs Thursday
الجمعة il-jumʕa Friday
السبت is-sabᵉt Saturday

Months edit

In colloquial speech, the names of the months are often replaced by cardninal numbers.

Number Month name
شهر šahᵉr month
أشهر 'ašhor months
1 كانون التاني kānūn it-tāni Janurary
2 شباط šbā February
3 أذار 'azār / أدار 'adār March
4 نيسان nīsān April
5 أيار 'ayyār May
6 حزيران ḥazīrān June
7 تموز tammūz July
8 آب 'āb August
9 أيلول 'ēlūl September
10 تشرين الأول tišrīn il-'awwal October
11 تشرين التاني tišrīn it-tāni November
12 كانون الأول kānūn il-'awwal December

Seasons edit

فصل faṣᵉl season
ربيع rabīʕ spring
صيفēf summer
خريف ḫarīf autumn
شتا šite (N) / šita (S) winter

Years edit

سنة sine (N) / sane (S) year
سنين snīn years


جزم jizᵉm body

Head edit

راس rās head
شعر šaʕᵉr hair
وجّ wijj (Leb.) / وشّ wišš (Syr.)
وجه wujᵉh (S)
جبين jbīn
جبها jabha
منخار minḫār (N) / munḫār (S)
أنف 'anᵉf
تمّ timm (N) / tumm (S) mouth
لسان lsān tongue
فكّ fakk jaw
دقن da'ᵉn chin
Singular Plural
عين ʕēn f. عيون ʕyūn
عينين ʕīnēn (Pal.)
حاجبājeb حواجب ḥawājeb eyebrow
جفن jifᵉn جفون jfūn eyelid
رمش rimᵉs (N) / ramᵉš (S) رموش rmūš eyelash
دانة dāne (Leb.)
إدن 'idᵉn f. (Syr.)
دان dān f. (S)
دانين dānēn (Leb.)
أدان 'adān (Syr.)
دنين dinēn (S)
خدّadd خدود ḫdūd cheek
سفّة šiffe سفّات šiffāt lip
سنّ sinn سنان snān tooth

Neck down edit

رقبة ra'abe neck
حلقalᵉ' throat
كتف kitᵉf shoulder
ضهرahᵉr back
صدرudᵉr (N) / ṣidᵉr (S) chest, breast
بطن baṭn belly, abdomen
صرّةirra (N) / ṣurra (S) belly button

Organs edit


Basic terms edit

طقس aʔs weather
دنيا dinya world
كيف الطقس اليوم؟ kīf iṭ-ṭaʔs il-yōm? How is the weather today?
الطقس ... iṭ-ṭaʔs ... The weather is ...
الدنيا ... id-dinya ... It's ...

الطقس (iṭ-ṭaqs) is followed by an adjective (hot, cold, sunny etc.).

الدبيا (id-dinya) is used as a dummy subject like “It's ...” in English. It can be followed by a verb (raining, snowing etc.), or a noun corresponding to an adjective (heat = hot, sun = sunny etc.).

Temperature edit

حرارة harāra temperature
درجة daraje degree(s)
درجات darajāt degrees (after number 3-10)
Noun Adjective Adjective
of feeling
شوب šōb
شوبان šōbān hot
دفا dafa دافي dāfi دفيان dafyān warm
برد bard بارد bāred بردان bardān cold

In order to express someone's sensation of the temperature, special adjectives with the ending “-ān” are used.

الدنيا شوب اليوم. id-dinya šōb il-yōm It's hot today.
الشمس حارّة. iš-šams ḥārra The sun is hot.
أنا شوبان. 'ana šōbān I'm feeling hot.
قدّيش درجة/درجات الحرارة؟ ʔaddēš darajet/darajāt il-harāra? What's the temperature?
خمسة وعشرين درجة. amse w-ʕišrīn daraja (It's) 25 degrees.
خمس (درجات) تحت الصفر. ams (darajāt) taḥt iṣ-ṣifr (It's) 5 (degrees) below zero.

The sky edit

سما sama sky Verb (past) Verb (present) Adjective
شمش šams (f) sun شمّس šammas بشمّس bišammes مشمّسammes sunny
غيمēm clouds غيّمayyam بغيّم biḡayyem مغيّم mḡayyem cloudy
شتا šita (m) rain شتّى šatta بشتّي bišatti مشتّيatti raining

When used with a verb, الدنيا (id-dinya) can be omitted as long as the verb is not the only remaining word in the sentence.

States like “sunny” and “cloudy” can be expressed by verbs well, which have the meaning of “to be ...” or “to become ...”.

غيّمت الدنيا. ayyamat id-dinya It's cloudy. (“The world became cloudy.”)
السما مغيّمة. is-sama mḡayyme The sky is cloudy.
(الدنيا) عم بتشتّي. (id-dinya) ʕam bitšatti It's raining.
شتّت مبارح. šattat mbāreḥ It rained yesterday.


بيت bēt / دار dār house, home

Appliances edit

جلّاية jallāye dishwasher
فريزر frīzar
تلّاجة tallāje (N)
تلّاجة tallāje
برّاد barrād (N)
fridge, refrigerator
فرن furn oven
راديو rādyo radio
تلفزيون talfizyōn TV

For appliances related to clothes (washing machine, iron etc.) see →Clothes.

Furniture edit

فرشة farše
تخت taḵt
كومودين kōmōdīn (N)
كمدينا komodīna (S)
bedside table, nightstand
مكتبة maktabe bookshelf
كرسي kursi chair
خزانة ḵazāne closet, wardrobe; cupboard
مكتب maktab
طبقةab'a (N)
سفرة sufra (N)
صفرةufra (S)
dining table
جرور jarūr (N)
جرّار jarrār (S)
جوارير jawārīr chest of drawes
كنباية kanabāye
sofa, couch
طاولةāwle table
سكملة skamle small coffee table

Rooms edit

غرفةurfe / أوضة 'ōḍa room
حيطēṭ / جدار jidār wall
باب bāb door
شبّاك šubbāk window
أرض 'arḍ floor
سقف sa'ef ceiling
غرفة النومurfet in-nōm bedroom
حمّام ḥammām bathroom
غرفة السفرةurfet is-sufra dining room
مطبخ maṭbaḵ kitchen
صالون ṣālōn
غرفة القعدةurfet il-'aʕde
living room

Verbs motion

This article is in South Levantine.

The present progressive is not used for verbs of motion. An ongoing motion is expressed by the active participle instead.

أنا رايح. 'ana rāyeḥ I'm going. (male)
أنا رايحة. 'ana rāyḥa I'm going. (female)
هم رايحين. humme rāyḥīn They are going.

Direction of movement edit

Past tense Present tense Active participle English
راح rā براح birū رايح rāyeḥ to go; to depart
أجا 'aja بيجي bīji جاي jāy to come; to arrive
رجع rijeʕ برجع birjaʕ راجع rājeʕ to return, to go/come back
روّح rawwaḥ بروّح birawweḥ مروّح mrawweḥ to return home
فات fāt بفوت bifūt فايت fāyet to enter, to go/come in
دخل daḵal بدخل yūdḵol داخل dāḵel
طلع ileʕ بطلع biṭlaʕ طالع āleʕ to go/come out
to go/come up; to get into (vehicle)
نزل nizel بنزل binzal نازل nāzel to go/come down; to get off (vehicle)

Way of motion edit

Past tense Present tense Active participle English
مشى maša بمشي bimši ماشي māši to walk
ركض rakaḍ بركض burkoḍ راكض rākeḍ to run
ركب rikeb بركب birkab راكب rākeb to ride (bike, bus etc.)
ساق sā' بسوق bisū' سايق sāye' to drive (vehicle)
سبح sabaḥ بسبح bisbaḥ سابح sābeḥ to swim
طار ār بطير biṭīr طاير āyer to fly
رقص ra'aṣ برقص bur'oṣ راقص rā'eṣ to dance

Verbs perception

The present tense is rarely used for verbs of perception, when they have a passive meaning (eg. “to hear”). A current perception is expressed by the active participle instead.

Some of those words can also have an active meaning (eg. “to listen”) depending on the context.

Past tense Present tense Active participle English
شاف šāf بشوف bišūf شايف šāyef to see
تطلّع tṭallaʕ بتطلّع bitṭallaʕ - to look
تفرّج tfarraj بتفرّج bitfarraj - to look; to watch
سمع simeʕ بسمع bismaʕ سامع sāmeʕ to hear; to listen
حسّ ass بحسّ biḥess حاسس āses to feel
عرف ʔiref بعرف biʔref, biʔraf, byaʔref عارف ʕāref to know
فهم fihem بفهم bifham فاهم fāhem to understand


Many emotions can be described by a stative verb. They usually have a related adjective ending in ـان (-ān), which acts like an active participle.

Emotions edit

Past tense Present tense Adjective
فرح (fireḥ) بفرح (bifraḥ) to be happy, glad فرحان (farḥān) happy, glad
انبسط (inbasaṭ) بنبسط (binbaseṭ) to enjoy, have fun مبسوط (mabsūṭ) happy, pleased
حزن (ḥizen) بحزن (biḥzan) to feel sad حزين (ḥazīn), حزنان (ḥaznān) sad
زعل (ziʕel) بزعل (bizʕal) to be angry, annoyed
to be upset, distressed
زعلان (zaʕlān) angry, annoyed
upset, distressed
- - - كئيب (ka'īb) gloomy, depressed
قلق ('ile') بقلق (ni'la') to become worried
to be concerned
قلقان ('al'ān) worried, concerned
خاف (ḵāf) بخاف (biḵāf) to be afraid, scared خايف (ḵāyef) afraid, scared
خجل (ḵijil) بخجل (biḵjal) to be embarrassed, ashamed خجلان (ḵajlān) embarrassed, ashamed
تحمّس (tḥammas) بتحمّس (bitḥammes) to be enthusiastic, excited متحمّس (mitḥammes) enthusiastic, excited
حسد (hasad) بحسد (biḥsed) to envy, be envious حاسد (hāsed) envious
غار (ḡār) بغار (biḡār) to be jealous غيران (ḡērān) jealous

The body edit

Past tense Present tense Adjective
تعب (tiʕeb) يتعب (bitʕab) to become tired تعبان (taʕbān) tired; unwell, sick
نعس (niʕes) بنعس (binʕas) to feel drowsy, sleepy
to dose, nod off
نعسان (naʕsān) sleepy, drowsy
جاع (jāʕ) بجوع (bijūʕ) to be hungry جوعان (jūʕān) hungry
شبعibeʕ) بشبع (bišbaʕ) to become full, satisfied
to become fed up
شبعان (šabʕān) full (eating), satisfied
عطشiṭeš) بعطش (biʕṭaš) to be/become thirsty عطشان (ʕaṭšān) thirsty
برد (barad) ببرد (bubrod) to become cold
to catch a cold
بردان (bardān) feeling cold
دفي (difi) بدفى (bidfa) to warm up دفيان (dafyān) feeling warm
- - - شوبان (šōbān) feeling hot


This article lists templates used in the Levantine Arabic Wikibook

Text templates edit

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