Talk:Lebanese Arabic phrasebook

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Okay, I've started creating this phrasebook. A couple of comments on what I've done:

  • I tossed up with myself as to whether a more appropriate name would be 'Lebanese Arabic phrasebook' or 'Arabic (Lebanese) phrasebook'. The nearest thing to a precedent I found was a request for a Swiss German phrasebook (which has not been created yet) so I've gone that way; I'm easy either way though.
  • The pronunciation guide was kind of difficult - I was trying to balance accuracy with ease of reading. I hope I've succeeded (the only one I'm not comfortable with is 'Th' as a transliteration for the letter thal). I'd welcome any comments. Having done that, I don't think there are too many differences between this pronunication and other dialects, so it might be reusable.
  • In Beirut (and maybe other cities, I don't know), people tend to pronounce 'q' as a glottal stop (kind of like the 'tt' in "bottle" in the cockney accent). In the mountains, however, they tend to pronounce it properly (as here). Any thoughts on which I should use here? Obviously the Lebanese listner will understand either.
  • It'll probably take me a few weeks to get through all of this - I'm not a native Arabic speaker and I will need to get someone to help me with some of the more obscure phrases (I've never had to say "uphill" or "downhill" in Arabic :) In the meantime, please feel free to jump in!

Otherwise, let me know any thoughts and I'll be happy to try and incorporate them. (WT-en) Aholcombe 03:28, 2 Sep 2005 (EDT)

I think you've done a fine job so far, and have modeled some of my Jordanian Arabic phrasebook after your patterns in order to maintain conformity. Concerning the 'q', I have chosen to include it in pronunciations since, as you have said, it can be understood by both those who use it and those who omit it. - (WT-en) Cybjorg 04:22, 17 Feb 2006 (EST)

dont use the qaf here would be better cause in mine opinion its more often that lebs dont use it, and so we have also a variation for the ppl here

English and French[edit]

Lot's of nice work here. Considering especially that this should be usable for Syria, not only Lebanon (and of course understood without problems in Palestine and Jordan). Mahattat el-train won't get you far in Syria finst (and btw, whenever would you use this in Lebanon?) I think we should consider the use of French and English. This is indeed very special for Beirut and Lebanon. I'd primarily use the arabic forms and then maybe but the French in paranthesis and label clearly that it's french. (WT-en) Lakerhaug

That's what the French phrasebook is for. (WT-en) Jpatokal 10:33, 30 October 2006 (EST)


you'd forgotten to explain the 7a. I wrote something, maybe y'all will find it proper. And also I've considered h an "easy" consonant, as it occurs in English. Whether a sound is easy or not depends on your mother tongue, so this is English-based.

i couldnt find the pronunciation for the sound that is represented by '2'. would someone say how this is pronounced please?

a glottal stop (IPA: ʔ), or the constriction of the throat as between the syllables uh-oh, but in Arabic this is often found in strange places such as the beginning of a word. Known in Arabic as hamza ء (WT-en) Jpatokal 10:47, 19 June 2009 (EDT)


like the sound represented by "aargh"???? But you show it in Yes/Na3am. Do you mean this would be Naaargham? I never hear that when people say it. If you just mean the 'a' sound in aargh maybe that point should be clarified?

Letters and spelling[edit]


A few years back I made a system of writing the Lebanese Language using Latin letters. It is case insensitive, and is pronounced as spelt. It would be feasible to use this in the phrasebook, and should (in general) be easier to foreigners than numbers. What do you think?

A description of the system follows.

An Introduction to Writing the Lebanese Language[edit]


The consonants are pronounced the same, except that c = sh, and x = 3. In addition, I added unicode letters for the rest of the (non-english) consonants.

  • Ɔ or ɔ = 2
  • Ḋ or ḋ = D (ḋajje, noise)
  • Ġ or ġ = gh
  • Ḣ or ḣ = 7
  • Ḱ or ḱ = kh
  • Ṅ or ṅ = nasal "n", like in the French "Jean"
  • Ṡ or ṡ = S (ṡéd, hunting)
  • Ṫ or ṫ = T (ṫiyyàra, plane)
  • Ż or ż = heavy z (żamaṫ, he escaped)

The 5 vowels are pronounced practically identically to the Spanish or Japanese versions:

  • a = akl (food)
  • e = esm (name)
  • i = iḋràb (strike)
  • o = oṡṡa (story)
  • u = bukra (tomorrow)

The "acute accent" extends the base vowels in time:

  • á = ál (he said)
  • é = ém (he got up)
  • í = íd (hand)
  • ó = bóṫ (shoe)
  • ú = úm (get up)

The "grave accent" is vowel specific:

  • à = ḱwàrne (priests. Extension of "ù")
  • è = bèy (father)
  • ì = mìster (English pronunciation of master; usually encountered in names. Extension of "è")
  • ò = motòr
  • ù = Ùlla (God)

Note that à and ù are not used before or after ḋ,q,ṡ,ṫ,ż. Instead, á and a are used.


As mentioned above, Lebanese is spell as you speak.

There are some contractions such as "wel" for "w el", "mnel" for "men el", "xal" for "xa l", and so on. "And" is "w", and "the" is "el". It is contracted to "l" after a vowel.

There is no need to have a "ɔ" in the beginning of a word if it starts with a vowel. So, you can have "ɔsúd" (lions), but not "ɔasad" (a lion; asad).

When using verbs, the "b" (xam békol, xam byiktob), is always attached, unless the letter after it is a consonant followed by a vowel [then, it is "bi " (xam bi ṡír, not xam byṡír) or "bet" (xam bet ṡír)], or a consonant [then it is "byi" (byistaxmel) or "bte" (xam btestaxmel)].


  • There have been many requests from users of my script to add a third mark (for the "u"), to represent a sound that is present in the word "muc" (not), and many French loanwords, such as rue. The suggested accents were ü for the short version, and û for the extended version. (They would become müc, and rû, respectively).
  • Another suggestion was that ö be added as well, for words like feu (feu rouge).
  • Another suggestion was to use original spellings when words were borrowed, and have retained the same pronunciation. (e.g. computer would not become kompyúter, and rue would not become rû). This would eliminate the need for the extra diacritics (except the ü for müc), and keep spelling simple.
  • Finally, it was suggested that exceptions (such as muc), be allowed.

Which one do you think is best?

(WT-en) Jeannassar5 02:01, 24 April 2011 (EDT)