Author Archive

A mixture of Spanish and French!

February 19th, 2010

I came across a small article on Dakota Student, which was a review of the Lebanese movie Caramel. What struck me as odd and somewhat interesting, is that the writer made a very peculiar remark:

After a while I did realize that subtitles aren’t always the most fun to read, but if you have never heard the Lebanese language spoken, it’s definitely a treat. It’s sounds like a mixture of Spanish and French.

Somewhat interesting!


A unique verb

February 17th, 2010

Did you know that the verb “ija” (came), is a unique verb?

A couple of reasons for its uniqueness is the fact that it is the only verb of its form, that is, made out of 3 letters, with the first letter “i” and last letter “a”. the “j” is unique to this combination. There is no other letter other than the “j” that produces a meaningful verb.

On top of that, its imperative form is also unique. For example, the verb “Harab” (Escaped), becomes “Hrob” in the imperative form, “Baram” (Turned), becomes “Brom”, whereas “Ija” becomes “Taxa”, a totally different word!

So, if you are saying he came yesterday you would say “Ija mberiḣ”, but if you are asking someone to “Come here”, you would say “Taxa la hon”.


The Shapes

February 8th, 2010

The Shapes: This documents is in Pdf format and it contains a list of some of the basic shapes.

Click on the image below to download the file.


LLI on eHow

February 7th, 2010

The Lebanese language Institute has been cited as the resource to properly learn the Lebanese language on


Numbers in Words!

February 2nd, 2010

Today, most people that use the Latin letters to write the Lebanese language on the web insert letters in the words they use to substitute for sounds that exist in the Lebanese language and that are lacking in the Latin alphabet. I am mainly writing this post to encourage anyone who want to write Lebanese, to use the Lebanese Latin Letters, and to download and install the keyboard to type them.

The most commonly used substitutions are the “3” for the “x”, the “7” for the “ḣ”, and the “2” for the “`”. This system started on chat rooms in the early 90’s and people just got used to it, and still use it. The problems that this system presents outweigh its convenience by far. The first problem is that it does not allow for proper spelling of words as they are actually pronounced in Lebanese. On the other hand, people are at a loss how to represent the sound of a word using such a system, because it lacks much more in terms inclinations that exist in the Lebanese language.

Because of this, additional numbers were introduced to supplement the primary 3 numbers, but it never gained popularity, and thus, the system remained defunct.

On the other hand, there are no spelling standards when you use such a system, and consequently, you cannot actually search for any information using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and others. There is a lot of information, but it is scattered all around, and misspelled. This means that you can never find it.

Using the LLL system overcomes all these problems because of its convenience. The LLI has been using this system for years to teach people the proper Lebanese language, and the general public can use this system since all its tools are provided for free. So learn your alphabet, download the keyboard, and start typing.

If you have any questions or inquiries, we’ll be more than glad to help.



February 1st, 2010

There are two genders in the Lebanese language when it comes to identifying words. Masculine and Feminine only. Each noun in the Lebanese language is categorized as either one of these two genders.

A general rule is that all singular nouns ending with an “a” are Feminine.  Some other nouns that have feminine properties and do not end with “a” are also feminine such as “”Imm” (Mother) or “Iḱit” (Sister).

Try to identify which words are Feminine and which are masculine:

Siyyara (Car)

Xaṡfur (Bird)

Maṫaar (Airport)

Ḋayxa (Village)


Sun and Moon Letters

February 1st, 2010

The Lebanese language has 2 types of letters, the sun letters also called solar ( L aḣrof ccamsiyye) and the moon letters also called lunar (L aḣrof l amariyye). The reason these letters are called like this is because of the two words sun (camis) and moon (amar), and the properties of their first letters.

This characteristic affects the spelling of the words in relationship with the article “the” in Lebanese. The identifier “the” comes in two forms depending on the first letter of the word following it. There are two rules that govern this property in the Lebanese language.

1- If the first letter of this word begins with a solar, then the first letter is stressed, and it is spelled as double.

Cams means sun. To say “The sun”, you would say “ccamis”, because the “c” is a solar letter

Amar means moon. To say “The moon”, you would say “l amar”, because the “a” is a lunar letter. “L” means “the”.

Refer to the alphabet table to learn which are the sun letters and which are the moon letters.

Try to use the article “the” with the following words:

Dikken (Shop)

Ṫiyyara (Plane)

Banadura (Tomato)

Piano (Piano)

Namle (Ant)


Common Lebanese Phrases

January 12th, 2010

Below is a list of 150 common Lebanese Phrases. The Lebanese Language Institute has an extended list of thousands of Phrases that will be published in a book in the very near future, with a plural form added to the list and categorized by situations and places.

EnglishGeneric or Masculine formFeminine Form
Please sit down.`xod pliiz.`xidi pliiz.
Do you know how much it costs?Adde ḣa“o?Adde ḣa“a?
Did you take your medicine?Aḱadt daweek?Aḱadti daweeki?
Are you sure?Akiid?Akiidi?
More than that.Aktar min hek.
More than 200 kilometers.Aktar min miiten kiilomitir.
A few.Aliil.Aliili.
I’m here on business.Ana hon bi ciġil.
I’m hungry.Ana jixen.Ana jixeni.
I’m happy.Ana mabṡuṫ.Ana Mabṡuṫa.
I’m not American.Ana mic Amirkene.Ana mic Amirkeniiyyi.
I’m married.Ana mjawwaz.Ana mjawwazi.
Is it nearby?Ariib cii?Ariibi cii?
Anything else?Ayya cii teni?
At what time?Ayya sexa?
At Ḣamra streetB Cerix l Ḣamra.
Outside the hotel.Barrat l otel.
I’m just looking.Bas xam biṫṫallax.
Did you send me flowers?Baxattille warid?Baxattiili warid?
Beirut is very beautifulBayrut ktiir ḣilwi.
Beirut is very crowdedBayrut ktiir xaj`a.
Are you okay?Bek cii?Biki cii?
As soon as possible.Bi a`rab wa`it.
My daughter is here.Binte hon.
Do you know him?Btaxirfo?Btaxirfii?
Do you know what this means?Btaxrif hayda cu maxneto?Btaxirfi hayda cu mixneto?
Do you know how to swim?Btaxrif tisbaḣ?Btaxirfi tisbaḣi?
Do you know how to cook?Btaxrif tiṫboḱ?Btaxrfi ṫiṫibḱi?
Do you know where she is?Btaxrif wayna?Btaxirfi wayna?
Do you know her?Btaxrifa?Btaxirfiiya?
Do you know a good restaurant?Btaxriflak cii maṫxam mniiḣ?Btaxirfiilik cii maṫxam mniiḣ?
It takes 2 hours by car.Bteḱidla cii sexten bi ssiyyara.
Do you accept U.S. Dollars?Bteḱod dolar?Bteḱdi dolar?
He/she will arrive shortly.Halla’ Byuṡal.Halla’ Btuṡal.
Did it rain yesterday?Cattit mberiḣ cii?
Is it hot?Cob cii?/Cawb cii?
Business is good.Cciġil mniiḣ.
Do you know what this says?Cu bi`ul hayda?Cu bit`ul haydi?
A little.Cwayy.
I’m lostḊayix.Ḋayxa.
Male  or  female?Dakar walla inteeyi.
I’m leaving tomorrow.Felil bukra.Felli bukra.
Are there any concerts?Fii ḣafli l yom?
Can we have some more bread?Fii majel tjibilna ḱibiz zyedi?Fii majel tjibiilna ḱibiz zyedi?
Do you have any coffee?Fii xindak ahwi?Fii xindik ahwi?
Do you have internet?Fii xindak internet cii?Fii xindik internet cii?
Can you please say that again?Fiik t`ula baxid marra?Fiiki t`uliiya baxid marra?
Can you give me an example?Fiik taxṫiini matal?Fiiki taxṫiini matal?
Can you show me?Fiik tfarjiini?Fiiki tfarjini?
Can you hold this for me?Fiik thadiili hayda?Fiiki thadiili haydi?
Can you carry this for me?Fiik tiḣmilli hayda?Fiiki tiḣimliili haydi?
Can you do me a favor?Fiik tiḱdimni?Fiiki tiḱidmiini?
Can you help me?Fiik tsexidni?Fiiki tsexdiine?
Can you speak louder please?Fiik txalli ṡawṫak pliiz?Fiiki txalli ṡawtik pliiz?
Can you repeat that please?Fiik txiida pliiz?Fiiki txiidiya pliiz?
Can you fix this?Fiik tżabbṫo?Fiiki tżabṫii?
Can we sit over there?Fiina ni`xod.
Can I bring my friend?Fiiyyi jiib rfii`i?Fiiyyi jiib rfii`ti?
May I speak to John please?Fiyyi iḣki max John pliiz.
Can I use your phone?Fiyyi istaxmil telefonak?Fiyyi istaxmil telefonik?
Can I try it on?Fiyyi jarrbo?Fiyyi jarriba?
Can I help you?Fiyyi sexdak?Fiyyi sexdik?
Open the window.Fteḣ ccibbek.Ftaḣi ccibbek.
Open the door.Fteḣ l beb.Ftaḣi l beb.
Did your wife like Tyr?Ḣabbita martak la Ṡur?
Are they the same?Haw/Hawde mitil baxḋun?
About 300 kilometers.Ḣawela tletmiit Kiilometr.
Please speak slower.Ḣkii xa mahlak pliiz.Ḣkii xa mahlik pliiz.
Please speak English.Ḣkii ingliizi iza btaxmil maxruf.Ḣkii ingliizi iza btaximli maxruf.
Over here.Hon.
Over there.Honiik.
Are you American?Inta Amarkeni?Inte Amarkeniiyyi?
Are you married?Inta mjawwaz?Inti mjawwazi?
Are you ready?Jehiz?Jehzi?
Are you coming this evening?Jeyi llayli?Jeyi llayli?
Are they coming this evening?Jeyiin llayli?
Bring me my shirt please.Jibli l amiiṡ pliiz.Jibiili l amiiṡ pliiz
Did you come with your family?Jiit max ahlak?Jiite max ahlik?
Are you hungry?Jixen?Jixeni
Is John here?John hon cii?
Let’s share.Ḱallina nitcerak.
Let’s meet in front of the hotel.Ḱallina nitle`a iddem l otel.
Are you afraid?Ḱiifen?Ḱiifeni?
How to get to the Hotel?Kiif b yuṡalo xal Otel?
Are you here alone?La ḣelak?La ḣelik?
Can I have the bill please?L ḣseb pliiz.
Pick  up  your  clothes.Limm tyebak.Limmi tyebik.
Let’s go have a look.Macci ta ncuf.Macci ta ncuf.
Let’s goMacciMacci
Are you busy?Macġul cii?Macġuli cii?
I’m not ready yet.Manni jehiz baxid.Manni jeehzi baxid.
I’m not afraid.Manni ḱiifen.Manni ḱiifeni.
I’m not busy.Manni macġul.Manni macġuli.
I’m not married.manni mjawwaz.manni mjawwazi.
I’m not going.Manni rayiḣ.Manni rayḣa.
My appointment is next Wednesday.Mawxadi l irbxa l jeyi.
Is it possible?Max`ul?Max`uli?
Do you have a pencil?Maxak alam?Maxik alam?
Do you have enough money?Maxak maṡari kfeyi?Maxik maṡari kfeyi?
Do you have any money?Maxak maṡari?Maxik maṡṡari?
Do you have another one?Maxak waḣad teni?Maxik wiḣdi tenyi?
I’m not sure.Mic akiid.Mic akiidi.
A long time ago.Min Zamen.
Are you comfortable?Mirteḣ?Mirteḣa?
Do you have a boyfriend?Mṡaḣab?Mṡaḣbi?
Are you waiting for someone?Naṫir ḣada?Naṫra ḣada?
Be  careful  driving.Ntibih inta w xam tsu`.Ntibhi inti w xam tsu`i
Be careful.Ntibih.Ntibhi
Please come in.Pliiz tfaḋḋal.Pliiz tfaḋḋali.
Are you going to the wedding?Rayiḣ xal xiris?Rayḣa xal xiris?
Is it suppose to rain tomorrow?Raḣ tcatte cii bukra?
Are you going to take a car or bus?Raḣ teḱod ssiyyara walla l baṡ?Raḣ teḱdi ssiyyara walla l baṡ?
It’ll be cold this evening.Raḣ tsa“ix llayle.
Are you going to help her?Raḣ tsexida?Raḣ tsexdiiya?
Salwa is Sam’s girlfriend.Salwa ṡaḣobto la Sam.
Are you sick?Ṡaḱin cii?Ṡaaḱni cii?
My car was hit by another car.Siyyara ḋarbitli siyyarti.
My car isn’t working.Siyyarti mic mecyi.
Do you hear that?Smixit hayda?Smixti hayda?
Do you feel better?Ṡirit aḣsan?Ṡirti aḣsan?
It’s 11:30pm.Ssexa ḣdaxc w noṡṡ
It rained very hard today.Ta“alit cciti l yom.
Call the police.Talfin lal Boliis.Talfni lal Boliis.
Call me back laterTalfinli baxden.
Call  me.Talfinli.Talfniili.
Please call me.Talfinli pliiz.
Translate this for meTarjimli hayda.Tarjmiili haydi.
Come here.Taxa la hon.Taxi la hon.
My cell phone has no reception.Telefoni ma xindo irsel.
My cell phone doesn’t work.Telefoni mic meci.
All day.Ṫul Nnhaar.
And you?W Inta?W Inti?
Behind the bank.Wara l bank.
where can I can get a taxi?Wen fiiyyi eḱod taksii?Wen fiyyi eḱod taksi?
Where are my glasses?Wen xwayneti?
Are your children with you?Wledak Maxak?Wledik maxik?
Our children are in America.Wledna hayyehon bi Amerka
Did you get my email?Wiṡollak iimeyli?Wiṡollik iimeyli?
At 7 o’clock in the morning.Xa ssexa sabxa ṡṡobiḣ.
At 7 o’clock at night.Xa ssexa sabxa.
At 3 o’clock in the afternoon.Xa ssexa tleti baxd ḋḋihor.
At 3 o’clock.Xa ssexa tleti.
Please fill out this form.Xabbiili hal form pliiz.
Do you like it here?Xajabak hon?Xajabik hon?
I’m searching.Xam fattic.
I’m just kiddingXam imzaḣ


Interview with a Dane

December 25th, 2009

This is a link to an interview with a Danish woman that is married to a Lebanese and has been living in Lebanon for the past 7 years. The interview is interesting, but one part of it is a specifically interesting remark about language:

3. What is difficult/easy about learning and speaking the Lebanese language?
Well, after 7 years in Lebanon, I still don’t speak Lebanese fluently. The letters are very different, but once one gets to know some words, it is ok. The Lebanese language is different from Arabic, personally I find it more simple and easy to understand, especially because Lebanese has French and English words blended in, a bit like in Danish.


Ṫiire Ṫiire Ya Xaṡfura

December 19th, 2009