Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard the stories about how Arabic is a challenging language to learn, and how it always make at least the top two on lists of most difficult languages to learn. And let’s not forget all of these Arabic dialects you should learn.
In all honesty, Arabic can be challenging at times, and it can be a bit confusing when trying to figure out whether you should learn Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, or Modern Standard Arabic. But do you know what learning Arabic mostly is? Fun! Especially fun to learn are some of the slang words. So, for today’s article, we’re now going to forget about all of those lists (and the naysayers who write them) because today we are going to learn basic Arabic words that some consider slang and others consider part of their everyday lives.
How appropriate is it that we start off with “yallah” which means “let’s go” or “come on”? When you want someone to get moving or you’re growing a little impatient waiting for something to happen, then yallah is your go-to word. As one of the most commonly used Arabic slang words, you will hear people using yallah for everything from waiting in traffic or trying to convince your significant other that if he or she doesn’t get dressed soon, you’re going to be late for the party. Nevertheless, yallah, let’s continue.
Literally meaning “Oh Lord!”, “ya rab” is the perfect Arabic slang word to use when wanting to express total exasperation or frustration with something. It’s almost exactly like the English use “Oh Lord!” or “Oh my God!” as in “ya rab! How long are we going to sit in this traffic before it starts moving again? We’re already late for the party.”
“mashallah” is the word you use when you want to say something nice about somebody or something they own, but you don’t want them to think you’re jealous or giving them the “evil eye” of envy when you say it. Actually, sometimes if you don’t say it after complimenting somebody or something they own and something bad happens to them or their possession, you’ll surely get the blame. For example, “I wrecked my new car because Mr. Gary said it was the most beautiful car he’d ever seen and he didn’t say “mashallah” afterwards. So, to be safe, always use it with complimenting someone or something they own, as in “Wow Ahmed! This is a great party you’re throwing here, mashallah!”
Khallas means “Stop” or “It’s done and over with” as in “You’ve already apologized enough for being late, Ahmed. Khallas. Relax and enjoy the party.”
You will hear this word literally thousands of times a day in any one of the Arabic speaking countries. Sometimes it’s used for its literal meaning of “God willing” but more often than not used for “maybe” or “I’m not sure.” If your friend Mohammad tells you, “inshallah, you will be invited to my next party, too”, you can be pretty sure you’ll be at his next party. However, if your boss says, inshallah, you will get a year-end bonus if you keep up this work,” don’t plan on that bonus for a trip to Aqaba. Just saying.
“wallah” means “I swear!” and is used pretty much the same way as the English version. “wallah mama, I don’t know who ate the last bit of chocolate cake in the refrigerator. And, no, that’s not chocolate icing on my pants. I fell in the dirt, wallah!”
This word is commonly used to mean “for sure”, or “of course”, as in “akeed, Arabic really can be a fun language to learn.” or “You have to study, akeed, if you want to sound like a native speaker.
Though this word really means “good morning”, it can often be used as the English equivalent for “Duh!” or “Hello, McFly!” This word is usually used between friends when someone’s not on the ball, or is missing the obvious and has just “woken up” to the facts you were talking about. “You’re surprised Ahmed and Zainab got married? Sabah al khair, they’ve been in love with each other since kindergarten!”
A contraction of “shloonik” and literally meaning “What is your color?”, this question word is the equivalent of “How are you?” in English. “shlonak, Robert. I heard that you’ve finally decided to learn to read Arabic.”
This means, “Oh, man” or “No way!” and is most often used by young Arab men to express frustration in a light-hearted way. For example, if the Iraqi football team loses to Jordan, you will hear a lot of Iraqi young men repeating “ya rayyal ” over and over again.
Originally meaning “a sin” this phrase actually works like “What a shame.” would in English when you feel pity or sorry for somebody as in: “ya haram, Maha’s fiancé lost his job again and they have no money for the wedding.”
Most commonly used in the Levant, but understood throughout the region, this word means something close to “Are you serious, dude?” It’s most commonly used to express something that is unbelievable as in “Mahmoud, you ate all the cake? Bisharafak? I can’t believe you!”
We hope that you enjoyed this article and inshallah , we will present more slang words and phrases in the future. Akeed, trying to learn Arabic language slang words can be fun to learn if you just go about learning it with a positive attitude. We always do our best to bring you new and exciting material to help you and hope your friends will say, “mashallah, you sound like an Arab speaker.” Okay, yallah, let’s go learn some more Arabic until next time.
Before you go however, if you’d like to know the best way to learn Arabic, why not head over to kaleela.com and download the Kaleela language learning app to your IOS or Android mobile device right now? wallah, it’s the leader of all other Arabic learning apps available today.