Arabic Language Blog

Everyday (cultural) phrases in colloquial Egyptian Arabic: ‘Hope for the best’ (2) Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

Welcome to the second part of this blog post where we’re looking at a song called تفائلوا بالخير ‘wish for the best’ by the Egyptian singer Yasmin Ali. s mentioned in the first part of the blog, these phrases are culturally interesting and thus can sound somewhat funny if were translated literally. It’s for this reason that I’m providing both literal translation and explanation for each, so you can see the difference and understand how it is actually used in Egyptian Arabic. These phrases are used in the song as pieces of advice نصائح  for people about how they could be more hopeful and live a life of contentment قناعة – اطمئنان .
Last week, we started by understanding the content of the song by rendering it in standard Arabic. In this part of the blog post, we’re going to start looking at the first set of these phrases.

From: Pexels

*First, here is the clip of the song that you need to watch so you can follow the lyrics below. You need to pay attention to the first half of the song from 0:15 to 1:55 where the four phrases ca be heard.

كلمات الآغنية
The lyrics
اتفائلوا بالخير هتلاقوه .. و العمر لو يجري الحقوه
وسدّوا باب مافيهوش أمل.. مش أي حد تصدقوه


يعني طول ما وشوشكوا سمحة .. ناس بتظلم ناس مسامحة
اللي عاش على راسه بطحة .. هو ده اللي استغربوه


اللي لسّه مجاش نصيبه .. بكرة يبقى معاه حبيبه
واللي سابك عادي سيبه .. و الفراق استعجلوه


قوم .. قوم و عدّي الصعب قوم .. يوم هتضحكلك ويوم
تمشي عكس معاك وعادي .. ما الحياة دي يوم ويوم
فضّي قلبك من الهموم .. تكسب الدنيا دي


>>Here are the first four phrases with literal translation and how they are pronounced:


  • اتفائلو بالخير هتلاقوه
itfa2l-u                bil-xeer         ha-tla2uu-h
Be optimistic      with-good      will-find-it
(Hope for the best and you shall find it) This phrase is usually said when someone is being very pessimistic متشائم  and is used to encourage them to be optimistic متفائل It also has an equivalent in standard Arabic, that is: تفاءلوا بالخير تجدوه


  • والعمر لو يجري الحقوه
w-il-ʕumr          law   y-igri       ilHa2uu-h
and-the-time      if      it-runs     catch-it
(If life is going fast, chase it/go after it)


The phrase doesn’t actually suggest running after something or catching it literally! Instead, it is used to inspire someone to metaphorically follow their dreams in life and keep chasing them. It is a bit similar to telling someone in English to ‘seize the day’.


  • اللي عاش على راسه بطحة
illi     ʕaaš    ʕala   raasu-h       batHa
who  lived    on      head-his    wound
(That who is insecure)


Obviously, the phrase doesn’t refer to someone with an actual wound. The wound here implies someone with a bad habit, that is being insecure or one who gets offended for no reason and always thinks that people are referring to him/her when they are not!


  • ما الحياة دي يوم ويوم
ma   il-Haya   di    yom   wi    yom
as    the-life   this  day   and  day
(One day for you, the other against you)


This one is used when someone is complaining about having a bad day. It means that life is not always the same and we have to expect some days to be good and others to be bad.


The standard Arabic equivalent to this one is: يوم لك ويوم عليك
Yawm  la-k         w      yawm    ʕalai-k
Day     for-you   and    day       on-you


See you next week to when we’ll be looking at more phrases.

Keep learning Arabic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.