Arabic Language Blog

Lebanon: Immigration Wave (1) موجة هجرة Posted by on Aug 17, 2020 in Arabic Language, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

Lebanon has recently reached a point of collapse وصلت إلى نقطة انهيار that affected all aspects of life. In addition to the political corruption الفساد السياسي , the high prices غلاء الأسعار  and unemployment  البطالة have worsened  زادت سوءً as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The current situation الموقف الحالي in Lebanon is the focus of this series of posts (4 parts). These posts are based on a video clip/ report (produced by BBC Arabic) that addresses the topic of migration موضوع الهجرةas a the best option كأفضل حلّ  for many Lebanese people nowadays because of the poor living conditions  سوء الظروف المعيشية there. Each of these posts is dedicated to studying a specific aspect of the language used in the report.

Image by jorono on

The report in this clip was published in early July, before the massive explosion الانفجار الضخم  that took place in Beirut port مرفأ / ميناء بيروت on the 4th of this month. Probably, more people now are thinking about migration الهجرة than before, even celebrities حتى المشاهير.

For example, the Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim نادين نجيم tweeted غرّدت (see screenshot below) that she has decided to leave the country قرّرت مغادرة البلد  after her house was severely damaged بعد أن تضرّر بيتها بشكل كبير because of the explosion . She also got injured أُصِيبَت  and has had to have a few surgeries بعض العمليات الجراحية .

Twitter post by @nadinenjeim

*Translation of the first two lines of the tweet:  

“From this moment, at the hospital, I made a decision: I’m going to leave the country and live safely in another country that respects its people”.


Now, Let’s move on to the clip>>

*The report is mainly in Lebanese Arabic, alongside some subtitles in Standard Arabic.

١– الكلمات الرئيسية

Key words:

Listen to the interview again, and check the correct Arabic equivalents to the English words/phrases below:


*The order of the words is based on the order they appear in in the report.

Most words below are in Lebanese Arabic, however, the few words in Standard Arabic that appear in the subtitles are underlined.


 Fear of the future الخوف من المستقبل

What’s waiting for me? شو ناطرني

I want to immigrate بدّي هاجر

 a place محلّ

provides يأمّن

 dignity كرامة

 it doesn’t feed ما بتطعمي

we have to مضطرّين

 Immigration wave موجة هجرة

 Expected متوقّعة

 our money مصرياتنا

my husband جوزي

 their value is gone تروح قيمتن/ قيمتهم

Nationality الجنسية

Leaving يغادرون

immigrating مهاجرين

 we come back نرجع

stay away نضل بعاد

communicate with نتواصل مع

I’m leaving تاركه

woes/ ordeals الويلات

I used to live كنت عايشة

situation الوضع

settling down الاستقرار

she migrates تهاجر

to provide for them تأمنّلن /تأمن لهم

the country البلد

belonging انتماء

our career مهنتنا

it doesn’t provide ماعم بيأمّن

seeks to يسعى لِـ

we dream نحلم

hope الأمل

disappears يختفي

accomplish نحقّق

 official figures أرقام رسمية

ratio نسبة


Stay tuned for the coming parts of this post 😉

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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.