Wish I Could Fake It, Though

So, I took a cab to AUB today–like I always do. Now, I’m usually used to a short, quiet drive to my destination but I’m no stranger to the talkie types.

This was a talkie type. After commenting on a couple of random stuff, to which I replied to normally, he casually remarked, “Lahijtik masriyyeh. Inteh min Masr?”

Translation: You have an Egyptian accent. Are you from Egypt?

That…was a first.

I realize my accent in Arabic indicates I’m not terribly fluent, and that it may be less than standard. But do you know how vastly different the Lebanese and Egyptian dialects are? I mean, we understand each other very well, but I’m talking almost poles apart. Our words, tense forms, and speech rhythms don’t have a lot in common.

Case in point:

English – “What is this?”

Lebanese – “Shoo hayda?”

Egyptian – “Eh dah?”

See?

I almost laughed out loud since it was such an odd remark. He insisted I spoke like an Egyptian even after I told him I was Lebanese, and born and raised in Canada. (Only half-true, but I’m not about to spill my life story to a random cab driver). He even asked if both my parents were Lebanese, just to be sure. It was weird.

By the way, I have absolutely nothing against the Egyptian dialect or being Egyptian in general. I actually wish I could at least imitate them, because I link their accent to quick, witty, and hilarious people. But anyone can tell you that my attempts at trying to talk like one are laughable at best.

Upon hearing the story, my mom quirked an eyebrow in amusement and said, “The guy’s never heard Egyptian in his life if he thinks you speak like one.”

I can’t disagree, but it’s odd as hell if it’s true. Anyone can tell you that 99% of the Arabic movies on TV (as well as a huge chunk of songs on the radio) are in that dialect. It takes an astounding level of ignorance to not be able to pick it out correctly.

I have to admit though, it was a refreshing change of pace from the usual, “You were living outside right?” and—the less often but far more relevant—“Are you Jordanian?” questions I seem to get on a regular basis.

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7 thoughts on “Wish I Could Fake It, Though

  1. I can totally relate! I was born and raised in Scandinavia and my Arabic isn’t as fluent as it should be.My accent is a mixture of all Arabic accents there is. It’s a disaster!

    • Hahaha, good to know!! I relate. My accent is mostly Lebanese, I guess, it’s just clunky. I was raised all over the place but I fashion my speech after my parents, who speak Arabic almost exclusively. (It’s an attempt which doesn’t come up to scratch most of the time, but I try). Where are you from, originally?

      I just checked out your blog. After a once-over, you have a follower now too! And thanks for following me :-D

  2. I am originally Syrian blooded but my parents moved to Sweden at quite a young age. We moved to Saudi Arabia a few years ago, and had it not been for that, I would not have learnt to speak Arabic. Seems like we have a few things in common. Thank you for following too

    • Awesome, I lived in Riyadh as well! My first twelve years, in fact. What’s funny is I barely used Arabic as a language during that time. (Not that I didn’t understand it, since my parents speak it, I just hardly ever used it). How do you like life there?

      • Life in Saudi is extremely complicated, and 180 degrees different from life in Sweden. But I guess that one adapts with time. It’s not too bad anymore.

  3. Eh da? Danti bit hazari? Ana mabsada2sh. :P

    if you really did have an Egyptian accent, I’m sure a certain uncle would find it difficult to converse with you. :P

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