EA: بقدرة قادر

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Josh_, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Hi again,

    I'm wondered about how the idiomatic expression بقدرة قادر is used (generally); and also how it might be best translated in the following scenario?:

    "واحد كان مفلس وعرفنا إنه اشترى شقة، وعشان احنا عارفين إنه مفلس فنقول، "بقدرة قادر اشترى شقة."


    We find out that a man, who[m we know] is broke, bought a flat. Because we know he is broke we say, "bi-2udrit 2aadir he bought a flat."

    Thanks.
     
  2. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    'by a miracle'
     
  3. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Thanks for the reply. I actually wasn't expecting that as a suggestion, which leads me to another question: would you say this Arabic phrase is used in generally positive scenarios or negative ones? Or is it used equally in both?
     
  4. Haroon Senior Member

    C A I R O
    Arabic-Egypt
    Dear Josh
    greetings,
    As for the last question I think it is rather difficult to give a clear answer. Objectively, the writer or the speaker is the one who adds the tone and the reader or the listener is the one who may interpret it either positively or negatively.
    As for the original phrase let me give you a suggestion I recently read in a certain book regarding the same issue you are tackling. The term is dues ex machina, the writer is discussing how to convert this term into Arabic.
     
  5. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    I don't know the term you mentioned, Haroon :) so I can't comment.
    But I would actually say it's got no positive or negative connotation per se, what it means is that they 'only barely' managed to do it.
     
  6. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Hi again guys,

    Thank you for the responses.
    I'm still not sure what I good equivalent would be in this context. Perhaps:

    "....he somehow managed to buy a flat."

    I suppose "by a miracle" could work. I guess it depends on how one interprets the sentence. To me that phrase would indicate something positive, e.g. "by a miracle he was able to save the child from drowning." In that sense, if we are happy that the man managed to buy a flat (in order to have a decent place to live) then we could use 'by a miracle."

    However, if we interpret the sentence in a negative way -- knowing he is broke, we are suspicious of how he was able to get the money buy a flat -- then "by a miracle" may not be the best option.

    With that interpretation, maybe "by some (kind of) miracle" or "by some twist of fate" might work better.

    Thanks for the intriguing suggestion, Haroon. I think I see where you are going with that. As I understand the phrase "deus ex machina," it refers to a person or thing which suddenly appears in a story to solve a previously unsolvable problem. Since the man is broke there must have been some "deus ex machina" which afforded him the opportunity to buy the flat.

    At any rate, I got this phrase out of an Egyptian Arabic phrase book I have, (called "Arabi Liblib: Idioms and Other Expressions") which also explains the phrases in Egyptian (so as to show how the phrase could be explained in its own language). This is what it says:

    المعنى مجازي سلبي: للشك أو لوصف شيء حصل ومش مصدقين إزاي دا حصل. فمثلا واحد كان مفلس وعرفنا إنه اشترى شقة، وعشان احنا عارفين إنه مفلس فنقول، "بقدرة قادر اشترى شقة. يعني احنا شاكين في مصدر الفلوس اللي جاب له واشترى بيها الشقة أو إنه كان مخبي علينا إنه محوش فلوس.

    A negative, figurative meaning: to [express] doubt, or to describe [a situation in which] something has happened, but we are in disbelief as to how it happened. For example, we find out that a man, who[m we know] is broke, bought a flat. Because we know he is broke we say, "bi-2udrit 2aadir he bought a flat." In other words, we are in doubt about the source of the money he got, with which he bought the flat. Or perhaps he was hiding money he had saved up from us.
    (English translation is mine.)

    Do you guys agree with this explanation?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  7. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi Josh,

    Yes, I agree with this explanation. We usually use this expression when we're suspicious about something that happened in a miraculous or unexpected way.

    But it's also true that, in some cases, it can be non-negative (but I wouldn't say positive per se), like when someone appears suddenly and unexpectdly
    بقدرة قادر لقيته قُدّامي . It can be taken as a positive thing if you're happy the person appeared. :)
    Or, when you're facing problems and, somehow, they get solved مشاكلي اتحلت بقدرة قادر .
     
  8. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    Searching the web, it seems that this exact same spelling is used to refer to crème caramel for some reason! Certainly not by Egyptians but I'm quite curious why. It seems clear that قدرة here is 'qidra' not 'qudra' but why 'qaadir'?!
     
  9. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Thanks for your clarification, Cherine.

    Interesting note, إسكندراني. That reminds of the word for hippopotamus in Egyptian. I've always wondered at that one.:)
     

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