Iraqi Arabic: shnu/shinu شنو

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Petter, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. Petter Junior Member

    Norway - Norwegian
    What is the "history" behind shinu / شنو meaning 'what' used in the Iraqi dialect. It is obviously an abbreviated form of something, but what?

    I guess it's the from same root used in Syria, shuu شو
    I never found an explanation on the etymology of these interrogative words

    Is it from ِشأن originally?
  2. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    All the interrogatories with ش in them come from أي شيء or أي شيءٍ هو



    Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar: شنو
    Eastern Arabia: وشنهو and شنهو (or شني and شنهي for feminine)

    These seem to come from أي شيءٍ هو. Notice the ن; which is a residue of tanwin in شيءٍ. In Nejd, the word شي still turns into شٍ (pronounced shin) when a tanwiin is attached.

    Nejd: وش, ويش, وشهو, وشّو, وشهي, وشّي (the و here is due to the aversion of bedouins and Nejdis to the use of glottal stops)
    UAE: شو
    Syria: شو
    Hejaz: ايش

    Most of these (especially Hejaz and Nejd) come from the medieval ايش which is in turn an abbreviation of أي شيء.
    ايش is quite old by the way, and appears in writings from the Abbasid era.
  3. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    Agree with you , Wadi Hanifa.I just want to add more:
    Badawi :
    ويش هو
    وش هو
  4. Petter Junior Member

    Norway - Norwegian
    Thanks Wadi & Ayed :)
  5. Nikola Senior Member

    The variations metioned are used all over Arabia and in Africa too.
  6. palastina10 New Member

    As you said شنو means "what".
    But I want to tell you that the Arabic dialect is different from an Arab country to another.
    I mean,, that this word has the same meaning in all the Arab countries which is Why?or لماذا ؟

  7. Petter Junior Member

    Norway - Norwegian
    hm not quite...
    I know that the Arabic dialects differ of course.
    And I know about لماذا, and how it is used in الفصحى,
    but what is your point exactly? That شو means why? It doesn't.
  8. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    Just a small addition, شنهو and شنهي are also used in Iraq, mostly in the southern areas.
  9. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    How is شنهو pronounced as compared to شنو? [shnhu]? That seems difficult?:eek: Perhaps [shnehu]?
  10. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Shinhu (stress on 'i') and Wishinhu (stress on the first 'i')
  11. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Excellent. Thanks.

    I realize now that this also resolves the origin of شنوّ shnuwwa in the Maghreb (I believe Andalusi also retained tanwiin, although I think it was -an, unlike the Nejd and other places where it is -in).
  12. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    shnuwwa is more typical of Tunisia than the rest of the Maghreb. shnu +a interogative like Gulf especially Bahrain.
    Ala Tul? is rendered Tula? shnuwwa hwalek+ kif halek.
    shnu,ash and wash are more Moroccan and Algerian.Tunisia also uses ash/aish.

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