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Nervous and Bad Nerves

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Andrew___, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    May I ask:

    1. For the adjective "nervous", do you think that عَصَبيّ is a good option?

    For context, an actor who is nervous before a stage performance, or a student before an exam.

    2. Could I translate the sentence: She suffers from bad nerves
    as: هي مصابة بالعصبية

    ًَ(To clarify, the expression "bad nerves" in English describes a state of someone who is jumpy, gets easily ruffled, worried or anxious).

    Many thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  2. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    You would not believe this, but I was just thinking about asking this question as expressing "nervousness" in Arabic has always been problematic for me. This is mainly because the English word is used in different ways. That said I believe عصبي has a more restrictive meaning than the English nervous. It would work for your second example of someone who is easily ruffled, jumpy, or high-strung. But it is not a good equivalanet for your first example of someone being nervous before going on stage or taking a test as this refers to uneasiness or apprehension. I'm not sure I've ever come across a good equivalent for that. Perhaps قلق would work for this type of nervousness, but I am not certain it can work in all situations.

    In essence, context is critical when choosing the appropriate equivalent.

    All this is per my understanding of the Arabic words (and the English words as well) and may or may not be accurate. We will have to wait and see.

    Edit: As an aside there is the strange case of the (Egyptian) Arabic (not sure if it occurs in other dialects) verb نرفز narfiz, which comes form the English word, but oddly has little to do with the meaning of the English word. It means to annoy someone -- أنت بتنرفزني you're irritating me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  3. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    The word to use in #1 is متوتر, and I can't believe I just taught Josh something new. :D

    As for #2, هي مصابة بالعصبية makes it sound like a medical condition, so that's fine if that's the connotation that you wish to convey. But if you only wish to say that she is irritable, I would say (هي عصبية (جدًا/للغاية.

    Josh, the verb نرفز has the same meaning in Palestinian Arabic, but we pronounce it "narvaz" (the present tense would be "binarvez"). You wouldn't believe how many Palestinians make the mistake of using "nervous" in English to mean "angry" or "annoyed." :)
     
  4. yasmeena Senior Member

    London
    Arabic (Lebanon)
    and عصبي is نرفوز "narvouz" :)
     
  5. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I have heard Gulf people say narvus, too. It never occurred to me that it wasn't an English loanword...
     
  6. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Just because something is a loanword doesn't mean that it hasn't undergone a shift in meaning in the new language. I think it's probably a loan word from English, but its current meaning is different from that of English (I speak about AE of course). (It could have come through another European source, like French, as well). It may not have even come from the adjective nervous. It might come from nerves [nərvz], as in "He's getting on my nerves" which means the same thing as huwwe binarvizni.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  7. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    We don't use that in Palestinian Arabic, interestingly enough.

    And I agree with Clevermizo about the etymology. It's definitely not a native Arabic word, but it has clearly undergone a semantic shift, which is a very common linguistic phenomenon. The German word Handy is an English borrowing, but it doesn't mean handy but cellular phone!
     
  8. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Thanks for teaching me something new.:) I had only heard that word in the context of diplomatic relations among countries. I was not aware that it could be used to refer to people as well.

    Yeah, I'm trying to remember, but I believe I have heard a native Arabic speaker make that mistake as well, but it was many years ago, now, and I am not completely sure. But I can imagine it would happen as the words are so similar.
     
  9. londonmasri Senior Member

    English
    Sorry to bring up an old post; is it possible to get a pronounciation on this word - and an example of its usage.

    E.g. I started to feel nervous (Egyptian Arabic)

    bada2t a7iss _______
     
  10. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Egypt
    Arabic,Egypt

    Bada2t a7iss enny mutta-watter (for males ) and mutta-watterrah (for females)
     
  11. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Would these really be natural in Egyptian Arabic?

    In Palestinian Arabic, I would not use the adjective. I would say "Badeet a7iss ib-tawattor."

    Also, I guess you just copied and pasted "bada2t" because that's MSA not Egyptian. :)
     
  12. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Egypt
    Arabic,Egypt
    Yeah, it is a common mistake in Egypt too!!

    By the way, the verb "narvez" is not in MSA.
     
  13. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Not really, but I guess Dr.Susy was automatically completing the sentence.

    The normal Egyptian would be:
    bada2t atwattar (for both male and female)
    It is sometimes used in Egypt. And we also say ebtadeet ابتديت : ebtadeet atwattar.
     
  14. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    You say "bada2t" with a hamza? Weird!
     
  15. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Why is that weird?
     
  16. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Because he expected the trend of bada2a>bada to follow the trend of qara2a>2ara, in the latter case the past tense being 2areet and not *2ara2t (although in Jordan at least, people who say 2ara say 2areet, but people who say qara say qara2t. :D) Anyway, in Levant, it's badeet (unless you're in Lebanon and then it's ballashet, but I digress:cool:.)
     
  17. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Interesting. In my (limited) experience I've only heard and said bada2t. Needless to say, badeet sounds a little strange.
     
  18. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Clevermizo's linguistic explanation is probably correct. All I can say is that bada2t sounds very MSA.

    In Palestinian Arabic, it's 2areet, qara2et, and badeet (we say ballashet too). Other variants are 2riit and bdiit.
     
  19. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    They say 2areet in Egyptian as well. I guess I had never thought about it before, but I'd be curious to know how many verbs that have a final ء in their roots have the '-eet' ending in colloquial? Of course, now that I am curious about it I can't think of any verbs of that type. Perhaps the Egyptian usage of 'bada2t' is just an exception.
     
  20. ihsaan Senior Member

    Norwegian
    How would one say that someone is nervous about something. I've looked up "(being) nervous" in the dictionary, both in terms of expressing this with a verb or a noun, but I haven't been able to figure out how to express this in e.g. the context of: "I've just had an exam, and I'm nervous about the results."
     
  21. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    In Egypt, we'd say:
    لسة مخلَّص امتحان، وقلقان م النتيجة
    lessa mkhallaS emte7aan, we al2aan men-natiiga.
    or: خلّصت امتحان khallaSt emte7aan.

    al2aan means "worried", but it's the word used in such a context.
     
  22. ihsaan Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Thank you. And how would the same be expressed in MSA?
     

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