All dialects: or

tabyyy

Senior Member
English, Spanish
مرحبا :)

I have heard many variations of the word "or" in Colloquial Arabic. Sometimes I have heard "wala," other times "ow," and this made me wonder how many variations there are of this word, and if any are specific to certain dialects.

Sorry for the simplicity of the question, I'm a beginner :D

شكرا كتير
 
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  • tabyyy

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish
    What does what mean? If you mean the word "or," it's used to link alternatives. "This or that," "Are you coming or not?" etc...
     

    HBZ55

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Tunisia
    I know, but I misunderstood his question, thinking the word "or" was a Standard Arabic word and he was looking for colloquial alternatives.
    Anyway, in Tunisian Arabic it's welle. People usually transcrible it as walla, but I find using a to transcribe a fet7e appropriate only when the letter is "strong" like Ta and Sa, but that's another topic.
     

    Ghabi

    AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod
    Cantonese
    In Egyptian Arabic, aw is used in a statement (I want this or that), while walla is used in a question (you want this or that?).

    walla
    should not be confused with wala, which means "nor": la ... wala ... = neither ... nor ...

    wala is also used in many fixed expression: wala Haaga ("nothing"), wala Hitta ("nowhere"), mish wala budd ("so so; not very good") and etc.

    Hope it helps.:)
     

    Outlandish

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    wala is also used in many fixed expression: wala Haaga ("nothing"), wala Hitta ("nowhere"), mish wala budd ("so so; not very good") and etc.
    Wala in the cotexts you mentioned is another word. It is actually two words "wa و" and "la لا". The "wa" is insignificant to the meaning.
    Wala hagah means: nothing.
    Wala hettah means: not a piece/ no where.
    Mish wala budd means something of mediocre value.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    I know, but I misunderstood his question, thinking the word "or" was a Standard Arabic word and he was looking for colloquial alternatives.
    Anyway, in Tunisian Arabic it's welle. People usually transcrible it as walla, but I find using a to transcribe a fet7e appropriate only when the letter is "strong" like Ta and Sa, but that's another topic.
    I think the question was about differences in use between ولا، أو etc.
     

    tabyyy

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish
    I've always learned "law" as "if". I didn't know it couldn't be used in this way. Very interesting :)

    Shukran ktiir for the responses!
     

    Outlandish

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Walla = colloquial
    am/aw = SA


    Except that "aw" is not usually used in questins. If you ask somebody to make a choice, you will use "am". If you are just listing things, you will use "aw".
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    More or less. I've learned to use walla in questions and aw in statements, but I think maybe there are occasions when you can use aw in questions also? I'm not sure but I have a feeling it may be a little flexible. Also, the "Either X or Y" structure can be rendered ya X ya Y يا س يا ص.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I've always learned "law" as "if". I didn't know it couldn't be used in this way. Very interesting :)
    I think it's just a contraction of the وإلاّ that everyone else uses. I doubt it's related to the Standard لو meaning "if."
     

    Soos

    Senior Member
    American English, Lebanese
    In Lebanese we use "ow" or "ama". Unlike some dialects, you can use ow in a question such as "bt7ib haa OW haa?" (Would like this or that?) "Ama" is used usually how "wlla" is used in Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, etc: rayyi7 bokra AMA elyom? (Are you going tomorrow or today?"
     

    tabyyy

    Senior Member
    English, Spanish
    Ahhh this makes because when I asked my boyfriend (who is Lebanese) how to say "or" he told me "ow" and didn't mention "walla". Shukran ya Soos :)
     

    ilyasnemo

    Member
    German
    In Morocco, 'or' is said 'ula' (hada ula hada?). Aw and Am are both Standard Arabic (Fusha) and in Fusha, ula would mean wa la = and not. But you can't mix up Fusha and Moroccan, both have their own expressions / vocabulary and so on. So I don't think that, as tabiyy said, ula / walla "can be used that way". You can only use it as "or" in Moroccan and you can only use Aw / Am in Standard.

    By the way, I learned that Aw was used for proposing different options and Am for just two options, if there were more than two, Aw must be used. Although Aw would be correct also for two options, Am is preferred in this case.
     
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