All dialects: very, a lot, many, a great deal

djara

Senior Member
Tunisia Arabic
I always wondered why Arabic dialects have so many different ways of expressing these basic concepts.
In Tunisian Arabic we say برشه or برشا [barsha]; it's our signature tune in the Levant!
In Algerian بالزّاف [bizzaaf]
In Libyan هلبا or هلبة [halba]
Maybe other native speakers wish to contribute. Thanks.
 
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    In Levantine I believe it's كتير, in Iraq they sometimes use كثير (pronounced chitheer - ch as in child, th as in thank) but mostly hwaaya هواية (I have no clue where it comes from), I've heard people in the Gulf region say واجد or وايد.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    I always wondered why Arabic dialects have so many different ways of expressing these basic concepts.
    Basic terms can be subject to more change over time because they are more frequently used. Given the right amount of time, geographic separation, and frequency, these words often show a lot of variability. Compare how many ways there are to say "want" or "go" even.

    In Tunisian Arabic we say برشه or برشا [barsha].
    I've always wondered - do you know the origin of barsha? Is it originally a Berber word? Some contraction of other Arabic words?
     
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    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    In Egypt, we say: ketiir كتير , and sometimes kotaar ناس كتير - ناس كتار
    There's also yaama ياما
    (sometimes also ketiir yaama :) )

    In Algerian بالزّاف [bizzaaf]
    In Egypt we sometimes say bezzoofa بالزوفة but it's not a very common word, I only remembered it when I saw the Algerian word.
     

    djara

    Senior Member
    Tunisia Arabic
    I've always wondered - do you know the origin of barsha? Is it originally a Berber word? Some contraction of other Arabic words?
    Me too. In Lisan al-Arab there is a noun "al-barshaa2": a (large) group of people, a crowd. Also an adjective "arDun barshaa2" (land with plenty of grass). As you can see, both the noun and the adjective refer to the idea of a large number and a large quantity.
    This is a mere interpretation. I have no idea how this notion is expressed in Berber.
     
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    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    I've always wondered - do you know the origin of barsha? Is it originally a Berber word? Some contraction of other Arabic words?
    Although Tunisian has some Berber words it has the least in comparison with the rest of North Africa.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Me too. In Lisan al-Arab there is a noun "al-barshaa2": a (large) group of people, a crowd. Also an adjective "arDun barshaa2" (land with plenty of grass). As you can see, both the noun and the adjective refer to the idea of a large number and a large quantity.
    This is a mere interpretation. I have no idea how this notion is expressed in Berber.
    I should've looked in a dictionary first.:eek: That makes perfect sense. :D
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic, besides كتير (ktiir), we say ملان (malaan) and بلايا (balaaya). The latter is Galilean; I don't think I've ever heard people from Jerusalem use it.
     

    Reema

    Member
    Arabic
    In Saudi Arabic (Najdi Dialect), it is حيل (hail) مَرَّة (marrah) and بِالهَبَل (bilhabal).
     

    Imad Net

    Member
    Arabic - Algeria
    Hi,
    In Algerian Arabic, generally, we use Bazzaaf (بزّاف), but we use also in the east of Algeria, Yaasser (ياسر) (pronounced like the Arabic name Yasser, eg : Yasser Arafat)
    In the far east of Algeria, they use Barcha (برشة) (like in Tunisia)

    Bonjour,
    En Algérie, généralement, on utilise Bazzaaf (بزّاف) (on le prononce Bezzèf en français), mais, on utilise aussi à l'est d'Algérie, Yaasser (ياسر) (on le prononce Yèsser en français), et aussi, on utilise, Barcha (برشة) (comme en Tunisie)

    à vous...
     
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    squeezed90

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Palestine, English - Canada
    In shami: kteer كتير
    In egyptian: 2awi قوي
    In Emirati (U.A.E): wayed واجد
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Does any known dialect use the word حفنة? (Literally, a handful or a scoopful). This is the word used in Maltese and I was curious if its use could be corroborated elsewhere.
     

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    We use it. It's a FuS7a word, anyway.

    I'm not sure what's being asked about here, though; is it the word for "many" (e.g. "there were many people at the party"), or the word for "very" (e.g. "this food is very spicy")?
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    It's used for both senses, much like the Levantine كتير. For example: għandi ħafna flus عندي حفنة فلوس "I have a lot of money" and jiena ferħan ħafna أنا فرحان حفنة "I am very happy." Can you use this word like this in Najdi?
     

    Imad Net

    Member
    Arabic - Algeria
    Does any known dialect use the word حفنة? (Literally, a handful or a scoopful). This is the word used in Maltese and I was curious if its use could be corroborated elsewhere.
    On utilise ce mot en Algérie, c'est de l'Arabe correct, mais il signifie "une petite quantité", en Français on dit, "poignée", contrairement en Malte, il veut dire "beaucoup"..

    did you understand me brother clevermizo ?
     
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    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    It's used for both senses, much like the Levantine كتير.
    I know. I was referring to the thread as a whole. We use a different set of words for "many" than the one we use for "very." It seems that in other places the same set is used for both or the two sets overlap.

    For example: għandi ħafna flus عندي حفنة فلوس "I have a lot of money" and jiena ferħan ħafna أنا فرحان حفنة "I am very happy." Can you use this word like this in Najdi?
    It means "handful" and is used in much the same way as the English words "handful" or "few," which can either mean "little" or "decent amount" depending on context (probably exactly the same in MSA). I don't know if this word was always present in Arabian dialects or if it was recently learned from MSA -- it's not always easy to tell. In this case, my instict tells me it's the former, at least in some elevated or poetic registers. Perhaps Ayed can help.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    On utilise ce mot en Algérie, c'est de l'Arabe correct, mais il signifie "une petite quantité", en Français on dit, "poignée", contrairement en Malte, il veut dire "beaucoup"..

    did you understand me brother clevermizo ?
    Oui, je vous ai compris. C'est intéressant comment le sens a changé. Mais, vous savez, dans les dialectes arabes il y a des certaines expressions qui ont obtenu des sens inverses. Par exemple, le verbe فات qui au Liban signifie "entrer" mais au Soudan il veut dire "partir". Il me surprend qu'un mot tellement simple comme "poignée" ou "un petit peu" ait changé complètement de cette façon. Ou peut-être au passé en Malte une poignée de quelque-chose était le plus beaucoup d'elle qui existait:D.
     
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    Imad Net

    Member
    Arabic - Algeria
    peut être bien :D parce que le maltais c'est la dialecte arabe de Sicile...
    au fait, dans toutes les dialectes arabes, حفنة veut dire "poignée",.. par contre en Malte
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    It's used for both senses, much like the Levantine كتير. For example: għandi ħafna flus عندي حفنة فلوس "I have a lot of money" and jiena ferħan ħafna أنا فرحان حفنة "I am very happy." Can you use this word like this in Najdi?
    Celevermizo, hafnah still is used in the Badawi dialect:
    زود حفنة رز على القدر Add a hadful of rice into the pot.
    If we had a child asking to give him more dates,we may sometimes say angilry:"give him/her a hadful of soil"عطوه حفنة تراب
    زود حفينة ملح على العشاء Add a hadfulet of salt to the cooking pot.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Yes, it does seem that most dialects use this word with the literal meaning of "handful." I was mostly curious if any dialects used it with the meaning of كثير.
     

    ALOOO

    Member
    Saudi Arabia-Arabic
    Does any known dialect use the word حفنة? (Literally, a handful or a scoopful). This is the word used in Maltese and I was curious if its use could be corroborated elsewhere.
    Yes,we do.
    it means (a few) or (little), and it use with uncountable.
    اعطني حفنة ماء
     

    el-Shinqiti

    New Member
    Arabic and English
    In Hassaniya dialect (Mauritania, W. Sahara, northern Mali, southern Morocco, and southwestern Algeria) we say " yaasir (min el-)...". Anyone know what it is in Maltese, Cypriot Maronite Arabic, or Shuwa (Chad, and parts of Niger and NE Nigeria)? By the way, I do know that "bizzaaf" is also used in parts of Morocco (sometimes meaning "too much" (of)...

    (in American English one can say "lots" (of), "a whole lot" (of), "a bunch" (of), "oodles" (of), "a heap" (of), "a whole slew" (of) etc.).
     

    tounsi51

    Senior Member
    French, Tunisian Arabic
    In some parts of Tunisia they say نود instead of برشا
    To say plenty of, full of, we use also قدس + noun from the verb قدّسى and the adjective is مقدّس
    All qaf are prounouced g
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    In Syrian the most common is كتير ktiir but people also say كامايات koomaayaat and بلوي balawi and maybe also بلايا blaaya.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Does someone know what is the origin of the Libyan هلبة and the Hassania/Algerian/Tunisian ياسر? Thank you.
     

    Malki92

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    In Palestinian Arabic, besides كتير (ktiir), we say ملان (malaan) and بلايا (balaaya). The latter is Galilean; I don't think I've ever heard people from Jerusalem use it.
    Is بشكل also used? The Olive Tree Dictionary lists bshakl with a note stating it's popular in Jerusalem. The example it gives is: بحبه بشكل
     

    tounsi51

    Senior Member
    French, Tunisian Arabic
    In Tunisia we have also a few words like

    - قدس pronounced godss from the verb gadass
    - in some regions they use the word نود + noun
     

    Javiqeleqele

    Member
    British English
    [Moderator note: threads merged. Please don't forget to search the forum before opening a thread. Cherine]

    Salaam w aleykum!

    I want to know what the difference is between the three words.

    I think bezzaf is North African Arabic. But are they interchangeable?

    For example:

    Wahshani ya baladi awi/bezzaf/gidaan

    Ana baheb il lisaan al 3arabi awi/bezzaf/gidaan

    Huwa beitkalim 3arabi kwayes, bas ana batkalim 3arabi awi/bezzaf/gidaan ahsan.

    I am a complete Arabic beginner so I can't read/write it just now.

    Shukran Gazeelan!
     
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    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    wa 3aleykum es-salaam,

    "bezzaf" is Moroccan and Algerian and not used elsewhere now across North Africa (although other words like yaaser, barsha, nezha, halba, waajed, are also used) and means "a lot".

    awi is Egyptian and it also means "a lot".

    "giddan", is the Egyptian pronunciation of "jiddan" which means "a lot" but is specific to intensity, otherwise, "kathiir(an)" is also used.

    Your two first sentences seem correct but the last part of the last one, no. I would replace it with "ana batkallim 3arabi a7san biktiir" (hope I won't get my knuckles rapped by Egyptians :D ) . Those sentences are in the Egyptian dialect, so I advise you to avoid "bezzaf" if you don't want puzzled looks to be thrown at you :D.

    In case you also want (in order to compare) the equivalent of your sentences in my dialect, here are they:

    twa77asht bladi yaaser

    n7ebb el lisaan al 3arbi yaaser (although you may also say "n7eb el 3arbiyya").

    yitkallem zeyn bel 3arbiyya amma/walakin ana netkellem a7san/akhiar menno (He speaks well Arabic yet I speak it better than him).

    Last point: you don't need the pronouns (huwa, ana etc) in Arabic unless it is for emphasise purposes.
     
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    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Could the Northafrican bezzaf/bezzef be derived from the Italian word 'bizzeffe'? There is an idiom a bizzeffe meaning 'in a great quantity/in a large number'.
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Hello :)

    No, actually it is the opposite, the Italian expression comes from Arabic which itself comes from a Persian expression which is كوزاف and means "a great amount" and became بالجزاف in فصحى and as ج and ز don't like to stay together (at least in the Maghreb those two always undergo funny changes) the ج had been "swallowed" by the ز which became doubled and ended into بالزّاف. "Bezzaf" used to be used from Morocco to Egypt (including Tunisia and Libya) but is to my knowledge, now only used in most parts of Morocco and parts of Algeria. You also find the Egyptian variation which is "bazzoufa"
     

    tounsi51

    Senior Member
    French, Tunisian Arabic
    "Bezzaf" used to be used from Morocco to Egypt (including Tunisia and Libya) but is to my knowledge, now only used in most parts of Morocco and parts of Algeria. You also find the Egyptian variation which is "bazzoufa"
    Really?
    Hello Hemza
    The Italian Etymologic Dictionary does not agree on that: Etimologia : bizzeffe;.
    Maybe they are 2 different words with no link between each other
     
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    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    Hello Hemza
    The Italian Etymologic Dictionary does not agree on that: Etimologia : bizzeffe;.
    This dictionary sounds a bit nationalistic :p. Joking apart, some indications show that this word came to Italian from Arabic and not the other way around:

    -The use of "bi" a particle found in many Arabic constructions
    -The absence of "bizzeffe" or any similar expression in other Latin based languages (I know, it proves nothing but it is a sign) and to my knowledge, no similar word/expression in Latin.
    -I don't speak Italian yet I don't think you find many other words which would contain a similar roots in Italian.

    And I found this:

    biżżèffe in Vocabolario - Treccani
    It is Philippe Marçais in his book "Esquisse grammaticale de l'arabe maghrébin" who says it. Here is the quote:

    L'expression beaucoup [...] est traduite par:
    -"b-ez-zāf" du Maroc à la Cyrénaïque.
    -"yāser" prédomine dans les parlers bédouins du Maroc, d'Algérie, de Tunisie et du Fezzan
    -"barsha" (d'origine turque) est le terme tunisien
    -"nezha" est fréquent dans les parlers bédouins

    But he forgot to mention the Libyan "halba" and "waajed".

    And if it exists in Egypt, in Morocco and Algeria, thus it probably means that it existed once upon a time in Tunisia and Libya too.
     
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    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you for your reply #46, Hemz a, and for the interesting Treccani link. It's clear that linguists do not agree with each other concerning the origin of 'bizzeffe', but I would rather drop this subject now, if you don't mind, because an Italian etymology is ''off topic'' here (my fault in the first place).
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    In Badawi Najdi dialect:
    راهي
    Do you know the origin of this راهي? Thank you.

    Interesting.. we also use خير الله in the rural west.
    I had no idea :eek:. Sometimes I feel that I'm completely ignorant (which is true actually :D ) about Western dialects of Morocco (also because the dialect of الدار البيضاء today in the media seems à priori so far from the traditional dialects of the West).
     
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    momai

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Syria
    Me too. In Lisan al-Arab there is a noun "al-barshaa2": a (large) group of people, a crowd. Also an adjective "arDun barshaa2" (land with plenty of grass). As you can see, both the noun and the adjective refer to the idea of a large number and a large quantity.
    This is a mere interpretation. I have no idea how this notion is expressed in Berber.
    In Syrian Arabic, برش means to rasp sth (cheese for example). It might also be related to your barsha, in that you produce a large quantitiy out of something.
     
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