Egyptian Arabic: بس مافيش


Senior Member

In a sentence like " هو بيشتغل طول الاسبوع بس مافيش يوم السبت" I understand that "he works all the week except Saturday".

But I can also understand that "بس مافيش" means "but there is not", and in this case, to me the sentence is rather weird (he works all the week but there is not the Saturday".

What am I saying exactly with this بس مافيش?
May I put this "بس مافيش" instead of "except" in any situation?

  • Oh, oh, sorry, you all are right: there is a pause between the two sentences.

    It's the text from a letter I've received: a friend of mine is explaining her and her husband's new job in KSA.

    .هو بيشتغل طول الاسبوع. بس مافيش يوم السبت

    Now the question is much easier: what happens on Saturday?

    Thanks again.
    The period/pause doesn’t make a difference.
    Couldn't it mean something like "but there are no Saturdays", "but we have no Saturdays"? (days off, I guess).

    Maybe she has forgotten one or two lines of the text: I'll ask them!

    In any case, thanks again.
    Yes, it seems pretty logical: "but there's no work on Saturdays", "we don't work on Saturdays". Yes, that must be so.


    I'm not a native Arabic speaker but the original sentence-
    " هو بيشتغل طول الاسبوع بس مافيش يوم السبت"
    especially the final phrase (بس مافيش يوم السبت) to my ears sounds very much like what a non-native speaker/writer of Egyptian Arabic would say/write. The writer's/speaker's intention is usually clear, but no adult native-speaker of Arabic would actually use this phraseology to get this idea across.

    The same phenomenon occurs in English (and actually, all languages). When I taught English, I would call this "baby English" (because this way of speaking seemed to me typical of how babies speak) so to me, the Egyptian phrase discussed here sounds to me like "baby Arabic".

    So my question to OP ausermiler is: Is your friend, the original writer of the letter now living in KSA, a native Arabic speaker as far as you know? Thanks.
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