Egyptian Arabic: كمان - emphasis

alshummaria

New Member
English- United States; Arabic- Iraq
Hello All,

I have been trying to wrap my head around some of the semantic functions lent by the Egyptian (Cairene) Arabic word "kamaan" which is traditionally defined as "also, too". My intuition as an Arabic speaker tells me that its semantic scope is wider than that of just "also, too", and that it can, in some instances, add emphasis to a statement (much like the English "really" or "seriously"). Basically, it appears to me to function like a kind of filler word that on its own doesn't really have much semantic significance but is really just used to "strengthen" or intensify a statement. I know such is the case with its "equivalents" in other dialects, such as the Iraqi Arabic "ham" "also, too". Example in Iraqi:
A: هي دايما تتدخل بأمور ما تخضها ابد. لازم تحترم نفسها
"She's always interfering in matters that don't concern her. She should have some self respect."
B: هم صحيح
"True (emphatic)"

Here "ham" just serves to emphasize B's agreement with A (as opposed to meaning "also"). I suppose one could liken this semantic reading to that of the use of the English "too" when it is used as an intensifier, (e.g., "too true" wherein "too" doesn't imply addition, but rather emphasis).

Another Iraqi example:
A: خل نروح عالقهوة ونرتاح بعد الامتحان
"Let's go to the cafe and relax after the exam"
B: لا ما اريد. هم مليت من هذيج القهوة. دايما نروح عليها
"No, don't want to. I'm [seriously] fed up with that cafe. We always go there.

Again, "ham" just adds emphasis to B's statement.

Is the same possible in Egyptian Arabic (or even in other Arabic dialects), as well? I feel as though "barDo" can be used in similar contexts (do correct me if I'm wrong), and due to the significant semantic overlap in Egyptian between "barDo" and "kamaan", I wonder if "kamaan" can also be used here. Of course, I know that there are other, arguably more "obvious" or frequently-used words to express emphasis in Egyptian (as is the case in Iraqi Arabic, as well), such as "fa3alaan" and "bigadd", but is "kamaan", at least in some instances, interchangeable with these items?

Does anyone have any thoughts or comments on this? Examples would be extremely useful!

Thanks!
 
  • cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Example in Iraqi:
    A: هي دايما تتدخل بأمور ما تخضها ابد. لازم تحترم نفسها
    B: هم صحيح
    [...]
    Another Iraqi example:
    A: خل نروح عالقهوة ونرتاح بعد الامتحان
    B: لا ما اريد. هم مليت من هذيج القهوة. دايما نروح عليها

    [...]is "kamaan", at least in some instances, interchangeable with these items?
    I tried replacing the هم in your examples with كمان, but it doesn't work here. It's true that it has usages and meanings other than "also", but not like these ones.

    Here are a couple of examples:
    - people give you trouble or do things that get on your nerves, then comes another another person when you can't take it anymore. You say عايز إيه دا/إنت كمان؟

    It can have the meaning of "even" دا كمان عايزني أعمل له شغله (he even wants me to do his work for him).

    There could be other meanings, but I can't think of any at the moment.
     

    alshummaria

    New Member
    English- United States; Arabic- Iraq
    Thank you very much for your input, Cherine. It is very useful and interesting!

    I have noticed that "kamaan" can imply "even" in some contexts, and, to me, it appears to alternate with "7aTTa", especially when occurring with "lo" as in "kamaan lo". For instance:

    حطيت في دماغي إني مش هخسر حاجة أما أجرب حاجة أنا عايز أعملها، بالعكس كمان لو فشلت هستفيد خبرة من المحاولة دي
    "I figured I wouldn't lose anything by doing something I want to do. On the contrary, EVEN IF I fail, I'll gain experience from trying."

    I understand "kamaan" in this example to mean "even" (7aTTa) as in "even if...". Would you agree?

    Thanks so much!
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I think the effect comes from بالعكس rather than لو (which we pronounce the same as in fuS7a "law"), but your general understanding of the sentence is correct.
     
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