Habibi حبيبي

alahay

Senior Member
US
Phoenicia
Hello,

Literally "habibi" means "my love" however in many arabic vernaculars nowadays another common translation of it could be "dude" or "buddy".

For instance, "Shou Isstak ya habibi" or "shou bek ya habibi" would translate to "What's up dude" (when said to a stranger) or "What's up buddy" (when said to a friend). While "my love", "amore mio", "mon amour", "mi amor" and "meu amor" have maintained their meaning.

Does anyone know anything about the linguistic history and evolution of the word "habibi"?

Thanks,
Al
 
  • Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    Hello alahay,

    I do not know the linguistic history of the word, but you may be able to garner some information from this thread of the same name. Cuchuflete's post (post #5) provides a little insight.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I can't guess how this word evolved, but from my personal experience people tend to use words in different situations and by time the words acquire new significance.
    For example, I myself use this word with my female friends (instead of habibti), although it's a masculine word. I can't tell exactly why I do this, nor where did I learn it, but I just do it, and it's ok.
     

    alahay

    Senior Member
    US
    Phoenicia
    cherine said:
    I can't guess how this word evolved, but from my personal experience people tend to use words in different situations and by time the words acquire new significance.
    For example, I myself use this word with my female friends (instead of habibti), although it's a masculine word. I can't tell exactly why I do this, nor where did I learn it, but I just do it, and it's ok.
    Hi Cherine,

    that is another thing I'm interested to know about. How did Arabic, mainly sung Arabic, acquire this unisex notion in its nouns and adjectives. I've seen that mostly manifested in Egyptian songs but I have no clue about its origin or influence. Any insights?

    Thanks,
    Al
    Josh Adkins said:
    Hello alahay,

    I do not know the linguistic history of the word, but you may be able to garner some information from this thread of the same name. Cuchuflete's post (post #5) provides a little insight.
    Thanks! I actually thought of a more harmonic translation of "Habibi" in English and that would be "Honey" or better "Hon'". You go to a service office and the lady over there who never liked her job asks you in a not very friendly tone: "How can I help you, hon?"..."no hon', we need your passport"..."no hon', we need a notarized translation of the expiration date"...
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    alahay said:
    Hi Cherine,

    that is another thing I'm interested to know about. How did Arabic, mainly sung Arabic, acquire this unisex notion in its nouns and adjectives. I've seen that mostly manifested in Egyptian songs but I have no clue about its origin or influence. Any insights?
    Hi Alahay,
    Again I'm not a linguist, so what I say is purely guessing :)
    Sometimes the use of the masculine form is almost equal to the "neutral" form in other languages. I think this is why some words are used in their masculine form for both genders.
    I have a freind who calls her friends "baba", even the girls. This is very unusual in Egypt; for when we want to use the "baba-mama" to call people, we use "mama" for girls and "baba" for boys. Now my friend "unified" :) the word for both genders.
    Same goes for Habibi. I sometimes call my friends Habibti, but I also call them Habibi, regardless of their "gender".

    One of the newest words used among people is "basha" (of the Turkish Pasha") :), you'd hear it used for both genders, instead of -for example- Hanem (again from Turkish, but used in Egypt for "lady") for girls. Some of my colleagues call me "basha", I don't like it very much, maybe because I'm not used to it, but it's ok as long as the tone is ok.

    I think there are many other words like this, but this is what I could remember :)
     

    CarlosPerezMartinez

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    alahay said:
    that is another thing I'm interested to know about. How did Arabic, mainly sung Arabic, acquire this unisex notion in its nouns and adjectives.
    Al
    The adjectives of the form فعيل and passive meaning ( مفعول ) are the same for male and female: قتيل "dead man/woman"; حبيب "beloved f/m"
     
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