Lebanese Arabic: Hayallah حيالله

scott26038

New Member
english
My grandmother is Lebanese American, and though I regret never learning the language, I will someday. She uses this word. "hi-YAH-lah: or some derivation occasionally when she refers to a group that is carefree, everyone doing their own thing, etc... She rarely speaks arabic anymore, but I'd like to get the meaning if it is a general term, or feedback from whatever you think is closest. Also the arabic script would be great to have.

Thanks,
Scott
 
  • Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    Perhaps it is خيالي (khayaali; kh as in the German 'ch' in Bach), which means imaginary, but perhaps can also mean imaginative.

    The only other thing I can think of is يللا (yalla), which means 'come on', let's go', or 'hurry up'. Of course that leave the initial 'hi' sound unexplained.
     

    Silky_Sword

    Senior Member
    Palestinian Arabic
    Yes, that's a famous Levantine expression, more common in Lebanon, and is indeed حي الله, meaning 'any', like they'd say: حي الله واحد / any one.

    I don't see how such a phrase came to mean 'any' :) But the Lebanese ways can be confusing a lot sometimes. They say رزق الله when they express yearning for something from the past. Us in Palestine we use something close in meaning but is found in fus7a Arabic, which is: سقى الله.
     

    scott26038

    New Member
    english
    How about حياللا, meaning "whatever" or "anything".


    Is it pronounced like or similar to "hi YAH lah" ?
    When I asked her again last night, she said it means "anything" and she would think about it some more to be sure. Sounds we're on to something.

    In the responses above I saw there were variations of the arabic script, can someone verify? Also does the word sound like I typed it?
     
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    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Almost, the first h is a hard h, clearly distinguished by us from the h that is used in English - it's called Haa' (Proto-Semitic Heith) and it's a Voiceless pharyngeal fricative, if you listen to it on Wikipedia, just be sure that we pronounce it much more naturally than that :). The second h you used does not really exist but it's almost pronounced.
     

    Silky_Sword

    Senior Member
    Palestinian Arabic
    It can't be 7ayallah حيالله unless you know you're writing it as is pronounced in the colloquial. It's just that the original fus7a is حيّا الله (actually this is the correct writing, as حي alone would mean 'district of' or 'alive'), while there is a close expression like that where the word before 'allah' is a verb in the past tense (as is the case with fus7a Arabic when we make a du3aa2 / supplication; I mean سقى الله, so it has to be in the past-tense حيّا).

    The word 7ayyaa and ta7iyyah تحية come from 7ayaah حياة life, so when we salute / greet someone, in it embedded in Arabic is a prayer for one to enjoy lengthly life, I've come to believe. The Lebanese only took it out of context somehow so as to mean 'any thing or someone.'
     

    إسكندراني

    Senior Member
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    It can't be 7ayallah حيالله unless you know you're writing it as is pronounced in the colloquial.
    The Lebanese only took it out of context somehow so as to mean 'any thing or someone.'
    Yup, it's totally colloquial Lebanese in meaning and pronunciation. And I tried to write it as they would based on how they pronounce it: حيالله. Maybe it's more sensible to write it حيّا الله but their pronunciation is حَيْالله
     

    Ustaath

    Senior Member
    Arabic - levantine
    what do you mean we took it out of context ! ( Just kidding :) )
    the root of the word however you choose to spell it is uncertain as there is a tendancy in colloquial Arabic to merge, swap or reverse similar sounding letters as well as using weak letters interchangeably ... in addition to either add a stress or remove one ( shaddah) - and to remove the Alif in a jussive mood in Lebanese ( rkod! rather than Irkod! ) -
    that's why my preferred spelling is حيالله

    Another clarification: it never means 'someone" it means 'whatever' or 'anything' or " something of mediocre or poor quality'


    another example with more obvious roots : صمالله where the first two letters where merged to a different sound :
    باسم الله = اسم الله = صمالله rarely will you hear it being pronounced: أسم الله
     
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    Silky_Sword

    Senior Member
    Palestinian Arabic
    what do you mean we took it out of context ! ( Just kidding :) )
    the root of the word however you choose to spell it is uncertain as there is a tendancy in colloquial Arabic to merge, swap or reverse similar sounding letters as well as using weak letters interchangeably ... in addition to either add a stress or remove one ( shaddah) - and to remove the Alif in a jussive mood in Lebanese ( rkod! rather than Irkod! ) -
    that's why my preferred spelling is حيالله

    Another clarification: it never means 'someone" it means 'whatever' or 'anything' or " something of mediocre or poor quality'

    I guess the correct translation would be: 'random', meaning 'someone random / حيا الله واحد'.

    I know the way to write this colloquial expression is حيالله but I meant that it's origin is حيّا الله not حي الله (God doesn't have his own District :p)
     

    Ustaath

    Senior Member
    Arabic - levantine
    I guess the correct translation would be: 'random', meaning 'someone random / حيا الله واحد'.

    I know the way to write this colloquial expression is حيالله but I meant that it's origin is حيّا الله not حي الله (God doesn't have his own District :p)
    funny ! but there are those who might call a
    monastic or a religious community: حي الله though granted with some subtle differences in pronunciation ...
    there are no standard rules for spelling colloquial Arabic- but when we know it is colloquial we make allowances in spelling and know we shouldn't be reading with a Fus7a mindset.
     

    Silky_Sword

    Senior Member
    Palestinian Arabic
    funny ! but there are those who might call a
    monastic or a religious community: حي الله though granted with some subtle differences in pronunciation ...
    there are no standard rules for spelling colloquial Arabic- but when we know it is colloquial we make allowances in spelling and know we shouldn't be reading with a Fus7a mindset.

    Agreed :)
     
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