Syrian Arabic: هاي عم ادعيلك متل الختايرة

Lily-of-the-Valley

Member
English - Canada
Good morning,

I am trying to understand a few sentences out of a letter from one (Syrian) friend to another, younger, who is soon to begin studying. The words in bold are giving me trouble. If anyone could help me with them, or perhaps tell me the roots of the words so that I may look them up in Wehr, I would be grateful!

بهني اهلك على هيك تربية. . . انشوفك بأعلى المراب. شو بدك اكتر من هيك هاي عم ادعيلك متل الختارية.
Of course, if anyone is so kind as to translate all of it, I would know I had understood the other parts as well :) I suspect he is saying the family can pride itself on the child it has raised, that he hopes they will see that child in the highest of stations and "what could you desire greater than this" . . .
I hope the formatting is all right! It is the first time I post something with Arabic text.
Many thanks!
 
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  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    This is hard to translate because it’s very culturally bound.

    أنا بدعي لفلان means I say things, typically formulated as prayers to or invocations of God, expressing that I wish them well. Things like الله ينجّحه، الله يهنّيه، الله يحميه, etc. Very common in the Arab world.

    I think they’re a typo in the last word and it should be either الختيارة (an old woman) or الختيرية (old people). Wait, unless Syrians actually say الختارية for “old people”? Or maybe they say الختايرة (sounds more plausible) and it’s a typo for that? A speaker of Syrian will have to tell us.

    In any case, such wishes are commonly uttered by — and thus stereotypically associated with — older people. Here the speaker is referring to نشوفك بأعلى المراتب (another typo), which doesn’t explicitly invoke God but still counts since presumably it’s up to God to make the attaining of the highest of positions happen.

    شو بدك اكتر من هيك here is a playful reference to how nice the speaker is being.

    So she’s saying (something like) “You should count your blessings! Look how nice I’m being to you. I’m wishing you well like an old lady/grandma.”

    I feel like I haven’t done the cultural elements justice. Those are really tough to explain to someone who hasn’t grown up in the culture. I hope this is at least helpful as a start!
     

    Lily-of-the-Valley

    Member
    English - Canada
    Elroy, thank you for your answer. It's very plain that you are trying to help me understand the sentiments behind the words. I am so sorry for the typos, which must have made your task even harder. The last word is indeed الختايرة but I´m sure that انشوفك was written with an alif. Perhaps it was a mistake on the part of the writer. What confuses me is that this letter was written by a man 30 years old at most, or possibly his wife wrote it in his name, but she wouldn´t have been much older either. . .
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The last word is indeed الختايرة
    Then it’s either a typo or a Syrian word. Either way, it doesn’t affect the meaning.
    I´m sure that انشوفك was written with an alif.
    Doesn’t affect the meaning either. ;)
    What confuses me is that this letter was written by a man 30 years old at most, or possibly his wife wrote it in his name, but she wouldn´t have been much older either. . .
    The speaker says “like an old person.” The whole point is that they’re not old but they’re doing a stereotypically “old person” thing. This is part of the “look how nice I’m being” bit: they’re saying “I’m being so nice I’m treating you like a kind old person would.”
     

    Lily-of-the-Valley

    Member
    English - Canada
    I see . . . and, after all, an old woman would not have to say متل الختايرة in her letter. That should have struck me from the start. Thank you for this and your answer to my other question, elroy!
     
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