you really mean to me (you mean a lot to me)

Silup

New Member
English/US
Hello!
A Lebanese has been telling me in English "you (really) mean to me" and when I finally told him, that you can't say it in English this way, we had a discussion about the meaning. However, his English is not so good and he claims that it's not exactly the same as "you mean something to me", but that ANY Arabic person would immediately know what is meant (apparently it is a literal translation from Arabic).
So can you give me a better translation and maybe situations in which you would use it?
Thank you!
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Is he using "mean" as a verb or as an adjective here?

    If it's the former, then I disagree with him because a literal translation into Arabic would not make sense. As in English, you cannot just "mean" to someone.

    However, if "mean" is supposed to be an adjective, then a literal translation into Arabic would make sense because we do not (generally) use the verb "be" in the present tense, so the sentence would mean "You are really mean to me."

    Obviously, the English sentence is incorrect either way but the error is more understandable if the latter meaning is intended.
     

    Silup

    New Member
    English/US
    I think he is using it as a verb. As an adjective it wouldn't make any sense as there would be no reason for him to tell me that I am mean.
    So your answer really confused me a little, Elroy, but thank you anyway!
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Could you perhaps ask your friend for the Arabic sentence this is supposed to be a literal translation of?
     

    Silup

    New Member
    English/US
    Okay, it took me a really long time to get him to tell me the Arabic phrase, but here it is:

    bt3nileh

    does that make sense to anyone?
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Okay, it took me a really long time to get him to tell me the Arabic phrase, but here it is:

    bt3nileh

    does that make sense to anyone?
    بتعنيلي "bta3niili" or "bta3niile" in lebanese accent I believe means "You mean a lot to me" or "You mean something to me."

    I think you can even say something like bta3niili d-dunye willi fiyya (بتعنيلي الدنيا واللي فيها) which would mean the same as the English phrase "You mean the world to me" (Literally, "You mean the world to me and everything in it). I'm no native speaker though. I would bet that if your friend's English is not too good, they might have misunderstood the English idiom when you told them.

    Edit: I did some Googling as I like to do. I found examples like الهدية بتعنيلي كتير which I assume would mean "The gift means a lot to me."

    I also found this on a forum discussing I think how a user chose their username:

    "انا اخترت الوردة السوداء لانها بتعنيلي اشي كتيير "
    "I chose 'The Black Rose' because it means a lot to me (lit. it means something to me very much)."

    I don't think this last example is Lebanese because it has the word "اشي" and not "شي", but I think the sense of the phrase is essentially the same.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think I know what the problem is.

    He must have translated bti3niili ktiir as "you really mean to me" when it should have been "you mean a lot to me."

    In Levantine Arabic, ktiir can mean both "a lot" or "many" and "really" or "very."

    Haada 'l-walad shaaTer ktiir. = This boy is very smart.
    3indi ktiir ikhwe. = I have many brothers.

    In this case, it means "a lot" and not "really."

    I suspect this is what happened because "you really mean to me" would be bti3niili mazbuuT, which makes as much sense as the English translation!
     
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