Dialects are specific to regions, peoples, and geography - and though words may differ in meaning from one town to the next, there are many we can all agree on and 'yalla' is a perfect example of that.
As an Egyptian, I have been told that our dialect is not easy to understand, but I'm here to say it is! So yalla, let’s check out some of the words we share with our Arab brethren!
1. Left is left, unless it’s the opposite of right, right?
Egypt and Levant countries share the same term for 'left' which is 'shemal,' while other countries use 'yasar'. Who are we to judge?
What makes it confusing is that 'shemal' has two meanings: 'left' and 'north'!
2. Another word Lebanon and Egypt share is the one for cauliflower: 'arnabeet'
Other regions say 'zahra,' which means 'flower'. We don't care though, so long as it's deep-fried and served with a side of tarator sauce!
3. We share the word 'doghry,' which means straight or straightforward with Levantine nations
In the Gulf, 'sida' is the word you're looking for.
4. 'Ma3la2a' is not only Egyptian for spoon but also Palestinian and Lebanese
What about the Gulf region, you ask? It's called 'khashooga'. Still heavy on the tongue of many foreigners either way, so let’s call it a tie!
P.S: 'Khashooga' is also used in some parts of Syria.
5. The “Lamoon vs. Hamid” battle
Egyptians and Palestinians say 'lamoon' for lemon, while the same word stands for 'orange' in Lebanon. 'Hamid' is what you're looking for if you want to make salad dressing in Beirut, and to be fair 'hamid' literally means sour, and lemon is nothing if not sour!
6. Mirror mirror on the wall or should I say 'meraya'?
'Meraya' - or Arabic for mirror - is the word commonly used in Egypt and many other Arab countries to refer to the ol' looking-glass hanging in your bedroom. But in Iraq, it's 'manthara'.
It’s always good to stand out!
7. "Naddara" is commonly used in Egypt, Palestine and Syria
'Naddara' is Egyptian, Palestinian and Syrian for sunglasses, but if you're in Lebanon, change it to '3ewaynat'!
8. Outa vs Tamatem
If you’re still wondering what 'outa' is, it is 'tamatem' in Egyptian, meaning tomatoes. Our fellow Lebanese like their 'banadoura' better.
I guess we can now say “Seeda Outa Egypt” without it ever meaning “Straight Outta Compton”.
Oh well, close enough!