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  • Writer's pictureRajaa Aquil

How to talk about weather in Egyptian Arabic

In some languages like English and French the weather is referred to as ‘it’ in the former and ‘il’ in the latter. In Egyptian Arabic since there is no third person neutral or inanimate pronoun the weather is referred to by using the word ‘ id.dun.ya’, الدُنْيا which literally means ‘the world’ But when it is used in the context of the weather ‘ il gaw’ الجو = it does not particularly mean ‘the world’. The meaning becomes specific to the weather. So, ‘iddunya Har’ means ‘it is hot’. ‘iddunya bard’ means ‘it is cold’. ‘il gaw Har’ means ‘the weather is hot’. ‘il gaw bard’ means ‘its is cold’.

iddunya bard = الدينا برد = its cold

iddunya Har = الدينا حر = it's hot

Another aspect you may notice is that in Arabic whether Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or dialects, Egyptian included, there is no ‘verb to be ‘ in the present. So, the sentence is composed of two elements only, ‘the noun’ and ‘the adjective’. ‘iddunya Har’ الدينا حر

= ‘it hot’.

Egyptian Arabic shares with English the use of the continuous tense to describe some weather phenomenon. For example, in English we say, ‘it is raining’. In Egyptian Arabic we say, ‘biT.maT.Tar’ بِتْمَطَّر . But since snow is not common in the Arab world, the concept of snow falling does not exist in the lexicon of Arabic. If we want to express the idea that snow is falling, we use a verb that gives the meaning of ‘it falls’ or ‘it comes down’ as in ‘biyyinzil’. See the example in ‘ittalg biyinzil’ التلج بينزل = ‘snow is falling’ or ‘snow is coming down’.

biTmaTTar = بتمطر = it's raining

ittalg biyinzil = التلج بينزل = snow is falling

Watch the following video on how describe the weather in Egyptian Arabic.

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