Deciphering Arabic
December 12, 2004 3:08 PM   Subscribe

LanguageFilter: Any Arabic speakers here? I'm trying to decipher an Arabic phrase: "Baashake ya halo." I might have spelled it wrong, but I know it's not a common Arabic phrase so much as it is slang. Any ideas?
posted by symphonik to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
can you elaborate on how it's pronounced? Ba-a-sha-kay?
posted by cell divide at 3:20 PM on December 12, 2004

Response by poster: To be honest, no. I received it in an e-mail from a friend who is fluent in Arabic -- but as you might imagine, the translation of Arabic characters to their English pronunciation is not an exact science.

If I had to take a guess (and she didn't correct me when I said it this way), it'd be "baa-shah-kay yah hah-lo."

If you can't tell, I haven't been able to pry the meaning out of her. So, I'm trying to harvest the power of these here Internets. :)
posted by symphonik at 3:25 PM on December 12, 2004

I think "ya hilu" (which I suspect is a more accurate/scientific transliteration) means "sweetie" (hilu is 'sweet, nice'; ya is prefixed when you address someone). The first part is a mystery to me.
posted by languagehat at 6:48 PM on December 12, 2004

Do you know the Arabic characters? Could you copy and paste them here?
posted by mexican at 11:22 PM on December 12, 2004

I'll second languagehat on his/her translation of part 2:

"ya" is the particle you affix to a name or its substitute when you are addressing a person directly.

"helwa" literally means sweet, like sugar, and you can use it like sweetie.

In addition:

The "Ki" suffix on the verb (the first word) is the personal pronoun "you" (female).

The "B" prefix is the colloquial arabic way of expressing the present continuous tense. But this could also be part of the verb, and not a prefix.

I am a little puzzled by the [B]aash verb though. " I'll post an edit if I can think of it. The problem is arabic dialects vary, in egypt, the "q" sound becomes an "a" basically. Where's your friend from?
posted by jackbrown at 3:18 AM on December 13, 2004

I asked a lebanese friend:

Baashake: I love you
Halo: Beautiful
posted by srboisvert at 4:52 AM on December 13, 2004

Hamas has published this song on its website, does anyone understand the plot of the song?
posted by klue at 5:53 AM on December 13, 2004

If anyone's interested, here's the arabic word: ???? . (ba'ashaq) (I love). I didn't know the word, but I asked a friend.
posted by jackbrown at 6:50 AM on December 13, 2004

errr...mefi doesn't seem to understand arabic characters. bummer.
posted by jackbrown at 6:51 AM on December 13, 2004

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