Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zeki Nasif - Butterfly and Flower
زكي ناصيف - فراشة وزهرة
Farashe wa Zehra

The language is a bit abstract I hope it makes enough sense rendered in English

Zeki Nasif - Butterfly and Flower

Pick me out the prettiest flower, oh butterfly
A flower that would look good arranged in the blonde girl's hair

Pick one more wonderful than a child's laugh
And let the lily shout to her a mawwal (song) from its heart
While the sparrow sings it and translates what it said
And the break of the dawn strums to her on its strings

Pick one the color of marble and stories of fire (hell?)
And the dark, barren soil and the aged snow
And from the dream of the green valley and the bloom of the laurel
And if I could describe more to you, I wouldn't tell you to pick it for me

زكي ناصيف - فراشة وزهرة

نقي لي أحلى زهرة يا فراشة نقي لي
زهرة تلبق للشقرة على شعرها تشكيلي

نقيها حلوة أحلى من ضحكة أطفال
وخلي الزنبق يصرخ لها من قلبه موال
والعصفور يترغلها ويترجم شو قال
وشق الفجر ينغم لها عوتاره تهدي لي

نقيها بلون المرمر وحكايات النار
وتراب الجرد الأسمر والتلج الختيار
ومن حلم الوادي الأخضر وعنفوان الغار
ولو بعرف أوصف أكتر ما بقلك نقي لي


Bendik said...


I really like your blog because it helps me to understand songs I like and broaden my vocabulary. Can you tell me what is the infinitive of نقي? I haven't been learning Arabic for a long time ago, so sometimes it's hard to find the root. Thanks in advance.

Chris Gratien said...

the infinitve, im not sure what it is since it is not a standard arabic word. it is lebanese/syrian dialect and means to pick or choose. in keeping with that dialect the infinitive would be تنقاية or تنقية but i have never heard it. the standard arabic verb would be اختار

Bendik said...

You answered really fast, thanks! I have a syrian friend so I will ask him about that and I can tell you what he will have said if you're interested.

Bendik said...


I have one more question: snow is
ثلج in Standard Arabic but there is تلج (with thaa) in the lyrics. Is it a Levantine version of this word? is this the same with أكثر - أكتر?

Chris Gratien said...

to answer your question, geographically about half of the Arabic speaking world cannot pronounce ث correctly. This sound is an interdental fricative, a type of sound which does not exist in certain dialects. They use it in the Gulf, Iraq and Tunisia, then aside from the Bedouins, Arabs in places such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco etc do not pronounce it.

In words that are "old" ie. that predate the implementation of Modern Standard Arabic, the ث generally becomes a ت. So ثلج becomes تلج and كثير becomes كتير and so on and so forth. However, for words recently imported or re-imported from modern standard arabic such as ثانية, a second (time), and ثورة, revolution, the sound becomes a س. Generally I write the old words with the ت as it is pronounced in spoken Arabic, and the "new" s-sound words i put the original letter. By the way, all of what was just said also applies perfectly to the letter ذ which becomes either د or ز and the letter ظ which becomes either ض or ز. once again these rules only apply to those specific dialects mentioned.

Bendik said...

Oh, I see now! Thanks for the detailed answer. Btw, how long have you been learning Arabic? Do you understand almost all of the dialects?

Bendik said...


maybe it's a stupid question but I will ask it: what kind of prefix ب in the verbs like بعرف , بقلك?