‘Arabic Slang: Replacing Qaaf with Ghayn

As salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. I thought I’d share a few words with you all In Shaa Allaah. The locals who tend to speak ‘Aammiyyah (slang) often replace the letter Qaaf (ق) with Ghayn (غ).
  • Qareeb – Near. The locals say Ghareeb.
  • Qabla – Before. The locals say Ghabla.
  • Qalb – Heart. The locals say Ghalb.
  • Daqeeqah – Minute. The locals say Dagheeghah.
This is why it’s very important to try to understand the context of what being said, instead of just translating what’s being said literally word for word.
When we first moved here, my zawj was negotiating our fare with a taxi cab driver. After being given a high price, my zawj asked how it is that we’re being charged so much when our destination was so close (qareeb). The cab driver agreed that it was close (he said ghareeb) but it was Ramadhaan, and everyone charges more in Ramadhaan.
Now, at first I thought this was just a makhraj mistake of the driver. After living here for a little over a year, I realized that many, many people replace Qaaf with Ghayn. Why? Allaahu Aa’lam. I just wanted to share this just incase you were planning to come for Hijrah, Hajj, or ‘Umrah. In Shaa Allaah this will help you understand the people.

13 thoughts on “‘Arabic Slang: Replacing Qaaf with Ghayn

  1. As salaamu ‘alaikum. In shaa Allaah I’ll update this thread periodically. I just remembered something: haqq. The locals say haghgh.

    If someone takes something from you, simply ask for it back by saying “haghghi,” (it’s mine/it’s my right).

    Someone may come up to you with an item asking if you lost it by saying the same thing but with a slightly elevated voice to indicate a question – “haghghi?” meaning “Does this belong to you?” or “Is this yours?”

    I am not saying to shun Fushaa for ‘Aammiyyah, I just want to give you a heads up just incase the people don’t understand you when you speak to them, or vice versa. I hope this helps.


  2. Assalaam alaikum

    I’ve heard about Saudis replacing the qaf with ghayn. Here in Egypt they replace the qaf with hamza. So instead of ‘qul’, they would say ul. Or areeb, instead of qareeb. I already knew they pronounced the jeem as ghayn, but it took me forever to figure out the qaf part.

  3. Wa ‘alaikumus salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Replacing Qaaf with Hamza, wow, that’s a new one for me! Understanding the context of what’s being said is so important.

    A sister here once asked another – “Fish?”

    I said to myself, “fish?” “Did she just say fish?”

    This is “fee” – regarding, concerning, in reference to, (etc. fee has many meanings) + “ish” – what?

    Here’s something I shared before with some sisters:



    Q: Which is the closest Arabic dialect to Fusha?

    Re:studying arabic – 2007/02/14 04:44


    With regard to Fushaa or classical Arabic and the people who speak it, it seems to be the people of Yemen. But this should not deter one from learning at least one of the other dialects.

    I remember back in the seventies, reading a statement from one of the co-authors of the book we affectionately called the “orange books” – EMSA (Elementary Modern Standard Arabic series) saying that you will never really be considered fluent [in Arabic] until you can speak one of the dialects.

    So once again, do not make the mistake that many of us older guys did, which is having a disdain for ámmiyyah Arabic and only sticking to fushaa or modern standard arabic.

    The colloquial Arabic is a survial language if you are going to live in the [Arabic speaking] land of the Muslims. As for one of the reasons people speak ‘slang’ Arabic is because it is easier on the tongue and gives the person the ability to say someone quicker and still convey the meaning.

    For example, some (if not many) of us say ‘aight’ instead of ‘alright’. Another example, instead of saying ‘though’ many of us say ‘doe’. In Philadelphia they say ýaa-meen’ which means ‘you know what I mean? and so on.

    Allaah knows best.

    Post edited by: shurooh, at: 2007/02/14 04:59

  4. As salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Here are a few more slang terms In Shaa Allaah:

    Khuwayyis/khuways: meaning Jayyid, Tayyib, etc. A lot of the locals say khuways, but my tutor said it is khu-way-yis. Allaahu Aa’lam.

    Add taa marbootah to make this word feminine.

    Yamshi: Now yamshi is fushaa but the locals use it meaning – “come on let’s go!” It doesn’t matter (to them) if you are male/female, 1 person or many people…they will say yamshi when it’s time to go. (Yalla is another one for when it’s time to go.)

    Some say yamshi with the intention of “get out of here,” or “leave me alone.” You’ll know the difference between the two based on hand movements, facial expressions, the situation, and the tone of the person’s voice.

    Another one for “go,” and “get out of here” is rooh. The locals will say rooh and yamshi to pushy vendors or beggars who can’t take no for an answer. Rooh is also used with the meaning of dhahabtu – “I went.” I heard a lot of sisters (even teachers) after Hajj break say “Ana rooh ilaa…..” meaning “I went to….” (We were discussing their trips to Makkah.) I heard this word used in the present tense just once – so Allaahu Aa’lam, slang is like that I guess.

    Win: Win is like “Min ayna…” “from where…..”?


  5. salam alikum, ramadhan mubarak
    ene min mardin, el beled fil turkiyye bil hudud-i suriya. Here we have a totally different dialect..i mean different from syrians, different from iraqi dialect.. here we say “fout” for “move” and sometimes like “udhul”… other dialects also have this?
    salam alikum

  6. Wa ‘alaikumus salaam sister. I’m not familiar with Syrian slang but feel free to share common words and phrases from your culture. I’m sure someone will benefit from your input.

    Ramadhaan Mubaarak!

  7. Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahe wabarakatuhu

    I never seriously thinking to learn to speak ‘amiyyah. But after a few times being told that they dont understand my fusha, i think i really need to pay attention to it.

    These are some words that i learnt so far:

    Feyn: means “ayna” (=where)
    e.g. feyn anta? (=where are you?)

    Mo: means “laysa” (=not)
    e.g. haza mo kuways (=this is not good)

    Zeyn: means “jayyid” or “hasan” (=good)
    e.g. haza zeyn (=this is good)

    keeza: means “ka haza” (=like this)
    e.g. sawwi keeza (=do like this)

    sawwi: means “if’al” (=a command to do something)
    e.g. sawwi kiza (=do like this)

    leysh: means “limaza” (=why)
    e.g. leysh tibki? (=why are you crying?)

    Please correct me if i made any mistake. Jazakumullahu khayran. Ramadhan Mubarak.


  8. as-salaamu ^alaikum
    I used to teach qur’an and taught some iraqi kids who taught me some words in their dialect but now that I dont teach them I’m still interested in learning more they taught some words and i forgot some of them so can some one that knows iraqi please help me
    like the word jawwa they told me that word but i forgot what it means I think they said it meant inside but I cant remeber and when you say go outside do say ruH ila barrah or just ruH barrah
    and the phrase shinu haya i think it means whats this or whats that if any one can please help me I would appreciate it
    as-salaamu ^alaikum wa raHmatullah

  9. Arabic Slang developed from classical Arabic. It differs from Classical Arabic in that it does not use the rules of declination and it has sounds that do not exist in standard language.

    Nouns and Adjectives
    geher: beautiful
    Kosha: old
    Semoaa: young
    obreeza: police
    anasi (feminine): woman, lady
    keefic (greeting):hello (egyptian)
    yel-la: hurry!

    Iraqui Slang
    Shlonkom?: how are you all?
    zen/zena [M/F]:fine
    Shako mako?: what’s new?
    Kulshi mako: nothing new

    Shonak?/Shonik? [M/F]: how are you?
    Kafe al haal ?: how are you ?
    Alhamdo lillah: thanks God
    Safiya Dafiya: everything is fine (literally means: sunny and warm)


    Why?: lain?
    Who?: meen?
    Brown: Jauzi,
    Sister: Akht
    I don’t understand: ana mush fahim
    What is this?: shu hatha?
    What are you doing? Shu ta’mal?
    What is the discount?: kam il khasem?
    I want tO buy: Anna ureed ishtaraiti
    Where is: wain

    HANI G

  11. Eshta: literally ‘cream’. Used like ‘Cool’, only more so; eg “What did you think of that?

    reply: Eshta!”

    Yani: literally ‘I mean’. Used like ‘Like’; a filler; eg “I think it would be better if we were, yani, friends.”

    arbatashar: Literally, #14. Means good, but in a pure way, eg “How are you?”

    reply: Arbatashar.”

    Fil mishmish: Literally, with the apricots. Means, never. eg “When will we three meet again?”

    reply: “Fil Mishmish.”

    enta andek dum: Literally, “You have blood!” Means, Mind your manners, that’s shameful.

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