Learn Egyptian Arabic From Hamza Namira: Dallamet Keda Leh
This is a great pick-me-up song called Dallamet Keda Leh (Why did it get so dark) by Hamza Namira (in Egyptian Arabic).
There are loads of interesting, funny and slang expressions used in this song (plenty of traffic/direction vocab as well).
Note: The English CC subtitles on the video aren’t 100% word-for-word.
All day I’m drowning in problems
From the start, the day is going wrong.
I have to wait for His Majesty to pass
He goes down the street on the wrong side
Why is my heart not content?
It looks like a day that I’m going to regret.
Why did it get so dark? What is it that brought me here?
My whole day’s gone in this traffic, sir. This country’s torturing me!
I intended to turn right,
They told me it’s better I turn left.
I said of course they must know what they’re talking about (understand),
But I found myself in a graveyard.
The one who asks for (help/directions) in our country
May God help (compensate) him!
I barely passed the bus.
I looked and found a wedding procession
And since this is Thursday, man
They’ll take you with them a hundred laps
No one notices the commotion
In the bitterness we live in
Once I said I’ve figured it out…
and escaped the traffic really happy
I didn’t find anything except Salah Saalem
So I pulled over to the side to cry
Oh my defeat, woe is me!
Will I go/get (home) or what?
I got back (home) and the street was closed
Crowded and the house surrounded
I caught a glimpse of an unusual boy
They were carrying him and said he’s an activist
Come on, leave it. It’s no good (rotten).
Lit. It came on him. (It’s already bad).
Lyrics breakdown and explanation of the Arabic
The word ضلمت in itself refers to something going into darkness (MSA - ظلم). Ex: الشقة ضلمت لأن الكهربا اتقطعت
The apartment got dark because the electricity was cut. In this context, هي ضلمت كده ليه why did it get dark like this - shows that something becomes worse as if there’s no way out of it. It’s dark and there is no a spark of light - nothing good in it!
From the morning, used to refer to waiting for something for a long time.
So, if you have been waiting for your friend to come and meet you as arranged at 5 pm, and you’ve have been waiting for him for two hours you can say : إنت فين؟ أنا مستنيك من الصبح Where have you been? I’m waiting for you since the morning. You’re not literally waiting since 8 am but you’re just waiting for a long time.
Literally, I am drowning in troubles - used to refer to someone who has a lot of problems.
The word قافل has a negative meaning. The main meaning of the word is “closed” for ex: the day is closed, but in an emotional context when you say the day is قافل or I am قافل it means that the day isn’t good and there were lots of bad things going on. Also, I am قافل means I’m not in a good mood.
This is often used to refer to people, especially between men. Ex: إزيك يا باشا؟ You can use it instead of the name. In this case, used as his majesty as a type of mockery because he doesn’t want to move his car.
It might not be as common in your country that you’ll find someone driving his car in a wrong direction but it happens in Egypt! This phrase means that the driver drives his car in the opposite direction.
It’s often used when you don’t feel ok about something. If you’re worried or suspicious of something.
Used when you want to say : it looks like. For example, باين عليكي تعبانة it looks like you’re tired or it looks on you that you’re tired.
I was intending to do something. Ex: كنت ناوي أروح السوق بس كسلت I was intending to go to the market but I got lazy.
to enter, أخش يمين or أخش شمال is to turn right or turn left.
I found myself in. For example: أنا لقيت نفسي في مكان غريب I found myself in a strange place.
May God make it up to you (compensate you)! It’s a nice expression used if someone lost something or there were a waste of something. Ex: Someone stole my car! You can say to me ربنا يعوض عليكي . You’re asking God to make it up to me and bring me something nicer instead.
Hardly/barely. When you’re hardly able to do something use this expression. Ex: أنا خلصت الواجب بالعافية I hardly finished my homework.
It’s like you’re pointing your eye at something, in other words to look.
This is a fun part of every Egyptian wedding. In a typical egyptian wedding there are two types of زفة
First that which is referred to in this context is : زفة عربيات where the bride and groom get into a decorated car. There are many other cars around them that have relatives and friends, and they drive in the street, go round and round with loud music and a lot of car horns.
The other one is often with a band with no cars before the bride and groom get into the wedding party hall.
Originally خلع means to take off your clothes. But when you خلعت من it means you got away from somewhere.
Another word for happy, but it’s like you’re jumping for joy - more than just happy.
Pulled over to the side (with your car).
Egyptian women tend to use this one often. Used when you’re having a lot of troubles and you’re feeling impatient with it. Ex: if your manager asked you to work on your weekends and you already work 8 hours a day you can say اه يا غلبي اه يانا يامه
I glanced / caught a glimpse
We say مش معدول to refer to something that’s not straight - objects or people. Here it’s a boy who isn’t straight (he might be looking strange).
Yalla leave it, ignore it, let it go
We use باظ to refer to something that’s rotten like tomatoes or not working anymore like the TV.
This expression is used when you see something bad in a corrupted environment too for example. It’s already got rotten! It’s already bad!
Used if you see someone is excluding something or someone else though everyone else likes him.
For example: in a specific class, everyone is cheating in a an exam but the teacher comes to pick on a specific student and says to him that he specifically should not cheat - even though everyone else is cheating! So in this case we can say يعني هي جت عليه