– Hey, folks!! Polyglot Road is here! – Welcome, my friends! – Hey there, people! My name is Valentina! – And I am Marcão! – In today’s episode, Polyglot Road puts an end to a long wait and arrives to the Middle East to show you the Arabic language! – We went to Lebanon, a country full of intellectuality, culture and diversity! We talked to Bassam and Emilie, who gave us a few tips on Arabic to survive there. – The challenges are really cool!! I dived into Lebanese cuisine and I am going to show you a little bit of this delicious food to you! And Marcão, well, Marcão is so cute, he went to buy me flowers in Lebanese Arabic! Well, do not forget to support us as usual and like this video! And if you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to our channel! WHERE IS IT? – Lebanon is located in the Middle East, in the Levant region. With an area of 10 thousand square kilometers, it is one of the smallest countries in Asia and is equivalent in size to twice the Brazilian Federal District. It has a border to the North and to the East with Syria and to the South with Israel. Lebanon’s capital is Beirut, also its biggest city. Other important cities are Tripoli, Sidon, Zahle and Tyre. Lebanon’s territory stretches on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From West to East, the country has basically four parts, the narrow coastal plains, the Mount Lebanon range, the Beqaa valley and the Anti-Lebanon range, on the eastern border, with Syria. The climate in Lebanon, because of this variety in height, is very diverse, and in a single day it is even possile to go to a beach resort like Jounieh and then ski in the winter resorts of Faraya, just 40 km away. The weather is generally Mediterranean, with warm, humid summers, and cold and rainy winters. Lebanon has only 16 rivers and none of them is navigable. The main one is Litani or Leontes, 140-km long. – Lebanon’s territory was the main core of the city-states of Phoenicia, a civilization formed in 2500 BC which spread throughout the Mediterranean, until Spain and Tunisia. With the decline of the Phoenicians, Lebanon was part of numerous empires throughout its history, such as Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. With the Islamic conquest of the Levant, in the 7th century, Lebanon was also part of successive Caliphates until is was incorporated by the Ottoman Empire. With the end of the Ottomans after the First World War, the borders of contemporary Lebanon were drawn as a product of the Treaty of Sèvres, in what became the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon, established by the League of Nations. Lebanon became independent under President Bechara El Khoury in 1943. The history of the country since independence was marked by the alternation of periods of prosperity and times of political and security instability. In the 60s, during the so-called Golden Age, Beirut established itself as a regional center for commerce, finance and tourism. In other periods, several turbulences were present, among them the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990, the Cedar Revolution in 2005 and the 2006 Lebanon War. The country aims on stability to revive its Golden Age. WHO LIVES THERE? – Lebanon has about 6 million inhabitants, as well as 1.1 to 2 million refugees, mainly Palestinians and Syrians. No official census has been conducted in the country since 1932, due to the sensitive political balance between different religious groups. This is because the Lebanese state is conceived as a pact in which high-level positions are reserved for members of specific religious groups. Thus, the president is always a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister, a Sunni Muslim, the President of the Parliament, a Shi’ite, the deputy prime minister, an Orthodox Christian, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, a Druze. In addition, in Parliament, half of the seats are reserved for Christians and half for Muslims. Lebanon is thus the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. It is estimated that the country has 54% of Muslims, 40% of Christians and 6% of Druze. There are more than twice as many people of Lebanese descent in the world than the population of Lebanon itself. The country with the most descendants is Brazil, with about 7 million Lebanese-Brazilians. The currency of Lebanon is the Lebanese pound, although the American dollar is also accepted there. This 20,000 pound note here can buy a plate of tabule and a portion of fried kibbe in Beirut. The Lebanese economy had been booming since the end of the war in 2006, but was affected by the crisis in neighboring Syria and the large number of refugees. Nevertheless, trade, tourism, the financial sector and agriculture are the center of the economy. Lebanon has the highest proportion of skilled labor in all Arab countries. – Lebanon received 2 million tourists last year. There are incredible archaeological gems like the town of Byblos, with over 10 thousand years of history and Phoenician, Roman and Crusaders ruins, the forest of the Cedars of God, the Phoenician cities of Sidon and Tire, with over 5,000 years of history, the Roman temples of the Baalbeck region, the ancient cities of Tripoli, Batrun and Deir el Qamar, and the capital Beirut, with all its museums and nightlife. The culture of Lebanon reflects the legacy of numerous civilizations who occupied its territory for thousands of years. Beirut is a capital known for centuries for its openness to art and intellectualism. Despite the small size of the country and the population, Lebanon occupies a place of influence in the production of information and culture in the Arab world. The music of Lebanon has a long history. Traditional music was shaped by instruments such as the lute, mijwiz, darbuka, daf and buzuq. In the Golden Age, several singers of international fame emerged, such as Fairuz, Sabah, Wadih El Safi and Marcel Khalife. More contemporary artists include Najwa Karam, Diana Haddad and Elissa. Lebanese cinema has existed since the 1920s and has produced more than 500 films, being one of the largest in the Arab world. Classic directors such as Georges Nasser, and contemporary ones like Nadine Labaki and Ziad Doueiry, who were nominated for the Oscar of best foreign film, have placed Lebanon on the world map of film production. And the famous Lebanese cuisine? The most traditional dishes are the kibbe, raw or fried, as well as tabule, babaganoush, falafel, humus, fattoush, pita bread, and a myriad of regional dishes such as the haresseh, koussa bi laan, riz bil foul, which is a kind of rice with beans or fava, and sfiha. – In literature, Khalil Gibran is considered a literary hero, being the third best-selling poet in the world. His most famous work, “The Prophet”, is one of the most translated in history, published into more than 100 languages. Several contemporary authors also achieved international success, such as Elias Khoury, Amin Maalouf and Hanan al-Shaykh. WHAT IS SPOKEN? Despite ethnic and religious diversity, in terms of language, the Lebanese are fairly uniform. Everyone speaks Arabic, in its Lebanese version. In addition, about 40% of Lebanese are considered Francophone, and English has quickly gained space as the country’s secondary language. It is common for Lebanese to mix Lebanese Arabic, English and French in their daily speech. There are a lot of words in Portuguese that come from Arabic. Most are easily identifiable because they have the definite article at the beginning and “a” or “al” from Arabic, such as butcher, sugar, tile, rice, tailor, cushion, algebra, cotton and olive oil. There are also many other words like parrot, couch, migraine and so-and-so. Do you know any more? If so, leave a comment here below! Lebanon was once the cradle of the world’s oldest verified alphabet, the Phoenician, derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics. The earliest records of the Phoenician alphabet were discovered mainly in the region of Byblos, in the sarcophagi of dead kings. The Phoenician language, however, has been dead for at least 1500 years. Today, what prevails in Lebanon is the Arabic alphabet for writing and the Lebanese Arabic language for speech. Why Lebanese Arabic and not only Arabic? Well, Arabic in modern times is a classic example of the phenomenon of diglossia, or the use of two varieties of language used in different social contexts. In this case, speech and reading. Arabic spoken in Lebanon is rarely written – here in Rota it will be – being replaced in these situations by Modern Standard Arabic. The script is the same for all varieties of Arabic: has 28 letters and is written from right to left, in a cursive style, with one letter mending in the other. We have already seen another version of this writing in our Farsi episode. The Arabic alphabet is considered an “abjad”, in the sense that only consonants and long vowels are written. The other vowels are suppressed, or represented with diacritics on top or under the letter. Lebanese Arabic has several similarities with other varieties of the Levant. The structure of syllables, for example, is different from Modern Standard Arabic, in which there are rarely two consonants at the beginning of a syllable. In Lebanese Arabic this is common. Another characteristic is that the sounds differ, as in the pronunciation of the letter “qaf”, which “disappears” in Lebanese Arabic, and the final “ah” of many words, which turns into “eh”. Shall we then to Lebanon to learn a little more of this language? WHO TEACHES IT? – Welcome to the Polyglot Route, we’re in Beirut. – Hello! A warm welcome, it’s a pleasure to meet you. – Where did your interest in languages and Portuguese in particular come from? – Actually my contact with Brazil began when I contacted… I started talking to my family from Brazil. As you know, almost every Lebanese has someone in Brazil. And then, when I started talking to them, they invited me to Brazil. I said, people, I’m not going to Brazil without being able to communicate, right? I did the first level of Portuguese in the Brazilian cultural center, I was getting better. I spent a month there, started picking up the words, with everyone correcting me, do you know? – I’m Brazilian-Lebanese, or Lebanese-Brazilian … my mother is a Brazilian of Lebanese descent, I was born in Brazil, it was my mother who taught me Portuguese, we have a cultural center here in Lebanon, so I learned more grammar to learn more about the language and culture of Brazil. – Do you think Arabic is more complicated than Portuguese? – Look, let’s talk about grammar. Arabic has one past tense, one present tense, one future tense. No irregular verb. There are almost no exceptions. There are no different “you”s – Then it seems easier, doesn’t it? – I’m talking grammar. – Vocabulary? – The vocabulary is a monster. Because, for every word, there must be about 10, 15 synonyms, do you understand? And that’s what’s hard for the foreigner. There are two Arabics. The Arabic spoken in daily life, our accent, which I don’t think is so complicated, so elaborate. But the formal Arabic, folks, is something else. Because formal Arabic is the same in all Arab countries. It may have some small differences between one country and another, but in general… – But do all Arabs understand each other? – Yes, but no one speaks that Arabic, do you understand? Then the accents developed. The Lebanese accent and the Syrian one, I would say, are alike. What we have that is different from our neighbors is that we mix a lot, we mix other languages. We are already literate in three languages. Arabic, English, French. Hence it is very normal for the Lebanese to speak “hi, kifak, ça va”, “how are you”. It is like… – Why do you think that Brazilians who do not know Lebanon, even if they have no roots here, should come and get to know it? – This is a country full of culture. You have the oldest city in the world, man, here. – How old? – Ten thousand years old. Byblos. Oh, and one more thing, the food is good. Here you eat well, you get fat. Lebanese food, or Arab food, made in Brazil, is not exactly the same, for example, the tabule that Brazilians make is a tabule from Paraguay. They put too much wheat. Oh, Brazilians: tabule is 90% parsley, 10% wheat, okay? And the young people who like nightlife, here … they have the best. MAGIC WORDS – “Hello”, “marhaba”. – “Marhaba”. – “Waht is your name?”, “chou esmak?” to a man and “chou esmik?” to a woman. “My name is”, “esmé”. – “Pleased to meet you”, “tcharafna”. “How are you?”, “kifak?”, to a man, “kifik?”, to a woman. – “I’m well”, “mnih”, if you’re a man, “mniha”, if you are a woman. “I am from Brazil”, “ana men el Brazil”. “My friend”, “sadiqi”. “I love you”, “bhebbak”. – “Bhebbik”, to a woman. “Thank you”, “choukran”. – “You’re welcome”, “Ya hala” or “tekram”. “Please”, “o‘mol maaruf”. – “I’m sorry”, “men baad eznak”. – “Here”, “hon”. “There”, “honik”. “Nothing”, “machi”. “Everything”, “kell chi”. “Yes”, “na’am”. – “No”, “la”. “This”, “hayda”. “That”, “haydak”. “Beautiful”, “helu”. “Big”, “kbir”. – “Little”, “zghir”. “A little”, “alil”. “A lot”, “ktir”. – “Left”, “chmel”. “Right”, “yamin”. “Where is the toilet?”, “wayn el hemmem?”. – “I don’t understand”, “ma fhemet”. “Do you speak English?”, “btehki inglize?”. “I don’t speak Arabic”, “ma behki arabe”. – “I’d like to eat”, “aabele ekul”. “I’d like to drink”, “aabele echrab”. “Enjoy your meal”, “sahtein”. “It’s very tasty”, “ktir tayyib”. “The bill, please”, “el hseb, men fadlak”. “How much is it?”, “addeich haqo?”. “It’s very expensive”, “ktir ghale”. “Give me a discount”, “btaamele se’er, please?”. “I’d like to buy”, “bechtere”. – “Sofer”, “wahad”, “tnayn”, “tlete”, “arbaa”,”khamse”, “setté”, “sabaa”, “tmene”, “tessaa”, “aachra”. – “I”, “ana”. “You”, “enta”. “He”, “huwe”. “She”, “hiyé”. “We”, “nehna”. “You”, “ento”. “They”, “henne”. “Goodbye”, “maa el salemeh”. “Allah ma’ak!”. WHO GETS ALONG? – Hi, guys, we’re here in Beirut, Lebanon, today is Valentina’s birthday and I’m going to try to buy flowers for her using the bit of Arabic we learned. Shall we give it a try? – Hello. – Hello. Hello. – How are you? – Do you want something? Can I help? – I want to buy. – Buy. – Flowers. Yellow. – Yellow. White. Pink. – White. Red. Red and pink. – And pink. – My name is Marcus. What’s your name? – My name is Ibrahim. Family name Takkoush. – I’m from Brazil. – Oh, you’re from Brazil? – In Brazil there are many Lebanese. – Arabs? Lebanese? – Lebanese. – Very very beautiful. – Very beautiful. Très joli. – How many languages do you speak? – Arabic, Turkish, Bulgarian, French and English. – Do you want the wrapping in which color? Green? Red? Green and red? – Green and red. – I will show the colors again here: pink is “zahar”, white is “abyad”, red is… “asfar” is yellow, red is “ahmar”, and that’s it. – And there’s a surprise. – Surprise? – I am before … not now. Before. Movie star. This one… me. And this one… the name is Ibrahim Takkoush. And director… Ibrahim Takkoush. – Look! He is an film actor and director. Which year was this? – This was 1965. – 1965. – I tell you… before! – Very well. Very, very good. Congratulations! Pleased to meet you. – Hoe much is it? – Only ten. – Ten. – Special price. – Thank you. Now I have the flowers to give to my love. – Ah, the light! – Ah, the light came back. She was watching, not surprising, she’s filming, obviously. So… My love… I love you. – My love.
I love you. – My love. – Thank you. Thank you very much.
– My love. – My love. – My love.
– My love. – My love. – I’m going to film now. – Thank you. – Thank you. – Thank you. – Hi people! I’m going to make a challenge here, with Lebanese food… Let’s say hello to the guy. – Good day. – Hello! – What is your name? – My name is Alaa. – And my name is Valentina. – Nice to meet you. It’s a pleasure. – Lebanese Combo? – Lebanese combo … it’s cheese, sambousek and kibbe. – Kibbe? – Yes. – Arayes? – Kafta arayes… tthere is bread, and inside there is meat. – Warak enab, asbed djed, mkanek, soujouk and kafta. – And what does that mean? – All the food you got here. I’d like to eat… I want soujouk, Lebanese combo… – Humus… or not? – Not humus. Tabule. – I’d like to drink… Lebanese drink? – We have no Lebanese drink. We have coffee. Lebanese coffee. – “Morr” coffee. Mor? – “Morra”. Bitter. No sugar. – And… I want to drink some water. – Water. Ok, thanks. – Thank you. – So? – I figured it out, right? Like here, this page with Lebanese food … – Coffee. – Lebanese coffee. – Bitter Lebanese coffee. – Bitter. Don’t you want sugar? – No, no sugar, thank you. – Ah, lots of flies here, people. So… Here the coffee … Lebanese. It’s a coffee … they do not put it in the cup, do they? You have to do it alone. Maybe I have to wait, I do not know, but … It’s a lot of coffee here. I liked it. Tasty! Very tasty. Alaa… where is the toilet? – The bathroom is in the end, to the left. – “Chmel”… left! – Soujouk. – Soujouk! – Bread. – Bread! Look at the combo, Lebanese combo… – Tabule. – Tabule! – Enjoy – Thank you. – Thank you. – What’s up? Let’s eat? I’ll taste it all. Sujuk is like a sausage, right? It looks like. – So? It’s good, spicy, very tasty. The kibbe here is delicious. And the salad Tabule has a lot of green here, right? – I guess. – Is it like that in Brazil? – Hey Brazilians, tabule is 90% parsley, 10% wheat, ok? – So? How is it? – Very tasty! – Enjoy. Lebanese food is very tasty. – Enjoy. – I’ll get the bill … The bill, please. – the check. The check. In Lebanese currency… 37,500 pounds. They always show the price also in dollars. There it is. – Thank you. – Did you enjoy our tour? It was very interesting, but it was not easy-peasy… – Oh … I could say that in Turkish, man… – I want… ech… echr… – “Echrab” (drink). – You are a polyglot. – I am Lebanese. From Beirut. – Beirut. – It wasn’t easy-peasy. – Wait a minute, let me see it. – It was not easy-peasy. Oh! There’s a lot of flies here! – I’ll stop filming. – “Achara”… ten. – Enjoy your meal… “Sayhai”? – “Sahtein”. – Ahbereb? – Can you say “goodbye”? “Maa el salemeh”. – We loved Lebanon! And the little bit of Arabic that we learned made us find new friendships and many fun moments! – After all, as the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge would have said, “Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.” – Hugs from Lebanon to Brazil!