If you’re going to learn Levantine Arabic grammar, what better way than through song, right? Twenty years later, I still find myself humming “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” from Schoolhouse Rock. (Iykyk)
So when I heard Hussain Al Jassmi’s, “Ma B7ebak”, I knew it was the PERFECT song to learn how to express “as much as” and other comparisons in Levantine.
If you want to love the song as much as I do, here’s the video.
The PERFECT Song to Learn “As Much As”
The keyword to listen for is: “قَدْ”. Al Jassmi repeats the word in the chorus:
قَد السما ما بحِبَّك
I don’t love you as much as the sky
قَد البحِر ما بحِبَّك
I don’t love you as much as the ocean
قَد الهوا ما بحِبّك
I don’t love you as much as the air
Of course, I love you so much more
Y’all Arabic lyrics are so dramatic and cheesy, you seriously just have to embrace it for what it is! But this song is a clear example of how we can incorporate “قد” into our conversations to express “as much as”. Let’s break down its pronunciation and usages.
قد is pronounced as “ed”. The ق is silent as you’ll find in most Lebanese and Syrian dialects, at least. So don’t walk around pronouncing the hard ق saying “ked”. You’ve been warned.
a. “As much as”
Take as much as you want.
. خُد قَدْ ما بِدَك
Or insert other adjectives, for example:
My room is not as big as your room.
.اُوْضَتي مو كَبير قد اُوْضَتَك
b. “This/that much”
He doesn’t talk this/that much at home.
.ما بيَحْكي كل هلقَدّ بالبِيت
c. “Not to that extent or not thaaaaat much”
But not to that extent.
.بَس مِش هالقَد
Note: I’ve only heard this used to express “not to that extent”, rather than “to that extent.”
To conceptualize how this could be used, imagine a scene where a detective is interviewing a murder suspect. The detective says, “You wrote in a text message that you hated Susie because she stole your husband. Sounds like you had motive to kill her.” The suspect says, “Sure, I hated Susie but not thaaaaat much/ not to that extent.”
Don’t be in such a hurry.
.لا تَكوني هالقَد مِسْتَعْجِلة
The shirt is exactly your size.
.القَميص على قَدَّك تَمام
Use this grammar construction to express that something is double: قد + اضافة + مرتين. An اضافة is essentially a possessive noun. For example:
He earns double what I make.
.بيطالِع قَد مَعايشَتي مَرتين
g. “To match up/compete with”
I cannot compete with him/ match up with him.
.أنا مِش قَدَّه
Alright, that’s more than enough to start noticing “قَد” in your immersion and incorporating it into your conversations this week.