All Things Assyrian
7 Words Lebanese Use That Are Actually Assyrian
By Mohamad Ali Tfaily

Lebanese are renowned as tri-lingual beings whose dialect consists mainly of Arabic, French and English. However, there is one forgotten language in the Lebanese dialect (and Levantine in general) and, allow me to rather label Lebanese as "quatrolingual" beings (does this word even exist?)

The fourth element is Syriac [Assyrian] -- a dialect of Aramaic. Syriac most definitely has a profound presence in spoken Lebanese and here are 7 words that prove it.

1. Wawa

Syriac word: Wawo, meaning pain.

Reminds me of Haifa's old song. It's okay everyone has his/her awkward moments from the past (and present. and future).

Or not.

2. Sheresh

Syriac word: Shersho, meaning root.

"Bro sho badak feya hayde enda sheresh habal"

3. Flen

Syriac word: Flon, meaning a certain person, so and so, some or other

This is a tough one. It is basically Lebanese gossip, usually used when two people are gossiping in front of a third party. "Flen sewa X..." You don't want to be a part of that.

4. Z'oori

Syriac word: Z'aooro, meaning young

However, metaphorically in Syriac, the word translates to being inferior. Lebanese have adapted a somewhat different meaning. You know this refers to that dude who usually drifts, catcalls ladies on Hamra street and listens to weird Arabic music in his car. His dagger is his best friend.

5. Harkash

Syriac word: Harkash, meaning to praise or to wag its tail like a dog.

Remember the z'ooro in part 4? Yeah well the catcalling part comes in Syriac as well. Byetharkash feyon/ belattesh aleyon.

(I apologize to any feminists reading this. This topic annoys me too).

6. Zaffar

Syriac word: Zafar, meaning to stink.

This z'oori guy is a full Syriac package. 'Zaffar' is what the 'z'oori' (and almost everyone else) does before a 'mashkal'. Sh*tty words no one wants to hear. Wait did I just do that?

7. Teez

Syriac Word: Tizo obviously, meaning the booty.

Yes. You read it correctly. Ma badde zaffer bel hake again but let's keep it scientific and linguistic here. This Lebanese naming for a very essential part of the human body comes from Syriac.

P.S. These words are either absent from the Arabic dictionary or are present in Syriac but with a slightly different meaning than what we Lebanese have come to use.

On a final note, the words are selected from the Elia Issa glossary and the Al Dawather al Soryaniyya for Father Hobaika. Some dictionaries as J. Panye Smith, Sokoloff and Lisan al Arab were used.


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