lack of translation

Aisha Azar

New member
Saudi, etc.


Although Saudi Arabia does have quite a few sexist laws, I don't see how they could possibly filter the Arabic language by taking out the feminine form.

From Mohamed Abdou's early 80's songs, there is 'Eb3aad' where in the hook he sings "Laila, Laila, Laila.... oh, Laila", I am pretty sure that "Laila" is a female gender. There is also 'Mehtag Laha' (I need her) and many others.

All patriotic songs are sung in the feminine form since Saudi Arabia is a she.

Dear Gypsy,
Thanks for letting me know. I will take your word as it makes sense. I know the Abdou song well. I have his version and it is one my favorite songs ever. Not sure if it was recorded in Kuwait as so many of those songs were, or in Saudi, or if that makes a difference.


New member
Sorry for the lecture, but I hope you understand better now with this little explanaition.
No need to apologize for the language lesson! I read every word, and found it very valuable! Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss it this fully!

I have been using the Pimsleur series to learn Arabic, and this type of explanation offers insight that goes beyond what Pimsleur teaches. I really appreciate it!

El Layali

New member
If I may add to the post about using the name Leila in music. It's used for a couple of reasons...firstly to disguise the name of the woman the singer is really referring to. Also the name Leila means, as many of you know, the night, so the singer could be understood to be saying 'oh the night', relating to longing, again about the said woman! It's all about politeness and not being to overt. And I agree with Aisha about the masculine form of habibi and you/verb endings. This is to hide the fact singing to a woman, but also what the other poster referred to about habibi rolling off the tongue better is also true. Also it makes songs easy to sing by men and women. In most languages with genders, the male form of verbs can be used for women too, but not vice versa. Hope this helps!


New member
An interesting thread to be revived!

My 2 cents worth

Please find out at least the general meaning of any song you want to dance in public to!

A little while ago I sought a translation of a seemingly upbeat song I loved dancing to at home. It turned out to be about a turbulent relationship. The catchy chorus was actually "I beat her, I beat her."

I did a private lesson a couple of years ago with a teacher in a large dance school who told me about a lively-sounding song she liked to use for class warm-ups. Eventually a student showed up who queried her choice. The song was from Algeria, sung in French and Arabic. The teacher didn't speak any French and only a few words of Arabic; it turned out that the song was about the conflict at the time Algeria was seeking independence from France. It was singing about the damages of war, the rape of the women etc.

There was a documentary snippet on TV here about cultural percaptions of music. In classical and popular Western European musical tradition, sadness/melancholy/etc is indicated by various means, including melody in a minor key. In other musical traditions, notes that sound like a minor key to Western ears might not be linked to any particular emotion. They gave the example of what sounded like a plaintive Bulgarian melody, actually a joyous song of love fulfilled.

El Layali

New member
I totally agree with you, it is not hard in this day in age to find out a general gist of a song. Just ask! (And that is an offer, btw!)

Secondly, the maqam *is* quite indicative of sadness or happiness in a track.