How To Use اله in Levantine Arabic (And What Not to Confuse It With)

I often browse through videos on Youtube racking my brain for inspiration on what to post that will help you guys more in Levantine Arabic (you’re welcome).

So today I was reviewing the video اللبس في الجامعة / allibs fi aljami’ah (Attire in the University) by a Jordanian series called كلمة واحدة / Kilmeh WaHidah (One Word) which I’ve posted about before, on how to use the word يكون / yikuun.

And one thing happened to stick out at me.

The number of times the hostess used the word اله / iloh in her opening lines.

I swear she must have used it 4 times at the very least.

So I thought to myself, what better opportunity than the present to teach you guys how to use اله?

 

What’s it mean?

If you’re familiar with Fusha, the word Levantine word اله / iloh is the equivalent of the Fus-ha word له / lahu.

To break it down even further, it stems from the letter لِ / li, which means ‘for’. Now in both Fus-ha and Levantine, لِ can be used in 2 ways:

1. To denote reason.

Another meaning for لِ would be ‘to’, but in the sense of to do something, like to study, to eat, to have fun, and so on. In this case لِ would be followed by a masdar verb, as you can see in the example below.

انا رحت على المدرسة لدراسة / ana ruHet ‘ala almadraseh lidiraseh

I went to school to study.

 

2. To denote possession

In which case, لِ would be conjugated like a noun. For example, لي means ‘for me’, لها means ‘for her’ and so on and so forth.

(Don’t worry the conjuggle table is coming up soon if you need it).

Therefore, له means ‘for him/it’ and it’s equivalent in Levantine is اله.

The difference is that in Levantine Arabic the word takes on an additional meaning, which is ‘he has’ or ‘there is’, while in Fus-ha you would most likely use something like هناك or يوجد instead.

For the purposes of this post though, I’m going to be focusing more about how اله is used in the second meaning, that is in terms of possession.

 

Examples please?

I thought you’d never ask.

Example #1:

What she said:

لاكن كل مكان اله لبس معين و احترام معين / lakin kol makan iloh libs mu’ayyin wa iloh iHtiram  mu’ayyin

But for every place, there is/it has a specific attire and a specific respect.

Here اله refers back to the مكان, which is a singular male noun, which explains why it’s اله and not الهم for example.

 

Example #2:

What she said:

اذن لكل مكان اله لبس مناسب / idhan, lakol makan iloh libs munasib

Therefore, for every place, there is an appropriate attire.

Again, same usage as in Example #1 above.

 

فالجامعة الها لبسها مناسب / fa aljami’3ah, ilha libs munasib

So the university, it has appropriate attire.

But in this case, she used الها , because she’s referring to the university, which is a singular feminine noun.

 

Conjuggling All Them Pronouns

Now the conjugation for both Levantine and Fus-ha are pretty much the same, however the pronuncation of the verbs is where the difference really kicks in. If you pronounce them the Fus-ha way, native speakers will immediately be able to pick out that you’re not speaking Levantine Arabic.

So here’s your conjugation table for both Levantine and Fusha, because we’re just servicey that way. And take particular notice of how the pronunciation difference occurs.

Pronoun Fus-ha Pronunciation Meaning
هو له lahu for him
هي لها laha for her
هم لهم lahum for them
انت لكَ laka for you (mas)
انتي لكِ laki for you (fem)
انتم لكم lakum for all of you
انا لي li for me
احنا لنا lana for us

 

Pronoun Levantine Pronunciation Meaning
هو اله iloh for him / he has
هي الها ilha for her / she has
هم الهم ilkom for all of you/ all of you have
انت الَك ilak for you (mas)/ you have
انتي الِك ilik for you (fem)/ you have
انا الي ili for me / I have
احنا النا ilna for us / we have

 

Also this point you might realize that the conjugations are similar to how you conjugate a noun, instead of a verb.

What do I mean by that?

I mean you conjugate them by changing the ends of the words only instead of at the beginning, for example how you would say my book is كتابي . Similarly, ‘for me’ is الي.

 

One word of caution!

Do not mix up الي (for me) with الي which means ‘that which’ or ‘the one that’.

I know they sound exactly the same (ili), but you need to examine the context in which the word appears to determine which of the two is being used.

I’ve written about the usage of الي  here and here, if you’d like to understand how to use it accurately.

 

What else does Nur have to say?

Let’s find out:

What she said:

يعني ما بتئدر تروح على المسجد او الكنيسة و انت لابس لبس مش مناسب / ya’ni ma bta2dar truH ‘ala almasjid aw alkaneeseh wa inta laabis libs mish munasib

Meaning, you cannot go to the mosque or the church and wear attire that is not appropriate.

(Also note here that  تئدر is actually the Fus-ha word تفدر , which means to be able to. It’s changed to تئدر here because often times in Levantine Arabic the ق is changed to a ء or غ )

 

لانه لكل مكان اله حرمته / lianno lakol makan iloh Hirmitoh

Because for each place, it has sanctity.

 

بردو ما بتئدر تروح على الحفلة و انت لابس بجاما لانه ناس رح تنتقدك / bardo, ma bta2dar truH ‘ala alHifleh wa inta labis bajama lianno annas raH tantaqdak.

Also, you cannot go to a party and wear pajamas because people will criticise you.

 

لانه هاد الابس مش لهاد المكان / lianno had allibs mish lihad almakan

Because this attire is not for this place.

 

Did this post help you to understand how to use اله ? Do you agree with what Nur says about there being proper attire for a university? What other examples can you think of using the word اله? Let us know in the comments, we love hearing from you!

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