The Case of the Mysteriously Appearing ي – How to Conjugate يجيء in Levantine Arabic

So my lovely friend Gioia Forster (aspiring journalist, history enthusiast, world travellor extraodinaire and ardent Arabic learner) has been asking me to write a post on how to conjugate the word the Fus-ha word يجيء / yajee2 or to come, in Levantine Arabic.

It’s been stumping her for a while because she couldn’t understand how to conjugate it right and when she found out I was writing about verb conjugations and asked me to write about this particularly tricky verb.

And in all honesty, I can understand where all the confusion comes from – in fact I had the exact same problem when I tried to get used to using and hearing the word for the first time. And it’s so often used that it’s one of the verbs I shortlisted in 21 Verbs that Will Completely Revolutionise Your Levantine Arabic.

يجيء is simple enough to conjugate in Fus-ha, but somehow it gets tricky in Levantine Arabic. And so after doing some detective work, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all because of the Case of the Mysteriously Appearing ي.


Conjuggling يجيء

So to begin, I’ve conjuggled the يجيء in Fus-ha below and you’ll see that it pretty much follows the standard Fus-ha rules of conjugation.

Pronoun Fus-ha Pronunciation Meaning
هو يجيء yajee2 he comes
هي تجيء tajee2 she comes
هم يجيئون yajee2un all of them come
انتَ تجيء tajee2 you (mas) come
انتِ تجيئين tajee2eena you (fem) come
انتو تجيئون tajee2uun all of you come
انا اجيء ajee2 I come
احنا نجيء najee2 we come

Nothing very revolutionary there.

When we conjugate يجيء  in Levantine Arabic, however, something really curious happens.

A second ي will miraculously appear after the first ي .

Take a look at the table below if you want to know what I mean and compare it to the table above.

Pronoun Levantine Conjugation Pronunciation Meaning
هو ييجيء yeejee he comes
هي تيجيء teejee she comes
هم ييجوء yeejuu all of them come
انتَ تيجيء teejee you (mas) come
انتِ تيجيء teejee you (fem) come
انتو تيجوء teejuu all of you come
انا اجيء aajee I come
احنا نيجيء neejee we come

You can see the the additioned ي appears after the initial ي , which results in an elongated -ee sound at the beginning of the verb.

I also can’t really explain why the ي is doubled at the beginning of يجيء in Levantine Arabic (which is probably why I called it the mysteriously appearing ي ). It might simply be a case of fluidity and ease on the tongue in pronouncing it like that instead of the regular Fus-ha method.


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Aside from the appearing ي :

1. Because the ء is never quite pronounced in Levantine Arabic, it usually gets changed into a ي sound, which is why نيجيء for example is pronounced neejee and not neejee2, with a sharp ending.

2. The -ون Fus-ha ending for انتو and هم is also hardly used in Levantine Arabic – instead the ن is usually dropped, leaving just the و behind.

This is the reason why ‘all of them come’ is  يجيئون in Fus-ha but just ييجوء in Levantine Arabic.


Ready to See it in Action? Here we go.

As usual, on this site we don’t really think anything becomes crystal clear until you have a great example to go along with it, especially when it comes to language learning.

So I’ve culled this video from an interview segment on Youtube from the Jordanian channel Ro2ya entitled سؤال: شو رأيكم لو البنت تصير تطلب الشب ؟ / su2al: sho ra’yokom lau albinet tiSeer tiTlub ashab?

In other words, Question: What is your opinion if a girl goes and asks for a man (in marriage)?

Basically the interview goes around on the streets of Amman and interviews regular people to get their responses on the question, and the answers give you some really valuable and interesting insight into the Jordanian psyche.

Here, the word تيجيء and ييجيء are used a lot, to mean ‘the guy comes to…’ or ‘the girl comes to…’.

Example #1:

هلا انه ييجيء الشاب يخطب البنت هاد اشي عادي و طبيعي بس انه البنت تروح تخطب الشاب انه كتير عيب

halla2 ino yeejee alshaab yukhTob albinet had ishy ‘aadi wa Tabee’i bs ino albinet troH tokhTob alshaab ino kteer ‘aib.

Now the guy comes and proposes engagement to the girl this thing is normal and natural but the girl goes and proposes engagement to the guy that is really embarrassing/ shameful.

Example #2:

لانه ما بعرف هلا البنت لازم تكون بانوثتها تستنى هي الشاب الي ييجيء عندها

lianno, ma b’arif, halla2 albinet lazim takuun bi-unthiyatha tastanna hiya ashaab ili yeejee ‘indha.

Because, I don’t know, now the girl has to be with her femininity and wait for the guy that comes to her.

Notice that she says ‘ييجيء عندها ‘ to mean ‘come to her’. Unlike in Fus-ha where you would use يجيء اليها , in Levantine arabic they use the word عند instead. Similarly, if you wanted to say ‘she comes to me’, it would be تجيء الي / tajee2 ilaii in Fus-ha and تيجيء عندي / teejee ‘indi in Levantine.

We will examine more later on how prepositions are used in Levantine Arabic – you’ll see that while the prepositions themselves are the same as in Fusha, they are used a little differently in Levantine dialect.


Example #3:

Now this clip I gathered from كلمة واحدة , another Jordanian series on Youtube that talks about issues concerning Jordanian youth.

In this segment, the issue was what was considered appropriate attire in the university, and one of the students interviewed said that sometimes girls come dressed like they’re going from /coming to a party.

لانه في كتير بنات بيجوء والله العظيم فكرهم جايات لسا من حفلة

lianno fe kteer banaat beejuu wallahi al’aTheem fakkirhom jai-aat lissa min Hifleh

Because there are a lot of girls that come, I swear by God, their thinking is that they are coming from a party.


Do you understand better now how to conjugate يجيء in both Fus-ha and Levantine Arabic? Since it’s stumping us so much, do you have a theory or solution for the Case of the Mysteriously Appearing ي ?. Let us know in the comments as well as any other verbs that you want to see conjuggled! I’m also going to share this post with Gioia, why don’t you do the same with a friend of yours?

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