Moroccan Arabic Lesson: I love the smell of the rain

This clip is from a Moroccan film called The Five Seasons which depicts how the lives of three sisters change after the sudden death of their father. In this scene Hanan, the youngest sister, is sitting in the park in Casablanca when an older woman takes a seat next her. Hanan, who is blind, starts talking to her about how she uses her sense of smell to tell where she is and how the woman's smell reminds her of her grandmother.

قنّطت، بغيت غير مع من نحضر
qnnet. bghit ghair ma3 man nhdr. 

I'm bored. All I want is someone to talk with.

ماكاينش بحال ريحت الشتاء. وقيلا غتطيح
makainsh b7al riht lshita'. waqila ghatti7.

There's nothing like the smell of rain. Maybe it will rain. 

عرفتِ؟ كنحمّق على ديك ريحت مخلط مع التراب
3rifti? Kan7ammaq 3la dik ri7t mkhallat ma3 lturab.

You know? I love that smell [of the rain] mixed with the dirt.  

أخر مرة شمّيتها، النهار توفّى بابا، الله يرحمه
akhr marra shmmitha, nhar twaffa baba, allah yar7amo.

The last time I smelled it was the day Dad died, God bless him. 

ريحة للي شمّيتها كنعقل عليها، حيت بريحة كنعرف فين أنا
ri7a lli shmmitha kan3ql 3laiha, 7it b ri7a kan3rif fin ana. 

Any smell I've smelt, I remember it, because I know where I am by smells.

و ماشي غير الناس للي عندهم ريحة. راحة البلايس، فين ما مشيت
w mashi ghair lnas lli 3ndhom ri7a. ra7t lblais, fin ma mshit.

And it's not just people who have smells. All the places I've gone have smells.

أنتِ امرأة. ريحتك ماقوّياش. و مادايراش le perfum، لا
anti mra. ri7tik maqawwiyyash. w madayyirash lperfum, la.

You're a woman, your smell isn't strong. And you don't use perfume either. 

ريحتك عامرة بالعشوب: قرنفل، مسك، ماعفت و قيلا البخور، ما عرفت هديك العشبة شنو هي
ri7tik 3ammra b l3shub. Qaranfil, misk… ma3raft waqila lbukhur, ma3rift hadik l3shba shnu hiya.

Your smell is full of herbs: clove, musk... I don't know maybe incense. I don't know what that [other] herb is. 

أنتِ صغيوّرة، حتى الحركة ديالك صغيوّرين، كنسمعهم
anti saghiwwara , 7ta l7araka dialik saghiwwarin. Kansma3hom. 

You're small, even your movements are small. I can hear them.

عرفتِ، فكّرتيني بجدة، الله يرحمها. كانت ديما كتجي معنا حداه و ديرت حاجة لنا
3rifti, fakkartini b jidda allah yar7amha. kant dima katji ma3na 7daho w dirt 7aja lina. 

You know, you remind me of my grandmother, God bless her. Should would always come near to us to do things for us.

و عندها تقريبان نفس الريحة ديالك
w 3ndha taqriban nafs lri7a dialik.

And she had nearly the same smell as you. 


Vocabulary Review

qnnett - قنّط - "I'm bored". qnnet is a verb that describes a state of being, and is used here as we would use an adjective in English. There are several other verbs in Moroccan Arabic that are used similarly, such as 3yya "to be tired". These verbs are conjugated in the past tense to describe how you feel at a given moment.

b7al - بحال - "like" or "the same as".

al-shita' - الشتاء - "the rain". This is also the word for winter.

waqila - و قيلا - "maybe" or "perhaps". Similar meaning to mumkin.

ghatti7 - غتطيح - "is going to fall". This is how 'raining' is described in Moroccan Arabic. al-shita' is feminine so ta7 is conjugated to reflect that.

kanhammaq 3la - كنحمّق على - "I love" or "I'm crazy about" something. This is one of the many ways to express love in Moroccan Arabic. Literally it means 'to go crazy over something' and can be said about people or things. This is like bmoot fi بموت في as found in other Arabic dialects.

shammitha - شمّيتها - "I smelled it". shamm means to smell or to sniff and is an irregular verb because its last root letter, m, is doubled. This is why it is conjugated here as shammit. Read more about irregular verbs in the past tense here.

allah yar7amo - الله يرحمه - "God bless him". allah yar7amo is used throughout the Arab and Muslim world as a blessing for the deceased. It is always said after mentioning the departed person, as in the example above.

kan3ql 3la - كنعقل على - "I remember" something. 3ql 3la expresses to remember in Moroccan Arabic and has the same meaning as tadhakkar or tazakkar as in other Arabic Dialects.

7it - حيت - "because" or "since". 7it is one of several ways to say "because" in Moroccan Arabic.

al-blais - البلايس - "places". al-blais is the plural of al-blasa which means "place" in Moroccan Arabic. This is taken from French, and is used in various situations. Here, it is more literal, referring to the places Hanan has visited. At a restaurant one might ask if there are any blais, or places to sit, available. In a Grand Taxi, you pay for your blasa or seat.

fin ma mshit - فين ما مشيت - "wherever I've gone". This is a typical Moroccan phrase. fin + ma means "wherever" and this construction can be used with other adverbs for different meanings: sh7al ma "how much ever", foq ma "whenever", etc. If you listen to the speaker's pronounciation of the phrase, you'll notice that the ma runs into the mshit so the phrase sounds more like: fin mamshit.

madayyirash - مادايّراش - "she doesn't do". dayyir(a) is the active participle of dir which means "to do". This word is also used in the greeting kif dayyir(a), "how are you doing?"

3ammra - عامرة - "full" or "full of". 3ammr is the active particple of the verb 3ammer, which means "to fill". This is not the same verb as 3ammerni used for "I've ever" and "I've never".

al-3shub - العشوب - "herbs". The herbs she mentions are qaranfil قرنفل, or clove, misk مسك, or musk, and bukhur بخور, or incense.

7ta - حتى - "even" or "also".

fakkartini b - فكّرتيني ب - "you reminded me of". The verb fakkar means "to think", as in to reason. When used with the preposition b it means "to think about". When you add a direct object pronoun, like we see here, the verb changes again, now meaning, "to make someone think about something".

Want more? Click here for a list of our Moroccan Arabic lessons.