3amiya On Bethlehem Billboards
It’s very uncommon to see dialectic Arabic (3amiya) written. Usually it is considered very uncouth and uneducated to write the dialect, and so only literary Arabic (fusHa) is ever used for written communications. It seems certain companies have been challenging that maxim in their advertising campaigns and have been using Palestinian dialect on billboards. I saw these two in Bethlehem on Monday.
“Ramadan biyijma3na / wa Coca Cola bitna3shana”
Ramadan brings us together / and Coca Cola reinvigorates us
The black, green, and red words read: “Al-Hayat ma bitstanash”
“Life won’t wait.”
The Palestinian/Jordanian/Syrian dialect adds a ‘B’ to the beginning of verbs in the present tense and negates by adding the word ‘ma’ before the verb. The Palestinian dialect distinguishes itself from Jordanian and Syrian by adding a ‘sh’ stuck on the end of the negated verb. So in the second picture a positive statement would read “Al-Hayat Bitstana” “Life waits.” In Jordan or Syria a negative statement would be “Al-Hayat Ma Bitstana”.