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Many beginners struggle with the word lissa in Egyptian Arabic. Let’s put it under the microscope.
The word lissa in Arabic dialects Hide
- The word lissa – an overview
- “Just” versus “not yet”
- The meaning of “still”
- “Just” in the meaning of “now”
- Lissa as a stand-alone word
The word lissa – an overview
Lissa (لِسّه) can mean “still“, “just“, “not yet” in Egyptian Arabic.
- Lissa means not yet in negative sentence. This is also the case when lissa is used as a stand-alone expression.
- In non-negative sentences (affirmative) the word lissa usually means still or just.
“Just” versus “not yet”
This can be confusing for beginners.
Lissa in the meaning of “just” or “only recently”
|I have just arrived.||.لِسّه واصِل|
|They just came.||. لِسّه جايِّين|
|He was standing next to me just a second ago.||.ده لِسّه واقِف جَنْبِي مِن ثانْيَة|
The meaning of “not yet”
|I haven’t arrived yet.||.ما وَصَلْتش لِسّه|
|They haven’t come yet.||. لِسّه ماجُوش|
Note that if you want to express the meaning of not yet, you use the past tense (الْماضي) in Arabic in combination with the negation (ما+ش).
The meaning of “still”
No action involved
How do we use lissa if there is no action (no verb) mentioned in the sentence, but an adjective or adverb of time? Some examples:
|It is still early.||لِسّه بَدْرِي|
|There is still time.||لِسّه فيه وَقْت|
|There is still one week (to go);||لِسّه أُسْبُوع|
|He’s still young.||هُوَّ لِسَّه صُغَيَّر|
|It’s still to soon for…||…لِسَّه بَدْرِي عَلَى|
What verb-form do you use if you want to express “still”?
The present tense (الْمُضارِع).
|I am still eating.||لِسَّه بآكُل|
|I am still studying at the center.||…لِسَّه بادْرِس في الْمَرْكَز|
|I’ve still to deliver the menu (food).||لِسَّه حاوَدِّي الْوَجْبة|
Note that you use the present tense in Egyptian Arabic (ب+فِعل مُضارِع) to express still. Do not use the active participle (اِسْم فاعِل) as this usually expresses just – see number 1.
“Just” in the meaning of “now”
The word lissa is often used in the connection with the Egyptian Arabic expression for now, i.e. dilwa’ti (دِلْوَقْتِي)
|They just now left.||لِسَّه طِلْعِوا دِلْوَقْتِي|
Lissa as a stand-alone word
You will also hear the word lissa very often in questions that contain Have… yet?
|Question: Have you written it?||كِتِبْتُه وَلا لِسَّه؟|
|Answer: Not yet.||لِسَّه|
Directly connected to a sentence
|She put up with a lot, and there’s more to come.||اِسْتَحْمِلِتْ كْتِير، وَلِسَّه|
In some Arabic dialects, the word lissa (لِسّا) is connected to a pronoun (ضَمِير), for example:
Egyptian Arabic is a wonderful dialect – here is some “proof”:
- ما in Egyptian Arabic – is it “what” or “not” or what?
- بقى in Egyptian Arabic – what does it mean?
- Why is Egyptian Arabic difficult?
- What are the best dictionaries for Arabic dialects?
- Tricky things about the adjective in Egyptian Arabic
picture credit: Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay