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March 24, 2006



My god, man! You can't tell a story like that and leave the punchline obscured? What about us braindead slobs? The ones who can't read Arabic?


I am not Lebanese, but I think I understand enough lebanese to be able to tell why Haifa's final answer was funny. The word ولو in lebanese means "of course", so her answer can be roughly translated as follows:

"of course [I know him], [he's] the secretary of education".

With that said, I don't think Haifa was making fun of Samir. On the contrary, I think she tried to show off her bright side here, but only succeeded in making a fool of herself instead ;-)

the aardvark

That would certainly set up a parallel with his attempts to praise her music! ... but مش means "he's *not* the Minister of Education", right? Or doesn't Lebanese colloquial work that way? See, I thought the joke was that maybe Samir had wanted to be Minister of Education and didn't get the job, and Haifa was demonstrating that she knew Lebanese politics so well that she was aware of such an inside-baseball point as his thwarted ambitions. Which would make the joke on Samir, not on Haifa!


I'm Lebanese, and Karim hit it on the head. ولو translates as "of course" and مش means "isn't"

So the whole sentence translates as "Of course! Isn't he the Minister of Education?"

The punchline is on Haifa, not the other way around.

the aardvark

Aw, that kind of disappoints me... the story would have been much more charming if the joke had been on him. Still pretty funny, though. Thanks for the lesson in Leb-speak...

Anna in Cairo

That is how I read it: "Well of course I did - isn't he the Minister of Education?" But, she could have been speaking ironically.

paul a'barge

Have you seen this?:


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