A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

timing is everything: further adventures in Arabic

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 12, 2007

This morning at the gym I over-heard one of my fellow work-out bunnies tell her friend that she would join her on the treadmill in “rub3a sa3a” or, as she then added in English, “twenty minutes”.

What? I thought, interrupting a daydream. Did she really just say that?

Rub3a sa3a is a quarter hour – 15 minutes, not 20.

Just as my favorite expression “two minutes” means something more like 10, a quarter hour here also receives a more generous allotment of minutes.

Timing is everything – and here, timing is flexible. I like it :-).


2 Responses to “timing is everything: further adventures in Arabic”

  1. sparkleplenty said

    LOL! Being an “always early” person (versus the hubby, who as you may have observed, is less than punctual), the issue of estimating time is a huge source of discontent. And at work…I have lowered expectations:
    Hold on just a sec’, I’ve got someone on the other line… 1-3 min of often intolerable Muzak
    Just a minute and I’ll get back to you on that… at least 5-20 minutes
    Give me an hour to think about it….. expect an answer tomorrow
    Mañana…. maybe next week, if you’re lucky!
    “see you soon” 😉 Alex

    Heaven help us if we were held accountable! Ever wonder why we under-estimate, as a rule???

  2. intlxpatr said

    And thanks for the warning, Little Diamond . . . we will start to hear YOUR “just a minute’s” with a more elastic connotation.

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