There is a long standing disagreement between supporters of classical Arabic الفصحى vs. supporters of colloquial Arabic العامية with regards which should prosper. The former group sought to avoid colloquial words at all cost, regardless of how correct they were or how well they expressed the intended meaning, while the latter group avoided unfamiliar and uncommon words claiming they were difficult to pronounce.
In reaction to this conflict there emerged a number of authors, led by Ibrāhīm ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Mazinī, who deemed it necessary to try and bring these two factions together, by employing in their writings many words that are commonly uttered by the colloquial tongue, but which are actually correct and classical words.
There also appeared a new branch of lexicography which dealt with this phenomenon of words commonly accepted as colloquial, but with strong classical roots. Among these were Tahdhīb al-Alfādh al-‘Āmmiyyah by Muhammad ‘Alī al-Dasūqī, al-Muhkam fī Usūl al-Lughah al-‘Āmmiyyah by Ahmad ‘Īsā, al-‘Āmmiyyah al-Fushā by Mahmūd Taymūr, and Alfādh ‘Āmmiyyah Fasīhah by Muhammad Dawūd al-Tanayyur, which includes one thousand four hundred words so commonly used in speech that people think them to be colloquial words, but which are “pure, standard Arabic words, acceptable to use in writings, speeches, literature, stories, plays and the like.”
Many such words are those in which the hamzah ء has been diluted into an alif ا sound (more commonly) or sometimes a wāw or a yā’ sound, such as in the colloquial word istannā استنى (‘wait’) used in the place of ista’annā استأنى, badayt بديت (‘I began’) used in the place of bada’t بدأت, jā جا (‘he came’) used in the place of jā’a جاء, and commonly used in the construction jā bi-al-[ta’ām for e.g.] جا بالطعام* instead of jā’a bi al-ta’ām, shā شا instead of shā’a شاء as in the phrase Mā shā Allāh ما شا الله instead of mā shā’a Allāh ما شاء الله, wayn وين (‘where’) used in the place of ayna أين, and so on. This omission of the hamzah is permissible when done for the sake of takhfīf (ease) in speech, as takhfīf is accepted to be one of the dialects (lughāt) of the Arabs.
Other examples of common words wrongly thought to be colloquial are:
Ikhsa اخسَ as in the phrase ikhsa ‘alayk اخس عليك used to rebuke someone. This is actually used in the Qur’an as in the verse (23:108):
قَالَ اخْسَؤُوا فِيهَا وَلَا تُكَلِّمُونِ
He (Allah) will say: “Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!”
فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَاسِئِينَ
We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.”
It is correct in its colloquial usage.
Idayh إديه used in place of yadayh يديه (his two hands). This is one of the dialects of Arabic, and is acceptable to use.
Imbārih امبارح (‘yesterday’). It is used in place of al-bārih البارح, and is acceptable because in the Yemeni dialect the letter lām is turned into a meem, and thus they say law mā لوما in the place of law lā لولا .
Aysh أيش used to mean ayyu shay’ أي شيء. This is an acceptable example of naht and is fine to use formally. It is mentioned in Shifā’ al-‘Alīl that this was heard from the Arabs.
Kikh كِخْ is a words used when speaking to children to indicate something is bad. It is mentioned in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that al-Hasan or al-Husayn** ate a date that was bought using money given in charity, so the Prophet (may the peace and prayers of Allah be upon him) said to him, “Kikh! Kikh! Do you not know that my family is not allowed to take charity?!”
So carefully consider your speech next time you scold a person for using colloquial words, for you may be scolding them for using pure, correct Arabic!
*Note that it is not jāb al-ta’ām جاب الطعام in the colloquial, as is commonly thought
** The children of ‘Alī and Fātimah (may Allah be pleased with them). As Fātimah was the Prophet’s (may the peace and prayers of Allah be upon him) daughter, al-Hasan and al-Husayn were his (may the peace and prayers of Allah be upon him) grandchildren.