Everyday Arabic Words And Phrases
Photo: Mondly Arabic Words
By: Anthony Bayyouk / Arab America Contributing Writer
Have you ever caught yourself in a conversation with an Arab and wished you knew some Arabic? Or have you ever wanted to impress someone you like that speaks Arabic? Worry no more, in this article Arab America is going to teach you some Arabic words and phrases that will get you through any conversation, or hopefully land you a date. For a non-Arabic speaker, the Arabic language can be quite confusing. Letters in the Arabic language have sounds that do not exist in English and can be hard to pronounce for non-native speakers. In writing, letters in the Arabic alphabet have different shapes depending on their place in a word. Yet, there are words and phrases that can easily be pronounced and integrated into your daily vocabulary. The first thing you’re going to want to know is how to greet someone.
In Arabic, there are many different ways to greet someone. The simplest way is ‘marhaba’ which means hello. You would typically use this in informal settings such as telling the cashier at a grocery store ‘marhaba’. While trying to speak Arabic and further your connections with Arabs, you must keep in mind that Arabs are connected with their religion and many words and phrases include God in them. For example, the word ‘hamdellah’ which means “thank God” is used quite frequently. When someone tells you ‘marhaba kayfa’ (hello how are you) you can simply respond with ‘al hamdellah’. Another common Arabic word that includes the name of God is ‘inshAllah’ which translates to God willing. If someone asks you to hang out but you’re not 100% sure if you want to you, can simply reply inshAllah. InshAllah is also used in many other situations. You can say ‘inshAllah the food turns out good’, or ‘inshAllah I get into that college’, the list goes on. As kids, we constantly heard the word inshAllah from our parents when we asked to go to the park or zoo or when we wanted a new toy our parents would always reply with inshAllah. It’s a joke among Arab kids that when your parents say inshAllah it’s most likely a NO.
If you are ever invited to a celebration with Arabs such as a wedding, or graduation you’re going to want to know the word ‘mabrook’ which translates to congratulations. The word ‘mabrook’ can be used in many different situations such as if you know someone that just had a baby or got a new car. It is customary to always congratulate someone and thank God when something good happens. If you want to sound advanced you can add ‘elf’ in front of the mabrook. Elf means a thousand for example ‘elf dollar’ would be a thousand dollars. If you were to say ‘elf mabrook’ you would be saying a thousand congratulations. Mabrook is a popular Arab word and will impress your Arab friends, another Arabic word that can be used quite often and will impress anyone that hears it is Habibi. Habibi means my love. Although it is meant for someone very special like a boyfriend or girlfriend it can also be used in casual settings. Sadly, the word habibi has lost its meaning over the years because of the overuse of the word. Nowadays you can call anyone habibi, it is not necessarily reserved for someone you love. It is a kind way to address someone.
It is also important to know how to say goodbye in Arabic. A simple ‘yalla habibi bye’ is seen as half-hearted and not appreciated. Instead, you can say “ma Salama” which means “with peace”. You can also say “Allah maik” which means “God be with you” and is the same as saying God speed in English. “Allah maik” is very kind and appreciated especially if you are saying bye to someone that is about to travel or going to somewhere where they need the protection of God.
All of these Arabic words and phrases are sure to impress an Arabic speaker, and could be your first step to learning the beautiful language of Arabic!
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