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  • Writer's pictureRajaa Aquil

Arabic culture

Learning Arabic

Verbal exchanges series: Greetings

Verbal exchanges between native speakers of Arabic is like a ping pong game. The initiator starts with a phrase that has a certain sociolinguistic function, then the listener responds with a given phrase or sentence.

It is exactly like a ping pong game, the initiator sends the message to the receiver, then the receiver interacts by sending a responding message to the initiator and then the initiator becomes a receiver and sends another message that is still related to the same topic, and so on.

This can go on for several instances of exchanges that are about the same topic, for example greetings.

Greetings are very important in Arabic whether it is Classical Arabic (FusHa), Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or regional dialects (e.g., Egyptian, Levantine, Gulf, North African, Iraqi). Greetings can be performed by different words and phrases that mean the same thing = 'how are you'? The words and phrases used in Classical (FusHa) or MSA can be the same as those used in regional dialects or very different.

In the following video a woman greets a man in Egyptian Arabic. Note that 'how are you' changes for gender based on the receiver.

Another very important cultural point is the reference to 'allah' all the time, e.g. the word 'thank God'. The mention of God is very important in Arabic language and it needs another post (will be out soon) to discuss it in detail.

Watch the video and listen to how greetings are said in Egyptian Arabic. To get the written transliteration (phonetically transcribed for pronunciation) and the Arabic script, visit and subscribe to the email list. I will send you the transliteration and the Arabic script once I receive your email asking for them in the body of the email.

Enjoy the video

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