Arabic/Being Polite

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Being polite is important. It is rather simple to be polite in Arabic. Just learn some of these and use them, at the right time. And remember a few golden rules.

  1. If you refuse a gift, an Arab will insist that you take it (This insisting and refusing can go on for up to a minute, between Arabs). So if an Arab offers you meat, and you are a vegetarian, either eat it or have a good excuse (medical excuses are often acceptable).


أهلا

ahlan
ah-lan
Hello
It means more than hello, but its usage is very similar to hello.





*السلام عليكم

al_salaamu `alaykum
as-sa-laa-mu-`a-lay-kum
Peace be upon you.
This is a very common greeting, although its usage is approved religiously. It is very common among Muslims; even muslims who understand no Arabic attempt to say it, whenever greeting someone. It's always better to say this greeting.




*مع السلامة

ma`a al_salaamah(-ti)
ma-`as-sa-laa-mah
with peace
Only said when leaving someone. If you said this when you just met someone, it would seem awkward.




الله يسلمك

allahu salmik(a/i)
aL-laa-hu-sal-mik
(May) God keep you in peace.
Often a reply to مع السلامة (ma`a alsalaamah).





أهلا وسهلا

ahlan wa sahlan
ah-lan-wa-sah-lan
Usage: Expressing great happiness at seeing someone.




وداعا

wa-daa-`an
bye




شكرا

shukran
shuk-ran
thanks




شكرا لك

shukran
shuk-ran-lak(a/i)
thank you




شكرا جزيلا

shukran jazeelan
shuk-ran-ja-zee-lan
thanks a lot
Note this is not the sarcastic usage in Arabic.




من فضلك

min faDlik(a/i)
min-faD-lik
please




أرجوك

arjook(a/i)
ar-jook
I'm begging you.





تفضل

tafaDDal
ta-faD-Dal
Please help yourself (when speaking to a man).




تفضلي

tafaDDalee
ta-faD-Da-lee
Please help yourself (when speaking to a woman).




تفضلوا

tafaDDaloo
ta-faD-Da-loo
Same as above but when talking to a group, as long as the group is not all female.




كيف حالك

kayfa Haaluk
kay-fa-Haa-luk
How are you doing? You must know this saying, every Arab asks every other Arab of the same gender and his son this question.




بـخيـر

bikhair
bi-khair
fine
Only used when answering "How are you doing?"




الـحمد لله

al_Hamdu lillaah
al-Ham-du-lil-Laah
Thank God.
Of course its meaning is not that simple.
Often used to answer "كيف حالك؟ ", and said when good news is heard (like a relative passed their final exam).
Literally it means: Praise be to God, that is, when answering the above questions with al-Ham-du-lil-Laah, you're praising God for the goodness received.


مرحبا

MarHabaan
"Hello", when talking to anyone


مع السلامة

ma`a al-salaamah
Ma-`as-sa-laa-ma
Polite and most common form. When talking to anyone.