Key Arabic Sayings 101
Arabic is a fun language, equally expressive as it is intellectually stimulating. However, as I have only been studying Arabic for 3 months and the added factor that everyone here will forever speak with the oblivious slow foreigner in English, I am not alway able to fully appreciate this. Despite this, even on a day to day basis, it is easy to see patterns in the language through daily exchange of conversation.
Some words here actually take on a cultural significance, and though at first I made an effort to incorporate them into my vocabulary, I actually use them quite effortlessly now. By understanding these commonly used phrases, it is easier to gain a loose outline of the culture itself. Some of these phrases share loose similarities with common english phrases, others are distinct to Arabic and take on their own specific value to the gulf. Many of these words relate to religion, but they have become so engraved in the local dialect, you will hear them constantly!
M”shallah is way of complimenting someone without inferring any sort of vanity or jealousy by warding off the evil eye. This phrase works whenever you mean to compliment someone. Example: Someone gets a new hair cut.
Inshallah is used as a means of talking about the future and accepting its vagrancy and uncertainty. Once again there is an emphasis on faith, with the root for god at the end of the word. It also literally translates to “at God’s will”. Often it might be used as a way of avoiding commitment or just as a prevention from jinxing yourself. Example: I hope it rains tomorrow.
In such a conservative society, there is a huge emphasis on religion. That is why people make an effort to act in the way of God, and in a predominately Muslim society, that means acting in accordance to the Quran. Astafallah comes from the root aasif which means sorry. If you do something outside of these guidelines, one is supposed to ask for God’s forgiveness.
Alhamduliah has a very wide range of usages. This is another word used to acknowledge the influence and sway of God in one’s life. This word translates to “praise be to God”, and it usually follows after good news, not bad news.
Mamooshekelah simply means no problem. It essentially is used the same way as it’s English counterpart, except if you ask me, it is a lot more fun to say.
Bismillah literally translates to “in the name of God.” It is used at the beginning of any joyous undertaking or new experience.