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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Nora here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Arabic questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What are some common expressions used in street signs in the Arab world?
Explanation
How cool is it that instructional signs are almost identical in just about every Arabic-speaking country!
No matter what dialect the country speaks, instructional signs are always in Modern Standard Arabic.
Let's take a look at the most common instructional signs:
First, we have signs that you’ll typically see in a parking lot
خروج
ḫurūǧ
“Exit”
دخول
duḫūl
“Entrance”
جراج\موقف
ǧarāǧ\mawqif
“Parking”
Next, we have signs you’d typically see on the road.
قف
qif
“STOP”
اتجاه إجباري
ʾittiǧāh ʾiǧbārī
“Must turn left/right”
الزم اليمين
ilzam al-yamīn
“Keep right”
الزم اليسار
ilzam al-yasār
“Keep left”
الأولوية لك
al-ʾawlawiyyah lak
“You have priority”
هدئ السرعة
haddiʾ al-surʿah
“Slow down”
انتبه
intabih
“Watch out/Attention”
The last two signs, haddiʾ al-surʿah and intabih, are usually seen before sudden bumps, construction work, and dangerous curves
كم
kilometr
“Kilometers”
م
metr
“meters”
These two are the shortened versions of كيلومتر and متر respectively, just like “km” and “m” in English. They’re usually shortened to fit on street signs. They’re used in many signs, like the ones that tell you where you are on a highway. For example, if you’re 200 Km away from Alexandria on the Cairo-Alexandria highway, Somewhere on the way you’ll see a sign that says:
200كم
طن
ṭan
“Tons” (This one is mainly for truck weight allowances. The number you’ll see next to طن is the maximum weight allowance on this road in tons)
Lastly we have two of the main reasons why people get tickets on the streets of Egypt.
ممنوع الدخول
mamnūʿ al-duḫūl
“No entry” (commonly used for one-way streets)
ممنوع الانتظار
mamnūʿ al-intiẓār
“No parking” (commonly found in front of exits, entrances, and around important buildings.)

Outro

Driving in the Middle East might feel intimidating at first, but as long as you follow rules and stay attentive to your surroundings, you’ll be ok.
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! إلى اللقاء (ʾilā al-liqaāʾ)

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