Dialogue - Arabic



صديق [صَديق] Sadiiq friend (male)
أهلا [أَهْلاً] 'ahlan hello
مرحبا [مَرْحَباً] marḥaban hello, hi; welcome
مساء (Standard) [مَساء] masaa' evening
نور [نُوْر] nuur light
خير [خَيْر] khayr good
صباح (Standard) [صَباح] SabaaH morning
تشرّفنا [تَشَرَّفْنا] tasharrafna we are honored
إسم [إِسْم] ism name
هذا [هَذا] Hada this
هذه [هذِهِ] haḏihi this
صديقة [صَدِيقَة] Sadiiqa friend (female)
سلام [سَلام] salaām Bye/Peace. (informal)

Lesson Notes



A possessive suffix is an ending to a word that indicates possession, similar to the apostrophe-'s' in "John's notebook". Possessive suffixes are the Arabic equivalents of the words "my", "your", "his", "her", "our", and "their". هذِهِ صِديقتي. haadhihi Sadiiqatii. This is my friend. (The word صَديقة means a female friend. The silent taa' marbuta (ة) becomes a pronounced taa' (ت) when you attach a suffix to it.) ما إسْمُكَ؟ ma ismuka? What is your name? (when asking a man) ما إسْمُكِ؟ ma ismuki? What is your name? (when asking a woman)
3rd person
...ﻪُ ...ﻬُﻤﺎ ...ﻬُﻢ
3rd person
...ﻬﺎ ...ﻬُﻤﺎ ...ﻬُﻦَّ
2nd person
...ﻚَ ...ﻜُﻤﺎ ...ﻜُﻢ
2nd person
...ﻚِ ...ﻜُﻤﺎ ...ﻜُﻦَّ
1st person ...ﻲ ...ﻨﺎ ...ﻨﺎ
Try to write your own sentences and stop by the Learning Center to check out the Grammar Bank, Dictionary, and more to check your work and build your Arabic to a whole new level! Need ideas? Try expressing these sentences in Arabic. This is my brother. What is his name? His name is Robert. This is my sister. What is her name? Her name is Sarah.

Cultural Insights

The Middle East is as culturally diverse as any other region of the world. Within the Arabic world you'll find people who are very traditional as well as people who take pride in adhering to principles derived from foreign influences. Here we'll discuss the types of casual relationships that occur between men and women from the Middle East. On one extreme, we have the very conservative and traditional families. These people adhere to the core principles of their religious identity, be it Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or other faiths. For most of these groups, their faith is a way of life. The reason this has an impact on gender relations, particularly Islam which is the religious majority in the Middle East, is that there's a significant jurisprudence dedicated to creating a social system which minimizes the negative consequences of sexual expression in favor of economic productivity and social order. Unfortunately, these principles have sometimes been abused to restrict women's involvement in multiple arenas of society. People in this group identify with the humility, chastity, and modesty encouraged by their faith and they take pride in limiting what they deem to be unnecessary intermingling. An example of somebody in this group is May's friend Sara. Sara dresses completely covered, doesn't talk to her male co-workers about anything outside of work, and does not shake hands when greeting men. On the more moderate side, we have people who follow their faith and are more accepting of forming relations with the opposite sex, but within boundaries. For example, Danya's cousin, Hala, likes to go to organized social events in public places with large groups of people. She has no problem interacting with men, shaking hands, and discussing family, but she avoids hugs and kisses when greeting as well as any flirtatious behavior in general. So we see that Hala has found a lifestyle that allows her to flourish in a more westernized social order while maintaining the humility, chastity, and modesty encouraged by her faith. These social limits are especially important to consider when intermingling occurs in semi-private or private areas, like Hala's home, even if the friendship is cordial, because such relationships might progress to more than just benign friendships. Middle Eastern society also includes people who identify with the principles derived from foreign influences. This affects not only relationships, but also fashion and musical tastes. Sometimes even their speech is effected as foreign words and phrases are inserted into regular talk. This is not necessarily a conscious choice, rather a result of cultures across the globe converging in the Middle East through modern-day media.



Below is a list of the grammar points introduced or used in this lesson. Click for a full explanation.

ضمائر الماكية
my, your, his, her

Lesson Transcript

May: Marhaban, ismi May.
Danya: Ana Danya.
Timothy: Timothy here! Beginner Series, Lesson 1 - This is my friend? What kind of Arabic are we going to learning in this series?
May: We’re going to focus on Modern Standard Arabic or MSA.
Danya: This is the form of Arabic that is used for writing and that you will hear in the news.
Timothy: That sounds great. I’ll be able to read books and understand those free online newspapers and online news broadcast. But, what about speaking with your friends? Would you use Modern Standard Arabic?
Danya: No. MSA is used mostly for official communications. My friends and I use a regional dialect when talking to each other.
Timothy: Then why would I wanna learn Modern Standard Arabic?
Danya: Because it’s a standard. If you learn MSA then you will be able to talk to people throughout the Arab world.
May: If you learned Jordanian dialect, you may have trouble understanding Moroccan speech.
Timothy: Why is that?
May: Each region has its own way of pronouncing things and its own words.
Timothy: So, where can I go to learn a regional dialect?
Danya: You could go to ArabicPod101.com and check out all the regional series lessons.
Timothy: Okay. This conversation takes place at the airport.
Danya: May is picking me up at the airport and she has brought a friend that I’ll be meeting for the first time.
Timothy: The politeness level will be formal and we’ll focus on introductions. Make sure you come by ArabicPod101.com and check out the transcripts, transliteration and translations in the PDF for this lesson. Let’s get into today’s conversation.

Lesson conversation

مي صباح الخير، يا دانية.
دانية صباح النور، يا مي.
مي هذا صديقي. إسمه تيموثي.
دانية تشرّفنا. أنا دانية.
تيموثي تشرّفنا، يا دانية.
Timothy: Now, with the English translation.
May: الآن الترجمة بالإنكليزية
مي صباح الخير، يا دانية.
Timothy: Good morning, Danya.
دانية صباح النور، يا مي.
Timothy: Good morning, May.
مي هذا صديقي. إسمه تيموثي.
Timothy: This is my friend. His name is Timothy.
دانية تشرّفنا. أنا دانية.
Timothy: It's nice to meet you. I'm Danya.
تيموثي تشرّفنا، يا دانية.
Timothy: It's nice to meet you, Danya.
Timothy: So how realistic was this conversation? Is it common for women to have male friends in the Middle East?
Danya: Well, it all depends on what you mean by having friends.
Timothy: How so?
Danya: For example. My cousin, Hala, enjoys friendships with men in your college but she finds it inappropriate to hug them.
Timothy: Really? I hug my close friends all the time in college. Why does Hala feel hugging your friends would be inappropriate?
Danya: People are subconsciously aware of sexuality and it’s not that the culture pressures people not to interact with the opposite sex, it’s just that it happens within limitations and boundaries.
Timothy: Okay. And so, one of those boundaries is with your friends, you know, guys that are not part of your family. You’re just not going to hug them?
Danya: Right.
Timothy: Okay. Great.
Danya: Some people will choose to extend a handshake...
Timothy: Yeah.
Danya: And greet them. But, a hug might not be the most appropriate thing to do.
Timothy: A hug might be too much.
Danya: Right.
Timothy: Okay.
Danya: Although some people would do that.
Timothy: So I would be better off just greeting Hala, with a handshake?
May: Actually, that varies from a person to another. My friend Sarah, for example, tries to interact with men as little as possible. She won’t talk to her male co-workers about her personal life. And when she greets them, she won’t even shake hands with them either.
Danya: Yeah. But my cousin Hala would be fine with a handshake and I even know people who are fine with a kiss on the cheek.
Timothy: How interesting. So, how can I tell what would be appropriate in the Middle East, you know, if Hala will accept the handshake but Sarah doesn’t. And you say, you have friends that would even accept a kiss on the cheek. How can I tell what would be the appropriate physical gesture to go along with meeting somebody?
Danya: Right. Well, your best bet is just to stand back and watch how the other people in the group are acting. So, if they’re shaking hands then you offer yours. And if their extending a hug then you can also do that.
Timothy: Okay.
Danya: So it really depends on what group you’re in.
Timothy: So for the listeners out there. We’re going to have a really detailed write up on what we talked about today.
Timothy: Now, we will take a look at the vocabulary and phrases for this lesson. First word:
May: تشرّفنا [natural native speed]
Timothy: We are honored
May: تشرّفنا [slowly - broken down by syllable]. تشرّفنا [natural native speed]
Timothy: Next word.
May: صباح الخير[natural native speed].
Timothy: Good morning.
May: صباح الخير [slowly - broken down by syllable]. صباح الخير [natural native speed].
Timothy: Next word.
May: صباح النور [natural native speed].
Timothy: "Good morning". Used as a reply.
May: صباح النور [slowly - broken down by syllable]. صباح النور [natural native speed].
Timothy: Next word.
May صديق [natural native speed]
Timothy: Friend.
May: صديق [slowly - broken down by syllable].صديق [natural native speed]
Timothy: Next word.
May: صديقة [natural native speed]
Timothy: "Friend". This time talking about a female.
May: صديقة [slowly - broken down by syllable]. صديقة [natural native speed]
Timothy: Next word.
May: إسم [natural native speed]
Timothy: name
May: إسم [slowly - broken down by syllable]. إسم [natural native speed]
Timothy: Now, let's have a look at the usage for some other words and phrases. The first phrase we will look at is صباح الخير (ṣabāḥu al-ḫaīr) Danya, when would you use this phrase?
Danya: I would use صباح الخير just like I would use "good morning" in the United States.
Timothy: So from like, when you wake up in the morning until lunch time or noon or so?
Danya: Absolutely.
Timothy: All right. May. If someone were to greet you with صباح الخير, How would you respond?
May: صباح النور (ṣabāḥ an-nuūr )
Timothy: What does that mean?
May: It means "good morning" but it's a little stronger.
Timothy: How so?
May: Well, the word نور (nuūr) means light. So it's more like saying “bright morning.”
Timothy: If I were feeling like particularly happy one morning, could I greet someone with صباح النور (ṣabāḥ an-nuūr)?
May: No. صباح النور (ṣabāḥ an-nuūr) is used only when you reply for صباح الخير,(ṣabāḥu al-ḫaīr)
Timothy: Okay. What if it were evening. How would I greet someone? Could you two demonstrate for me?
May: Sure. مساء الخير يا دانيا.,
Danya: مساء النور يا مي.,
Timothy: You used a new word there. Can you repeat it?
May: مساء [natural native speed]. مساء [slowly - broken down by syllable]. مساء [natural native speed].
Timothy: Does مساء mean "evening"?
May: Yes. In the evening, we say مساءالخير.
Timothy: Okay. So what do you mean by "evening" like what, from what time to what time?
May: Well, evening, for, like personally, I would use evening between 5: 00 and night time.
Danya: 'til midnight.
May: 'til midnight.
Timothy: So in the morning, we say...
Danya: صباح الخير
May: صباح النور
Timothy: And in the evening, it's...
May: مساء الخير.
Danya: مساء النور.
Timothy: What about the afternoon, what would you say then?
May: مرحباً.
Danya: أهلاً.
Timothy: So in the afternoon we would just say, "hello". Can we hear those words again?
May: مرحبا [natural native speed]. مرحبا [slowly - broken by syllable]. مرحبا [natural native speed].
Timothy: And the other word for "hello"?
May: أهلا [natural native speed]. أهلا [slowly - broken by syllable]. أهلا [natural native speed].
Danya: There's another important greeting.
Timothy: Oh yeah? What is it ?
Danya: السلام عليكم.
May: و عليكم السلام .
Timothy: Oh yeah, I know that one. Let's repeat it for the listeners.
May: السلام عليكم. [natural native speed]
Timothy: Peace be upon you.
May: السلام عليكم. slowly - broken by syllable]. السلام عليكم. [natural native speed].
Timothy: And the reply?
May: وً عَلَيْكُمْ السَّلَامُ [natural native speed].
Timothy: And upon you, peace.
May: وًعَلَيْكُمْ السَّلَامُ [slowly - broken by syllable] .: وًعَلَيْكُمْ السَّلَامُ [natural native speed].
Timothy: So, when I visited the mosque, I heard that phrase from everybody, even people who didn't speak Arabic. So I was under the impression that السلام عليكم was sort of religious.
Danya: Well, Islam's a very important part of Arabic culture.
May: Yeah. In Jordan, at least, 9 out of 10 people are Muslim.
Danya: So we use السلام عليكم just like saying "hello".
Timothy: Really? So it must be pretty common to hear السلام عليكم
May: Yeah. See, like you said, Muslims are all over the world. They use the word السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ even if they don't know Arabic.
Danya: But I often shorten it to just سلام.
Timothy: How interesting. Let's have a more thorough look at the grammar used in this lesson.

Lesson focus

Timothy: Today, we'll look at possessive suffixes. A possessive suffix is an ending to a word that means "my", "your", "his" or "her". Let's go back to where this appeared in the conversation. Can you repeat that sentence?
May: هذِا صِديقي
Timothy: "This is my friend." This sentence uses just one word to mean "my friend". Can you break that word down for us?
May: صديقي is made of صديق which means "friend" and the sound "E" which means "my" صديقي "my friend".
Timothy: Okay. Let's look at the other example from the dialog.
May: اسمه تيموثي.
Timothy: "His name is Timothy." "His name" is expressed with the single word اسمه. Can you break it down for us?
May: اسمه is made of اسم which means "name" and the sound "hu" which means “his”, اسمه "his name".
Timothy: Okay. Let's give our listeners some more examples so they can start practicing.
May: اسمي مي.
Timothy: My name is May.
May: اسمها دانيا
Timothy: Her name is Danya.
May: هل اسمك تيموثي؟
Timothy: "Is your name Timothy?"نعم "yes".
May: ما اِسْمُكِ؟
Timothy: "What is your name?". This is used when asking a woman. How would you say, "what is your name?" when asking a man?
May: ما اِسْمُكَ؟
Timothy: Okay. So let's say them together so that we can hear the difference.
May: اِسْمُكِ؟
Timothy: For a woman.
May: اِسْمُكَ؟
Timothy: For a man.


Timothy: Thank you. This will conclude today's lesson. Be sure to pick up the PDF at ArabicPod101.com. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to use our form or comments on today's lesson. See you again tomorrow.
May: Bye.
Timothy: Until next time.