Dialogue - Standard Arabic

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Dialogue - Moroccan Arabic

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Vocabulary

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بخير (Standard) [بِخَيْر] biḫayr fine
كيف حالك؟ [كَيْفَ حالُكَ؟] kayfa ḥal-uka? How are you? (masc. singular)
الحمد لله [الْحَمْدُ لله] al-ḥamdu lillaah Praise be to God.
كيف حالك؟ [كَيْفَ حَالُكِ؟] kaifa ḥaaluki? How are you? (fem. singular)
مرحبا [مَرْحَباً] marḥaban Hello, hi.

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

In today's lesson, we will cover the usage of the question "kayfa ḥaaluki?" (How are you?) This question is made up of two words: kayfa (how) and ḥaaluki (you're doing). This expression changes depending on whether you're addressing a man or a woman, in a singular or plural form. What changes in the phrase is the second word "ḥaaluki." Literally, "ḥaaluki" can be translated as "your state", meaning "How's your state / How are you?" Its equivalent in the masculine form is "ḥaaluka." Therefore, "kayfa ḥaaluka?" means "How are you?" when addressing a man. Note that the only difference is the sound "a" at the end of the suffix "ka" that indicates the possessive "your." Now, let's go back to where this appeared in the conversation. Since Maryam is talking to Amina, a woman, naturally she uses the feminine form of "how are you" which is "kayfa ḥaaluki?" To recap, "How are you?" is "kayfa ḥaaluki?" when addressing a woman and "kayfa ḥaaluka?" when addressing a man. In the next Newbie lesson, we will learn how to say "How are you?" when addressing a group of people.

Cultural Insights

Referring to God, "Allah", in conversations and language is pretty common in Arabic. Since Islam is the dominant religion in Arab countries, people always use expressions such as “In the name of God” (bismi llaah) or “Thanks be to God” ('al-ḥamdu lillah). In our dialog today, we used the expression "biayr, 'al-ḥamdu lillaah" (I'm fine, thanks be to God) as a typical response to "How are you?" In this case, the speaker is thanking God for good health and well being. People in Arabic-speaking countries also use this expression in various other contexts, like after finishing a meal. Typically, one would say "'al-ḥamdu lillaah", and in this case, it means "Thanks be to God" for the good food.

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Munia: Hello and welcome to ArabicPod101.com. My name is Munia and I’m joined here by Shama. كيف حالك؟
Shama: بخير، شكرا Today we have the first lesson of our Arabic newbie series. This series focuses on the essentials of standard Arabic for anyone who is in the early stages of language learning. Here we take a fun, innovative approach to learning not just Arabic, but also about the Arabic speaking world.
Munia: That’s right! In addition to covering grammar, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, vocabulary and speech, you know, all the things to ensure you a solid foundation, ArabicPod0101.com also offers you cultural insight.
Shama: Insider tips and a look at Arabic and Arabic culture throughout the Arab world.
Munia: So join us as we build the most comprehensive Arabic language learning site ever created. Take your studies to the next level by stopping by the learning center at ArabicPod101.com.
Shama: And reinforce your Arabic by using the grammar bank of the learning center at ArabicPod101.com.
Munia: Don’t forget to press the center button on your iPod to see the lesson transcript in your display.
Shama: Ok, Munia. Can you set the stage for this lesson’s conversation?
Munia: Sure. This lesson’s conversation takes place at the train station. The conversation is between two people, Meriam and Amina, who are meeting each other for the first time. So the conversation will be in formal Arabic. I will be Meriam, while Shama will be Amina.
Shama: Ok. Here we go.
DIALOGUE
Shama: مرحبا
Munia: مرحبا، كيف حالك؟
Shama: بخير، الحمد لله. و أنتِ؟
Munia: بخير، الحمد لله
Shama: Once again. This time, slowly.
Shama: مَرْحَبًا
Munia: مَرْحَبًا، كَيْفَ حَالُكِ؟
Shama: بِخَيْرْ، الحَمْدُ لِلَّه. وَ أَنْتِ؟
Munia: بِخَيْرْ، الحَمْدُ لِلَّه
Munia: This time, with the translation.
Shama : مرحبا. Hello.
Munia: مرحبا، كيف حالكِ؟ Hello. How are you?
Shama: بخير، الحمد لله. و أنتِ؟ Fine, thanks be to God. And you?
Munia: بخير، الحمد لله Fine, thanks be to God.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Munia: So what do you think, Shama, is this conversation really typical? I mean, can we use it when we meet someone for the first time?
Shama: Oh, absolutely, the greeting مرحبا used in this conversation isn’t time specific, unlike “good morning” or “good afternoon”, so you can basically use it any time in the day.
Munia: That’s right. مرحبا is a common greeting in standard Arabic. Yeah, and it can be used both in formal and informal context. Don’t you think?
Shama: I think so, yeah. There’s a more formal and similar expression we can use in this context, and it’s السّلام عليكم.
Munia: Which literally means “Peace be upon you”, and it’s sort of a universal greeting that can be used anywhere and anytime. One more time slowly. السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ
VOCAB LIST
Munia: Now we will take a look at the vocabulary and phrases for this lesson.
Shama: First we have a word.
Munia: مرحبا.
Shama: Literally, “Welcome” and this is also used to say “Hello”.
Munia: مَرْحَبًا
Shama: مَرْحَبًا
Munia: Next, we have a phrase. كيف حالكِ؟.
Shama: Literally, “How is your state?” or “How are you?”
Munia: كَيْفَ حَالُكِ؟
Shama: كَيْفَ حَالُكِ؟
Munia: Next word. بخير .
Shama: It means “Fine” or “I’m fine.”
Munia: بِخَيْرْ
Shama: بِخَيْرْ
Munia: Next, we have a phrase. و أنتِ؟ . Literally, “And you?” when addressing a woman.
Shama: وَ أَنْتِ؟ .
Munia: وَ أَنْتِ؟. Next we have a phrase. الحمد لله.
Shama: Literally, it means “Thanks be to God”.
Munia: الحَمْدُ لِلَّه
Shama: الحَمْدُ لِلَّه
Munia: You’ll notice that reference to God in conversations and language is pretty common in Arabic.
Shama: That’s right since Islam is the dominant religion in the Arab world, people use expressions such as “in the name of God” or “thanks to God”.
Munia: In our dialogue today, for example, when asked, “How are you?” the usual response is “I’m fine, thanks be to God”, which again in Arabic is بخير، الحمد لله .
Shama: In this case, the speaker is thanking God for good health and well-being.
Munia: We also use the expression in other contexts like after finishing a meal, you usually say
الحمد لله
Shama: And in this case it means “Thanks to be to God for the good food”.
Munia: Word and phrase list. مرحبا
Shama: Hello.
Munia: كيف حالكِ؟
Shama: “How are you?” in the feminine form.
Munia: كيف حالكَ؟
Shama: “How are you?” in the masculine form.
Munia: بخير
Shama: “Fine, I’m fine.”
Munia: الحمد لله
Shama: “Thanks be to God.”
Munia: وَ أَنْتِ؟
Shama: “And you?” in the feminine form.
Munia: وَ أَنْتَ؟
Shama: “And you?” in the masculine form.
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
Munia: Let’s have a look at the usage for some of the words. The first word we will look at is مرحبا .
Shama: Can you give us an example, please?
Munia: When used alone, مرحبا takes the meaning of “hello”. When you meet friends, one way of greeting is saying مرحبا.
Shama: When used as مرحبا بكم, it means “welcome” or “welcome to all of you”. Usually, you hear this expression a lot on TV and radio programs. Hosts use it welcome listeners and watchers to their show. مرحبا بكم. Another all purpose greeting phrase which we didn’t use in the dialogue, but we mentioned it earlier is السّلام عليكم. We use at shops, restaurants, at work place, when meeting friends, people you know and those you don’t.
Munia: Right. And when entering a store, for example, you’re expected to greet the assistant and anyone else there by saying السّلام عليكم .
Shama: And a typical response to السّلام عليكم is و عليكم السّلام.
Munia: Both the greeting and its response literally mean “peace be upon you”. Next, let’s talk about . كيف حالكِ؟.
كيف literally means “how” and حالكِ؟ means “your state”. All together كيف حالكِ؟ mean “how are you”.
Shama: This expression is used when addressing women only.
Munia: We’ll talk about masculine and plural forms a bit later in the grammar section.
Shama: For now, let’s focus on the proper answer to that. For example, كيف حالكِ, Munia?. “How are you, Munia?”
Munia: بخير، شكرا . “I’m fine, thank you.” بخير is the typical answer to “how are you” and then you follow it with either شكرا or الحمد لله “thanks be to God”. كيف حالكِ, Shama?
Shama: بخير، الحمد لله
Munia: Greetings and farewells are two important aspects of life in Arab countries. Greetings are not to be compared with the quick American “Hi”. It takes time for two people to exchange different questions and answers which interest them about each other, their families and life in general. Greetings change from one region to another, both in the questions asked and in the fashion of the greetings, such as shaking hands, kissing cheeks or hands, or putting one’s hand over one’s heart after shaking hands.
Shama: It’s also not necessary to give an overly detailed response to a greeting. Only the usual response is expected.
Munia: And for example, “How are you?” requires only a simple “Fine, thank you.”

Lesson focus

Munia: Let’s have a more thorough look at the grammar use in this lesson. We will cover the usage of كيف حالكِ؟, “How are you?”
Shama: This question is made up of two words, كيف, “how”, and حالكِ , “you’re doing”. What we would like to explain here is that this expression changes depending on whether you’re addressing a man or a woman, singular or plural. What changes in the phrase is the second word, حالكِ.
Munia: Its equivalent in the masculine form is حالكَ.
كيف حالكَ؟ means “How are you?” when addressing a man. Note that the only difference is the sound أَ at the end.
I had to go back to the line because the word order changes if I put them on the same line.
Shama: Now, let’s go back to where this appeared in the conversation. Can you repeat that sentence for us, please?
Munia: كيف حالكِ؟, “How’s your state?” literally, or “How are you?” Since Meriam was talking to Amina, a woman, naturally she used the feminine form of “How are you?” كيف حالكِ؟ Ok, Shama, give us one more example of how we can apply this.
Shama: When I meet my friend Mohamed, who is a guy, I ask him كيف حالكَ؟ which means “How are you?” in the masculine form. To recap, كيف حالكِ؟ is “How are you?” when addressing a woman, and كيف حالكَ؟ when addressing a man. Last, when addressing a group of people, whether man or women, we say كيف حالكم؟. And that’s the plural form of the expression “How are you?”

Outro

Munia: And to all our listeners, كيف حالكم؟ , which means “How are you all?”
Munia: This will conclude today’s lesson. Be sure to pick up the PDF at ArabicPod101.com.