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Lesson Transcript

ArabicPod101.com presents Arabic Survival Phrases. This course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Arabic speaking countries, with particular focus on Morocco. So join us for Arabic Survival phrases. You will be surprised at how far a little Arabic will go.
Now before we jump in, remember to stop by ArabicPod101.com, there you’ll find an accompanying PDF, additional learning tools in the premium learning center, and other great Arabic language learning materials. In addition, you’ll find more information in the post. And if you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.

Lesson focus

In today's lesson, we'll cover phrases used for apologizing. Now, as you haven’t quite mastered Arabic, it's probably very prudent to go over the phrases for apologizing as they just might come in handy.
We’ll start with ʿafwaan (عفوا).
Let’s break it down by syllable: ʿafwaan
This phrase means “excuse me” and because it is Standard Arabic, it is usually used in a formal context such as a business meeting. You can use it when you sneeze or cough while in a meeting, or if you have to interrupt a conversation to answer a phone call, for example.
Next, let’s take a look at a more casual way of saying “excuse me.” The word for “excuse me” is ismaḥ liī (اسمح لي).
This is by far the most common word for apologizing in Morocco, because you can use it everywhere and everyday. Basically, whenever you mess up!
ismaḥ liī
Let’s break it down by syllable: ismaḥ liī
Literally, smahlii means “forgive me”, so we use it to say “sorry”, “excuse me”, and “forgive me” (but let’s hope you don’t get yourself into that much trouble here…).
When you go to a suuq (سوق) which is Arabic for “marketplace”, chances are it will be overcrowded. If you step on somebody’s foot, or you push them by mistake, just say ismaḥ liī and you’ll be okay. Or, if you want to ask someone a question, like at an information desk or to call a waiter, you say ismaḥ liī to get their attention before asking them. If you’re late, just say ismaḥ liī when you arrive.
Now, what if someone says ismaḥ liī (sorry) to you? In the case that someone uses this expression towards you, the proper response is makāīn maškal (مكاين مشكل), which literally means “no problem” or “that’s ok.”
makāīn maškal
Let’s break it down by syllable: makāīn maškal
makāīn maškal
The first word makāīn (مكاين) means “there is no” and the second word mushkil (مشكل) means "problem". So literally, the expression means “there’s no problem.”
When you apologize, just like every country, you want to look sincere and genuine, so make sure you make eye contact with the person you're saying sorry to. Also, Moroccans like to use facial expressions and gestures when speaking to give in his has to what they're saying so usually when you say ismaḥ liī, or sorry, you want to raise your right hand to the level of your shoulder, it’s a common gesture among Moroccans.


Okay, to close out today's lesson, we'd like for you to practice what you've just learned. I'll provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you're responsible for saying it aloud. You'll have a few seconds before I give you the answer, so حظ سعيد, that means "good luck" in Arabic.
Ok, here we go!
“Excuse me” (formal) - ʿafwaan
“Excuse me” (casual) - ismaḥ liī
ismaḥ liī
ismaḥ liī
“no problem” - makāīn maškal
makāīn maškal
makāīn maškal
All right. This is going to do it for this lesson of Arabic Survival Phrases. Remember to stop by ArabicPod101.com. There you’ll find an accompanying PDF, additional learning tools in the premium learning center, and other great Arabic language learning materials. See you soon, which in Arabic is - ilā al-liqāʾ.

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