Arabic greetings

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by nay92, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. nay92 Member

    London
    English, England
    I have just started to learn Arabic from a friend of mine.
    Sound this out:
    Asalam moo la acum

    How do you actually spell that greeting phrase
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    السلام عليكم
     
  3. nay92 Member

    London
    English, England
    Can you not write this phrase in English...does it have to be written in the Arabic writing?
     
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Well, you can transliterate it into English, but the proper way to spell the phrase is of course with Arabic letters.

    I would transliterate it like this

    as-salaamu 3alaykum

    or, for someone not familiar with the numbers used in transliteration,

    as-salaamu 'alaykum
     
  5. nay92 Member

    London
    English, England
    Thank you for your help.
    Is this the only Arabic greeting? Also, does it mean something to do with god?
     
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It is not the only greeting, and no it has nothing to do with God.
     
  7. DCPaco Senior Member

    Planet Earth
    Spanish of Mexico/ English of the USA
  8. nay92 Member

    London
    English, England
    Oh my friend who speaks Arabic said it did, why would she say that to me?
     
  9. DCPaco Senior Member

    Planet Earth
    Spanish of Mexico/ English of the USA
    It means: Peace be upon you...or peace be with you (as we say in the Catholic church).
     
  10. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I don't know; ask her. ;)

    DCPaco gave you the right translation.
     
  11. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I think the reason Nay92 thought it had to do with God was the first part of `alaykum = `ala (upon, on) + kum (you- suffix), which reminds the sound of Allah, if pronounced by an English speaker.
     
  12. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Or maybe because the "second part" of the greeting (wa raHmatu 'l-laahi wa barakaatuhu) means : and [be with you] God's mercy and blessing.
    Actually the "full" greeting is as-salaamu 'alaykum wa raHmatu'l-laahi wa barakatuhu. And it means : God's peace, mercy and blessings be with you.
     
  13. EnIrAc

    EnIrAc Senior Member

    Cherine, is "as-salaamu 'alaykum wa raHmatu'l-laahi wa barakatuhu" in Egyptian Arabic?
     
  14. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It's standard Arabic so it's used all over the Arabic-speaking world.
     
  15. EnIrAc

    EnIrAc Senior Member

    Thanks a lot Elroy :)
     
  16. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    As Elroy said this greating is used by all including non-arab muslims. This is typical Egyptian:
    izayik? ازيك؟ (f)izayak? ازيك؟(m) izayukom? ازيكم؟ (pl) How are you?
    response:Ana kuwayis al hamdulillah أنا كويس الحمد لله
    wa inta? و أنت؟ I am fine praise God/Allah and you?
     
  17. mansio Senior Member

    France/Alsace
    Elroy

    The apostrophe ['] is wrongly used by some for the 3ayin.

    Most linguists use for the transliteration of 3ayin (or `ayin) the reversed apostrophe [`], and the normal apostrophe is used for the hamza.
    Both signs look alike to people not familiar with transliteration hence the confusion.
    To avoid it and because it takes more than one keyboard stroke to write the [`], I chose the [3] for 3ayin and I keep the ['] for hamza.
    Besides an initial hamza is usually not transliterated for simplicity's sake.
     
  18. EnIrAc

    EnIrAc Senior Member

    Wow! Many thanks MarcB. Very kind of you :)
     
  19. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Mansio, I prefer the 3 too, but I would not use it if I were transliterating for someone not familiar with the numbers used in transliteration.

    I like your idea about using the ` to represent the 3 and to distinguish it from the hamza - I may start doing that!
     
  20. palomnik Senior Member

    Vietnam
    English
    Elroy, you're probably in a better position to answer this. My impression is that in some parts of the Arabic world at least السلام عليكم is strictly a Muslim greeting, and thus has a religious connotation; non-Muslims would use something else among each other, like sa3iida in Egypt. I have to admit that in the parts of the Arab world that I've frequented (Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen) I've never had an Arab greet me with the phrase, using instead merhaban, ahlan or some other locution.

    Outside of Arab areas (such as in India) using the phrase السلام عليكم is intentionally used to set oneself off as a Muslim.
     
  21. abusaf Senior Member

    Stockholm
    Sweden
    Isnt the plural of izzayak , izzayko, without the m?
     
  22. abusaf Senior Member

    Stockholm
    Sweden
    السلام عليكم bears a strong connection to Islam, as it is called upon Muslims in both the Quran and the ahadeeth to spread this greeting amongst the people.

    In my experience, I have noticed that many non-Muslim arabs do not initiate this greeting, but return it when its being said to them. Furthermore, some Muslims prefer not using the phrase salam aleykum with non-Muslims, which is why some of them use مرحبًا or أهلاً etc instead.
     
  23. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm not Egyptian, but I'm pretty sure both are correct. At least in Palestinian Arabic we can say both "kiif 7aalkom" and "kiif 7aalku" (and also "kiif 7aalkon").

    Regarding السلام عليكم - you are both right. As Arab Christians, we respond to this greeting but we rarely use it. Although it does not contain an explicit reference to Islam it is, as Abusaf said, associated with Islam. Occasionally you will hear Christians using it but it's not common. For example, when I'm traveling by public transportation in Jerusalem I commonly hear it being said by passengers as they're getting on - and it's natural for me to respond to it - but when I get on I almost always say مرحبا if anything at all. When Christians do use it it's usually to greet Moslems (I guess paralleling Moslems' tendency to greet Christians with something else, as described by Abusaf); using this greeting between Christians is very rare indeed.

    And yes, I've heard that in non-Arab countries Moslems frequently use this greeting to single themselves out as Moslems, or I guess simply to identify themselves as a group.
     
  24. Taalib Senior Member

    United States
    United States
    I can confirm this surmise with personal experience from observations as a non-Western Arabic speaker in multi-communal environments in the Mideast.

    In Lebanon, in the cosmopolitan city core Christian Arabs will say مرحبا or أهلاً rather than السلام عليكم to greet non-acquainted strangers, but it is perfectly acceptable to return the latter greeting with the standard Arabic response when speaking to Muslim Arabs. The situation changes slightly when one moves to the more heavily Muslim areas, particularly the Shi'a suburbs or the Palestinian camps, and Christian Arabs there are much more likely to adopt the Muslim greeting when walking around for strategic reasons.

    The same also goes for Christian neighborhoods in Amman in Jordan--linguistically parsing out greetings in Arabic to "fit" the situation based on the religion of both speaker and recipient is the norm. I've never been chastised for using السلام عليكم with my Christian colleagues in both countries, although they reaffirm the point that in their local cultural context it tends to carry a heavily Islamic overtone--which has thus lended it to be used in the complex languages games that Arabic speakers play in multi-communal situations.

    So, I would confirm the argument that السلام عليكم is not just a neutral expressive greeting--in certain situations, it's an identity marker revealing the religion of the speaker.
     
  25. Beate Senior Member

    German
    well, this has nothing to do with language anymore, but I find it frustrating when even a greeting is used to separate people.:-(
     
  26. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    No need to be frustrated; just because a greeting indicates the speaker's religion does not necessarily mean it will lead to problems.

    Think of German: "Servus" is used in Austria, and "moin moin" in northern Germany. Is this a problem?

    Prejudice exists, but it has little to do with the greetings people use. :)
     
  27. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    elroy,

    Although using this greeting in preference to their native greetings does have the effect of singling them out from non-Muslims, I don't think it's necessarily the intention of the speaker. There are many other Arabic terms used by Muslims, which have just become so common amongst Muslims of all language groups, that they are even incorporated into their languages to varying degrees.
     

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