Kifak? Or Kayfa Haluk?

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Zujaja, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Zujaja New Member

    German - Germany

    I'm new here but anyway here it goes. I started to learn Arabic about 6 months ago and I'm still not that good.

    Anyway, I was talking to my Palestinian friend the other day and he told me that the word for "how are you?" is "kifak?".My book, on the other hand, says it's "Kayfu halik?". Which one is right?

    Please help me!
  2. Milado New Member


    I'm new here too, I'm native speaker of Arabic.
    "kifak?" is a Levantine dialect of Arabic, which is spoken in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Many parts (West half) in Syria.

    The formal Arabic says "Kayfa haluka?" for singular male, and "Kayfa haluki?" for singular female.

    And it's Kayfa not Kayfu
    And Haluk not Halik.

    If you can read the Arabic script I'll right them for you.

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009
  3. AndyRoo Senior Member

    Hello Zujaja,

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'm sure you're doing just fine with your Arabic - 6 months is nothing! It takes a long time to learn a language.

    In answer to your question, both are correct but kifak is the (Palestinian) spoken version (I suppose) whilst kayfa Haaluk is the standard "written" version throughout the Arab world (i.e. MSA).

    I say written version, because although you could in theory use it to greet someone, I think it would sound overly formal.

    Perhaps other members could say if they ever really use kayfa Haaluk to greet someone?
  4. Milado New Member

    No, we don't use this to greet someone, but to ask about his own business, study and every thing in his life generally.

    Greetings would include: Marhaba(n) مَرْحَباً (Hi), AS-Salam Alay kum (peace upon you) and such.
  5. Talib Senior Member

    أهلاً يا زجاجة (That means hello, Zujaja!).

    Welcome to the forum! To answer your question, understand there are two different kinds of Arabic: the formal written language (called Modern Standard Arabic) which is very uniform, and the spoken language called عامية ('amiyyah) or just "dialect." What your friend told you is the way of saying this phrase in Levantine (meaning from Lebanon, Palestine, Syria etc.) and "kayfa haluka" is standard Arabic.

    Also note that the ending changes to haluki when speaking to a female.

    I know this seems confusing, but don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. Arabic is a very difficult language, for someone who's not a native speaker, that is.
    I do (on instant messaging for example) but then I don't know much colloquial Arabic.
  6. Zujaja New Member

    German - Germany
    Thanks guys! That explains a whole lot!

    مرحباً يا طالب
  7. djamal 2008 Senior Member

    Kayfa haloukoum or hwalkoum, when addressing an older person.
  8. shining_star24 Senior Member

    Hi guys,

    All of these translations sound logic to me. However, In Palestinian dialect, we don't use Hwalkoum to address an old Man, rather we use Halak ou Halokoum if the situation is formal. But it is so enriching to know other dialects :)

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