Welcome أهلاً وسهلاً / أهلاً بك

sadahzinia

Member
Greek Greece
To Arabic speaking people....
Can you please explain what is the meaning of these phrases?

Ahlan Wa Sahlan/ Ahlan Beek

I mean, I know that Arabs say it when they Welcome someone and that someone answers back (Ahlan Beek). But what do they actually mean?
Thanks in advance,
Sadahzinia
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Ahlan" literally means "family, kinfolk."
    "Sahlan" literally means "easy."

    The origin of the phrase is حللت أهلاً ووطئت سهلاً. Loosely translated, it means, "May you arrive as part of the family, and tread an easy path (as you enter)."

    "Ahleen" is just the dual of "ahlan." Sometimes words are dualized in colloquial Arabic to intensify them.
     

    sadahzinia

    Member
    Greek Greece
    Thank you so much...
    How about: "Ahlan Beek" ?
    What does it mean... I found out that when it is said to women it is supposed to be "Ahlan Beeky"
    But I can't figure out what it means. Can you help?

    Sadahzinia
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Ahlan Beek(y) Sadahzinia :)
    The word "ahlan" is invariable, as Elroy said it means something like : you arrived among your family, or as we sometimes say: make yourself at home. It's the same idea : with us you're home, you're in your family. It an expression of hospitability and friendliness.
    But the "beek" is formed of two elements : a preposition ب "b" and a pronoun ك "k". The preposition doesn't change, but the pronoun does. So when the expression is said to :
    - a masculine : bika
    - a feminine : biki
    - plural masculine : bikum
    - plural feminine : bikunna
    All the above in MSA. The colloquial is a bit different :
    - a masculine : beek
    - a feminine : beeki
    - plural masculine/feminine : beeku (or beekum)

    I forgot to say that the structure "b+k" (with all its variants) means something like "with you". As you said : people use it to reply to "ahlan", to mean : I'm home because of you, I'm in family with you....
    It's sort of gentle reply to a gentle welcoming :)

    Now people use this word so often that the majority don't even know it's real meaning :) :)
     

    Sidjanga

    Senior Member
    German;southern tendencies
    Hi,

    If you put up a sign at the entrance of a place where only women go (like a women's café or something), would you actually write

    أهلاً وسهلاً بكنّ,

    or would that look strange (and be it just because it's hardly ever used) and you'd normally write بكم all the same - which would be gender-neutral in most dialects anyway?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi,
    If you want to write a sign, you just say أهلاً وسهلاً or مرحبًا . There's no need to add the pronoun unless you really need to emphasis that the place is solely for women (for example, out of a feminist perspective).
     

    Sidjanga

    Senior Member
    German;southern tendencies
    Thanks, Cherine.

    Well, it's not meant to mean that men are unwelcome. :)

    I just thought that أهلاً وسهلاً sounded more emphatic or more welcoming with the pronoun, but I might be mistaken.

    And if I added the pronoun, I thought it would probably be more appropriate to say بكنّ - given that it's meant to be for a place by women for women, where (practically) only women go, in which case it would be strange to say بكم, wouldn't it? (there's certainly a feminist touch to it, but not in the sense that men mustn't come in or something).

    But if بكنّ does suggest that men are explicitely unwelcome, that wouldn't really be the intended meaning, either. :)

    So you wouldn't say that أهلاً وسهلاً sounds less welcoming that أهلاً وسهلاً بك\بكم, or would you?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Thanks, Cherine.
    You're welcome :)
    And if I added the pronoun, I thought it would probably be more appropriate to say بكنّ - given that it's meant to be for a place by women for women, where (practically) only women go, in which case it would be strange to say بكم, wouldn't it? (there's certainly a feminist touch to it, but not in the sense that men mustn't come in or something).
    My previous reply was based on the common usage. In most signs I've seen, the pronoun is not used. But if you want to add it, which is absolutely ok :), you're right that بكن should be used in this case. It wouldn't mean that men are unwelcomed, on the contrary: it would be a clear indication that it's a women-only place.
    So you wouldn't say that أهلاً وسهلاً sounds less welcoming that أهلاً وسهلاً بك\بكم, or would you?
    Absolutely not. It is a welcoming expression, the pronoun doesn't add any welcoming to it :)
    The signs I saw with the pronoun were those using longer sentences: أهلاً وسهلاً بكم في كذا . When the place is not indicated, the pronoun is usually not used.
     

    psvenner

    New Member
    Swedish
    Hi,

    I heard this phrase, and I think it looks like this in latin letters: Marhaba aumit ahlan au sahlan.
    What is a correct translation of that?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Welcome to the forum :)

    This transliteration is a bit strange, but it's ok. It say مرحبًا وميت أهلاً وسهلاً (welcome and a hundred times "ahlan wa sahlan"). "ahlan wa sahlan" in itself is like a welcome, so it's kind of an emphasized/extra warm welcoming.
     

    Tracer

    Banned
    American English
    أهلاً أهلاً أهلاً

    It's also very common, especially in movies and TV series, to hear أهلاً repeated 2 or 3 times by itself (without the سهلاً ). I don't think I've ever seen an Egyptian movie in which that trio wasn't expressed at least once.:)
     

    Sheikh_14

    Senior Member
    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    "Ahleen" is just the dual of "ahlan." Sometimes words are dualized in colloquial Arabic to intensify them.

    Don't mind me interrupting, but don't you mean pluralisations' instead of dualisations' since the dualized form of Ahlan would be Ahlain just as Marhaba is followed by Marhabtain even though neither are grammatically sound? Ahleen on the other hand would be a pluralisation and Tracer in post 13 attests a trend of repetition in Arabic dialects. On the other hand, Ahlain too is heard but I would imagine that it is merely a case of colloquial prolongation.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Ahlain and Ahleen are just 2 different representations of the same sound. We usually use "ee" in the forum to transliterate a long "é" sound (like the French "é"). This is only used for transliterating colloquial Arabic, because, as far as I know, the sound "é" is not present in Standard Arabic.
     

    Sheikh_14

    Senior Member
    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    ^Timely contribution that makes it all fit in place. Nevertheless the dualisations are not a one size fits all trend since I doubt Mahrabtain can be used as an initial greeting rather than a reply. In my humble opinion it would be best to type ai instead of ee since the e sound does exist at least in the Levantine dialect if not in MSA.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    In my humble opinion it would be best to type ai instead of ee since the e sound does exist at least in the Levantine dialect if not in MSA.
    You're right, but this is just the way we translate long vowels in this forum. Two "a"s indicate an alef madd (long a), two "u"s indicate a مد بالواو (long "u"), two "e" = long "é",...etc.
     
    Top