If you decide to visit one of the Arabic countries, it is better to know at least some basics of the language, even just to say “hi” or “thank you”.
The first thing to keep in mind is that, whenever you speak, you have to refer according to the genre: it means, you answer will be different if you talk to a male of a female. In addition to it, if you refer to a group of people, you will have a third expression.
Arabic is more formal than English, especially while saying greetings, that is also why some expressions can change according the situation (as showed below). Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and always use the sentence asking if they speak English. You have already won if you used it.
To be sure to pronunce the vowels in the right way, here there is a small legend, helping you to deal with the macron – on them. Basically it gives the vowel a longer sound:
ā as in father
ē as in ten
ū as “oo” in food
ī as “e” in ear
Knowing that, here there is a short but interesting vocabulary:
Hello: salām ‘alēkum
Hello (in response to “hello”): wa ‘alēkum es salām
Good morning: sabāH-al-khēr
Good morning (in response to “good morning”): sabāH-an-nūr
Thank you: shukran
Thank you very much: shukran gazīlan
You are welcome: ‘afwan
Please (less formal)
to male: min fadlak
to female: min fadlik
to a group: min fadlukum
Please (more formal, when you are trying to get someone’s attention):
to male: law samaHt
to female: law samaHtī
to a group: law samaHtu
na ‘am (more formal)
Goodbye: ma ‘as salāma
Do you speak English?:
to male: enta bititkallim inglīzī?
to female: entī bititkallimī inglīzī?