Ahlan (أهلا, hello)! Last week, our blog explored 5 ways of saying “thank you” in Spanish. This week, let us dive into 5 different ways of expressing gratitude in Arabic.
Although each country in the MENA region has its own colloquial dialect, ‘aammiya (عامية), here are 5 ways to say “thank you” that can be understood almost anywhere in the region.
1. Shukran (شكراً)
Shukran is used in all Arabic-speaking countries, in both formal and informal settings, and is understood widely among speakers of all dialects of Arabic. It comes from the root verb shakara (شكر) meaning “to thank”. As a common response, you may hear al-’awfoo (العفو) or ‘af-waan (عفواً) which literally means “forgive/pardon”, and is the equivalent of “you’re welcome” or “no problem” in English.
2. Tislam/Tislami (تسلم/تسلمي)
Heard mostly throughout the Levant and parts of the Gulf, this phrase comes from the root verb salama (سلم) meaning “to come out safe/healthy”. It can be used when a friend or family member gives you something or does something nice for you.
Add ideyk (إيديك – to a male) or ideyki (إيديكي – to a female) to the end of the phrase and you will quite literally say “may your hands enjoy health” – a way of thanking the person who gave you something.
3. Mamnoun(t)ak/ek (ممنونك/ممنونتك)
Mamnountak/ek (female speaker) or mamnounak/ek (male speaker), is used throughout the Levantine region to say “thank you” or to mean “I’m grateful to you”.
If you’ve got this down, you know some Persian, too! This Arabic loanword, mamnoun (ممنون), which is gender-neutral in Persian, is commonly used to say “thank you” by Persian speakers as well. Watch out this space to learn more about expressing gratitude in Persian!
4. Ya‘tik al-‘afiya (يعطيك العافية)
Literally translating to “may [God] give you health” this phrase is said in recognition and appreciation of someone’s hard work. In response, you may hear Allah y-a‘fik, which also means “may God bless you with good health”. It is also used in the Levant as a way to say “hi” when entering a shop, acknowledging and praising the fact that the people attending you are working hard.
Caution: in Moroccan Darija dialect, ‘afiya means fire, so please be careful while using this phrase in Morocco!
5. Yekather khairak/ek (يكثر خيرك)
An abbreviated version of the saying “I wish [that God] increases your welfare”, this phrase can be a way of saying “thank you so much for helping me” across the Arab world. Khair (خير) is the noun meaning “good” often heard as bekhair (بخير, well) when responding to the question “How are you?”
These are a few ways to express gratitude in Arabic. This holiday season, learn more about the subtleties of the Arabic language and culture with NaTakallam’s language partners! Sign up for sessions here. Offer the gift of conversation to loved ones, near or far, here!