Arabic

10 ways to go beyond a simple “thank you” in different languages

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2020 has been a testing year for us all, to say the least. As a way of expressing our gratitude to all our language learners, language instructors, translators, interpreters, volunteers & team members throughout, here are 10 ways of saying thank you — in Arabic, French, Persian and Spanish!

1. تسلم / تسلمي (Tislam/Tislami)

Coming from the root verb “سلم” or “salama” meaning “to come out safe/healthy”, this phrase means “May you stay safe”, and can be used as a way to thank someone, while literally also wishing well for their health and safety!

2. يعطيك العافية (Ya‘tik al-‘afiya)

Literally translating to “may [God] give you health,” this is a recognition of someone’s hard work and allows you to show your appreciation.

3. Merci de tout coeur (mekh-see dah tu ker)

A heartfelt phrase in French meaning, “thank you with all my heart”.

4. C’est très gentil à toi / vous (seh tkheh jan-tee a twa/voo)

In more formal settings, one might say “that’s very kind of you”. Remember to use “vous” when speaking in a respectful manner! 

5. Daste shomā dard nakone (دست شما درد نکنه )

Never realized how poetic Persian is? This phrase means “may your hand not hurt”, often used when someone gives you a gift or prepares food for you.

6. Ghorbāne shomā (قربان شما )

Literally meaning “your sacrifice”, this is an example of a Persian taarof or an Iranian sign of etiquette and politeness, displaying humility. Read more here for context.

7. Te la/lo debo (te la/lo de-bo)

Spanish for “I owe you” – use this with friends to let them know you’re grateful for them and you got them next time!

8. (Estoy) Muy agradecido/a (ehs-toy muy agra-de-cido/a)

This is a lovely way to say “(I’m) very grateful for you” – another version of “thank you so much”, as the adjective “agradecido” is translated as “grateful”.

9. Mamnoun(t)ak/ek (ممنونك/ممنونتك)

You may hear this Arabic loanword, “mamnoun” or “ممنون”, in Arabic or Persian, as a way to say “thank you” or “I’m grateful to you”.

10. Merci (mekh-see)

Don’t be surprised if you hear “merci”, a common way to say “thank you”, beyond francophone countries, it’s also common in Middle Eastern countries and even Iran!  

Here’s to reaching new language feats in 2021! 

Happy new year, كل سنة وأنتم بخير, Feliz año nuevo, Bonne année, سال نو مبارک, from the NaTakallam family to yours 🙂

P.S. In case you missed our thank you series in the past month, check them here in Arabic, Persian, French and Spanish!

5 ways to say “thank you” in Arabic

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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!

5 Spanish Words With Arabic Origins

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We have all learned and witnessed how languages evolve over time and geography. The roots of a language are often tied to their region of origin, their birthplace so to speak. The European Romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian evolved from Latin while the Semitic languages such as Arabic, Amharic and Hebrew all originated in the modern day Middle East. 

That said, languages are full of complexity, often interacting in dynamic and organic ways. For instance, traveling through Spain, it is near impossible to avoid local vocabulary and names derived from… Arabic! The influence of Arabic on Spanish language (and culture!) largely originates from Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula between 711 and 1492 AD.

Because the origins of words can be fascinating… Here are our top five Spanish words borrowed from Arabic!

1. Almohada / المخدة

Has indoor time and chilly fall weather got you snuggling up more these days? Spanish speakers owe their good night’s sleep to Arabic! Almohada comes from المخدة (al-mikhadda), meaning cushion or pillow – and potentially one of our favorite quarantine objects. And it inspired Palestinian writer Mourid Barghouti’s beautiful poem.

2. Jirafa / زرافة

According to Oxford Languages, the earliest recorded origin of the word “giraffe” – “girafe” in French” and “jirafa” in Spanish – is actually from Arabic, زرافة (“zarafa)”, which roughly translates to “fast walker” – nothing to do with its height nor its distinctively long neck!

3. Mezquino / مسكين

Did you know the Spanish word “mezquino” meaning “stingy” or “petty” is derived from Arabic’s مسكين (miskeen) meaning “poor” or “miserly”? Si! The Arabic word itself is a loanword from Akkadian, the oldest known Semitic language, spoken in ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).

4. Ojalá / إن شاء الله

“Ojalá”, which means “hopefully” or “let’s hope so”, comes from the Arabic phrase “inshallah”, which means “God-willing” and is also used in Arabic to reflect the hope that something will happen. Nowadays, it is used by all Arabic speakers, regardless of faith groups.

5. Barrio / بري

The word “barrio”, meaning neighborhood, actually originates from the #Arabic word “بري” (barriy) which refers to the outside or the exterior. This year we’ve definitely learned to love and value both barrio and بري a whole lot more than earlier!

Fascinated by etymology and languages? Look no further. With NaTakallam, pick up Spanish and/or Arabic with our native tutors from displaced and refugee backgrounds! Sign up here.

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