French

7 Meaningful Gift Ideas To Make Someone’s Holiday

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

This holiday season, spread love and stand out from the crowd with meaningful gifts that help transcend borders and offer your loved ones a tangible experience of the world from the comforts of home. Go the extra mile (without breaking the bank) by choosing gifts that speak to their senses, curiosity and wanderlust. Whether you are looking for presents for a budding homecook, an avid traveller, or a culture aficionado, here are some ideas to create memorable gift experiences.

 

1. Kitchen Gift Set | Sitti x Darzah (US$70)
This embroidered apron and olivewood utensils set is an ideal gift for a treasured homecook. It brings together centuries-old Palestinian artitistic traditions of tatreez (تطريز) or embroidery, handed down from mother to daughter, and of olivewood carving, documented as a speciality of the region in travelogues and historical documents from as early as the 16th century. While the apron in this gift set is hand-embroidered by women artisans in Bethlehem with a traditional red tatreez olive branch motif, the utensils are crafted from sustainably-sourced olive wood in Palestine.

This kitchen set is a perfect gift for a seasoned chef, aspiring cook, or somebody who needs an extra push to try new recipes and travel through culture and cuisine – Palestinian or another.

Sitti ships worldwide. Shipping rates and times will vary according to items, courier and location. Free shipping is offered to orders made within Canada and the USA.

 

2. Tote Bag, Cojolya | Amano Marketplace (US$57-62)
Made by a Tz’utujil Maya masterweaver in Guatemala using traditional Mayan techniques, this tote bag from Cojolya is an elegant amalgamation of style and sustainability. Cojolya is a certified fair trade organization that is dedicated to the conservation of traditional Mayan techniques, not as historical relics, but as economically viable sources of employment for the women weavers associated with them.

This makes a great option for the culturally curious who would get a glimpse of Latin American culture through this tote bag, handmade with love and packed with history.

Amano Marketplace ships worldwide. Shipping rates and times will vary according to items, courier and location. Free U.S. shipping for orders over US$175.

 

3. Tahdiglover pot | Tahdiglover (Starts from £12.99)
Share the joys of a perfectly crispy and scrumptious tahdig with a fellow Persian-food lover with this Tahdiglover pot. Traditionally made of rice, tahdig (ته دیگ) which literally translates to “bottom of the pot”, is considered a Persian “soul food”. Tahdiglover pot ensures that you always get this dish right! It is a woman-owned business working with other small businesses in Iran and the UK to help young people showcase their cooking talent and to make Persian and Middle Eastern cooking more accessible and enjoyable.

The Tahdiglover pot is a creative gift for anyone keen on mastering their Tahdig skills, taking up the challenge of cooking a new cuisine, or accessing new worlds through food and culture.

Tahdiglover ships worldwide from the UK. Shipping rates and times will vary according to items, courier and location.

 

4. Hojari Frankincense from Oman | Pink Jinn (US$55.46)
Dial up warmth and comfort this holiday season with the gift of Omani frankincense from Pink Jinn! Frankincense, an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, was traded on the Arabian peninsula and the Horn of Africa for over 5,000 years. Monopoly over frankincense trade is believed to have helped the Nabateans rise to prominence in the 1st century BC. This exquisite gift brings home the intriguing history of frankincense along with an effortless experience of luxury and healing. Pink Jinn’s frankincense are sourced from Dhofar in Oman, an historically important site for frankincense production, and comes in an ornate jar along with a pair of tongs and charcoal discs.

The Hojari Frankincense is an exquisite gift that speaks to the senses of the bold, the spiritual, and those interested in new experiences from the comfort of their homes.

Pink Jinn ships worldwide from the UK (via Etsy). Shipping rates and times will vary according to items, courier and location.

 

5. Queen Amina’s Blend | Amatte Coffee (£8.90)
Gift for a coffee lover AND a history enthusiast? Look no further. Sourced from female farmers in the Sidamo province of southern Ethiopia and from the Democratic Republic of Congo, this naturally processed ground coffee is the holy grail you’re seeking! This blend by Amate Coffee has a sweet and smooth taste with notes of orange, apricot, caramel, vanilla and citrus and is named after Queen Amina, the first female leader of the city-state of Zazzu, located in the north-western part of modern Nigeria. The gift receiver is guaranteed an exhilarating journey through time, space and robust tasting notes!

Amatte ships worldwide from the UK. Shipping is £3 within the UK and £15 outside the UK.

 

6. The Latin American Cookbook by Chef Virgilio Martinez | Phaidon (€45)
Discover the vibrant flavors, aromas, and ingredients of Latin American cooking with Chef Virgilio Martinez’s latest cookbook which celebrates the treasures of Latin American cookery. Replete with six hundred recipes from twenty-two countries, this cookbook will help any Latin America lover reinvigorate memories of food, people and culture from their travels and musings! Holiday gifting done right.

Phaidon ships worldwide from one of their warehouses in the USA, UK, or Australia. Shipping rates and times will vary according to items, courier and location.

 

7. Gift of Conversation | NaTakallam (Starts from US$25)
After a year of pandemic and social distancing, what is better this holiday season than connecting to another human being through language? NaTakallam’s “Gift of Conversation” is a unique gift that allows individuals to learn a new language or brush up their existing skills from the comforts of their home. What’s more? You would be supporting the livelihood of tutors from displaced backgrounds and their host communities. It makes a perfect stocking stuffer for a beloved language-enthusiast looking for a life-changing experience (both theirs and their tutors alike)!

Give the Gift of Conversation to a language lover in your life, near or far. Suitable for all levels and ages, and available in over 15 languages and dialects.

NaTakallam’s Gift of Conversation is paperless and shipping-free (i.e it can be “virtually” shipped worldwide).

 

Still need more inspiration? Check out this impactful gift guide by our friends at Vital Voices, who have partnered with inspiring small women-led businesses this holiday season.

Vital Voices Global Partnership are “venture catalysts” that invest in women leaders and change makers who are solving the world’s greatest challenges across 185 countries – from gender-based violence to the climate crisis, economic inequities, and more. 

5 Ways to Express your Love in French

Reading Time: < 1 minute

French is known as “le langage de l’amour” or the language of love! And we believe that love should not be defined by just a day or month.

Keep sharing the love with our top 5 phrases in French, with the special people in your life!

1. Je t’aime
This is the most widely recognized way to say “I love you” in French to a loved one, family member or friend!

2. Mon chéri/Ma chérie
Meaning “my darling/dear,” this common endearment is used throughout the francophone world. Fun fact: If someone uses the noun “chéri” in the US, it is commonly thought that they are from (French-speaking) New Orleans, Louisiana.

3. Ma moitié
While literally “my half”, in English this would be more accurately translated as “my better half” and often refers to a “partner in crime”. This can be used with friends and romantic partners alike.

4. Avoir un cœur d’artichaut
This phrase literally means “to have an artichoke heart,” but refers to someone that falls in love easily.

5. Mon cœur bat la chamade
They don’t call it the language of love for nothing. This poetic expression translates as “My heart beats loudly [for you]”, in anticipation or excitement to see a loved one.

But as a fun twist, the word “la chamade” has an archaic use, meaning “a trumpet of signal inviting the enemy to parley”.

Do you have “un cœur d’artichaut”? Fall in love with language learning over and over again with NaTakallam’s NEW Duo Sessions in French!

Pair up and share the language learning experience with your “chéri(e)” for double the fun, double the impact! Sign up today.

10 untranslatable love expressions from 6 languages

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Love is a universal language but some days you need a little extra to express your affection to your loved one. With Valentine’s just around the corner, here are our top 10 love expressions in 6 languages!

1. Arabic: “دمه خفيف” (damu-hu khafeef)
Literally “his blood is light”, is a way of saying that you find someone extremely funny and adorable! Change to “دمها خفيف” (damu-ha khafeef) when speaking to a lady 😉

2. Spanish: “Eres un bombón”
For days when your eye candy is looking particularly sweet, literally meaning “you are a bonbon”.

3. French“Mon petit chou” (masculine) or “Ma choupinette” (feminine)
Want a unique way to address your beloved? This French term of endearment, literally translates to “my little cabbage”! Confused? The “chou” here is actually short for ‘chou à la crème’, a sweet puff pastry!

4. Persian (Farsi): “دلم برات تنگ شده” (delam barat tang shode)
When “I miss you” just isn’t enough, employ this poetic Persian phrase: lit. “my heart has tightened for you”. This could mean the mental feeling of missing someone transforms into physical pain or that you miss someone so much you can’t breathe!

5. Spanish: “Me haces mucha falta”
Or if you’d prefer en español, this very common phrase is often directly translated as “I miss you”. But when you break it down, it basically translates to: you make a big absence in me, or you are lacking from me!

6. French: “Retrouvailles”
More relevant this year than ever: the unmatched feeling of joy when finally reunited after much time apart – that’s exactly what this untranslatable French word describes!

7. Kurdish (Kurmanji): “Kezeb-a min”
Go beyond the typical terms of endearment with Kurmanji and address your loved one – lover, family or friend – with: “Kezeb-a min”, literally meaning “my liver”. As a vital organ, this is truly a sign of affection!

8. Arabic “تقبرني” (tuqburnii):

No, we did not mix up our Valentine’s Day and Halloween expression lists! Although this phrase literally means:, “You bury me”, it’s used to imply: one would rather die and have you bury them, than live without you! It’s actually quite touching.

9. Persian “دورت بگردم” (doret begardam):
Another poetic Persian phrase, this one translates literally to: “let me circle around you”, in effect, meaning, “I would do anything for you”. We love the planetary imagery this evokes!

10. Armenian: մեռնեմ ջանիդ (mermen janid)
As suggested by its literal translation, “let me die for/on your body”, this phrase indicates a readiness to sacrifice your life for your loved one, and may be said to anyone you love and care for.

Looking for more ways to express your love? Skip the chocolates!

This year, try NaTakallam’s NEW Duo language option and discover your language of love WITH your loved one (and save up to 25% compared to individual sessions!).

Twice the learning, twice the impact. Available in Arabic, French, Persian and Spanish!

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.Tislam/Tislami (تسلم / تسلمي)

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. Ya‘tik al-‘afiya (يعطيك العافية)

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!

Happy new year, كل سنة وأنتم بخير, Feliz año nuevo, Bonne année, سال نو مبارک, from the NaTakallam family to yours 🙂 Here’s to reaching new language feats in 2021!

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

5 Ways to say “thank you” in French

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bonjour (hello)! Rounding up our “thank you” series, this week’s blog explores 5 different ways of saying “thank you” in French.

If you’re just tuning in, check out our previous posts on how to express gratitude in Spanish, Arabic and Persian.

1. Merci (mekh*-see)

Merci is the most common way to say “thank you” in French. The response you may hear is de rien, which literally translates to “from nothing”, meaning “you’re welcome”. You might also hear avec plaisir which means “with pleasure”.

Fun fact: merci is also used commonly in French-speaking countries across the MENA region as well as in Farsi-speaking countries!

* The letter “r” in a French word is pronounced as a soft version of the Arabic “kh”, like in the word “Khaled”.

2. Merci infiniment (mekh-see an-fee-nee-man)

You can combine merci with adverbs such as beaucoup, mille fois, infiniment to form expressions such as merci beaucoup (thank you very much), merci bien (thanks a lot), merci mille fois (thank you a thousand times) and the strongest, merci infiniment translating to “thanks infinitely”.

3. 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”. It generally follows merci and can be used when someone does you a favor.

A useful tip: if you’re thanking an elder, or in a situation that requires you to use the polite form, use the formal counterpart of toi which is vous, applicable to both men and women, to a single person or to a group of people: “C’est très gentil à vous!

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

A heartfelt phrase meaning “thank you with all my heart”. It’s also sometimes used with the verb j’espère, to express hope. For example: J’espère de tout coeur que tu vas réussir cet examen, meaning “I hope with all my heart that you’ll pass this exam”.

5. Cimer (see-mekh)
Spice up the standard merci by using its inverse, “cimer”. Caution: this word is French slang, also known as “verlan”, for “thanks” and used mostly in conversations in younger crowds.

These are 5 ways to express gratitude in French. This holiday season, level up your language skills with one of NaTakallam’s native language partners or Gift a Conversation to your French-learning friends! À bientôt!

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