Published: 2017-12-18 16:44
Last Updated: 2017-12-18 19:11
Editor: Randa Darwish
On December 18, the world celebrates the International Arabic Language Day, with this year’s celebration marked by an event held at the UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, featuring a concert by well-known Iraqi oud player Naseer Shamma.
Arabic is a very diverse language, with tens of dialects. It is the official language of at least 22 Arab countries, with each country speaking its own dialect, although all of them are derived originally from Classical Arabic.
The unique language has at least 12.3 million words, in comparison to only 60,000 words in the English language. Because of this, Arabs often find it hard to express many words that do not have an English equivalent, and here we collected some of them:
Literally means “health”, and Sahtein (صحتين) means “two-healths.” It is used when somebody is coughing or if anybody offers you food, you tell them: Saha, meaning: “I wish you a good health”.
And the response is: “A’ala Albak”, means: “I wish your heart a good health, too.”
A’la Rasi (على راسي):
Literally means “On my head”, this is commonly used when someone asks you for something or demands something. It is kind of like saying, “Anything for you”.
Mashallah (ما شاء الله) or Esmallah (Esem-Allah) (اسم الله):
Literally means: “By the name of God”, meaning “save it from the evil eye, by the name of God”. It is often used to praise something pretty or cute, which means to save it from the evil eye.
Inshallah (إن شاء الله):
Literally means “God willing”. It is used when you don’t know when something is going to happen, so you say: Inshallah, meaning: if Allah wills.
However; it is commonly known to be used when you don’t want to commit to something, so you can just say Inshallah, like saying in English: We will see.
Literally means: “You bury me”. It is used to express how much you love somebody, telling them: “I wish I die before you”. It’s used in a loving and upbeat way.
Like saying literally “after you” meaning: I hope you are next. It is commonly used to wish someone good things.
Literally means: A blessing. It is used to greet or bless someone after showers or haircuts. The response will be: Yena'am A'leek (ينعم عليك): A blessing on you.
Ya’ateek Al A’afeyeh (يعطيك العافية):
Meaning: “May God give you health”. It is used to express gratitude for someone, or after getting home from work you can say: Ya’ateek Al A’afeyeh. And the response is: Allah Ye’aafek (الله يعافيك), which means: "May God gives you better health".
Ytawel Omrak (يطول عمرك):
Means: May God give you a long life. It is usually used to praise someone by wishing him long life, or it can be used in funerals, to show sympathy and wishing the dead person’s family a long life.
Allah Ygaweek (الله يقويك):
Means “May God gives you strength”, to express to somebody your wishes for him to stay in a good strong health and to be able to do everything he wants.
Ana Bafarjeek (أنا بفرجيك):
Literally means: “I will show you”. It is used to threaten somebody saying: “I will show you something you don’t like”.
Dammak khafef/Taqeel (دمك خفيف/ثقيل):
Literally means, “Light/ heavy blood”. It describes one's personality or behavior.
If your jokes are funny and lighthearted with an appealing humor, then you are ‘light-blooded’ or (Dammak Khafeef).
On the other hand, if your jokes are annoying, you are 'heavy-blooded' or (Dammak Thaqeel).
Means: “anything you want”, when you tell somebody “bitmoon” you mean: “I will do anything for you”. It is used when you are in good favor with somebody or you owe them a favour.
And then there is the meaning for love…
The Arabic language is known as a very poetic language, having several words expressing the same meaning and for the same thing. The word ‘Love’ is one of these.
It has at least 11 words, each of which conveys a different stage in the process of falling in love.
The word 'hawa', for example, describes the initial attraction or inclination of the soul or mind towards another.
Another word is 'ishq' and the all-consuming love 'shaghaf'. And the final stage of falling in love, 'huyam', it describes the complete loss of reason.
Mostly each word in the Arabic Language has different forms and meanings, depending on the context in which it's used, which makes Arabic has a complex and unusual method of constructing words from a basic root.