Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Useful Omani Arabic Expressions for Expats, Part 1

Part One - Useful expressions

I hope the following will be useful expressions for expats or visitors to Oman. The phrases below will be in local dialect.  Standard Arabic is called 'fusha' , and local Arabic dialects (ameeyah), and there is also what I call 'mafi maloom' language- a simplified version of Arabic mixed with some Hindi used to communicate with shop keepers in Oman. The default name to call non-Omani male shop keepers is 'Mohmmed' but one can also say 'Sadeeq (friend in Arabic), Beyaa (friend/bro in Hindi).

1. Jeeb  and Shil  - To give and to take

Usage:  Jeeb - When ordering food, when requesting a item from a shop keeper, or when you would like someone to 'pass' or 'give' you something. Use 'Jeebi' when speaking to a female.
Arabic: جيب

  • In a store: Jeeb Wahid - 'give me one, I'll take one', jeeb hadha - 'I'll take that'
  • In a restaurant: jeeb cola - 'bring me a coke', 'I'll have a coke.'
  • With friend: 'Jeeb Ahmed' - bring Ahmed (with you)
Usage:  Shil - When you want someone to take something. Use 'Shili' when speaking to a female.

  • Shil sayara - 'Take the car (with you)'
  • Shil-ni ma'ak - 'Take me with you'
  • Ta'hal shil-ne - 'Pick me up'
  • Shil-ni LuLu's - 'Take me to the LuLu's market'
  • Shil Ahmed Madrasa - 'Take Ahmed to School'
2. 'Shay' and 'Ma Shay' - Something exists or is available or isn't available or doesn't exist

Usage: Shay - Use this phrase to indicate if something is available and 'Ma Shay' in the negative.
Arabic: شي | ماشي

  • In a store: Shay Pepsi? - 'Is there Pepsi?, Do you have Pepsi?'
  • In a restaurant: 'Shay Kingfish' - 'Are you serving Kingfish'
  • At home:
    • 'Shay Cola'- Do we have coke left?, Is there Coke?
    • 'La, Ma Shay' - No, there's no coke.
    • 'Jeeb Cola' - Bring some coke.
3. Sabr, Shwaya, B'Sura' - Wait/Slowly, Little, Quickly

Usage: Sabr - Use this phrase to indicate to someone to slow down, stop or wait. Use 'Sabri' with a female.
Arabic:  صبر| شويه| بسرعه

  • In a taxi: 'Saber, Saber'- 'slow down, wait'
  • On the phone: Saber shwaya- 'Hold on. Wait a minute'
  • With others: 'B'sura, b'sura' - quickly, with speed
  • الشارع السريع| Muscat Expressway | Sharee Al Sureea Muscat - Sureea adjective form of Sura' - speed
4. law smaht-- excuse me-- لو سمحت , law smahtee-- excuse me when speaking to a female-- لو سمحتي

Usage: law smaht - Use this to say excuse me; for example, if you need to interrupt someone or get someone's attention.

  • In a store: ' Beyaa, Low Samaht. Shay 'Dew'. Zain. Jeeb Wahid.' - Bro, Excuse me. Do you have Mountain Dew? Fine. Bring me one.
5. Zain, Tamam - Good, everything is Ok   زين | تمام

6. Kam - How much/many

Examples: 'Shay Marlboro Abeid? Kam?' - Are Marlboro Lights (whites) available? How much are they?

To be continued...


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