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numbers in Arabic

In a previous article, we discussed asking for and understanding questions related to giving directions in Arabic. Unlike cardinal numbers which are mostly used for counting, ordinal numbers are used to order things in a first-second-third kind of format and come in pretty handy when giving directions, especially in a busy city like Amman, Jordan, where they have numbered circles and you want to tell...

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culture arab

It’s that time of the year again when wedding bells start ringing out all round the world. Well, that is, unless you live in the Arab world, where it’s that time of year when the zaghrootah (زغروتة) start trilling out throughout the region. “So, what is the zaghrootah?” you might ask.  Well it’s a kind of ululation  - a kind of a long, wavering, high-pitched shrill of...

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Learn Egyptian Arabic Words and Phrases

Egyptian Arabic, known by the locals as maSree (مصري), is the Arabic dialect spoken in Egypt with nearly 65 million native speakers of the language. Not only is it is largest of the spoken Arabic dialects, it is also probably the most well known dialect of all of the Arabic speaking countries because of the popularity of Egypt’s films, plays, music and television series throughout the...

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The Koofiyyih in Arab Culture

I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone wearing a Koofiyyih, the traditional Middle Eastern headdress fashioned from a square scarf.  It was a cold winter’s day in Amman, Jordan, and one my students was wearing this beautiful, traditional Palestinian black and white Koofiyyih around his neck. “Wow, that’s a beautiful scarf,” I said. “Where did you get it?” “Thanks, teacher. It’s a gift from...

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veryday-Arabic-for-Home

There are two kinds of people in this world – those who like to travel or go out often and those whom the Arabs call (بيتوتي) baytooti (a person who likes to stay at home). (Incidentally, in the Arabic language, as in English there is a difference between a منزل “manzil“ (house) and a بيت “bayt” (home). After all, a “manzil“ is just a “manzil”,...

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Arabic Vocabulary for Professions

I have worn many hats throughout my professional career. My very first job as a teenager was working as طاه – taahi (cook) at a famous fast food restaurant. Later, I was a مشغل الراديو - mushghil arraadyu (radio operator), حارس أمن - haaris ‘amn ( security guard),  علامة الرسام – ‘alaamat arrassaam (sign painter), and even worked for a while in بناء الطرق -...

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