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1. Hello & Goodbye

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Hello; welcome

'as-salāmu calaykum
Hello; Peace upon you

calaykumu s-salām
Hello; Peace upon you, too

kayf hāluk?
How are you?

shukran. al-hamdu li-lāh. wa ant?
Thank you. Fine, by God's mercy. And you?

'anā bi-khayr
I'm fine

maca salāma
Go without fear

ilā l-liqā'
So long; Until the next time

Grammar: Structures of Arabic

There is a group of core characteristics to the Arabic language. The principal is evident, and well known: a different alphabet. The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters, but in some Arab countries, additional letters have been introduced, depending on important sounds in each of these countries. These letters are common to European languages, and are missing in the standard Arab alphabet. The more common ones include: g, p, and v. However, the manner of writing these letters are not standardized.
Arabic is written with an alphabet, but letters are joined together, reminding you of Western handwriting. More on writing in lessons 5-9. There are clear rules for pronunciation for each of the letters (even if these may differ slightly from country to country). Even better, for Arabic you can find the correct pronunciation from the spelling alone. This is one of the areas where learning Arabic is easier than it is for other major languages.
The other important characteristic is that the Arabic that you'll learn in this beginner's course, is called Modern Standard Arabic, and is based on the linguistic traditions of which the Koran is one of the main representatives for. This language is often very different from the language that people use in everyday speech, but is used in writing and in official contexts.


2. Counting

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0 sifr 1 hid
2 ithnān 3 thalātha
4 'arbaca 5 khamsa
6 sitta 7 sabca
8 thamāniya 9 tisca
10 cashra 11 'ahada cashra
12 ithnā cashra 13 thalātha cashra
14 'arbaca cashra 15 khamsa cashra
16 sitta cashra 17 sabca cashra
18 thamāniya cashra 19 tisca cashra
20 cishrūn 21 'ahad wa-cishrūn
22 ithnān wa-cishrūn 23 thalātha wa-cishrūn
24 'arbaca wa-cishrūn 25 khamsa wa-cishrūn
26 sitta wa-cishrūn 27 sabca wa-cishrūn
28 thamāniya wa-cishrūn 29 tisca wa-cishrūn
30 thalāthūn 35 khamsa wa-thalāthūn
40 'arbacūn 42 'ithnān wa-'arbacūn
50 khamsūn 59 tisca wa-khamsūn
60 sittūn 66 sitta wa-sittūn
70 sabcūn 73 thalātha wa-sabcūn
80 thamānūn 84 'arbaca wa-thamānūn
90 tiscūn 91 'ahad wa-tiscūn
100 mi'a 1000 'alf

Grammar: Use of numbers

Numbers in Arabic are quite complicated, there are different rules for the numbers, numbers are declined according to gender. Getting the grip on numbers in order to make practical use of them (few Arabs used numbers correctly), is however reasonably easy.
From 21 to 99 you count like this: (example) 24: Four wa-twenty.From 12 to 19 you count like this (example) 15: Five Ten. 11 is slightly slightly diverging.
When putting numbers together with nouns you do like this:

  • 1: (example) 1 book is said as simply as "book", "kitāb", you leave 1 out, unless it is very important to emphasise that it is one book.
  • 2: (example) 2 books is a special case, as Arabic not only has singular and plural, but also dual. The rules here are straight, but often ommitted by students, who wind up saying "2 books",

    ithnān kutub.
    That is not correct, and the correct dual for 2 books is


  • 3 and up: You place the full form of the number first, immediately followed by the noun: 42 books:

    ithnān wa-'arbacūn kutub.
    While this is not the correct form, it is OK to say it this way at the present level. If you're curious, this is the correct way for saying 42 books:

    ithnān wa-'arbacūn kitābān.


3. Meeting people

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What's your name?

'ismī salīm
My name is Salim

'ismuhu rashīd
His name is Rashid

'ismuhā warda
Her name is Warda

'anā sā'ih
I'm a tourist (as uttered by a man)

'anā sā'iha
I'm a tourist (as uttered by a woman)

'acmal hunā
I'm working here

'anā tālib
I'm a student (as uttered by a man)

'anā tāliba
I'm a student (as uttered by a woman)

Grammar: Basic Arabic sentences

"To be" and "to have" — verbs you don't use!

Two verbs are normally ommitted from Arabic (this thing makes learning the language a little bit easier). These two are to be and to have. The first of these two is well exemplified above. Instead of saying "My name is Erik", you say "Name mine Erik" — 'ismī 'īrīk
The same applies for qualities: Instead of saying "She is a teacher", you say "She teacher" — hiyya mudarrisa, "he tourist" — huwa sā'ih
As for the verb "to have", which can also equal "to own": Instead of saying "He has a car", you say "To him a car" — lahu sayyāra, "to her a book" — lahā kitāb, "to me a house" (="I own a house") — lī bayt
Elegant, don't you think?
Even if this could appear slightly confusing at the very first, the rules are terribly simple, and soon you will see yourself forming basic sentences,- without the use of any verb. However, be prepared, Arabic is full of verbs, and there is no way around them if you want to communicate properly in Arabic.



4. In the hotel

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ayna l-funduq salām?
Where is the Hotel Salam?

hal ladayka ghurfa?
Have you got vacant rooms?

min aiyyati l-darja hādhā l-funduq?
Of which class is the hotel?

hal 'al-ghurfa maca l-hammām?
Is there a bathroom coming with the room?

hal 'al-ghurfa maca l-hātif?
Is there a telephone in the room?

hal tilīfizyūn fī l-funduq?
Is there a TV-set in the hotel?

kam sacri l-layla
What's the price for one night?

uktub min fadlik
Please write

lā 'afham
I don't understand

I understand


sa'askun hunā li muddati th-thalāthati l-laylāt
I'm going to stay here for three nights

'awwalān, urīd manzaru l-ghurfa, min fadlik
First, I want to see the room, please

shukran. al-ghurfa mumtāz
Thank you. The room is very nice

Grammar: The definite article

One of the things many should have noticed before embarking on learning the Arabic language, is the frequent use of prefixes like "Al" or "El". "Al" and "El" are the same two letters "a" and "l" put together, which indicate the definite article for a noun. But what is considered definite and what is not, is often different from many Western languages. Briefly one could make this as a rule: If it is not particularly important to stress the indefinite form, the definite article should be used. But this is only a valid rule at your present stage in learning Arabic.
When a noun is indefinite, no prefixes or suffixes are added, you simply use the core form of the noun.
Just to complicate things a bit here: In Arabic there are a group of "sun letters", letters which standing first in a noun, eat the "l" of the definite article. These are the following letters:


t, th, d, dh, r, z, s, sh, S, D, T, Z, n.

The result is that you never write it in English transcription nor pronounce the l: "al-t.....", "al-th....", "al-d....", "al-dh....", "al-r....", "al-z....", "al-s....", "al-sh...." and so on.
What you do write and pronounceis : "at-t....", "ath-th....", "ad-d....", "adh-dh....", "ar-r....", "az-z....", "as-s....", "ash-sha....." and so on. However, when you write it in Arabic, the letter "l" is written, but that is for later lessons.
For the remainder of the letters, you leave the "l" of the definite article intact.


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