Let’s get started with greetings.
As salam alaikum . (Literally ‘peace be upon you.’) The response is ‘walaikum salam’ meaning ‘and upon you be peace.’
Ahlan wa sahlan (Welcome)
For ‘how are you?’, you can ask ‘kayf halak for a man or ‘kayf halich” for a woman. (Literally, ‘how is your situation?’)
You can also use ‘shoo akhbarak’ or ‘shoo akhbarich’ for a lady. (Literally, ‘what is your news?’)
Kayf aylatak/aylatich? – how are your family? (Note: a man should not ask another man how his wife is. The same goes for women and husbands.)
If you’ve paying attention and worked out that the ‘ak’ ending is used when talking to a man and ‘ich’ when talking to a woman.
* Note, the ‘kh’ is ch as in the Scottish word loch and the ‘ch’ is as in chair.
Zayn (good) You can also use alhamdulillah (all praise be to God.)
You may already have noticed that Arabs don’t usually ask how you are just once, but ask several times in different ways. For example, a conversation may start with ‘kayf halak?……Kayf aylatak?…….Shoo akhbarak?… Kayf sahitak?’ (The last one means ‘how is your health?’)
Ma’a salama -goodbye, literally ‘with peace.’
Nowadays you will sometimes hear Emiratis using the word ‘bye’ even between each other.