ArabicPod101’s video “Thank you & you’re welcome in Arabic”

“Thank you & you’re welcome in Arabic” is a video in ArabicPod101’s “Arabic in 3 Minutes” series. In it, presenter Carole introduces several phrases you can use to say thank you and to respond. Let’s look at the material presented in a bit more detail. Here is the video:

Let’s pick this video apart so that you can get the most benefit out of it. I’ll take you through all of the Arabic she uses, starting with the two phrases at the beginning, before she gets to the phrases concerning thanking people.

“Are you ready? Then let’s start!”

Carole asks if you are all ready, using this phrase:

هَلْ أَنْتُم جاهِزون؟
hal ’antum jaahizuun?
‘Are you ready?’

This is the masculine plural form (which one also uses for groups of mixed gender). The masculine and feminine singular forms of this question would be:

هَلْ أَنْتَ جاهِز؟ / هَلْ أَنْتِ جاهِزَة؟
hal ’anta jaahiz? / hal ’anti jaahiza?
‘Are you ready?’

Assuming that you answered yes to this question, Carole continues by saying this:

‘Then let’s start!’

This is based on the verb يَبْدَأ yabda’ ‘to start, begin’. The ‘we’ form of a present tense verb always starts with na- or nu-:

نُحِبّ نُرِيد نَفْهَم نَرى نَتَكَلَّم
nuḥibb nuriid nafham naraa natakallam
‘we love’ ‘we want’ ‘we understand’ ‘we see’ ‘we speak’

Now let’s move on to the meat of the matter.

Thanking people

The first phrase Carole introduces is shukran, which is oddly misspelled in the video, without the -an ending. Here is the correct spelling:

‘Thank you.’

As Carole explains, you can elaborate on this by adding an additional word:

شُكْرًا جَزِيلًا.
shukran jazillan
‘Thank you very much.’

جَزيل jaziil literally means ‘profuse’. So, together the phrase literally means ‘a profuse thanks’.

The next phrase Carole introduced is this one, literally meaning ‘(I am) thankful’, which has a masculine and feminine form (depending on the gender of the speaker):

مُتَشَكِّر. / مُتَشَكِّرَة.
mutashakkir / mutashakkira
‘Thank you.’

Now we can move on to the responses.

Saying “you’re welcome”

Carole says that there is no standard response to شُكْرًا shukran, but I would say that the standard response is this one:

‘You’re welcome.’ (also ‘Excuse me.’)

The first response to ‘thank you’ that Carole presents is this one, which is also commonly used as a response to a request (like English “why, it would be a pleasure!”):

بِكُلِّ سُرُور!
bi kull(i) suruur
‘With pleasure.’

The second response she gives is this one:

تَحْتَ أَمْرِكَ / تَحْتَ أَمْرِكِ
taḥta ’amrika / taḥta ’amrika
‘At your service.’

This is the formal/Classical Arabic way of pronouncing this phrase, with the genitive case ending following ’amr. A more informal way would be like this:

تَحْت أَمْرَك / تَحْتَ أَمْرِك
taḥt ’amr-ak / taḥt ’amr-ik
‘At your service.’

The next phrase is a long one, but it is very well-known expression:

لا شُكْر عَلى واجِب.
laa shukr(a) ʕalaa waajib
‘One doesn’t need to thank someone for doing his duty.’
(literally: ‘There is no thanks for a duty.’)

The word واجِب waajib generally means ‘duty’, but you may also know the word in the meaning of ‘homework’.

Finally, as one of her one tips, Carole presents the following expression, as it is pronounced in colloquial Arabic:

الله يخَلّيك / الله يخَلّيكِ
’allaa ykhallii-k / ’allaa ykhallii-ki
‘May God keep you safe.’

You will certainly impress your Arabic-speaking friends if you use this one!


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