Sunday, April 1, 2012

How to say Hello

In Oman, there is a very set-in-stone method of greetings. In America, it's common to greet only for a short minute before moving on to other conversation topics. Hi, how are you, fine, and you? fine.

Here, there is almost a whole script that people use in speaking to one another. The answers almost never vary.

P1:salaam aleikum 
P2:wa aleikum assalum! kayfik?
P1:tamam, hamdullah. kayfik enta?
P2:hamdullah, kayf saha?
P1:zain, hamdullah
P2:kayf awlad?
P1: hamdullah
P2: makhbarik?
P1: hamdullah

At this point, the conversation switches, and person one asks the questions to the same responses. A transliteration is :

P1: Peace be upon you (this is always always always said!!)
P2: And peace be upon you. How are you?
P1: Good, thanks god. And how are you?
P2: Thanks god, how's your health?
P1: Good, thanks god. 
P2: How are you children? (this is asked of anyone who is old enough to have children, even if they aren't married!)
P1: Thanks god
P2: How's the news? 
P1: Thanks god. 

Answers are always postive, and only after this has been said can the conversation continue. Hamdullah, or Thanks god, is a proper response to any of those questions, though it is often used with the word zain (good) or tamam (good).

When women who know each other greet, they kiss each other's cheeks, one on each side. If the women know each other very well, they will kiss more than twice. Men do the same with one another, albeit less frequently. Women and men do not kiss each other unless they are closely related.

It can be considered rude to not greet someone who you know, so as a word of advice for travelers to Oman: greet everyone you recognize, even if just with an assalamu aleikum!

1 comment:

  1. well written, well said. That is a standard greeting conversation, same thing ins Saudi Arabia.