The Jordanian dialect of Arabic is similar to that spoken in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and by Arabs in Israel. As with all dialects of Arabic, the variations are in the spoken form of the language only; the written language always conforms to standard (or classical) Arabic.
The spoken Arabic language provides many difficulties for English speakers. Aside from the various dialects, one must also deal with the differences in addressing males, females, and groups; plurals and verb conjugations are highly irregular and difficult to determine from their root letters; and there are several letters in the Arab alphabet that are difficult for an English speaker to pronounce.
There are some letters of the Arabic alphabet that transliterate into English; others are completely foreign to English speakers, making them difficult to pronounce. The pronunciation guide shown below is case sensitive; for example, 'th' is a different sound than 'Th' and 'TH'.
There are only two glides, or dipthongs, in Arabic. The first glides from 'a' to 'i' and gives an 'ay' sound as in the English word for bait; the second glides from 'a' to 'u' and gives the 'aw' sound as in the Arabic word mawt.
One syllable of every Arabic word has more stress than the other syllables of that word. Much meaning is communicated in Arabic by the location of the stress. This is much more true than in Western languages.
Although some dialects have an 'e' and also an 'o', there are only three phonemic vowels common to Arabic:
like 'a' in "apple"
like 'ee' in "cheese"
like 'oo' in "too"
Characters marked by an asterisk (*) are ones that may prove more difficult for English speakers.
like 'aa' in "back"
like 'b' in "bed"
like 't' in "top"
like 'th' in "think"
like 'j' in "jump"
H (ح) *
like 'h' in "hot" (this sound is created by tightly constricting the throat muscles as you force air through; commonly referred to as "heavy h")
like like 'ch' in Scottish "loch" or German "nach" (this sound is similar to a gargled exasperation, as if someone were clearing his throat)
like 'd' in "dog"
like 'th' in "that"
like 'r' in "row"
like 'z' in "haze"
like 's' in "sing"
like 'sh' in "sheep"
S (ص) *
like 's' in "sorry" or "saw" (this sound has more force than an English 's'; commonly referred to as "heavy s")
D (ض) *
like 'd' in "dot" (this sound has more force than an English 'd'; commonly referred to as "heavy d")
T (ط) *
like 't' in "taught" (this sound has more force than an English 't'; commonly referred to as "heavy t")
TH (ظ) *
like 'th' in "other"
9 (ع) *
like 'ei' in German "nein" (while there are different methods of transliterating this difficult character, this phrasebook sometimes uses the number 9, as the sound of the character mimics the sound of the stressed 'i' in "nine".)
g (غ) *
like French 'r' (this sound is a more gutteral—or gargled—version of the English 'g')
like 'f' in "fox"
like 'c' in "cough"
like 'k' in "kitten"
like 'l' in "lamb"
like 'm' in "mother"
like 'n' in "noon"
like 'h' in "help"
like 'w' in "wow"
like 'y' in "yes"
a glottal stop
Alternate versions of each word—used when addressing men, women, or groups—have been listed where applicable. Other variations include word differences if spoken by a male or a female. The Arabic words have been included, although the spoken pronunciation may differ from the written script.
نساء (nisa' )
How are you?
(keef Haa'lak) - When speaking to a male; can be abbreviated kee fak
(keef Haa'lik) - When speaking to a female; can be abbreviated kee fik
(keef Haalkom) - When speaking to a group of two or more; can be abbreviated keef kom
Fine, thank you
(mniH) - Literally means "good"
(kwayyis) - Literally means "very good"
(hamdillah) - A very common phrase which can mean "Fine, thank you", but literally means "Praise be to God"
What is your name?
(shu ismak) - When speaking to a male
(shu ismik) - When speaking to a female
My name is ______ .
اسمي ______ . (ismi _____ .)
Nice to meet you.
أهلاً و سهلاً ( 'ahlan wa' salan) - This phrase literally means "welcome", but is used in place of "Nice to meet you."
(min faDlak/arjook) - When speaking to a male
(min faDlik/arjooki) - When speaking to a female
( 'afwan) - Literally means "excuse me" but is also used in this case
( 'ahlan wa' sahlan) - Literally means "welcome" but is also used in this case
Excuse me. (getting attention or begging pardon)
عفوا ( 'afwan)
( 'ana assif) - If spoken by a man
( 'ana assfeh) - If spoken by a woman
مع السلام (ma'salama)
I can't speak Arabic [well].
لا أستطيع تكلم العربية جيداً (ma baHaki arabi [mniH])
Do you speak English?
هل تتكلم الانكليزية؟
(ptHaki ingleezi?) - When speaking to a man
(ptHakti ingleezi?) - When speaking to a woman
Is there someone here who speaks English?
أيوجد أحد يتكلم الانكليزية هنا؟ (fi naas bHaki ingleezi?)
ساعدني (ilHaquuni!) - Literally means "follow me"
(dir balak!) - When speaking to a man
(dir balik!) - When speaking to a woman
صباح الخير (SabaaH al-khair)
مساء الخير (masa' al-khair)
تصبع على خير (tiSbaaH ala khair)
I don't understand.
(ana mish faahim) - Literally "I don't understand"
(mish faahim alayk) - Literally "I don't understand you"
Where is the toilet?
أيب الحمام (wayn il-Hamaam?)
Leave me alone.
أتركني وشأني (siibni laHall)
Don't touch me!
لأ تلمسني (ma talmisni)
قف أيها اللص (waqif ya Haarami)
I need your help.
(baHtaj musaa'adtak) - When addressing a man
(baHtaj musaa'adtik) - When addressing a woman
أنا ضائع (ana Daayi'a)
I lost my bag.
أضعت شنطتي (Daayaat shanTiti)
I lost my wallet.
أضعت محفظتي (Daayaat maHdaTHiti)
أبا مريض (ana mariiD)
I need a doctor.
أحتاج الى طبيب (biddi doktor)
Can I use your phone?
هل يمكنني استعمال تلفونك (mumkin 'asta'amil talafonak?)
The Arabic numeric characters are provided in place of the words due to their more common usage. Unlike Arabic script, Arabic numerals are printed from left to right. In the case where two pronunciations are provided, either can be used interchangably.
٢ (tinain or ithnain)
٣ (talaata or thalaatha)
٨ (thamaaniyeh or tamaaniyeh)
١١ (iH'dash or H'dash)
١٢ (it'nash or t'nash)
٢١ (waHid u' ashriin) - Literally "one and twenty"
٢٢ (tinain u' ashriin) - Literally "two and twenty"
٢٣ (talaata u' ashriin) - Literally "three and twenty"
٢٠٠ (miitayn) - Literally "two [one] hundreds"
٣٠٠ (talaat miiyeh)
٢٠٠٠ (alfayn) - Literally "two [one] thousands"
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
رقم _____ (raqam)
بعد الظهر (ba'ad id-duhur) - Literally "after the noon"
The following months coordinate with the Islamic calendar and is used only for Muslim holidays. Generally, the Gregorian calendar is used. When defining a month, however, most people use the month numbers (ex., shahir waaHid which means "month one" or January).
كانون الثاني (kaanuun it-taani)
اذار ( 'aaThaar)
ايار ( 'ayyaar)
اّب ( 'aab)
ايلول ( 'ayluul)
تشرن الأو (tishriin il'awwal)
تشرن الثاني (tishriin it-taani)
كانون الأول (kaanuun il'awwal)
Each Arabic color has a masculine and feminine form. Only the masculine forms are displayed here.
رمادي (ramaadi or sakini)
Bus and train
How much is a ticket to _____?
How much is a ticket to _____? (...)
One ticket to _____, please.
One ticket to _____, please. (...)
Where does this train/bus go?
Where does this train/bus go? (...)
Where is the train/bus to _____?
Where is the train/bus to _____? (...)
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
Does this train/bus stop in _____? (...)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? (...)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
When will this bus arrive in _____? (...)
How do I get to _____ ?
_____ كيف أستطيع الوصول الى (kiid mumkin awSal _____?)