Sunday, July 19, 2009

God Phrases

God phrases are a critical part of speaking Tamazight. I know a good deal, but this is far from an exhaustive list. Most of the phrases are actually Arabic, but some of them have a Tamazight twist to them, as noted.

Humdulillah – Arabic. Thanks to God. Said when exchanging greetings with someone, when finishing a meal, any time something good has happened.
Hmmdrbbi n krats – Tamazight version.

Llayster- (a-lik) – Arabic. God protect (you). A nice thing to say to someone, especially if you are parting company from them. Also said when talking about something bad like disease or an accident. For example, “I went to the mall the other day and I saw a terrible car accident on the way, llay-ster.
Addi rbbister. Or Ad grifk I-ster rbbi. Tamazight version.

Llay-haf-tik – Arabic. God bless you. A nice thing to say to someone, especially if they have done a favor for you.

Llay-awn - Arabic. God help you. Equivalent to saying good bye.
Ak iawn rbbi – Tamazight.

Bismillah – Arabic. In the name of God. Said before starting meals. Also appropriate to say before starting journeys, meetings, etc.

Tbarkallah-a-lik – Arabic. God bless you. Said as a way of congratulating someone for a job well done.

Llaybark-fik – Arabic. God bless you. Response to above.

Inchallah – Arabic. God willing. Said any time you’re talking about future actions.

Annay ktab – Tamazight. Whatever’s written [by God]. It signifies that the author believes things are out of his/her control. For example, “When will you get married, Duncan?” Response: “Annay ktab.”

Addi rbbi lxeir – Tamazight. God will bring the good. Appropriate at almost any time, especially as a conversation filler. For example, “Duncan, what are you thinking about?” Response: “Addi rbbi lxeir.”

Rbbi salaama – Arabic. God brings peace. Said when talking about a dangerous situation.

Amen- Arabic. Belief. An appropriate response to many different God phrases.

Bsaha – Arabic. With health. Said after someone gets a haircut or buys something.

Llay-tik-saha. Arabic. God gives you health. Response to above.

Llay-sha-fee – Arabic. May God heal you. Said when someone is sick.
Ad iafu rbbi – Tamazight. God will help you.

Llay-a-tik-sim – Arabic. God give you poison. A curse.

Llay-sa-hel – Arabic. God make it easy for you. Said to beggars to let them know you won’t be giving them money.

Llay-xalf – Arabic. God replenish. Said to a host when the meal is finished.
Llay-jal-baraka – Tamazight.

Llay-rhm-lwalidin – Arabic. God bless you parents.

Adi rbbi lman – Tamazight. God will bring peace. Talking about the future, especially before a journey.

There are many more. Also people just throw God into random sentences. "God made it rain a bunch today" is a common one.


I just got back from Rabat where two other volunteers and I had a preparatory meeting for our meeting with the hammam owners later this month. I think we are well prepared. We got into Rabat early the day before so after found our hotel we took a bus out to the beach. It was really nice. It also felt like a different world than my community with everyone in bathing suits.

I have been helping this girl from my village study English. She is the only one from my village who has made it to high school and she “specializes” in English, so I’m helping her. The other day she asked me if I would “be her friend, like her brother.” It was really cute.

There have been two weddings in my community recently. When there is a marriage, the wife comes from whatever village she lived in to move in with her husband’s family. One of the brides is from the same city in the South as my host mom. The other night my family invited the two newlywed couples over for dinner. The weird thing about the dinner was that the guests ate dinner separately from my family, although I ate with the guests. The most remarkable part about the dinner was the interaction between the couples. There was actual physical affection between bride and groom. They had their hands on each other’s legs. They laughed and joked with each other. Until this point, I had never seen affection between husband and wife before, so it was really good to see.

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