September 24, 2007

Khaleeji Pidgin

Found on Chez Sinjab, this interesting blog post (Ma'alum, my friend?: The Grammarian's Guide to Khaleeji Pidgin) on the 'Indo-Anglo-Urdu-Arabic mix' spoken in the Gulf.

Of course, there are certain rules to Khaleeji pidgin.

First, certain words must be spoken in certain languages. Greetings, such as sala'am aleykum and sabah al kheir, are always in Arabic. How are you? is usually delievered in Arabic or Hindi. Iuwa, tamam, good, acha and, most importantly, ok are all acceptable ways of saying good. The phrase number one! must always be delivered in English, and with enthusiasm. My friend is perhaps the most popular English phrase, and is to be used liberally. No problem and mafi mushkala are both universally understood, but mafi mukh (no brain) must be spoken in Arabic. Throw in the occasional bas and khalas when ordering food or to show frustration. Then finished it all off with a masala'am for strangers or a yella, bye! for friends.

Another blogger describes the difficulties involved in mastering this mix:

..learning a 'standard' business English version and getting used to a few accents must be easier than learning the local Arabic mix here, which seems like the equivalent of having to master Biblical English, Shakespearian English, Indian English, Brummie, Geordie and a few others.


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