How to Pass on Greetings in Lebanese Arabic

In this article, we look at some common phrases that are used to pass on greetings in Lebanese Arabic. You will learn how to ask someone to say hello to a third person, how to say hello to someone on behalf of a third person, and how to respond in both cases.


Asking someone to pass on greetings (with suffix pronouns)

You can ask someone to say hello to a third person by combining the following three elements:

  1. “Say hi”: the verb “sallam / سَلَّم” in the imperative mood, conjugated in the 2nd person to agree with the person addressed (masculine, feminine, or plural)
  2. “for __”: the preposition “l / ل” + suffix pronoun indicating for whom the greetings are to be passed on – this is added to the end of the verb
  3. “to __”: the preposition “3alā / عَلى” + suffix pronoun indicating to whom the greetings are to be passed on

Analyzing each of these three elements in turn, the table below shows all the ways you can ask someone to pass on greetings using pronouns (i.e. not using names).

1. Say hi
you (m.) you (f.) you (pl.) إنْتو إنْتِ إنْتَ
sallim salmé salmō سَلْمو سَلْمي سَلِّم
2. Say hi for __
me: sallimlé salmīlé salmūlé سَلْمولي

سَلْميلي

سَلِّمْلي

أنا:

us: sallimilnā salmīlnā salmūlnā سَلْمولْنا سَلْميلْنا سَلِّمِلْنا

:نِحْنا

him: sallimluħ salmīluħ salmūluħ سَلْمولُه سَلْميلُه سَلِّمْلُه

:هُوِّ

her: sallimlħā salmīlħā salmūlħā سَلْمولها سَلْميلها سَلِّمْلها

:هِيِّ

them: sallimlħun salmīlħun salmūlħun

سَلْمولهُن

سَلْميلهُن سَلِّمْلهُن

:هِنِّ

3. to __
him: 3aléħ عَليه :هُوِّ
her: 3alayhā عَلَيْها :هِيِّ
them: 3alayhun عَلَيْهُن :هِنِّ

Now let’s put these elements together. Listen to the following sentences to hear the ways you can ask someone to “say hi for me” to a third person.

 

Say hi (m.) to him for me sallimlé 3aléħ سَلِّمْلي عَليه
Say hi (m.) to her for me sallimlé 3alayha سَلِّمْلي عَلَيْها
Say hi (m.) to them for me sallimlé 3alayhun سَلِّمْلي عَلَيْهُن
Say hi (f.) to him for me salmīlé 3aléħ سَلْميلي عَليه
Say hi (f.) to her for me salmīlé 3alayha سَلْميلي عَلَيْها
Say hi (f.) to them for me salmīlé 3alayhun سَلْميلي عَلَيْهُن
Say hi (pl.) to him for me salmūlé 3aléħ سَلْمولي عَليه
Say hi (pl.) to her for me salmūlé 3alayha سَلْمولي عَلَيْها
Say hi (pl.) to them for me salmūlé 3alayhun سَلْمولي عَلَيْهُن

Listen to the following sentences to hear the ways you can ask someone to “say hi for us” to a third person.

 

Say hi (m.) to him for us sallimilnā 3aléħ سَلِّمِلْنا عَليه
Say hi (m.) to her for us sallimilnā 3alayha سَلِّمِلْنا عَلَيْها
Say hi (m.) to them for us sallimilnā 3alayhun سَلِّمِلْنا عَلَيْهُن
Say hi (f.) to him for us salmīlnā 3aléħ سَلْميلْنا عَليه
Say hi (f.) to her for us salmīlnā 3alayha سَلْميلْنا عَلَيْها
Say hi (f.) to them for us salmīlnā 3alayhun سَلْميلْنا عَلَيْهُن
Say hi (pl.) to him for us salmūlnā 3aléħ سَلْمولنا عَليه
Say hi (pl.) to her for us salmūlnā 3alayha سَلْمولنا عَلَيْها
Say hi (pl.) to them for us salmūlnā 3alayhun سَلْمولنا عَلَيْهُن

For an especially warm greeting, you can add the word “ktīr / كْتير”, which means “a lot”. For example:

 

Give (m.) him a big hello for me! sallimlé 3aléħ ktīr! !سَلِّمْلي عَليه كْتير
Give (f.) her a big hello for me! salmīlé 3alayha ktīr! !سَلْميلي عَلَيْها كْتير
Give (pl.) them a big hello for us! salmūlnā 3alayhun ktīr! !سَلْمولْنا عَلَيْهُن كْتير

By this point, you should be comfortable asking someone to “say hi for me” or “say hi for us”. Of course, you can also ask someone to “say hi for him”, “say hi for her”, or “say hi for them”. We won’t go through the third person pronouns here, but you might want to practice them on your own, using the table at the top of the page as a reference.


Asking someone to pass on greetings (with names)

If you wish to name the person to whom the greetings are to be passed on, simply replace the suffix pronoun with the name. In this case, the preposition returns to its independent form, i.e. “3alā / عَلى”, or is contracted to “3a / عَـ”.

 

* Say hi (m.) to Eyad for me sallimlé 3a/3alā Āiyyād سَلِّمْلي عَـ/عَلى إيّاد
* Say hi (f.) to Rima for us salmīlnā 3a/3alā rīmā سَلْميلْنا عَـ/عَلى ريما
* Say hi (pl.) to everyone for us salmūlnā 3a/3alā lkill سَلْمولْنا عَـ/عَلى الكِلّ
* Give (m.) Mohammed a big sallimlħun 3a/3alā mHammad سَلِّمْلهُن عَـ/عَلى مْحَمَّد
hello for them! ktīr! !كْتير

If you wish to name the person for whom the greetings are to be passed on, keep the preposition “l / ل” + suffix pronoun and follow it with “la / لَـ” + name. The latter structure specifies who is indicated by the suffix pronoun.

Make sure that you do not omit the initial “l / ل” + suffix pronoun. This is always retained, even if it seems redundant when you are adding “la / لَـ” + name of the person. For example:

 

* Say hi (m.) to him for Khadije sallimlħā laЌadījeŧ 3aléħ سَلِّمْلها لَخَديجِة عَليه
* Say hi (pl.) to Khalid for Hadi salmūluħ lahādī 3alā Ќālid سَلْمولُه لَهادي عَلى خالِد
* Say hi (f.) to Lamia and Nour salmīlħā lakristīn 3alā سَلْميلها لَكْرِسْتين عَلى
for Christine lamyā wnūr لَمْيا ونور


Responding to a request to pass on greetings

When someone is asked to pass on greetings to a third party, the usual response is “wuSil / وُصِل”, which may be loosely translated as “Consider it done”.

 

* Say hi to your (m.) sister for me. sallimlé 3alā ĀiЌtak. .سَلِّمْلي على إخْتَك
* Consider it done. wuSil. .وُصِل
* Say hi to your (f.) parents for me. salmīlé 3alā Āahlik. .سَلْميلي على أَهْلِك
* Consider it done. wuSil. .وُصِل
* Say hi (pl.) to the teacher for us. salmūlnā 3alĀistēz. .سَلْمولْنا عَالإسْتاذ
* Consider it done. wuSil. .وُصِل


Passing on greetings

Greetings are delivered to the recipient according to the following formula:

  1. “__ say(s) hi”: the verb “sallam / سَلَّم” in the simple present tense, conjugated in the 3rd person to agree with the person who asked for the greetings to be passed on.
  2. “to __”: the preposition “3alā / عَلى” + suffix pronoun agreeing with the person to whom the greetings are passed on
1. __ say(s) hi…
him: bisallim بِسَلِّم

:هُوِّ

her: bitsallim بِتسَلِّم

:هِيِّ

them: bisalmō بِسَلْمو

هِنِّ:

2. to __
You (m.): 3alék عَليك :إنْتَ
You (f.): 3alayké عَلَيْكِ :إنْتِ
You (pl.): 3alaykun عَلَيْكُن :إنْتو

 

* Rami says hi to you (m.). rāmī bisallim 3alék. رامي بِسَلِّم عَليك.
* Suher says hi to you (pl.). bitsallim 3alaykun suhér. بِتسَلِّم عَلَيْكُن سُهير.
* Nadia says hi to you (f.). bitsallim 3alayké nādyā. بِتسَلِّم عَلَيْكِ نادْيَا.
* My parents say hi to you (m.). Āahlé bisalmō 3alék. أَهْلي بِسَلْمو عَليك.


Responding to greetings from a third person

Upon receiving greetings from a third person, the appropriate response is to wish that God will keep safe the person conveying the greeting as well as the person from whom the greeting originates. Because of the suffix pronouns in Arabic, this response has nine possible configurations:

 

May God protect you (m.) and protect __
him: Āallaħ ysalmak wiysalmuħ الله يْسَلْمَك وِيْسَلْمُه هُوِّ:
her: Āallaħ ysalmak wiysallimħā الله يْسَلْمَك وِيْسَلِّمها هِيِّ:
them: Āallaħ ysalmak wiysallimħun الله يْسَلْمَك وِيْسَلِّمهُن هِنِّ:
May God protect you (f.) and protect __
him: Āallaħ ysalmik wiysalmuħ الله يْسَلْمِك وِيْسَلْمُه هُوِّ:
her: Āallaħ ysalmik wiysallimħā الله يْسَلْمِك وِيْسَلِّمها هِيِّ:
them: Āallaħ ysalmik wiysallimħun الله يْسَلْمِك وِيْسَلِّمهُن هِنِّ:
May God protect you (pl.) and protect __
him: Āallaħ ysallimkun wiysalmuħ الله يْسَلِّمْكُن وِيْسَلْمُه هُوِّ:
her: Āallaħ ysallimkun wiysallimħā الله يْسَلِّمْكُن وِيْسَلِّمها هِيِّ:
them: Āallaħ ysallimkun wiysallimħun الله يْسَلِّمْكُن وِيْسَلِّمهُن هِنِّ:

Notice that the verb used here with the meaning “protect” is the same verb that is used with the meaning “say hello”, i.e. “sallam / سَلَّم”.

Finally, we put the greetings and responses together:

 

* Rami says hi to you (m.). rāmī bisallim 3alék. رامي بِسَلِّم عَليك.
* May God keep you (m.) Āallaħ ysalmak wiysalmuħ. .الله يْسَلْمَك وِيْسَلْمُه
and him safe.
* Suher says hi to you (pl.). bitsallim 3alaykun suhér. بِتسَلِّم عَلَيْكُن سُهير.
* May God keep you (m.) Āallaħ ysalmak wiysallimħā. الله يْسَلْمَك وِيْسَلِّمها.
and her safe
* Nadia says hi to you (f.). bitsallim 3alayké nādyā. بِتسَلِّم عَلَيْكِ نادْيَا.
* May God keep you (f.) and Āallaħ ysalmik wiysallimħā. .الله يْسَلْمِك وِيْسَلِّمها
her safe.
* My parents say hi to you (m.). Āahlé bisalmō 3alék. أَهْلي بِسَلْمو عَليك.
* May God keep you (f.) and Āallaħ ysalmik wiysallimħun. الله يْسَلْمِك وِيْسَلِّمهُن.
them safe.

Related
How to Say Hello in Lebanese Arabic
“How Are You?” in Lebanese Arabic
How to Say Goodbye in Lebanese Arabic

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