Hello in Morocco from Peace Corps Day 1998 information package
- Language: Arabic Greeting: Salam oo-alley koom
Comments In Moroccan Arabic, as in Arabic everywhere, this is the standard
basic greeting. It translates literally to "Peace be unto you"
and the response, "Oo-alley koom salam" means "and unto you
Greetings in Morocco will go on for many minutes--sometimes up to 1/2 hour--and
the parties ask about each other's health, faith in Allah, families, work,
etc. Other shorter greetings include "La bess?" meaning literally
"No harm" or something like "How's it going?" "Salam,"
used when passing someone on the street you sort of know but don't stop to
talk to, and "Ash khbarak?"--"What's new (with you)?"
Moroccans will shake hands when greeting pretty much anyone, touching the
heart immediately after the handshake to show that the greeting is sincere.
Sometimes instead of touching the heart, they will kiss their own hand after
the handshake, as a sign of particular esteem or affection. In the case
of family or close friends, women greeting women and men greeting men will
kiss each other's cheeks back and forth a few times. In the north, it's
right cheek--left cheek--left cheek. In other parts of the country, it could
be right--left--right, or right--left only. How much you kiss cheeks
also depends on how much you like the person, or how long it's been since
you've seen them. The longer it's been, the more kisses are exchanged.
Women and men who are not related NEVER kiss.
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