Arabic – Talking About Countries and Nationalities -Arabic Beginner Lesson- 36
With the growing internationalism of the modern world, when you meet
someone for the first time, you may want to know what country he or she is
from. Fortunately for English speakers, the names of countries in Arabic are
very similar to their names in English. Even more good news is the fact that
the terms for nationalities are derivatives of the country names.
Asking “Where are you from?”
If you’re speaking with a man and want to ask him where he’s from, you use
the phrase min ‘ayna ‘anta (min ay-na ann-ta). Similarly, if you want to ask a
woman “Where are you from?,” you say min ‘ayna ‘anti? (min ay-na ann-tee).
If you want to ask if a man is from a certain place — for example, America —
you say hal ‘anta min ‘amriikaa? (hal ann-ta min am-ree-kaa; Are you from
America?) (M). If you’re speaking with a woman, you simply replace ‘anta
Telling where “I am from . . .”
To say “I am from . . .,” you use the preposition min (from) and the personal
pronoun ‘anaa (I/me). Therefore, “I’m from America” is ‘anaa min ‘amriikaa.
It’s that simple!
To help you both understand responses to the question “Where are you
from?” (see the preceding section) and give your own response to such questions,
Table 3-1 lists the names of various countries and corresponding
nationalities in Arabic.
Chapter 3: ‘as-salaamu ‘alaykum!: Greetings and Introductions 55
Table 3-1 Country Names and Nationalities in Arabic
Country/Nationalities Pronunciation Translation
al-maghrib al-magh-rib Morocco
maghribii magh-ree-bee Moroccan (M)
maghribiiyya magh-ree-bee-ya Moroccan (F)
al-jazaa’ir al-jah-zah-eer Algeria
jazaa’irii ja-zaa-ee-ree Algerian (M)
jazaa’iriiyya ja-zaa-ee-ree-ya Algerian (F)
tuunis tuu-nis Tunisia
tuunisii tuu-nee-see Tunisian (M)
tuunisiiyya tuu-nee-see-ya Tunisian (F)
miSr mee-sar Egypt
miSrii mees-ree Egyptian (M)
miSriiyya mees-ree-ya Egyptian (F)
al-’iraaq al-i-raa-q Iraq
‘iraaqii ee-raa-qee Iraqi (M)
‘iraaqiiyya ee-raa-qee-ya Iraqi (F)
as-sa’uudiiyya as-sa-uu-dee-ya Saudi Arabia
sa’uudii sa-uu-dee Saudi (M)
sa’uudiiyya sa-uu-dee-ya Saudi (F)
‘amriikaa am-ree-kaa America/USA
‘amriikii am-ree-kee American (M)
‘amriikiiyya am-ree-kee-ya American (F)
To tell someone “I am from Morocco,” you say ‘anaa min al-maghrib (ann-aa
min al-magh-rib). Alternatively, you may also say ‘anaa maghribii (ann-aa
magh-ree-bee; I am Moroccan) (M).