- Arabic compliments tend to be lengthy because it is generally considered that the longer a compliment is, the more sincere.
- Egyptian compliments often utilize similes and metaphors in reference to marriage or Allah: shaklak ariis in-naharda (you look like a bridegroom today); maa shaaa Allaah aleek (Gods grace be upon you) (Nelson, El-Bakary, & Al-Batal, 1993 [©]).
- Four Arabic adjectives are commonly used: hilw (pretty), kwayyis (good), shiik (chic), and tayyib (kind).
- Egyptians mainly compliment others on their appearance, personality traits, and skills. Perhaps half of the Egyptian compliments on appearance are likely to praise natural attributes.
- Compared to Americans, Egyptians compliment others less frequently.
- Most Egyptian compliments are given directly, but they also offer compliments in a kidding or joking way (Nelson, et. al, 1993). The third most common Egyptian response utilizes formulaic expressions such as: eeh l-Halaawa di! Eeh sh-shiyaaka di! (What is all this beauty! What is all this chicness!).
Syrian Compliment Responses
- Appreciation Token (shukran [thank you])
- Agreement (kill tasaamiimi naajha [All my designs are successful])
- Return (w-inti heek yaa Sawsan [And you and the same, Sasan])
- Acceptance + Formula (maddame [it is presented to you])
- Deflecting or Commenting on History (A: Your body has filled out. B: I used to work out a long time ago. )
- Questioning or Request Reassurance/Repetition (Is that really me?)
- Syrians prefer acceptance or mitigation of the compliment to rejection.
- Agreement + Formula tends to be the most common response type in Syrian compliments. For example, one can say: maddam ([It is] presented [to you]), offering the object of the compliment to the complimenter. This offer comes in a formulaic expression and is not likely to be accepted. It is an expected polite response to certain compliments. The complimenter typically says: shukran! Ala saahibtu ahiaa (Thank you! It looks much nicer on its owner) or Tithanni fiiha. InshaaLLaah tihriiha bi-l-hanaa (May you enjoy it. May you, God willing, wear it out in happiness).
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