On the eve of a visit to Egypt I aquired an Arabic phrase book. Intended to help ‘Americans visiting or temporarily residing in the Arab world’, it phonetically transcribes ‘essential’ words. ‘EH-nah es-FEEN’, I found, means ‘We are sorry’, to which the reply might be ‘mah-LESH’, ‘never mind’. A footnote reads: ‘much-used expression… equivalent to: […]
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