You will find that many Sudanese know English which they have learned in school. Today, however, Arabic is the official language spoken by a majority of the people and is also taught in schools. Though hundreds of languages are native to Sudan, Arabic has, through government policy, become the common language. It is the language of prayer for Muslims.

Sudanese greetings are very polite and rather complex compared to ours. Saying, "Hello. How are you? How is your family?" would seem simple to Sudanese. In Sudan, or among the Sudanese anywhere, two friends might greet each other with smiles and gentle shoves on each other's shoulder. Then they will shake hands and embark on a pleasant ritual of exchanging formal greetings, inquiring if all is "well", or tamam. You might hear enthusiastic replies of tamam!

Did you know?

While Arabic is the official language of Sudan, Nilotic and Nilo-Hamitic languages are spoken in the south and Darfur is spoken in the western provinces. There are more than 100 spoken languages in Sudan and over 570 ethnic dialects or indigenous languages.

Sere are some basic Arabic words and phrases to try:

English Arabic
Hello, welcome! Mar haban!
Hello, peace be with you As-salammu alaykum
And peace be with you also Alaykum salaam
How are you? Kayf haaluk?
Fine, thanks. With Allah's mercy. Quwais el-hamdu li-laah
My name is... Ismii
What is your name? Ismak shinov?
I am a student Anaa talib
Pleased to meet you Tah-sharafna
Good-bye Ma'asalaama