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How to greet someone in Persian Posted by on Apr 6, 2021 in Culture, Language, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

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Do you know there is more than one way to greet someone in the Persian language?

Salam سلام is the first word you will probably learn to speak in Persian and is the most fundamental greeting you should know. سلام  is used to say hello and translates in English as “Peace be upon you.”

The reply to this can vary. Age plays a pivotal role in Persian greetings. Children from an early age learn how to greet older people and parents teach their children to be polite and respect older people. Responding to سلام is even more important than offering it.

The answer to سلام can be as simple as saying it back, or in the situation when an older person greets a younger person, the younger person (not children or teenagers) often responds by saying salam az bandeh ast سلام از بنده است, meaning “It is my duty to offer سلام to you first”.

There are other nuances regarding سلام. When a guest enters a party; it is necessary to greet the most important people in the room (the eldest). Greeting with سلام is not limited to the number of times that one can say it. For instance, during a party, after the initial greeting is exchanged and a guest goes out for a while and returns, it is common to say سلام to the whole party again. In this scenario, other people at the party are encouraged to say welcoming phrases such as befarmayid بفرمایید (come in please) or ya’allah یالله (Oh God).  If a guest enters a large gathering, it is recommended to say salam be hamegi سلام به همگی (Hello everyone).

There are other salutations in Persian greeting, including Salaam Aleykom سلام علیکم (Peace be unto you), Salam o sad salam سلام و صد سلام  (hello and one hundred hellos) and Salam be ro-ye mahet سلام به روی ماهت “Hello to your face which is as beautiful as the moon!”.

Another way to offer greetings is to say dorood درود which translates in English as hello. درود is not as widespread as سلام. It is rather literary and stylistic. It is popular by those who are in favor of pure Persian compared with the word سلام that has an Arabic origin.

روزبخیر translates as “good day” at any time of the day. It is used as hello or goodbye. Remember to pronounce the letter kh ‘خ ‘ like it is pronounced in Hebrew or Russian, not the letter k ‘ک ‘.

Different ways to exchange greetings in Persian show positivity, respect to elders, and politeness in Iranian culture. What other ways of saying “hello” have you heard? Please comment below and share your experience.

Vocabulary:

سلام

سلام از بنده است

بفرمایید

یالله

سلام به همگی

سلام علیکم

علیکم سلام

سلام و صد سلام

سلام به روی ماهت

درود

روزبخیر,

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