Common Expressions in Sudan

Video Transcript

“So, the expression in Sudanese Arabic is ‘etfadal.’ So, this word now, you hear it all the time in Sudan. That, and a lot of other expressions. But a host will use this word to a guest in order to invite them to partake of food, drink, to be comfortable.  And there’s a man’s name that’s very similar to that, too, ‘Fadl.’ So I asked my Arabic teacher, every Arabic name has some root, some meaning, so I asked her what it means. And she came up with the definition, be generous. And I thought that’s a strange idea, that the host should invite the guest to be generous in accepting hospitality. That’s sort of their concept. I looked into it a little further and I came up with a different interpretation. I would use the word, be gracious, rather than generous.

”But the idea is that, this notion of desert hospitality is real. When Sudanese greet, a long, elaborate greeting, and the very next thing the host will say is, ‘What would you like to drink? Something hot or cold?’ It’s a desert. To fail to offer something to drink to a visitor could put that visitor in jeopardy. They’re sincere about this offering and giving and inviting someone to be generous in accepting.”

In this video, a Sudanese expert discusses a common expression in Sudan.