Supporting Students New to America
Commonly Used Phrases
Communication is a key to creating a welcoming environment for all of our Utah children and youth, especially those who are refugees. These commonly used phrases are just one way to say to our children and families: "You belong and we value your language and your culture." Below you will find audio recordings of commonly used phrases such as hello, welcome, how are you, what is your name and more in various languages.
Amharic is the national language of Ethiopia. It is an Afro-Asiatic language of the Semitic branch and is a member of the Ethio-semitic group. It is spoken as a mother tongue by the Amhara tribes and other populations residing in major cities and towns of the country. The Amharic language has its own alphabets that people use them for their personal and business communications. Recordings by Leul Mengistu.
Arabic, a member of the Semitic family of languages, is believed to have originated from nomadic tribes in the Arabian peninsula. Today, it is spoken by over 250 million people in the Middle East and North Africa and many other languages use Arabic words. There are two forms of Arabic: a more formal type of Arabic originating from pre-Islamic poetry and an informal dialect spoken by native speakers. Some people also recognize literary or Qur’anic Arabic, as Arabic is used as a religious language by Muslims. A phrase commonly used in Arab countries is على عيني وراسي (‘ala ‘aini wa raasi) “On my head and my eyes” used to say they will definitely do what you asked. Recordings by Ammar Al Jubouri.
Burmese, a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family, originated in Myanmar (formerly Burma), a country between India and China along the Bay of Bengal. There are currently over 32 million people who speak Burmese today. Over the centuries, Burmese has been in contact with other languages such as Pali, Mon, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French. Spoken Burmese used in everyday conversation is very different from formal written Burmese as a result. Hinduism and Buddhism have had profound religious and linguistic effects on Burmese, especially in the pronunciation of words. A phrase commonly used by Burmese speakers is translated “To pound on one’s own thighs,” which refers to how unwise speech and actions hurt oneself. Recordings by Thet Aung.
The Dinka are found mainly along the Nile, specifically the west bank of the White Nile, a major tributary flowing north from Uganda, north and south of the Sudd marsh in southwestern and south central Sudan in three provinces: Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Southern Kurdufan. The language you hear in this audio is the standard and prestigious dialect. Recordings by Atem Aleu.
Farsi, also known as Persian Language, is the most widely spoken member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, a subfamily of the Indo-European languages. Farsi is spoken today primarily in Iran and Afghanistan, but was historically a more widely understood language in an area ranging from the Middle East to India. Significant populations of speakers can be found in other Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates), as well as large communities in the US. The language you hear in this audio is Farsi spoken by Iranian. Recordings by Mitra Khazaeimoghaddam.
African French is the generic name of the varieties of French spoken by an estimated 120 million (2010) people in Africa spread across 24 francophone countries. This includes those who speak French as a first or second language in these 31 francophone African countries, but it does not include French speakers living in non-francophone African countries. Africa is the continent with the most French speakers in the world. French arrived in Africa as a colonial language. Recordings by Franck Ndua.
Karen languages, also a part of the Sino-Tibetan language family though more influenced by languages of the Tai and Austro-Asiatic families, came from tribal people from Kayah and Kayin states in Myanmar. There are three branches of Karen: Pa’o, Pwo, and Sgaw. There are currently about 2 million speakers in lower Myanmar (previously Burma) and on the borders of Thailand. Since Karen speakers traditionally practiced nature worship, there has been conflict over the years between Burmese authorities and the Karen minority. Recordings by Tee Mu.
Kinyarwanda is an official language of Rwanda and a dialect of the Rwanda-Rundi language spoken by 12 million people in Rwanda, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjacent parts of southern Uganda. The Kirundi dialect is the official language of neighbouring Burundi. Kinyarwanda is one of the three official languages of Rwanda and is spoken by almost all of the native population. Recordings by Franck Ndua.
Audio recordings of commonly used phrases such as hello, welcome, how are you, what is your name and more in Kurdish. Recordings by Alan Arian.
Refugees from Bhutan speak Nepali because they are Nepalese by origin. They were perscuted by Northern Bhutan and forced to flee back to Nepal after their forefathers had already settled Southern Nepal. Recordings by Hari Koirala.
The Somali language is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The Somali language has a unique history of varied linguistic influences, including Arabic, English and Italian. It has 10-16 million native speakers and perhaps half a million second language speakers mainly in Somali, where it is an official language, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. There are also significant numbers of Somali speakers in Europe, North America and Yemen due to modern migration. Recordings by Halima Hussein.
Swahili is a Bantu language with a lot of influence from other languages (Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, and Malay). Swahili was originally spoken along the coast of Tanzania and Kenya. Traders from the coast spread the language to the nearby islands, and then traders from those islands spread it deeper into the continent. Today it is spoken in Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Oman, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa and Uganda. Around 5 million people speak Swahili as a native language, and a further 135 million speak it as a second language. Recordings by Halima Hussein.
Audio recordings of commonly used phrases such as hello, welcome, how are you, what is your name and more in Turkish. Recordings by Bayan Arian.