x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

How a boy is called 'father'

Uniquely Emirati phrases have been detailed in a new book now available from the Women's Union.

Men are given respectful nicknames based on historic figures who share their names. It is a tradition across the Arab world.

For instance, anyone named Khalid could be known as "ibn Al-Walid", in honour of Khalid ibn Walid, a companion of the Prophet Mohammed.

In this way, a boy named Mohammed can be called Bu Jassim, the father of Qassim, Abdullah becomes Bu Humaid and Salem becomes Bu Ganem.

And so, a toddler can be known by the title of "father".

A special greeting is reserved for use after rainfall: "mabruk al rahma" or "maburak aleykum al rahma".

This Arabic expression is used most often in the Arabian Gulf where rain is rare.

As for the words of congratulations for owners of a winning camel, horse or boat, they will be met with cries of the Emirates expression "testahel al namous", which means, "He deserves the prize".