Linguistic Observations: The Optimism of Asking "خيرك؟"

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(Edited)

In Libya, we often say this one-word question "خيرك؟" and I thought it would be fun to talk about it here...



The most spoken language in Libya is a variation of Arabic. We have more than one Arabic dialect but I'm only familiar enough with the one in the western regions where I live.

For more info about Libyan dialect read my first article of "Linguistic Observations."

It's only when I write in Standard Arabic or English I realize how short and simple Libyan Arabic is. Too many sentences are shortened into one word phrases. One of the examples is "خيرك" (Kheerik) which literally means "Your Good" but depending on the tone and context, it can mean many other things.

We say it when someone looks ill. We say "خيرك؟" in a question form. "What's your Good?" might not make sense in English, but it's a polite way to say "Do you feel anything wrong?"

We say it when someone offends us. "خيرك؟" in a tone that conveys how offended we are. "What's good in what you're doing?" might be a polite way to say "What's wrong with you?!"

We have other variations. Like the third person "خيره" for male and "خيرها" for female. Like "خيرها الحكومة؟" which is our way of saying "What's wrong with the government?"

(Yes, the word government takes feminine pronouns in Arabic.)

We have a lot of optimistic phrases for the good in bad things in the Libyan tongue. One notable example is the name of Coal in Libyan dialect "بياض" which literally means "whiteness" despite Coal being a black piece of Carbon.

This phrase was being used long before I was born, and while the younger generation uses it less, it's still a common phrase in our spoken language.

I think this phrase evolved from the Islamic saying "خيراً إن شاء الله؟" which is about taking any news you receive with an optimistic mindset. It literally means: "By God's will, this is good (news.)" You'll find it a lot of people saying it in various situations in the Islamic historical records.

What do you think?


  • This article is also on Read.cash.
  • The written content of this article falls under the License CC-BY-NC. First image was created by Canva. Second image is handwritten digitally.


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7 comments
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Dear @ahmadmanga, sorry to jump in a bit off topic but may I ask you to support the HiveSQL proposal?
It lost its funding recently and your help would be much appreciated to keep the HiveSQL service free for the Hive community.
You can do it on Peakd, Ecency, Hive.blog or using HiveSigner.

Thank you for your support!

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I wish you made a line or two about my post before this... Thing is, asking for proposal votes is spammy even though I understand I won't see it unless if you're doing something like that, so I wish you start these comments with actual comments on the post content itself so it'll be less spammy.

Anyway, I'll see if this is a proposal I'd want to support.

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(Edited)

I wish you made a line or two about my post before this...

You're absolutely right. And I would have liked to do it, especially since I am passionate about foreign languages (already learned 8 of them) and Arabic is on my list of languages I would like to discover.

To my credit, campaigning for funding is all I don't like to do. And reading each post from the many Hive users I contact and reacting to them in a personalized way is something out of reach in terms of the time to devote to it. So I'll be honest, it's something I partially automated.

On the other hand, I make it a point of honor to thank everyone (manually) and to personalize this thank as possible, as I currently do.

So, thanks again for your support of the proposal. And thank you also for your comment.
!LUV

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And reading each post from the many Hive users I contact and reacting to them in a personalized way is something out of reach in terms of the time to devote to it.

I understand... I'm glad you're replying now. Which is something spammers will never do.

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