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Humanities LibreTexts

2.3: Cultural insights- Giving directions

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  • Giving directions in colloquial Arabic is giving hands-on directions, asking the person to take different turns and heavily using landmarks. GPS or Sat Nav has not been in much use in several Arab countries. Many people depend on each other for directions. For example, it is very common in Cairo for taxi drivers to ask pedestrians for directions or even drivers ask taxi drivers while waiting in a stop or sometimes while driving!

    Landmarks can be supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, banks, etc. You can be given an address whose literal translation sounds like this:

    17 Ahmed ‘Orabi Street by HSBC bank, first floor, apartment 5.

    In Arabic:

    ١٧ شارع أحمد عرابي بجانب بنك مَصر، الدور الأول، شقة ٥

    Therefore, when you are going to a new place, leave early and keep the phone number of the destination available to call in case you need further directions.

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