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Marvelous Maldives: When you Meet locals

maldives women and culture

Maldivians are a friendly people who are happy and prefers a peaceful life. Many of them are shy and being so is considered good manners. So they may not start a conversation and maybe silent. But never mistaken them to be walls. Knowing a few Dhivehi will help the visitors ‘ life  easier. Dhivehi is spoken  only in Maldives and an atoll in  South  India. Here are a few things you could say or ask when you meet locals.

Ice Breaker

When you say “Assalam Alaikum”, it amazingly hit the right place, specially hearing from a stranger draws all the attention towards the person who greets. The receiver feels a kind of happiness and will immediately like you thinking that you know about the him/her.  It  will make you feel home and he will reply “Wa Alaikumu Salam”. This is first and last thing you say when you meet or leave anytime  of the day or night.  Even if you meet  again after a 5 minutes  being apart, also you say Assalam Alaikum. The reply is the   same. It mean simply “peace  be upon you”  It is considered as prayer and also acceptance of the company, that you are safe and welcome.

How are you?

Kihineh or Kiheneh tha. Either way it mean ‘How are you?’ In southern atolls it a bit  different but will be understood anywhere in the Maldives. The reply  is “rangalhu’ which may be a bit difficult to say. The “lh” sound does not exist in many languages, except maybe in South Asia. When pronouncing  “L”  the tip of the tongue touches ‘you know where’ the upper end of the of middle two teeth. To pronounce ‘Lh” you touch the tip of the tongue further up (may be half of an inch) the channel inside.


If  you want find a place:  “where is the hospital?”, assuming there is a hospital around the area. “konthaaku hospital hunnanee?”. “where” mean “,konthaaku?” or “koba?”. If you are looking some one:  “where is Ahmad?”, “koba Ahmad”. By the way it  is like asking “where is John?”   in USA. Ahmed is one of the two most popular first names.


What is you name? “namakee koba? Or koba namakee?”   In  Dhivehi, the Maldivian  language, words used for “you” is  “kaley” or “tha” in the south.  These words are not very well received by many  because many consider them giving the feeling of disrespect. But in  the most southern atoll Addu City  and the City of Fuvahmulah,  the English word “you” is very well received  and used while speaking Dhivehi. So how do you answer? “My name is John” ; “aharenge namakee John” where “aharen”   means “I”

When you meet locals

It will make life easier for both if  you know the leas:

You: Asslalam Alaikum (peace be on you)

Me: Wa Alaikumu Salam  Wa  RahmathuIlahi”  (peace an blessings be on  you”

You: Kihineh? (how are you, or how?”

Me: Ragalhu (good), Shukuriya (Thanks)

You:  Maruhaba (Welcome)


 No worries

English is widely spoken anyway, but greeting really will make a difference more than anything, it is like  you are accepting his identity as a Muslim,  because one can be a Maldivian even without speaking the local  language, but one cannot be a citizen of Maldives without being a Muslim. May be strange   but it is the law of the land and it prevails. Happy time  when you meet locals in the Maldives, the Sunny  Side of Life.