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Greeting people of different age or status

Swahili-speaking people use different forms of greetings depending on the age or status of the person they’re greeting, and also on time of the day. For example, people of the same age or status will ask each other Habari gani? which literally means What’s the news? The respondent will answer by saying nzuri, which means fine or good. When a younger person greets an older person, he or she will normally say shikamoo, and the respondent will say marahaba. There may also be some regional variations, but the general forms are universally applicable. While greeting one another, people usually shake hands for a few seconds, smile, and share direct eye contact. In some places, especially along the East African coast where the majority of the population is Muslim, people greet one another by saying assalam alaykum, which is an Arabic phrase meaning peace be upon you. The response is wa alaykum salaam, which means and upon you be peace.