Reference Interviews (Web)

What is ipl2 Virtual Reference?

The IPL began in a graduate seminar taught by Dr. Joe Janes in the School of Information and Library Studies at the University of Michigan in the Winter 1995 semester. The idea was twofold: (1) to ask some interesting and important questions about the interconnections of libraries, librarians, and librarianship with a distributed networked environment, and (2) to learn a lot about these issues by actually designing and building something called the Internet Public Library.

IPL2 offers students in MLIS to practice working with real patrons.

> Question:

I am doing a project and need to know what language the people in Jordan speak and how to say hello in that language.  E-mail me A.S.A.P.

(Patron Information Removed)
location: Chicago
grade: 7
school: Yes
sourceschecked: none

Greetings from ipl2,

Thank you for your question on languages in other countries, in this case, Jordan. I think I have found a few resources which answer your question, and can teach you how to write and say “hello” in that country. The answer to your question is that Jordan speaks a specific dialect of Arabic, and to say hello in that country, you should say “marHaba”.

I found the answer to this question using different resources. First I wanted to find out what language Jordan spoke, and so I chose to use an encyclopedia.  (1)   The websites offered a lot of information about Jordan. I learned more about Jordan’s language, and dialect (which is how a language sounds specific to different areas). According to this source, Jordan is a country in the Middle East whose official language is Arabic and this form of Arabic sounds similar in Syria, Lebanon and areas of Iraq.  You can learn a lot more information about Jordan using this encyclopedia resource at:

(2)  I also found a resource called “Say Hello to the World” which could help you to expand your information about using Arabic to greet at:

This resource shows information, and links to other resources, and describes an alternate greeting to hello—“Al salaam a’alaykum” which means “Good Day” in Arabic. Because this source gives you an answer up front of how to greet someone in Arabic, and also links to other methods of finding your information through the ipl2 website, it has proven itself to be a reputable resource.

(3)In Language Lessons by Coverdell World Wise Schools, from the Peace Corps website, they have a resource on learning Arabic in Jordan specifically. On this site, I found that if you want to greet someone by saying hello in Jordan, you would use the phrase “marHaba” (you can follow the link below to the lesson to hear how it sounds). An appropriate response to someone saying hello to you is to say “ahlain / hala”.  Lesson 1 for speaking Arabic at the Peace Corps website will expand the different types of greeting and how to use them in Jordan.

This link is quite long and could break, so here is a shortened version for your convenience.

If you want to read the lesson instead of listening to it, the transcript of the lesson can be found at

This link is quite long and could break, so here is a shortened version for your convenience.

I decided to use this resource because the Peace Corps are a reliable organization who do outreach in other countries.  If you want to learn more about them and their mission, you should take a look at their mission statement:

How I found my resources:

(1) The resource Altapedia has information about worldwide information, including languages. I found this website listed through the ipl2 resource center by identifying subject areas which were relevant to your grade level.  I wanted to look through the Pathfinders aspect of the website to discover relevant resources.

Pathfinders can be helpful to discover an answer to a question by using the information that you know to find good resources. You can access Pathfinders under ipl2’s “Special Collections” from their website.

I looked through the pathfinder under Society and Culture, and discovered that they had resources separated by “country”, which can be located at the link below:

The Altapedia’s description was helpful to identify it as a good resource because it mentioned that it included information about the language. Encyclopedia’s can be a great resource when you are trying to find information about different areas of the world, but I wanted to check this resource against other sources because it is a .com (which means a company created it).  More reliable sources can be found online from .edu or .gov websites. Other database sites found through ipl2 can also be helpful when doing research.

(2) I found under the “web directory” resource section of the ipl2 website. had a lot of material that could be used in other upcoming projects, including information on language learning.

After I choose the age appropriate section; I choose to look at Social Studies, and then “Countries and Culture”, since we are interested in a specific country.

Under this section of the website, one of the links led me to “Say Hello to the World” which listed Arabic as an option. An alternative answer to your question of how to say hello in Jordan (and therefore in Arabic) was available, and they listed other resources where you could explore other aspects of the language.

(3) Since you wanted something that said “Hello” and not “Good Day” I choose one of the resources available under “Say Hello Around the World.” Using the available resources above, I identified a link which brought all of our answers together. Under the section, “Learning Arabic”, one link was described as “Peace Corps | Coverdell World Wise Schools: Arabic in Jordan,” which both explained the language in the country Jordan, and the different ways of greeting (including “Hello!”)

Thank you for using ipl2. If you have any further questions about this subject, don’t hesitate to write back. Good luck on your project!

Elaine Conway

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