What is the falafel guy's name?
April 29, 2009 2:01 PM   Subscribe

I need some help deciphering (what I assume) is an Arabic name.

So I've befriended the guy at my favorite falafel joint but I just cannot understand what his name is. He says it so fast. I've asked the other guys who work there and it's just as incomprehensible coming out of their mouths. Everyone there has given up on me ever getting it right.

I hear what I guess I'd spell out as 'Hana-Nouf'. But I think there might be more syllables. I obviously can't really tell. The 'h' at the beginning has a bit of a guttural sound. Other than that, the dominant impression is speed. It comes out real quick.

The only other thing I can tell you is that he's from Algeria. Anyone have a clue?

posted by GalaxieFiveHundred to Writing & Language (7 answers total)
just give him a clever nickname. That's what the leader of the free world did for 8 years. [shakes head to forget]

More seriously, Hanan is a popular male Arabic name. Maybe the last name is Ouf or something like that? i haven't heard that surname but i do know a few Hanans.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2009

Some more Arabic H names: Hamal, Hamed, Hamid, Hanan, Hanba, Hanif, Haroon, Humam.
You could ask them to spell it for you, maybe?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:53 PM on April 29, 2009

Oh wait, is it Hamadou?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:06 PM on April 29, 2009

Ouf is apparently a last name. Google "Hanan Ouf"?
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:23 PM on April 29, 2009

You could always ask his son or daughter's name and call him "Abu thatname." That would save you any embarrassment of asking again and would also show you to be aware of cultural nickname norms.
posted by proj at 3:46 PM on April 29, 2009

There are 3 h sounds in arabic, a soft h like in english, a heavier h that you should feel in the back of your throat, & a 'kha' sound that sounds like you're being spit at. the 2nd one followed by n & A is the christian arabic for John, so if he's christian (unlikely but certainly possible), you may have it. Don't know what the 'nouf' would be off-hand. One thing you can try is phonetically typing it in at yamli.com's editor & translating all the variations that come up. If you want to know for sure, ask one of the other guys for the name letter by letter, come back & I can walk you through the exact pronunciation (which is probably not the Algerian pronunciation, to make matters worse).
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:59 PM on April 29, 2009

And if you take proj's advice, make sure you get his oldest son's name.
posted by devilsbrigade at 6:02 PM on April 29, 2009

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