Cultural Competence for Professional Travelers
Jordan is a country in the Middle East., bordered by Israel and the West Bank to the west, by Syria to the
north, by Iraq to the east and by Saudi Arabia to the south. The official
language is Arabic.
Note: The following guidelines are based on traditional customs and practices. Some of the formalities or
cultural taboos outlined below may not always be applicable in large urban centers, or when dealing with
younger generations or Jordanian expatriates.
Meeting and Greeting Etiquette
Honor is very important in the Jordanian culture. As a result, lots of titles are used.
o `Ya Sidi' [pronounced yah see_ dee]. This is the most general title of respect. Informally,
it can be used with any friend, co-worker, shop owner, business associate or member of
the general public; anyone of roughly the same social standing. Formally, [but not in
official communications] it is used with police and political authorities.
o 'Ya 'Ammo' [pronounced yah 'um_ mow]. This is an informal general title of respect used
to refer either to someone a generation older or a generation younger than you.
o 'Ya Bek' [pronounced yah bake_]. This is a general formal title of respect especially used
for police and military officers.
o 'Ya Doctor' [pronounced yah doc tour_]. This general and a bit formal title of respect can
be used to ascribe learning and general social awareness.