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Essential Arabic

The Emirates is home to many nationalities that speak a mind-boggling variety of languages. English is widely understood and where words don't make sense, smiles and hand signals go a long way. Hotel staff, waiters in restaurants, the taxi driver and the tour operator have a working knowledge of English, Russian and a few other languages. However, a basic knowledge of Arabic and the many courtesies that grace this language, will go a long way to understand the local customs and culture, as well as foster friendships, and get your work done.


Good morningSabah el Khair
(reply) Sabah el noor
Good evening Masa-el khair
(reply) Masa-el noor
Good night Laileh sa'eeda tisbah ' ala khair
Hello Marhaba
Greetings (peace be with you) Assalam 'alaikoom
(reply) 'alaikoom Assalam
How are you? Kaifa halak
Goodbye (the one departing) Ma'assalama
(the one remaining) Fi aman allah
Thank God Al hamdu lillah
Welcome (host says) Ahlan wa-sahlan
(reply) Ahlan bekum
Yes Na'am
No La
Please Min Fadhlak (m)
Please Min Fadhliki (f)
After you Taffadhal (m)
I beg you to Taffadhali (f)
If God is willing Inshaallah
What is your name? Ma Ismika?
My name is Ismi
Do you speak English? Hal tatakalum Al Engleaziah?
I do not speak Arabic Ana la atakallum Al Arabiah
How? (in what way) Kaifa
How much? (cost) Bekam?
How many? Kam?
What? Matha?
What's the matter? Mall amr?
What is that? Ma howa thaak?
What do you want? Matha toreed?
Who? Mein?
Why? Lematha?

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