When we visit any country either as a tourist or for other purposes, language becomes an essential element for effective communication. If we are familiar with the native language of the place we visit, there is no doubt that it will help us get around easily. The case of Dubai with its official language Arabic is not different. Though an English-speaking visitor can easily get along with this modern metropolis, learning a few essential Arabic words can make your trip more comfortable and a lot easier.
On that note, here is a handy list of words/phrases and their English translation to begin with to get around and socialize when you visit Dubai the next time.
Basic Useful Phrases in Arabic
Now, let’s check some of the common phrases in Arabic that will be useful for you when you travel to Dubai. Although almost everyone speaks English, these phrases will help you feel at home with the Arabs.
- Naäam – Yes.
- Laa – No.
- min faDlik – Please.
- Shukran – Thank you.
- Äafwan – You’re welcome.
- Aläafw – Excuse me.
- arjuu almaädhira – I am sorry.
- sabaaH alkhayr – Good morning.
- masaa’ alkhayr – Good evening.
- tuSbiH äalaa khayr – Good night.
How to Greet Someone in Arabic?
As in every other country, polite greetings are important in the UAE. So, it is always courteous to start a conversation with a greeting. When we greet a group of people, it is ideal to say hello to each person individually to ensure that everyone is treated well.
Some of the most common ways to greet someone in Arabic are as follows:
- Hello – ahlan
- Hello; greetings – marHaban
- Welcome – ahlan wa sahlan
- Peace be upon you. (formal/group) –as-salaam ‘alaykum.
- Good morning – SabaaH al-khayr
- Good evening – Masaa’ al-khayr
- Goodbye – ma’a as-salaama
- Until we meet again – ila-liqaa’
How to Ask and Respond to “How are you?”
The best way to begin any conversation is by asking the greeting questions – How are you? or How’s it going? And the standard response to this question is “fine” or “good”.
In Arabic, we ask, “how are you?” as “kayf Haalak?” And the formulaic, expected response should be bi-khayr, al-Hamdu lillah, which is translated as “Fine, praise God.”
However, in case you need some help or wish to describe how you really feel, you can use the following words:
Start with “anaa . . .” (I am . . . ) followed by the below-given conditions.
And remember that since masculine and feminine forms of Arabic adjectives are different, consider that while you speak. A masculine adjective can be changed to feminine by adding an “a.”
- sa’iid/sa’iida (happy)
- Haziin/Haziina (sad)
- ghaDbaan/ghaDbaa (angry)
- ta’baan/ta’baana (tired)
- bardaan/bardaana (cold)
- Harraan/Harraa (hot)
- ‘aTshaan/’aTshaa (thirsty)
- jaw’aan/jaw’aa (hungry)
- mashghuul/mashghuula (busy)
- mariiD/mariiDa (sick)
More Arabic Phrases To Use While Meeting An Arabic Native
- Knowing someone else speaks English can make communication easier for us while traveling abroad.
- hal tataHaddath al’ingiliiziyya? – Do you speak English?
- hal yuwjad aHad hunaa yataHaddath al’ingiliiziyya? – Does anyone here speak English?
2. This phrase can come in handy when someone expects a reply or response from you in the Arabic language.
- anaa ataHaddath faqaT qaliil min aläarabiyya – I only speak a little Arabic.
3. Knowing each other’s names is essential to building any relationship. Any conversation, after a greeting, can be started by asking the other person’s name.
- maa ismuk? – What is your name?
- ismii Ismail – My name is Ismail.
4. Express your happiness with this greeting phrase while you meet someone.
- anaa saäiid jiddan bimuqaabalatak – I am very glad to meet you.
5. If you do not understand the current subject or situation, you can use this sentence.
- anaa laa afham – I don’t understand.
6. If you comprehend what someone is saying, you can express that with this phrase.
- anaa afham tamaaman – I understand perfectly.
7. When you feel that something is better or pleasing to you, you can communicate that by saying A’jabanee haqqan!
- A’jabanee haqqan! – I really like it!
8. If you are not happy with what you did, you can express your apology to someone by saying Afwan!/Aasef!, meaning sorry.
- Afwan!/Aasef! – Sorry
9. When you are in a new place, you may need to use this phrase much more often. Ask this in case you need some favor from someone, need help with directions, etc.
- Hal beemkanek mosa’adati – Can you help me?
What To Say When You Need Some Help While You Are In A Restaurant?
If you are searching for a hotel or in a restaurant for food, you can use these sentences while asking for or placing an order.
- What time do you serve breakfast/ lunch/ dinner? – Mata yakun al’iftar/ alghada’/ alaesha’? –
- Is there a bed and breakfast nearby? – Hal yujad bansyon bilqurb min huna?
- Is there a restaurant nearby? – Hal yujad mataeam bilqurb min huna?
- What would you recommend? – maadha tanSaHna?
- Shall we order now? – hal naTluba al-aan?
Learning basic Arabic words and meanings in English is a wonderful method to improve the comfort level of local interactions. If you are in Dubai and are a beginner in the Arabic language, bookmark or save these phrases to make your travel easy and worry-free.