Living in Dubai

Some Arabic Phrases Every Expat Should Learn in Dubai

If you learn basic Arabic phrases, it will help to melt in the local culture of Dubai. Learning Arabic phrases is a sign of respect to the UAE.

The UAE’s official language is Arabic, but you don’t have to worry if you don’t know Arabic and want to work in the country. English is the medium of communication in most businesses in the United Arab Emirates. However, if you’ve outstanding communication with locals and Arab expatriates settled in Dubai, it’s an advantage if you know Arabic. For Business, if your company has economic interests in the Arab population of the United Arab Emirates includes locals and other Arab (include Saudis) settled in the UAE, then it will give you an advantage over others if you speak Arabic. As a result, there are many job advertisements nowadays asking job seekers if they know Arabic.

For a deal, if you communicate your customers in their local language by addressing them mentioning their first name. They’ll be happy with you, and there are more chances of businesses with them.

Although, it’s not hugely important to learn Arabic for expatriates since all signs, restaurant menu, and other services, for instance, are provided in English.

For English, it’s the universal language that a lot of people speak throughout the world. It’s primary language of business throughout the world except for local firms in some countries. If you’ve good command over English, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid learning any other language especially if the another language is a medium of communications where you’re going to settle. At least, you should make an effort in learning a few Arabic phrases which are very common in daily conversation such as Thank You, Welcome, Sorry, etc.

Learning Arabic Phrases is a sign of respect

If you learn basic Arabic phrases, it will help to melt in local culture and atmosphere, and day-to-day Dubai lifestyle. Knowing basic phrases is also a sign of respect to the country where you work and live.

Most of the expatriates don’t speak Arabic, so, if you show a little courage in learning Arabic. Then you’re indicating a grave respect for the country and the local people.

Here I am mentioning basic phrases that are mostly used by the Emiratis. If you visit another Arab country, you may find some differences in pronunciation or dialect. But, you don’t have to worry at all, they’ll understand you and will appreciate your effort to communicate in Arabic.

Perhaps, these Arabic phrases may help you in some day

As-Salaam Alaikum or Salaamu Alaikum
Islamic and traditional greeting, it means, peace be upon you. The reply is: Wa Alaikum Salaam, it means, And, peace upon you too.


Means ‘hi!’ It’s not commonly used since they greet each other with Salaam Alaikum/Wa Alaikum Salaam.

Sabāḥ Al-kẖayr
Means, Good Morning.

Masā’ al-khayr
Means, Good Afternoon and Good Evening.

Means Thank you. And you should reply Afwan.

Means, You’re Welcome! It’s also for Excuse Me and Sorry if the situation suits.

Titakkellem ingleezi?
Means, Do You Speak English?.

Means, Congratulations. It’s also translated as Blessed One. since it’s originally derived from the word Mubarak.

Kifak or Kayfa Halak
Means, How Are You? And, Kafa Halik is for women.

Means, Very good, Okay, fine, alright.

Ma Fi
Means, none, not or no.

Ma Uríd
Means, I do not want.

Means, I want.

Ma Fi Mushkila
Means, No Problem!

Means, If Allah wills (I’ll do or it will happen or it’ll be done), Henceforth, it’s a polite way to say maybe or possibly.

La Afham
Means, I don’t understand or I’m not getting.

Ana Afham
Means, I understand.

Lā Aʻrf or Ma Fi Malum
Means, I Don’t Know. Ana Malum means, I know.

Means How Much? It’s useful when you’re buying something at a shop. Perhaps, you’ll know the price by using hands and fingers, and a calculator if the shopkeeper doesn’t speak English.

Shu Hadha?
Means, What is this?

Means, Come On! Let’s go! Hurry up!

Means, My Friend. Habibti for women. You can hear the phrase, Yallah Habibi!.

Means, Water, it’s very important to remain alive.

Wayn al hammam?
Means, Where is the toilet? If you’re outside and need a toilet.

Ma’aa ssalama
It’s used for saying, Goodbye.

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Arif Mohammad

Independent Blogger, ECommerce Webmaster & Social Media Marketer. Mudawwana UK Director. Previously in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi & Riyadh.

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