Official State Language in the United Arab Emirates: Features of Dialects

5:51 pm  |  16.09.2023

The official state language in the Emirates is Arabic. All documents are written in modern Arabic, negotiations are conducted and information is reported to local media.

IMPORTANT! The official language of the UAE is considered to be the literary (or classical) version.

Official Language in the United Arab Emirates

Heads of state use Arabic for communication and official statements. Foreigners also use classical Arabic for official documents.

Recently, knowledge of English has become increasingly in demand. They have been teaching it since elementary school. Children know it on the same level as Arabic. Due to the fact that there are very few native residents in the UAE (about 12%), most people prefer to use English for communication, as this language is widely spoken throughout the world. It is worth noting that native Emiratis live in small communities; they do not like to let strangers into them.

Common Accents in Arabic

People from the UAE know English on the same level as Arabic. Locals start learning it in childhood.

Unfortunately, knowledge of literary Arabic is not widespread among the majority of indigenous people. Local dialects are widespread in the country; they depend on the city. If you decide to learn Arabic, then the classical language is best for you.

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This language is used among high-ranking people such as officials, etc. In addition, literary works are written using this language, and it is spoken on official channels, news, and radio. School lessons are aimed specifically at learning classical Arabic. By increasing the literacy of the residents of the United Arab Emirates, many of them use dialecticisms only when communicating with each other. The most popular dialect of Arabic originates in the Persian Gulf. The main difference between the dialects is the different pronunciations of many words and sounds.

It is very interesting that despite the diversity of dialects, all speakers of these dialects understand each other. Of course, some words will remain misunderstood, but in general, the situation is not critical. To understand a dialect, you need to have extensive experience communicating with native speakers in order to roughly understand the grammar and know the different words.

This difference can be compared using the examples of a British resident and a US resident. These people will understand each other, although some of their words will be “questionable.” But after clarifying the details, there will be no questions left.

Therefore, if you have lived at least a little in an Arab country, and perhaps learned some phrases, there is a risk of remaining misunderstood.

Gulf Arabic

This dialect is also very popular in the United Arab Emirates. It is one of the three most popular dialects:

  • Egyptian Arabic.
  • Levantine Arabic.
  • Arabian Gulf.

Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. These cities and countries speak in Gulf Arabic.

The Omani dialect is used much less, only in the eastern region of the United Arab Emirates, which is adjacent to Oman.

Other Languages in the UAE

There are also many Hindus in the UAE, they occupy approximately 30% and are considered the largest foreign community in the UAE. In general, the number of these people exceeds a million people. Of course, they brought over their own dialect, as well as many customs and traditions. If you count, you can find out that Indians use about eight or nine different dialects in the UAE.

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If you don’t know either Indian or Arabic, there’s no reason to be upset. In the UAE, almost the entire population speaks conversational English. Even if you are going to work in the Emirates, you will only need one language – English. Of course, if you are involved in tourism or trade, it would not hurt to learn other languages.

In addition, there is a large Chinese population in the UAE, as well as several communities from the UK. There are also Russians, but there are several times fewer of them.

The number of Chinese in the United Arab Emirates has increased in recent years. In addition to them, the British community occupies a large share of the population. Russians also live here, but in comparison with other communities, there are several times fewer of them.

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Authorities and Interaction with Them

If you do not understand what is happening and what the people from the police are saying, then it is better not to say anything at all and not to sign any documents. First of all, ask for a lawyer and don’t say anything else.

Arabic is indispensable in government buildings, but not in museums or restaurants. In the United Arab Emirates, there is a service that writes statements in Arabic under dictation, which can be unpleasant.

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