Phrases that Can Be Useful in Dubai: Try not to Forget

7:30 pm  |  09.06.2021

Dubai can be called a city of diversity because on the streets you can hear people speaking English, Hindi, Urdu, Philippine and, of course, Arabic, the state language of the UAE. Having in the arsenal a few useful words in the native language of the emirate’s inhabitants, it is possible to show kindness in any situation and enrich your impressions from a holiday in Dubai with pleasant communication. You start with a phrase.

History of the Arabic Language

Modern Arabic belongs to the Semitic group. The Semitic languages have been written for thousands of years – one of the oldest archives of documents belongs to this group. While scholars speculate on the assumptions about the origin of the Semitic family of languages, there is a consensus that these languages originated in the Mediterranean region, namely in the Tigris and Euphrates basin, as well as in coastal areas of the sea.

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The Semitic family of languages inherits features of the Proto-Semitic language, an ancient language that was widely spoken and in which no written monuments were preserved. In this regard, Arabic belongs to the Afro-Asian group of world languages.

Arabic is part of the Semitic subgroup of Afro-Asian languages. Moreover, if we take a closer look at the relationship between Arabic and other Semitic languages, we find that modern Arabic is part of the Arabic-Hannist subgroup of the central group of Western Semitic languages. It is important to note, therefore, that although Arabic is not the oldest of the Semitic languages, the features of the common Semitic ancestor are clear.

There are currently three main forms of the Arabic language. Classical Arabic or Koranic, official or modern standard Arabic and spoken Arabic. Classical Arabic is the book language in which the Koran is written. Classical Arabic is now used neither in spoken speech nor in the writing of religious texts. As such, classical Arabic is studied primarily to read and quote Islamic religious texts.

Hello, how are you?

Arabic: Marhaba! Shlonak (if you are talking to a man) / Shlonik (if you are talking to a woman)

It’s a good place to start a conversation, whether you’re in a hotel, a taxi, a shop or a restaurant. Rest assured, you will be smiled and received with the proper hospitality of the emirate.

Burj Khalifa View.

Where is Burj Khalifa?

Arabic: Wein Burj Khalifa?

It is impossible to come to Dubai without visiting its main attraction – the world’s tallest skyscraper Burj Khalifa. In the daytime you can go to the observation area to see with your own eyes the panorama of the city from the height of a bird’s flight. And in the evenings, you can watch the mirror walls of this majestic structure shine with different lights in the beat of the show dancing the Dubai Fountain. In any case, this impression remains for a long time with everyone who has ever visited the emirate. This phrase can also be used to ask a question about any other place you are looking for.

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How much for a shawarma in lavash?

Arabic: Kam haq el shawarma?

To get a full picture of Dubai colors, you have to get acquainted with its cuisine and its main dish – a shawarma. 

This familiar street food consists of roasted chicken on a spit, lamb or beef with pickled cucumbers, French fries and garlic sauce in a warm pita bun. Shawarma is served almost everywhere, and in small diners it can be tasted for only 5 UAE dirhams ($1.4).

Can I have a cup of karaka tea?

Arabic: Kasset karak law samahet?

The name «karak» translates approximately as «strong tea». This drink is a mixture of black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom. 

The inspiration for his recipe was spread in South Asia dairy tea «masala», and now karak has become an integral part of Dubai culture. So you can try it at most places in the city.

Where’s the nearest subway station?

Arabic: Wein mahatat el metro?

The Dubai Metro is the cheapest and most convenient form of public transport in the metropolis. It is run by remotely piloted trains and stations are located near major shopping malls and attractions, as well as near Dubai International Airport.

Excuse me, I’d like to (a) get to the beach

Arabic: Afwan, Weddy arouh el bahr.

The sandy beaches of Dubai are the best place to relax from the city’s fuss. The pure water of the Arabian Gulf can be viewed endlessly, especially by lying on a deck under an umbrella or sitting at a table in one of the many beach diners. If you are interested in recreation, there are plenty of water sports available.

Can you take my picture?

Arabic: Momken soura.

If you’re not in any of the vacation photos, I’d say you weren’t there. Forget the selfie sticks and ask the locals for help so that you can have the perfect shot against the skyscrapers of Dubai.

Why don’t you offer me a lower price?

Arabic: Akher se’er?

This phrase is hardly useful for shopping in malls where goods are sold at a fixed price. On the other hand, traditional Arab markets in Old Dubai can and should trade. If, in memory of your trip to the UAE, you decide to take with you fabrics, jewellery, spices or perfume, it is from this phrase that you should start trading in order to obtain the most attractive price.

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Sorry, I don’t speak Arabic.

Arabic: Afwan, ma ahki Arabi.

Although most Dubai residents speak English well, this phrase should be kept in their arsenal just in case.

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