ArabicPod101.com Blog
Learn Arabic with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Arabic Language' Category

Give and Take: Secrets of Gift-Giving in Arabic Cultures

Give and Take in Arab Countries

1. Introduction

In the Arabic language, there are two words for a “gift.”

  • هدية (hadieh) is the type of gift that you would give for a birthday or Eid al-Fitr—a gift to celebrate a special occasion.
  • هبة (hiba) is a gift that truly comes from the heart—a donation, a sponsorship, even a sacrifice of some sort.

The language itself tells you how important the concept of gift-giving is in Arab culture. And as anyone who’s done business in the Arab world or experienced Arab hospitality knows, it’s an aspect that’s impossible to ignore.

So whether you’re preparing for a trip to Saudi Arabia or welcoming new Iraqi neighbors, check out the guide below to make sure you’re checking all the right boxes.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

2. Outstanding Gifts for All Occasions

Obviously, anything can be a gift when it’s among friends.

When you know someone well, you know what they like and dislike, and it’s not hard to figure out what kind of thing to get them.

But when it comes to strangers, you can just keep three things in mind: Food, Business, Hospitality.

  • Food: Gifts of food are safe, easy, and always welcome—though during the fasting month of Ramadan, it’s best to wait until after sundown to present someone with a gift of this sort. Offer packaged and easily shared foods such as dates, cookies, and sweets, particularly if the receiver has a family.
  • Business: The business-minded professional will always appreciate a tasteful personal organizer or business card holder, particularly in black or silver if it’s for a man.
  • Hospitality: Finally, treating someone to a business lunch or a friendly dinner—or a home-cooked meal, if possible—is truly going above and beyond. Refusing such an invitation might be perceived as rude, so a polite way to decline is to shift the blame to your company’s policy or something you have to do with your family.

Is there anything you should avoid giving? Certainly.

If your gift was given with friendly, sincere intentions, you’re unlikely to actually offend most people. Usually, they’ll politely put it aside and forgive you for your faux pas.

But of course, you never want to put anyone in that situation, so there are a couple of things you probably ought to leave off the shopping list.

Most everybody that knows about Muslim culture knows that pork and alcohol are forbidden, or حَرَام (haram).

However, did you know that many Muslims also prefer to stay away from dogs? This doesn’t apply to every follower of Islam, nor does it apply to every Arab, but unless you’re told otherwise, assume that gifts with dog motifs might not be so warmly accepted.

Art of Giving

3. The Art of Giving

Just as every culture has norms about gifts themselves, there are plenty of things to consider when actually exchanging the items. In Western culture, for instance, some personal gifts are inappropriate for men to give women or vice-versa.

But in Arab culture, gift-giving itself is considered too intimate of an act to be shared by men and women who aren’t husband and wife. If a man must give a gift to a woman, it’s more modest (and therefore more polite) to say that it came from his own mother or sister.

Even the act of handing over the gift is important. You wouldn’t like it if someone casually tossed an unwrapped gift at your feet—and in the Arab world, giving a gift with the left hand is a similarly-sized mistake.

As the left hand is considered unclean and associated with bathing, always use both hands or your right hand alone to give and receive presents. The most common thing you’ll likely receive is a business card—make sure you get this one right!

And lastly, keep in mind that giving gifts out of the blue carries an unspoken expectation that they will be repaid in kind later.

Gift

4. Conclusion

To say “Thank you for the gift,” in Arabic, use the phrase شكرا لك على الهدية. (shukran lak 3alaa al-hadiyya). A couple of well-chosen phrases in Arabic go a long way.

But it’s how you act when you give or get a gift that makes the most difference, not the language you use.
In Arab culture, just like in the West, you need to be sincere. Be generous. Be thoughtful.

If you picked out something cheap because you think it’ll help you land a business deal, the other person is going to see through that in a second.

So pay attention to the guidelines above, and remember the most important lesson: Give from the heart, and the rest will follow.

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

A Handshake is Worth 1000 Words: Body Language in Dubai Business Culture

Body Language in Dubai Business Culture

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Nelson Mandela gave some solid advice. Your words, and the language they’re spoken in, can make a powerful impact.

But what about what you’re not saying?

What are you communicating without even realizing it?

Is your message, “I’m confident, trustworthy, and capable,” or something more like “Watch out!”?

In this article, we’re going to take a holistic look at the nonverbal signals you might be giving your business partner.

When you’re in another culture, you can’t expect your body language to stay the same. In Dubai, you might accidentally be sending messages that tip the scales in the other guy’s favor—and not even know it!

Everything from your head to your feet matters in the business culture of Dubai, where personal relationships are the foundation of any successful venture.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!


1. Your Face and Eyes

1- Smile Like You Mean It

A lot of people tend to go one of two ways when it comes to smiles.

They might avoid it entirely in the hopes that they’ll be taken seriously. Or they go too far, grinning like mad even past the point of burning cheeks.

Neither of these options flies particularly well in most countries in the world.

And in Dubai, you’ll need to tone it down even more.

Laughing too much at others’ jokes or always smiling without good reason makes you come off as an oddball at best—and untrustworthy at worst. If nobody understands what’s so funny, they’ll wonder what you know about the situation that they don’t.

If you’re at a trade show, for instance, you’ll see people on both ends of the spectrum trying to get your attention.

Watch and see—the ones in the middle, giving gentle and authentic smiles, are the ones who make the most connections.

Eye Contact

2- Eye Contact

Eye contact is the type of thing that really differs from person to person.

Some people in Dubai prefer strong eye contact as a show of respect, while others would prefer that you politely avert your gaze when speaking to them.

If you can, take a look at how other people around you—especially the successful ones—use eye contact.

Are they looking down into their teacups, over their partner’s shoulder, or directly into their eyes?

Follow their cues, and remember not to overthink things.

As a foreigner, you will be given a certain amount of leeway on these subtle issues. Just remember to stay focused and respectful when spoken to; don’t let your attention wander.

One more thing to note here: Men shouldn’t make prolonged eye contact with women, especially in public. It comes across as leery or even threatening and makes both parties uncomfortable before long.

3- Speech

Language

Dubai is an incredibly cosmopolitan city already, and becoming more international by the day.

You’re likely to hear a dozen languages on the street every time you go out.

Many firms even prefer to do business in English rather than hire an interpreter. If you’re experienced in international business, you’ll already know that English is widely spoken all around the world already.

Be that as it may, the fact is that Arabic is the de facto and de jure language of the UAE.

Native Emiratis speak Gulf Arabic from childhood and learn to read and write in the formal written language.

This Modern Standard Arabic differs in several key ways from the Gulf Arabic of the street. Pronouns are different, the grammar rules are more complex, and the written language preserves more classical vocabulary.

That means that learning to speak, read, and write in Arabic is a pretty big task. The U.S. Foreign Service Institute rates it as one of the hardest languages to learn for English speakers.

With that effort, though, comes great reward.

By law, all contracts and regulations in Dubai must be in Modern Standard Arabic.

Knowing the language will make you more confident that what you’re signing matches the translation you’re given.

And it also gives you an enormous status boost.

Even by learning a few polite phrases you’ll separate yourself from the foreign expats who couldn’t care less about the local culture. You wouldn’t believe how many people live for years in a foreign country, expecting everyone to speak English whenever they go out.

People will notice the effort you’ve made to connect with them, and it won’t be forgotten.

Etiquette

No matter what language you speak, there are a couple of notes you should pay attention to for conversation etiquette as well.

Whenever you’re meeting with a local, you should avoid dominating the conversation.

Give them time to think, and don’t interpret short silences as awkward. In the negotiation-laden Arabian Gulf, people often take a while to think things over.

It may take quite a few sips of tea or scratches of the chin before the time comes to give an answer.

In addition, steer away from rude language and asking about a man’s wife.

Bawdy language in the some countries can be a mark of camaraderie, but in the Arab world it’s far too forward for a formal meeting.

And though it’s important to pay attention to business partners’ personal lives, it’s also a little bit out of bounds to ask directly about a man’s wife—so ask about his family as a whole instead.

4- Out to Lunch

Dining etiquette and table manners are complicated enough to deserve an entire article on their own.

Fortunately, a lot of the things that are polite or rude in other countries have the same connotation in Dubai.

And that’s great! When you’re looking at an array of amazing al-machboos, shawarma, and al-harees, you don’t want to have to think too hard before you eat!

The basic rules are easy to remember. Don’t talk with your mouth full, don’t gorge yourself, don’t make loud eating noises—the usual stuff.

However, you should also make sure that you’re one of the last to begin eating unless invited otherwise. This shows great respect for all present.

If bread is a part of the meal—and it’s likely to be—don’t cut it with a knife. Instead, tear it with your hands and eat small pieces.

Lastly, don’t order any alcohol when you’re out at a restaurant.

Most Muslims don’t drink alcohol, and you don’t want to be the only one at the table drinking, even if nobody says anything.

If you happen to be dining with someone who does drink alcohol, wait for them to suggest it.

Hand and Shoulder

2. Your Shoulders and Hands

1- Physical Affection

Physical affection between male friends is more common in Dubai than in some other countries.

For example, you might see two men holding hands in the street—think nothing of it. In the same vein, don’t be surprised if a local friend of yours holds onto your handshake longer than you’re expecting him to.

In many countries, it’s not particularly common for men to show each other much, if any, physical affection.

Emirati men, in contrast, are used to clapping each other on the back or throwing their arms around each other’s shoulders to physically express their close friendship.

If this makes you uncomfortable, then you do have the right to hold back a little.

This is another thing that foreigners aren’t expected to master straight away. In fact, anyone used to dealing with business people in other countries is likely aware of the preference for less physical contact.

But again, the more you approach this cultural gap with an open mind, the less of an obstacle you’ll find it to be.

Handshake

2- Handshakes

In the Arab world, handshakes are often less firm than you may be used to.

How many ‘80s business seminars went over the importance of a firm, manly handshake? Something about showing your dominance in the room or your physical strength?

Forget it. In rapidly-advancing Dubai, that ideal is far behind.

A powerful handshake can come off as pugnacious and aggressive—far from your intended effect.

Don’t take offense if you’re offered a “limp” handshake at a meeting or introduction. The handshake in Dubai is more of a show of respect than power.

Speaking of respect, it’s important to greet people by using their official titles.

If you’re meeting someone with a PhD, call them Doctor. If you have the opportunity to meet a sheikh, use Sheikh as the title and then their full name.

By the way, just as with eye contact, men should also avoid offering Muslim women handshakes.

The opportunity may never even come up, but you should keep it in mind. If a woman offers her hand to you, don’t refuse and instead give the same light but respectful handshake discussed above.

Women should be prepared for Emirati men to refuse a handshake on religious grounds.

If this happens, don’t take it as a snub and instead place your right hand over your heart with a small nod of your head and a smile.

The reasoning behind this is simple.

In conservative Muslim cultures, men are expected to respect a woman’s comfort zone. In Dubai, this takes the form of refraining from all forms of physical contact.

3- Hand Etiquette & More

It’s the age-old question in any new situation: “What am I supposed to do with my hands?”

The same tactics that work in other countries work in Dubai too.

Don’t clench your fists, don’t cross your arms tightly, don’t fiddle with your clothes. If you’re nervous, adopt a relaxed yet upright posture with your right hand holding your left wrist.

There’s just one extra general rule to remember:

In Dubai, as in many Muslim cultures, it’s considered rude to offer things with the left hand.

Traditionally, the left hand is used for cleaning after using the bathroom. That may or may not be the case for you, but keep in mind the cultural association.

That’s what native Emiratis think of when you offer them your left hand. Is that where you want their mind to go in a business meeting?

Whether you’re a lefty or a righty, you need to shake hands with your right hand, open doors for people with your right hand, and hand things to others with—you guessed it—your right hand.

And what’s one of the most important handoffs you’re going to make?

The business card.

When you exchange business cards, take the other person’s with both hands and examine it carefully before putting it away.

Hand over your own card with your right hand, naturally, and make sure that the Arabic side is facing up.

Surely you remembered to have your cards printed in Arabic and English, right?

One more thing to note:

During a meeting, you may notice that people look down at their phones more often than you’d like.

But this isn’t seen as rude or intrusive in Dubai.

Rather—depending on whom you’re meeting, of course—a meeting is more of an extension of someone’s regular work day instead of special time set aside to connect one-on-one.

Unfortunately, as a foreigner you may be held to a bit of a higher standard here.

You’re expected to show a very high degree of respect to your hosts, and that may mean sacrificing the freedom of checking your emails while someone else is talking.

Smile Like You Mean It

3. Your Legs and Feet

1- Confident Posture

When your business associate comes into the room, they want to see a confident businessperson.

And you want to control the room as much as you can from your own position.

You can achieve this, in part, by widening your frame slightly and simply taking up a little more space in the room.

Stand with your feet slightly apart to project an image of powerful confidence without intimidation.

Slouching is frowned upon in most cultures already, but in the stricter and more formal business culture of Dubai, it’s seen as even more negative.

Slouching when sitting or walking implies that you’re either lazy, uncomfortable, or have something to hide.

In contrast, if you pull the old trick of leaning back in your chair with your hands behind your head to intimidate others, you’ll come off as trying way too hard.

Avoid this outdated tactic, and instead go for a friendly, genuine slight lean forward over the desk. You’ll appear eager to listen to what the other party has to say, which can only lead to a smoother relationship.

2- Bottom of the Feet

Be sure not to step on anyone’s toes—literally or figuratively!

Similar to the left hand, many more conservative people in Dubai find the bottom of the feet unclean.

Resting with your feet pointed at someone else or accidentally kicking someone under the table might not get you in trouble directly, but it sends a subconscious message that you don’t respect them.

Pay attention to how you’re crossing your legs and feet in a meeting. Are your feet pointed toward somebody you’re trying to impress, or worse yet, toward someone with higher status than you? They’d better not be.

Don’t jiggle your legs when you’re sitting down, either.

It’s a sign of nervousness, and it shows your conversation partner that something else is on your mind. And at a business lunch, there’s the added danger of knocking over the tea!

After reading this list, you might be thinking, “Are these little things really what’s going to make or break my business deal?”

But put yourself in the other person’s shoes. (As an expat, that’s an exercise you should be doing daily anyway.)

Suppose someone came into your office with a sullen look on his face, gave you a sweaty, limp handshake, fiddled with his phone during your conversation, and slammed the door behind him on the way out.

Each of these things individually could be explained away with the context or easily brushed aside.

But together, they’re practically unforgivable. You probably hate that guy just from the description!

That’s the same kind of cultural friction that can happen when you hold on to all your previous body language norms in a new environment.

In doing business in a different culture, you’ve made an unspoken commitment to respect the local people and their way of life. If you can’t back that up with your actions, you’re not going to meet with a whole lot of success.

4. Conclusion

Dubai is a rapidly growing cosmopolitan city. Local businesspeople are used to dealing with foreigners from all over the world.

It’s completely natural that they’ll have dealt with cultural misunderstandings before.

That high tolerance, however, only makes it that much more valuable to be aware of and respectful of the local culture.

If you’re used to people making mistakes, someone who’s sensitive to what you find offensive is going to be a breath of fresh air.

Your task is simple and yet endless. Culture runs far deeper than can be described in a simple article. These simple outward differences between body language in other countries and body language in Dubai are rooted in millennia of tradition.

All you have to do to conquer this is to see the world with an open mind.

You have to understand that what you find offensive or grating might not matter at all to others. Conversely, they might find themselves subconsciously annoyed because of something you don’t even think about.

You just need to keep one basic principle in mind. If you can pay attention to how others act and react, you’ll be on the right track to mastering your body language no matter where you go.

And Dubai is waiting for you to take that first step.

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

How to Say I Love You in Arabic - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Arabic could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Arabic partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At ArabicPod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Arabic lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Arabic dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Arabic Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Arabic Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Arabic Faster?

Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to be a Good Lover in Arabic

1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Arabic love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Arabic word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Arabic date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Arabic Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • تخرجي تتعشي معايا؟
  • toḫrogī tetʿaššī maʿāyā?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Arabic is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • عندك وقت في أجازة نهاية الأُسبوع؟
  • ʿandek waʾt fī ʾagāzeẗ nehāyeẗ el-ʾosbūʿ?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • عاوز نخرج سوا؟
  • ʿāwez noḫrog sawā?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • هنتقابل بكرة إمتى؟
  • hanetʾābel bokrah ʾemtā?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • هنتقابل فين؟
  • hanetʾābel feīn?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • شكلك رائع.
  • šaklek rāʾeʿ.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • أنت جميلة جداً.
  • ʾanti ǧamīlaẗun ǧidan.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • رأيك إية في المكان ده؟
  • raʾyak ʾeīh fī el-makān dah?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Arabic language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • ممكن أشوفك تاني؟
  • momken ʾašūfek tānī?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • نروح مكان تاني؟
  • nerūḥ makān tānī?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • أنا عارف مكان لطيف.
  • ʾanā ʿāref makān laṭīf.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • هوصلك بيتك.
  • hawaṣṣalek beītek.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • كانت ليلة رائعة.
  • kānat laylaẗan rāʾiʿah.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • أشوفك تاني إمتى؟
  • ʾašūfek tānī ʾemtā?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • هتصل بيك.
  • hatteṣel bīk.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

Sneak Peek! Log in to Download this Cheat Sheet!Sneak Peek! Log in to Download this Cheat Sheet!

2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Arabic phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Arabic below!

Date Ideas in Arabic

museum

  • متحف
  • mutḥaf

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • عشاء على ضوء الشموع
  • ʿašāʾ ʿalā ḍawʾ al-šumūʿ

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • رحلة إلى حديقة الحيوان
  • riḥlah ʾilā ḥadīqah al-ḥayawān

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • الذهاب في نزهة طويلة
  • al-ḏahāb fī nuzhaẗin ṭawīlah

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • الذهاب إلى الأوبرا
  • al-ḏahābu ʾilā al-ʾūbirā

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • الذهاب إلى حديقة الأسماك
  • al-ḏahābu ʾilā ḥadīqaẗi al-ʾasmāk

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • السير على الشاطئ
  • al-sayr ʿalā al-šāṭiʾ

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • القيام بنزهة
  • al-qiyām binuzhah

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • طهي وجبة معا
  • ṭahī waǧbah maʿan

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • تناول العشاء ومشاهدة فيلم
  • tanāwul al-ʿašāʾ ūmušāhadah fīlm

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Arabic

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Arabic - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Arabic Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Arabic yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Arabic? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Arabic love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Arabic

I love you.

  • أنا أحبك.
  • ʾanā ʾuḥibbuka.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Arabic carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • أنت تعني الكثير بالنسبة لي.
  • ʾanta taʿnī al-kaṯiīra bilnisbaẗi liī.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • هل يمكنك أن تكون رفيقي في عيد الحب؟
  • hal yumkinuka an takuna rafiqi fiī ʿiīdi al-ḥubb?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • أنت جميلة جداً.
  • ʾanti ǧamīlah ǧiddan.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Arabic, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • أعتبرك أكثر من صديق.
  • ʾaʿtabiruki ʾakṯar min ṣadiīq.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Arabic dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • مئة قلب لن يكونوا كافيين لحمل حبي لكي.
  • miʾaẗu qalbin lan yakūnūā kaāfiīīn liḥamli ḥubī lakī.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • الحب هو الحب. لا يمكن أبدا تفسيره.
  • al-ḥubbu huwa al-ḥubbu. laā yumkinu ʾabadan tafsiīruhu.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • أنت وسيم جداً.
  • ʾanta wasīmun ǧiddan.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Arabic love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • أنا معجب بك.
  • ʾanā muʿǧabun biki.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • أنت تجعليني أريد أن أكون رجلا أفضل.
  • ʾanti taǧʿaliīnī ʾurīdu ʾan ʾakūna raǧulan ʾafḍal.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Arabic girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • إجعل كل شيئ تفعله مفعماً بالحب.
  • ʾiǧʿal kulla šaīʾin tafʿaluhu mufʿaman bilḥubbi.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • أنت لي شروق الشمس، يا حبي.
  • ʾanti lī šurūqa al-ššamsi, yaā ḥubbī.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • لا يمكن الكلمات أن تصف حبي لك.
  • laā yumkinu lilkalimāti ʾan taṣifa ḥubbī laki.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • كان مقدراً لنا أن نكون معاً.
  • kāna muqaddaran lanā ʾan nakūna maʿan.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • إذا كنت تفكر بشخص ما في أثناء قراءة هذا، فأنت بالتأكيد واقع في الحب.
  • ʾiḏā kunta tufakkiru bišaḫṣin maā fiī ʾaṯnāʾi qarāʾaẗi haḏā, faʾnta bal-ttaʾkiīd waāqiʿun fiī al-ḥunb.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. Arabic Quotes about Love

Arabic Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Arabic lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Arabic that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Arabic Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Arabic lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Arabic custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Arabic Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • نحتاج إلى أن نتحدث
    • naḥtāǧu ʾilā ʾan nataḥaddaṯ

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • السبب ليس أنت, إنه أنا.
    • al-ssababu laīsa ʾanta, ʾinnahu ʾanā.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Arabic lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • أنا فقط لست جاهزاً لأن أكون في هذا النوع من العلاقة.
    • ʾanā faqaṭ lastu ǧāhizan laʾan ʾakūna fiī haḏā al-nnaūʿi mina al-ʿalāqah.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • دعنا نكون مجرد أصدقاء.
    • daʿnā nakūnu muǧarrada ʾaṣdiqāʾ.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Arabic, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • أعتقد أننا بحاجة إلى إستراحة.
    • ʾaʿtaqidu ʾannanā biḥāǧah ʾilā ʾistirāḥah.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • أنت تستحق أفضل من ذلك.
    • ʾanta tastaḥiqu ʾafḍala min ḏalik.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • علينا أن نبدأ رؤية أشخاص آخرين.
    • ʿalaīnā ʾan nabdaʾ biruʾuyaẗi ʾašḫāṣin ʾāḫariīn.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • أحتاج مساحتي الخاصة.
    • ʾaḥtāǧu masāḥatiī al-ḫāṣah.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • أعتقد أن علاقتنا تتطور بسرعة كبيرة.
    • ʾaʿtaqdu ʾanna ʿalāqatanā tataṭawwaru bisurʿah kabīrah.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • أحتاج أن أركز على حياتي المهنية.
    • ʾaḥtāǧu ʾann ʾurakkiza ʿlaā ḥayaātī al-mihaniyyah.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • أنا لست جيداً بما يكفي بالنسبة لك.
    • ʾanā lastu ǧaīdan bimā yakfiī bilnnisbaẗi laki.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • أنا لم أعد أحبك.
    • ʾanā lam ʾaʿud ʾuḥibuka.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • نحن لسنا مناسبان لبعضنا.
    • naḥnu lasnā munāsibān libaʿḍinā.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • إنه للأفضل.
    • ʾinnahu lilʾafḍal.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • لم نعد نستطيع التفاهم.
    • lam naʿad nastaṭiīʿ al-ttafāhum.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Arabic faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. ArabicPod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Arabic language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Arabic Faster!

    null

    1- Being in a love relationship with your Arabic speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    ArabicPod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Arabic, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Arabic even faster.

    2- Having your Arabic romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Arabic language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Arabic lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Arabic partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why ArabicPod101 helps you learn Arabic Even Faster when you’re In Love

    Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to be a Good Lover in Arabic

    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Arabic is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at ArabicPod101 is translated into both English and Arabic. So, while your partner can help you learn Arabic faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Arabic Culture
    At ArabicPod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Arabic speaking country. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Arabic partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Arabic Phrases
    You now have access to ArabicPod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Arabic soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    How to Write a Strong Business Email in Arabic

    Business Email in Arabic

    Do you know what the most decisive moment of a day in the office is?

    It happens in the blink of an eye, and it could mean the start of a great deal—or a disaster.

    It’s the length of time it takes for you to click “Send.”

    A scary moment, to be sure. Are you positive there weren’t any mistakes in that last email? Did it go to the right person?

    And when you’re doing business in another culture and another language, the pressure gets turned up to eleven.

    But at the same time, the rewards could be enormous.

    If you’re someone who’s already got a decent grasp of the written Arabic language, then you might be ready for the challenge of writing business emails in Arabic.

    What does it take—and what’s in it for you?

    In this guide, you’ll find out the answers to these questions, along with a couple of indispensable phrases that can guide you to a stunning Arabic email debut.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    1. Why Write Business Emails in Arabic?

    Isn’t English enough?

    Yes and no.

    It all depends on the culture of your company and what you’d like to get across.

    You’ll hear from plenty of people that English is the language of the business world no matter where you are on the globe. And in a country like the UAE, the majority of the population are non-Arabic-speaking expats.

    But it’s a fact that people always prefer to use their native language for things they’re closely tied to. Besides, it’s very likely that you’ll end up communicating with expats from Arabic-speaking countries at some point—or, depending on your business role, Arabic speakers from all over the world.

    Even if you’re fluent in another language, someone who is able to communicate in your native language is going to automatically get your full attention. You’re going to listen to what they have to say by default.

    It’s also important to take a look at what you’re communicating by the mere fact of deciding to write in Arabic. Doing so means that you’re making an unspoken commitment to continue contact in Arabic as long as you need to.

    You’re giving power to the other party to cut off or continue contact in that language. On the other hand, if you start switching between languages from one email to the next, they’ll wonder what’s going on behind the scenes, and they might start asking themselves questions about your competence.

    Sending internal emails in Arabic might be a great idea if you want to promote multiculturalism and multilingualism in the workplace—two values that go hand-in-hand in the rapidly-diversifying Middle East.

    Remember, though, that hierarchy is taken extremely seriously in Arab culture. It’s best to check with a cultural facilitator or local contact who’s familiar with your specific business situation.

    Sending emails in Arabic to other business contacts shows that you’re ready to take that plunge into all-Arabic communication, and it also shows that you’re already highly knowledgeable about Arab culture. With just a few hundred words of text, you’ll set yourself apart from all the millions of expats that prefer to live in bubbles of their native language.

    So what kind of messages should you send in Arabic?

    A thank-you email is a great place to start.

    “Thank you” is one of the best phrases to learn in any language. It’s an honest sentiment that can really make someone feel appreciated. What better way to say it than in their own language?

    If you have a business meeting with an Arabic speaker, send a follow-up thank-you note in Arabic regardless of whether or not you managed to achieve all of your personal goals. It will be highly appreciated as a token of friendship and a desire to continue business relations. You can find a sample template at the end of this article.

    This can also be a great way to initiate contact in Arabic, with the closer cooperation that that implies.

    One thing you should avoid is inserting Arabic text seemingly at random into an English
    email, or only translating some words and phrases to give it an “international flair.”

    Not only does the formatting look like a mess, but the overall effect is jarring. The two writing styles are vastly different, and it will make the recipient wonder what you’re trying to accomplish by not sticking to one language.

    Business Writing

    2. Prerequisites for Business Writing

    First off, you need to be very comfortable with the written language. Reading and writing simple things in Arabic should be something you can do in your sleep.

    Remember, the person you’re writing to has likely put an enormous amount of time and effort into learning to communicate in English.

    If you write their language poorly, you’ll come off as being clumsy and uneducated. Nobody has time for deciphering broken Arabic in the morning.

    That’s why you can’t take the leap of writing business emails in Arabic until you can already write plenty of other things in Arabic, too.

    Besides, you’ll need to be able to read the response!

    However, that doesn’t mean you should wait until you’re perfect to start writing in Arabic. Perfection is the enemy of progress.

    It’s okay if you make a few missteps in grammar or word choice. Locals understand how difficult it is to become literate in Arabic, and they’re certainly not perfect at writing in every other language.

    In addition to a correct knowledge of grammar, you’ll need to have a strong knowledge of style.

    Business Correspondence Style

    3. Business Correspondence Style

    This is a place where Arab culture really comes through in the language.

    As anyone who’s done business in an Arab country knows, it’s crucial to avoid being overly direct or blunt. Oral negotiations can take a long time, and any discussion over text becomes even more oblique.

    You need to write in a style that might remind you of a nineteenth-century novel in English—the more words, the better.

    Just to give you an example of the language I’m talking about, here’s an English translation of an email in Arabic that I once came across:

    It is out of the immense appreciation and respect that I hold towards you, and my belief in the Egyptian saying that goes “amiable relationships require occasional reproach,” that I am writing to you to express some gentle criticism that I hope you might take to heart magnanimously.

    In fact, if you’re addressing someone with a significantly higher status than you, you should show your respect in the very heart of the language. Address them in the plural with the words second person male/female plural. That’s actually how English used to work, by the way—and you can still see elements of it in the “royal we.”

    You don’t need to use the plural form of address if you’re specifically talking about that one person. But if they represent a department you’re contacting, it’s a sign of respect that won’t go amiss.

    If your email happens to contain any criticism or even suggestions, it is absolutely imperative that you put them forth in a way that minimizes embarrassment to the other party.

    Causing someone else to lose face or take offense, even privately and even because of their own mistake, is a recipe for bad business relations in the future.

    “Sugar-coating” is the wrong word here, but it’s a similar idea. To better understand this point, don’t think of it as avoiding the topic or as flattery. Remember that it’s a part of the culture and the long literary tradition to speak of things obliquely.

    To that end, let’s take a look at the important elements of any business letter in the Arabic language.

    Business Letter

    4. Important Elements of a Business Letter

    • Address
    • In the Arab world, respect, trust, and hierarchy form the core of social and business relationships.

      When you address someone in a formal business letter or email, you need to include their full name and title. If they’re a doctor, call them Doctor. If they’re a sheikh, call them Sheikh.

      Instead of “Dear…” as a prefix to the recipient’s name, you have to show your respect by using the word الفاضل meaning “virtuous.”

      Virtuous/Respected Dr. Khalid…
      الدكتور الفاضل خالد…

    • Opening
    • You want to start right out of the gate with the standard all-purpose Arabic opening:

      السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
      This means, “May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.”

      Follow this up with the post-opening:

      تحية طيبة وبعد،
      Meaning, “Respectful greetings.”

      These two lines or slight variations of them are obligatory for all formal writing. They should flow off your keyboard without a second thought. Plus, in terms of style, they’re a great warm-up for what’s about to come next.

    • Flowery Language
    • If the address and salutation didn’t tip you off, you’ll notice now that Arabic formal writing uses incredibly vibrant and flowery language.

      It’s difficult to translate in an idiomatic way, just because it’s far closer to the English writing style of more than a hundred years ago.

      Further, if you can put in literary references, do it.

      Anytime you can add more adjectives to show your respect and honor for the recipient, do it.

      Here is an example:

      It is with great deference that I bring to your attention…

      Please accept my most sincere and humble apologies for the inconvenience.

      مع احترام كبير أردت إخباركم أن…

      يرجى قبول اعتذاري المخلص على المضايقة…

      If you need more examples like these, we’ve included more in the next two sections of this article.

    • Closing
    • Closing out the email can be a kind of “cool down” for your literary writing. Use a phrase like this to once more show your respect to the recipient and thank them for their time and attention:

      وتفضلوا بقبول فائق التحية والاحترام
      This means, “Please accept my sincerity of the highest regard.”

      And after you sign off, add one more والسلام عليكم (“Peace be upon you”) at the end of the message.

    Write Business Emails

    5. Set Phrases You Can Apply

    When you write business emails, you usually end up expressing the same kinds of ideas—irrespective of how formal the language might be.

    To that end, here are a couple of phrases that you should have down as part of your business Arabic repertoire:

    الرجاء الاطّلاع على الوثيقة المرفقة
    “Please find the document attached.”

    يمكن الاتصال بي عبر هذا الرقم ٢٤ ساعة على مدار اليوم
    “I can be reached at this number twenty-four hours a day.”

    لا تترد في الاتصال
    “Don’t hesitate to call.”

    بالاشارة الى الموضوع أعلاه, نود افادتكم / نرجوا ابلاغكم …
    “With reference to the above (email) subject, we would like to inform you…”

    تفضلوا فائق التقدير و الإحترام
    “Yours sincerely and respectfully.”

    تمنياتي لكم بالتوفيق الدائم
    “Wishes to you of eternal success.”

    شكرا مجددا على تعاونكم
    “Thank you again for your cooperation.”

    When you get a reply or get an Arabic email forwarded to you, take a look at what kind of phrases you can crib for your own purposes.

    See how you get addressed by others in Arabic as well, according to the rules of formality. You can then apply this knowledge to other correspondents you get in the future, along with their elements of style. It’s not stealing—it’s learning!

    6. Example Letters

    How can these phrases above be applied to an actual real-life scenario?

    Here’s a brief template for asking to change the time of a previously-scheduled meeting. Take a look at the kind of elevated language used, and pay attention to how much respect is being shown the recipient because of his status.

    Respected Dr. Ibrahim,

    May the peace, blessings, and mercy of God be upon you.

    It is out of the immense friendship and respect that I hold for you that I wish to put forth a small suggestion with regards to the time of our scheduled meeting on Thursday.

    Because of the event being held in our office building, I would like to humbly note that our building will be closed at 12:30 PM. If it is convenient for you, we will change the time to 10:00 AM.

    Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

    Respectfully yours,

    Peace be upon you.

    الدكتور الفاضل إبراهيم,

    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.

    بكامل التقدير والإحترام الذي أكنه لك أتقدم لك باقتراح بسيط متعلق بتوقيت لقائنا المجدول ليوم الخميس.

    نظرا للحدث المنظم في مبنى مكتبنا, أود أن أذكر أن المبنى سيكون مغلقا مع الساعة 12:30 ظهرا. إذا كان الأمر مناسبا لك, أرى أن نغير توقيت لقائنا إلى الساعة العاشرة صباحا.

    شكرا على حسن إنتباهكم إلى هذه المسألة,

    مع خالص التقدير والإحترام,

    السلام عليكم.

    Now, here’s a simpler email thanking the recipient for signing a contract. Again, there’s a lot of respectful language being used, but less indirect speech about the actual heart of the matter because nothing needs to be corrected.

    The Virtuous Mr. Mohamed Ezzahra,

    May the peace, blessings, and mercy of God be upon you.

    I would like to express my immense gratitude toward you for your commitment to ongoing cooperation between our two companies. I look forward to meeting you once more on the 25th.

    If you need the slightest amount of further information from me, do not hesitate to call my private number at [phone number].

    Yours sincerely and respectfully,

    Peace be unto you.

    حضرة السيد محمد الزهرة،

    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.

    أود أن أعبر عن امتناني الكبير لكم لالتزامكم بالتعاون المستمر بين شركتينا, وإنني لحقا أتطلع إلى لقائكم مرة أخرى في اليوم الخامس والعشرين من هذا الشهر.

    إذا كنتم بالحاجة إلى أقل قدر ممكن من المعلومات الإضافية ، فلا تترددوا في الاتصال برقم هاتفي الخاص: [رقم الهاتف].

    مع خالص الاحترام والاحترام،

    السلام عليكم

    With enough practice, you’ll soon get in the habit of thinking in this flowery writing style. Translating is awkward and clumsy, and should really be avoided now that you’re at an advanced level.

    What’s the best way to bring your Arabic level to even greater heights? Is true literacy in such a challenging language really possible?

    Study Arabic

    7. Continuing Your Arabic Studies

    It’s tough to find motivation to continue learning when you’re already at a high-intermediate or advanced level. Most people who reach that level just sort of coast at that point, never putting in the effort to improve significantly.

    But there are millions of people who have learned to read and write Arabic and English with ease. You could be one of them.

    If you’ve come this far, why not?

    The best way to continue learning is to read everything you come across and always work to make your own writing better.

    When it comes to improving your writing, it’s always good to learn from example. How many people have said that imitation is the best form of flattery?

    There are a couple of textbooks out there that are specifically designed for English-speakers learning business Arabic. One of the most highly regarded is Raji M. Rammuny’s Business Arabic, which comes in two levels and has an array of sample business correspondence to look at.

    If you’re already living in an Arab country or plan on visiting, check out the language-learning section of some bookstores and see if you can find books on business English.

    There are likely to be dozens of such guides to business English writing written in Arabic, and these are sure to have samples of Arabic business correspondence that you can learn from too.

    Don’t try to run before you can walk when writing in a foreign language, even one that you know well. It’s good to take material from others and use lots of set phrases. That’s what we do in our native language already.

    Remember that you’ve spent an enormous amount of time reading English business emails already—and you have much, much more experience with reading English text in general.

    You won’t need to spend the same amount of time on your Arabic literacy, but you should be constantly thinking of ways to integrate more Arabic reading practice at all levels into your daily life.

    If you pay close attention to what you read, you can pick up an advanced sense for when to use certain phrases and how to integrate them into your business writing.You’ll learn what sounds too brusque and what sounds—if possible—too formal.

    It may even be worth it to hire a tutor or take a private course in business writing. The faster you improve, the faster you’ll be able to reap the benefits of being able to reach people on a deeper level all across the Arab world.

    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    Business in Arabic: Do You Really Need Business Arabic Language Skills?

    Business in Arabic

    You tell me!

    Every expat from Morocco to the UAE knows that Arabic is a tough language to learn.

    With gendered verbs, consonantal roots, and archaic vocabulary, it’s no walk in the park. And what’s the deal with that writing system?

    Wouldn’t it be better to skip the whole thing and hire a translator?

    Of course, that’s how the vast majority of foreigners doing business in Arabic-speaking countries deal with this problem.

    But is that really worth it?

    What do you lose and what do you gain by spending the time to learn the Arabic language?

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    1. Can You Get By Without Arabic?

    Sure! Lots of people already do.

    Big cities in the Arab world are already cosmopolitan. In Dubai alone, more than seventy-five percent of the population was born outside the UAE.

    In some cities in Qatar, that figure hits ninety percent.

    Plenty of people are running business operations and meeting with great success—all without knowing a word of the local language.

    English has become the common language that brings people together from every corner of the world.

    This is something that happens anywhere, not just in the Middle East. Wherever you go, you can find an expat living in a bubble of their own native language.

    Get By Without Arabic

    Of course, this is made possible by the fact that most educated people around the world speak English, particularly those in cosmopolitan cities.

    In the fast-developing, money-driven world of business, you might be hard-pressed to find people that only speak two languages!

    You’re going to easily find translators, interpreters, and fixers wherever you go. As a newly-arrived expat, you’ll be a perfect client.

    It’s important to note that in the industry, “translator” is used for text, and “interpreter” is used for oral communication.

    Translators and interpreters often work freelance, though there are quite a few translation agencies that can help you out. If you’re most comfortable in a language other than English, consider contacting a translation agency to find someone who speaks your mother tongue.

    The last thing to consider is the most valuable resource of all: time.

    Depending on the timeframe of your business operations, it might not be worth the time involved to learn Arabic.

    There’s no beating around the bush here—it takes a lot of effort to learn any new language to fluency.

    Arabic also poses unique challenges in the form of its script and the multiple spoken dialects.

    That means it’s going to take a serious and consistent time commitment if you want to make good progress in Arabic before you retire.

    There’s nothing wrong with hiring translators or interpreters and using that time to focus on your business.

    But what do you really gain with a new language?

    Getting By

    2. “Getting By” vs. “Thriving”

    Most people don’t realize how much they unintentionally ignore when they can’t understand the local language.

    They walk down the street and their eyes flick from English sign to English sign, completely skipping over any and all Arabic text in between.

    They wait in line at a mall or supermarket and keep their thoughts entirely in English, tuning out the Arabic store announcements, the Arabic conversations nearby, and maybe even the Arabic “Next please!”

    It’s incredibly easy to do this, especially after you’ve been in the country for a while and have gotten used to living in your own world.

    But when you start to learn the language and you start to tune in, the effect is amazing.

    I’ve heard it said that the only time you can use Arabic in the UAE is at passport control—but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    If you put a little bit of effort into going out and seeing what your city has to offer, you’ll soon find that you can use Arabic to experience a world far deeper than international hotels and business lounges.

    Understanding the local language shows you how much other expats are missing when they never interact with local opinions and attitudes toward the world.

    Just for starters, you can watch the same TV shows, listen to the same music, and read the same books that native Emiratis have grown up with. These are cultural touchstones that form an undercurrent of connection between people, just like popular culture does everywhere.

    Furthermore, you can read the local business newspapers and magazines. What better way to understand the business culture of your new country than by reading what the local business experts have to say?

    From marketing magazines to real estate brochures, advice columns to stock analysis, you’ll be able to understand how Arabs interact with the financial world as a whole. Many of these publications run inspirational success stories of locals or expats who saw a niche opportunity and seized it. That could be you!

    Yes, many of these have translations available, but not all of them—and there’s a whole world of business Arabic material online, too.

    Aside from reading and listening, the benefits of speaking are a no-brainer. With just a few words of spoken Arabic you can separate yourself from those expats who live their lives in business lounges and make no effort to learn the slightest bit.

    You’ll find opportunities to talk not only to native Emiratis, but with the entire population of Arabic-speaking expats that are looking for the same business opportunities as you.

    Contrary to what pessimistic monolinguals online may tell you, you’ll find people who speak Arabic at all levels of society.

    In fact, the overwhelming majority of them will be excited—thrilled, even—that a foreigner is making the effort to connect with their language and culture.

    You’ll open doors that you didn’t even know existed. You’d be shocked by how many people are willing to help out a foreigner who’s trying to immerse him- or herself in a foreign culture. The connections you can make through language are literally endless.

    And from a purely financial point of view, you’ll eliminate the costs and logistical problems of constantly relying on translators.

    Translators are highly skilled and they work hard, but introducing more people and more steps into a process always adds more potential failure points.

    By learning the language, you’ll never have to rely on a translation arriving overnight or put up with delays and excuses. Furthermore, you’ll be more comfortable signing contracts because you’ll be confident in the wording in both languages.

    If all these sound like good reasons to you, then let’s explore the language a bit further.

    What is Arabic

    3. What is “Arabic?”

    Arabic is one of the most widely-spoken languages around the world, with more than four-hundred million total speakers if you take all the dialects into account.

    It’s an official language of twenty-six countries in North Africa and the Middle East, and is even the liturgical language used by more than a billion-and-a-half followers of Islam worldwide.

    The Arabic family of scripts is instantly recognizable and has been used to write languages as diverse as Turkish, Malay, and even Spanish in the past. These days, it’s used across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia by Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, and even some Chinese to write their own languages.

    There’s a formal standardized dialect called Modern Standard Arabic, which is used for literature, news broadcasts, and politics. Modern Standard Arabic, or MSA, ultimately derives from the classical language of the Quran, though it’s adopted some modern vocabulary.

    Nobody speaks MSA natively, but nearly every Arabic speaker can understand it from school lessons.

    Instead, today speakers of Arabic grow up using a local variety, which belongs to a set of language varieties known as “Arabic dialects.” That phrase implies that speakers of different dialects can understand each other, but in practice only people from neighboring countries can.

    For example, Moroccan Arabic and Gulf Arabic are pretty far apart both geographically and linguistically. Even though they both stem from the same ancestor language, they’ve diverged in different ways because of the natural processes of language change.

    Further complicating this situation is the fact that Egyptian media is widely consumed and enjoyed all throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Egyptian film and music stars are recognized from Casablanca to Abu Dhabi.

    That means that many foreigners learn Egyptian Arabic for tourism purposes, even if they’re actually planning to go to several Arab countries. If a Saudi Arabian Arabic-speaker meets an Egyptian Arabic-speaker, the Saudi is likely to be able to “Egyptianize” their speech in order to be more easily understood.

    Foreigners tend to be drawn toward learning dialects because they’re significantly simpler in terms of grammar. MSA preserves quite a few grammatical complexities that fell out of use in the spoken
    languages centuries ago.

    Learn Arabic

    4. What Does it Take to Learn Arabic?

    You’re going to have to make one very important decision based on the information above:

    Decide whether to learn MSA or a dialect.

    Each of these choices has clear advantages and disadvantages.

    If you learn MSA, you’re immediately opening up the written language of the whole Arab world. You’ll be able to understand news (including international Arabic-language news services) in any Arab country and do all of that local business reading that was mentioned earlier.

    The literature of more than a thousand years will be available to you, providing you with that deep base of cultural knowledge that informs the modern-day business world.

    Not to mention, in countries like the UAE it’s required by law that all official documents—including legal contracts—be written in MSA. That’s where you’re going to save time and money on translators.

    On the other hand, focusing on spoken Arabic first opens up an entirely new set of doors. This is the language of the street, the language that touches locals’ hearts.

    Again, the vast majority of Arabs do not speak MSA. They can understand it, but they’ll just respond to you in their own local variety. Talk about confusing!

    Arabs are used to using their local language at all times, even when conducting business or traveling to nearby countries. Some highly-educated speakers might use more MSA vocabulary or grammar in formal situations, but just as many stick to their own dialect.

    If you only know the written language, you’ll have to essentially learn the local dialect as a separate language at the same time in order to actually speak it. Not many people have time for that.

    Besides, as a total beginner it will be easier to focus on tackling the simplified grammar of a modern spoken variety.

    Since dialects in close geographical proximity are easier to understand, focusing on something like Gulf Arabic will make the dialects of nearby countries easy to learn—and those are the countries who have great numbers of successful expats living and working in the Gulf.

    Finally, although Arabic literature mostly exists in, well, literary Arabic, the local language opens you up to the modern-day popular culture.

    Even setting aside the massive media presence of Egyptian Arabic, every dialect has music, movies, and TV shows that are beloved by millions.

    Those are just as important in being able to make and understand the cultural references that are sure to crop up in any conversation between locals.

    You might be thinking at this point if it is possible to learn Arabic by yourself.

    It is! Millions of people have learned Arabic without a teacher, using the best study tool available: immersion.

    This is where the habit of ignoring everything not in English really hurts.

    If you can’t read even the first letter of the Arabic script, you’re missing out on near-constant reading practice virtually wherever you look. The same goes for tuning out Arabic music on the radio or flipping past Arabic news on the TV.

    As much as it may seem otherwise to expats, even extremely international countries like the UAE run on Arabic. You just have to open your eyes.

    Middle Easterners are some of the most kind, open, and hospitable people on the planet. If you start mentioning that you’re interested in practicing Arabic, you’ll be bowled over with offers of help.

    Making local friends and getting out of your comfort zone as an expat is always challenging, but there’s practically no better place for it than in Arab countries. The support from all sides is unparalleled.

    What’s the connection between chatting with friends in their dialect and pulling off skillful business negotiations in a boardroom? Just that—the connection.

    Expanding your social circle is inevitably going to expose you to potential business contacts. And it only takes a little bit of practice to pick up the more ritualized language of business Arabic.

    If you’re serious about learning this language, you can find private teachers in-person and online practically anywhere. Any local translator or fixer will have contacts who can teach you the language.

    Ideally, you should find a teacher who’s sensitive to your goals about learning (whether it be MSA or the local variety) and can give you immediately-useful lessons tailored to your own daily life.

    There are also many fine websites and coursebooks available for the independent learner. After you find a course that you like, run it by a local to see if it passes muster. You wouldn’t want to spend all day studying and then find that you’ve learned useless vocabulary!

    In fact, being in the country offers you unique advantages for learning. If you happen to get a couple of different people teaching you simple phrases and structures, ask for something really local and authentic—something an expat probably wouldn’t know.

    Then turn around and use that phrase with your other teacher. They’ll be surprised you’re learning so quickly, and they’ll immediately want to teach you their special local phrase.

    When you make the commitment to learning a new language, the more effort you put in the more you’ll get out. There are some people that seem to pick up new languages effortlessly and some that study for years without ever getting past the basics.

    The only difference is time and effort. If you look closer, you’ll find that the linguistic genius is probably spending all their free time listening to podcasts or TV shows—maybe putting in five or six hours a day at minimum. The slow learner might be only casually glancing at the same textbook or meeting for half an hour once a week before returning to an English-language bubble.

    Learning

    6. How About the Results?

    What you can realistically expect in terms of results is directly related to the time you’re prepared to invest. And of course, you’re not just in the country to learn the language. You have your own life and your own career to focus on first.

    If you can afford to seriously sit down and study for just 45 minutes to an hour a day, you’ll start to see noticeable progress in about two to three months. After about a year, you should be able to have basic conversations.

    Consistency is key, as is keeping your mind open for opportunities to see and use the language whenever you can. By “thinking in Arabic” whenever you see and hear it around you, you’ll make progress much faster than someone who’s just trying to learn in their free time.

    This is especially true if you work with a reliable tutor who’s aware of your goals. Setting concrete goals for language study, such as “I want to be able to read short online news articles” or “I want to make small talk at a business lunch” is the best way to be able to measure your progress.

    If you’re just beginning to make a long-term commitment to live and work in the Middle East, imagine yourself five or six years from now.

    Wouldn’t it be great to speak fluent Arabic by that time?

    The choice is yours.

    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    Your One-Size-Fits-All Guide to UAE Business Culture

    UAE Business Culture

    Picture a crowded Dubai street. What do you see?

    Maybe you thought of towering skyscrapers, sweltering sunshine, luxury cars.

    Who do you see?

    Men in flowing white kandurahs? Women in abayas? Or a sea of faces from all over the world?

    The United Arab Emirates is made up of eighty percent expats.

    That’s an astounding number.

    But they must be doing something right.

    The average annual income in the UAE is nearly US $130,000.

    That means that aside from a strong sense of business savvy, the expats living, working, and thriving in the UAE have something truly special.

    They understand and embrace the local business culture.

    It’s not an easy task.

    That’s why we’ve compiled this one-size-fits-all guide to UAE business culture.

    One article can’t capture everything. You’ll need to arrive with an open mind and be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.

    But this guide is going to let you hit the ground running.

    Getting To Know Someone

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    1. Getting to Know Someone

    A greeting is the first thing you learn in any language class.

    That’s because greetings are the foundation of any strong social interaction—if you nail the Arabic greeting, you’ve made a rock-solid start.

    In the Arab world as well as in many other places, it’s important to build personal connections. In fact, in the UAE it’s practically required in order for business transactions to go smoothly.

    And in this connection-oriented business culture, you can achieve that foundation by making an effort to remember people’s names and their social statuses.

    You need to remember the guy you met in the elevator and the name of his cousin who’s looking for a job.

    Pulling this off not only impresses others, but it also shows that you are the type of person who remembers more than just the company and the bottom line.

    You remember the person holding the pen.

    Now, when you greet someone, you’re going to shake their hand. If you were educated in American business norms, for instance, you might go for a firm, even aggressive handshake to show your power and stature.

    But that doesn’t fly quite so well in the UAE. There, you’ll want to back off a bit and offer your hand as a sign of respect instead of strength.

    Don’t be taken aback if someone offers you a gentle handshake—this is just something that carries a different connotation in the Arab world.

    One more thing to note here: men should avoid offering or expecting handshakes from Arab women. It may happen occasionally, but as a you should avoid initiating it.

    It’s just seen as a little too forward in the more conservative business culture of the UAE.

    Men are expected to respect women’s personal space by not entering it at all, so the proper alternative to a mixed-sex handshake is to place the right hand over the heart along with a slight bow.

    Women shouldn’t take it as a snub if their handshake is rejected; it’s coming from a place of respect.

    This personal space extends to eye contact. It’s considered poor form to hold eye contact too long, especially with the opposite sex.

    Eye contact norms do vary from person to person, so pay attention to each situation individually. Some people might meet your gaze every time and others might demur.

    Fortunately, eye contact etiquette isn’t taken particularly seriously; just follow your instincts here to avoid an awkward situation.

    Further, when you’re being introduced to others, you’re going to need to know their title.

    Titles are taken seriously, whether they come from a royal family or a university.

    If someone is a doctor, then call them Doctor, and if someone is a sheikh, call them Sheikh along with their full name.

    Again, this is where social status and age play an important role. If you visibly defer to the authority and status of others, it means you’re accepting the cultural role that’s expected of you—and things will go smoothly because of it.

    No business introduction is complete without an exchange of business cards. Yours should be high-quality and printed in both English and Arabic.

    When you hand it over, always use your right hand (more on that soon) and accept the other card with both hands. Study it carefully and put it away with care.

    The business card is an extension of the person giving it, so it should be treated as such.

    Once the introductions have been made, what’s the next step?

    Meeting

    2. Setting Up a Meeting

    When it comes to business in the UAE, the old adage is truer than ever: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

    That’s why the introductions are so important, and that’s why it’s so crucial that you remember the names and titles of the people you’ve been introduced to.

    And keep those business cards!

    Family ties run extremely deep. If someone comes from a powerful family, you can be sure they can use those family connections to get what they want.

    And if you have the honor of being invited into somebody’s home, it means they’re potentially opening up those family connections to you.

    Now, most of these discussions are going to take place over a meal of some kind. Certainly, if you’re invited to any informal gathering there will be snacks on the table whether or not negotiations are too.

    You can expect dates, nuts, and strong Arabic coffee at a minimum. Your hosts will continue to refill your cup as soon as it’s empty—but you can politely decline by tilting the cup side to side.

    At a restaurant, you should follow the general norms of table manners, at the very least.

    That means no crunching your ice, no smacking your lips, and no elbows on the table.

    These are by no means universal norms, but in the UAE just as in many other places, it’s polite to be relatively more reserved when you’re dining with company.

    But take a closer look around you, and you’ll see that it’s also common to tear your bread instead of slicing, and that the napkin is always placed on the lap.

    You’ll notice occasionally that lavish meals are provided for some business discussions. That’s a sign of respect for the invitee and should be enjoyed.

    But when you’re ordering on someone else’s bill, it’s polite to order a relatively simple meal instead.

    After the food arrives, wait for others to begin eating unless told otherwise.

    And no matter how good the shawarma or stuffed camel looks, you absolutely can’t start unless everyone has arrived.

    This is a way to reciprocate the generosity of your host by affording them the luxury of choosing when the meal truly begins.

    No matter what you’re eating, don’t use your left hand to place food in your mouth or offer it to others. The left hand is traditionally used for cleaning after going to the toilet—and that’s the last thing you want to be reminded of at mealtime.

    When you’re having snacks and coffee, you’ll quickly learn to juggle the coffee cup and the dates to stick to this right-hand rule.

    As the UAE is a Muslim country, you should avoid ordering alcohol even if you’re aware that some of your guests drink.

    Let the locals be the judges of whether or not to provide alcoholic beverages. The “cheers” gesture is still used, though, so be sure to offer a toast (of water, juice, or soda) to others.

    If you happen to be hosting a private, informal gathering, you should definitely check with a local about the arrangements. Doing this not only frees you from the burden of planning (always a plus) but also helps you avoid any glaring faux pas.

    The guests are sure to be impressed when they realize the work you’ve put in to making them feel comfortable and respected.

    So what happens when the meal is winding down and it’s time for further discussion?

    Business Etiquette

    3. Business Etiquette

    If you wake up late-morning in the UAE, you might be dismayed to read that the temperature is already a balmy 34°C (93°F). The last thing you want to do is leave your air-conditioned room in a suit and tie.

    But that’s the norm in the Arab world.

    The dress code is modest and formal virtually all the time. Men should wear suits and ties, and women should cover their shoulders and legs while keeping jewelry to a minimum.

    It’s really not as bad as it sounds. If you shop around, you can find high-quality formal wear that looks good without constricting you.

    And after a few months in-country, you’ll get used to the heat and how it dictates the ebb and flow of the day’s activities.

    If you’re not of Arab descent, don’t wear the traditional Emirati clothing to a meeting unless specifically invited or directed to do so. Expats should stick to international standards of formal wear.

    When you get to the meeting, you’ll notice a couple of differences from what you may be used to. It’s commonplace for locals to arrive a few minutes late, though you should strive to always be on time.

    As the meeting goes on, you’ll no doubt experience further small interruptions. It’s seen as normal for people to check their texts or emails while others are talking or presenting. Other people in the office might come in unannounced to deliver a message or ask someone to take a call.

    It’s important to take these events not as a sign of disrespect, but simply as representative of a different business culture around time and attention.

    They’re not meant to test your patience; it’s just that your culture and theirs have different ideas about meeting etiquette. Be relaxed and open-minded, and don’t let small inconveniences cause you frustration.

    Remember, if you’re a guest in someone’s office and they see that you’re uncomfortable with the way they do business, that’s going to start losing you points. If you’re frustrated at little interruptions, try to control your reactions and let it go.

    Use this extra time to gather your thoughts or try looking at the day’s main ideas from a different angle.

    Once you get down into the heart of the meeting, get ready to negotiate. Emiratis love the art of negotiation.

    The ability to successfully negotiate in a meeting is a valued skill that takes years to perfect—and you’re the perfect candidate to test their skill.

    These negotiations will always be polite and cordial, but you may find that there’s more back-and-forth than you’re used to. It’s not quite fair to label Emirati business tactics as aggressive; think of them more as principled. And you should be ready to step up to the plate as well.

    It’s very likely that your discussions will last across several meetings. Again, it’s important to be patient and respect the time needed to make a decision. You can use this time to think more carefully as well!

    When you finally come to an agreement, be careful with your words. Oral agreements are taken very seriously in the UAE, so be ready to back up what you say.

    When it comes time to sign the contract, it had better not be different from what you agreed upon or the whole process might begin again.

    Lastly, how should you behave yourself in the meeting? Well, here’s a few more body language tips.

    If you end up crossing your legs, make sure you don’t point the soles of your feet at anybody else.

    This is easy to forget (and easy to forgive as well) but it’s like scratching your nose with your middle finger.

    Your counterpart might choose to ignore it, but then again, they might not. So don’t take the risk.

    In some places, telling risque jokes is a sign of camaraderie. In the UAE, it’s seen as just plain rude. Avoid all kinds of rude language, even when you’re just chatting or joking around.

    Above all, it’s important to stay relaxed with a friendly smile. Don’t fidget or glance around. Be sincere, be in the moment, and, above all, be respectful.

    Once you’ve mastered the art of the meeting in the UAE, there’s one more big step you can take…

    Learning The Language

    4. Learning the Language

    Many expats find it easy to live in the UAE as English-speakers.

    The enormous expat population means that there’s always a market for local translators. It’s easy, affordable, and usually necessary to get a translator at some point in your career.

    However, learning Arabic opens up doors that you didn’t even know were there.

    Arabic comes in several main varieties. In general, Gulf Arabic is spoken in the UAE among native Emiratis.

    The formal written language—found in laws and business contracts—is a more standardized version known as Modern Standard Arabic.

    The differences in grammar and vocabulary are considerable, and it’s necessary to spend a lot of time on both. So what are the advantages?

    Understanding the written Arabic language frees you from relying on translators and paints you as someone who is willing to go the extra mile to understand the local business world.

    Even if you hire a translator or receive a translated version of a contract, it’s a huge psychological boost to be able to read the original as well.

    And although most signs are partly or entirely in English, it’s a great feeling to be able to fully understand what you see on the street.

    Using the spoken language is a mark of enormous respect toward the local culture.

    Again, it frees you from relying on interpreters if you happen to be dealing with people who prefer to discuss things in Arabic.

    No matter how good the connection is, there’s always going to be a barrier if your words have to be relayed through a third party. Most people don’t realize how much escapes them if they rely on others to understand.

    If you can only manage a few Arabic words, that already sets you apart from those who live their expat lives in a foreign-language bubble.

    And if you can stick to your studies until you achieve fluency, you’re sure to find advantages every single day, in every aspect of life.

    5. Conclusion

    I hope it’s clear from this short guide how each facet of business culture in the UAE blends together.

    Without good knowledge of body language, you can’t read people and see how they’re taking your suggestions. If you don’t remember anybody’s name, you can’t make connections with them over coffee.

    If you’re not patient with cultural misunderstandings, you won’t be able to succeed as an expat.

    This is because culture is an inseparable part of everything we say and do. Everything we perceive as “normal” is only normal because our culture tells us so.

    And if you arrive in the UAE expecting things to be “normal” when you get off the plane, you’re in for a nasty shock.

    Instead, prepare yourself for success by being ready to watch others and learn from them—and by being ready to learn from your own mistakes as well.

    As a foreigner in a new place, you’ll be given the luxury of understanding and even deference if you happen to make mistakes.

    But the fewer mistakes you make, the smoother things will go and the more impressive you’ll be.

    So pay attention to this guide and to others like it. Even more importantly, though, pay attention to the things you think of as normal or surprising.

    Understanding those innate biases will go a long way toward helping you embrace the local culture at all levels.

    And that’s what you need for success.

    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Arabic

    How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Arabic!

    Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

    However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

    Table of Contents

    1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
    2. Arabic Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
    3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
    4. How Can ArabicPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
    5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Arabic - Testing New Technology

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

    1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

    Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Arabic? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Arabic words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

    1. funny - مضحك - muḍḥik
    2. joke - مزحة - mazaḥah
    3. surprise - مفاجأة - mufāǧaah
    4. prank - خدعة - ḫudʿah
    5. lie - يكذب - yakḏib
    6. humor - دعابة - duʿābah
    7. fool - أحمق - ʾaḥmaq
    8. deceptive - زائف - zaāʾif
    9. April 1st - الأول من إبريل - al-ʾwwal min ʾibrīl
    10. play a joke - يضحك (على أحد) - yaḍḥak (ʿalā ʾḥad)
    11. prankster - عابث - ʿaābiṯ
    12. sneaky - متسلل - mutasallil

    2. Arabic Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

    Arabic Phrases for April Fools' Day

    Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Arabic to prank your favorite Arabic speaking friend or colleague!

    1. I learned Arabic in 1 month.
      • تعلمت اللغة العربية في شهر واحد.
      • taʿallamtu al-luġaẗa al-ʿarabiyyaẗa fiī šahrin waāḥid.
    2. All classes for today got canceled.
      • جميع صفوف اليوم ألغيت
      • gamee sofoof elyoom olgheyat
    3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
      • أنا آسف، ولكني كسرت زوج نظاراتك المفضلة.
      • ʾanā ʾāsif, walakinnatī kasartu zaūǧa naẓāraātika al-mufaḍḍalah.
    4. Someone has just hit your car.
      • شخص ما قد ضرب سيارتك.
      • šaḫṣun maā qad ḍaraba sayyārataka.
    5. I’m getting married.
      • أنا سوف أتزوج.
      • ʾanā saūfa ʾatazawwaǧ.
    6. You won a free ticket.
      • ربحت تذكرة مجانية.
      • rabiḥta taḏkarah maǧāniyyah.
    7. I saw your car being towed.
      • رأيت سيارتك تسحب.
      • raʾaītu sayyārataka tusḥab.
    8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
      • إنهم يوزعون بطاقات هدايا بالمجان أمام المبنى.
      • ʾinnahum yuwazziʿūna biṭāqāta hadāyaā bilmaǧǧaān ʾamāma al-mabnā.
    9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
      • هناك رجل وسيم في انتظارك في الخارج.
      • hunāka raǧulun wasīmun fiī ʾintiẓāriki fiī al-ḫaāriǧ.
    10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
      • سيدة جميلة طلبت مني إعطاء رقم الهاتف هذا لك.
      • sayyidaẗun ǧamiīlah ṭalabat minnī ʾiʿṭaāʾa raqami al-hātifi haḏā laka.
    11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
      • هل يمكنك أن تأتي إلى أسفل البناء؟ أملك شيئاً مميز أريد أن أعطيك إياه.
      • hall yumkinuka ʾan taʾtī ʾilā ʾasfali al-bināʾ? ʾamliku šaīʾan mumayyaz ʾurīdu ʾan ʾuʿṭiīka yaāh.
    12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
      • شكراً لك على رسالة الحب هذا الصباح, ما كنت لأحزر كيف تشعرين.
      • šukran laki ʿalā risal-aẗi al-ḥubbu haḏā al-ṣṣabāḥ. maā kuntu liʾaḥzira kaīfa tašʿurīn.

    Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

    3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

    Choose Bad or Good

    Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Arabic, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

    Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

    Cockroach prank

    1- Infestation

    This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

    2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

    Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

    3- Something Weird in the Restroom

    At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

    Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

    Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

    Funny Face

    4- Call Me Funny

    Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

    5- Minty Cookies

    This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

    6- Wild Shopping

    At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

    7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

    Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

    8- Sneeze On Me

    Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

    9- Word Play Repairs

    Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

    10- Scary Face

    Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

    11- Wake Up To Madness

    Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

    Computer Prank

    12- Computer Prank

    This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

    Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

    13- Monster Under the Cup

    This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

    Door Prank

    14- Prank Door

    Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

    4. How Can ArabicPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

    If you happen to visit Arabic speaking countries like Arabic speaking country, or if you work for any Arabic speaking company, knowing the above Arabic prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Arabic words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

    Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Arabic - bone up your Arabic language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, ArabicPod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

    Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Arabic below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at ArabicPod101.

    5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Arabic - testing new technology

    Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

    • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
    • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

    Thank you for helping ArabicPod101! We’re serious about making learning Arabic fun.

    Top 100+ Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions (with English Translations)

    Top 100+ Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions (with English Translations)

    Imagine yourself spending your holidays in Lebanon. You haven’t gotten the hang of speaking Arabic yet. You’re enjoying your time there, but you still feel strongly disconnected from where you are. Many Lebanese don’t speak English, and you don’t even know how to let people know that you do not speak Arabic.

    This is where the importance of learning basic Arabic phrases comes in.

    Not only will it help you communicate with the local community; it will also help you gain that connection you would otherwise be yearning for.

    I would highly recommend that you start by learning (at least some of) the Arabic alphabet.

    While using transcriptions might seem like a really nice way to get a head start, I promise you’re doing yourself more harm than good; you’re just prolonging your time without the alphabet.

    Why? Basically, your pronunciation will suffer, which will, in turn, harm your memorization and retention abilities.

    Before we move on to the top 100+ basic Arabic phrases list below, here are some tips to help you memorize foreign language expressions easily.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

    Table of Contents

    1. How to Easily Memorize Basic Arabic Phrases
    2. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Friendly Conversations
    3. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Traveling and Shopping
    4. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Emergency
    5. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Holidays

    1. How to Easily Memorize Basic Arabic Phrases

    All of us run into that dreaded point in our language learning journeys where either the phrases we learned start to get all jumbled up in our brains, or we just can’t seem to stuff those bizarre sounding words into our brains.

    Are you stuck in this stagnation rut?

    Don’t worry. You’re in good company.

    Here is a list of the most useful tips for learning those difficult Arabic words and phrases that have evaded your memory… at least until now.

    flashcards

    a. Flashcards

    Now, before you get all in a fuss because you’ve “tried flashcards before” and they didn’t work, just stick with me for a minute. All of us have tried normal flashcards, and most of us have come to the inevitable conclusion that they’re simply not that helpful.

    Enter the SRS–spaced repetition system.

    What’s spaced repetition exactly? It’s a powerful learning method that will automatically quiz you on those bothersome words you always seem to forget, which is proven to help push those pesky vocab words deeper into your long-term memory.

    Sound like magic? It pretty much is.

    With ArabicPod101, you get our spaced repetition flashcards. You don’t have to make cards or do work. You have ready-made decks waiting for you such as the top 100 words, and you can easily send words from Vocab Lists and lessons to your flashcards.

    How does it work? Just start reviewing the flashcards and mark words as correct or incorrect. This is where the magic happens. If you mark a word as incorrect, you’ll see it again and again until you can properly recall it. Then, you’ll see it in your next study sessions just to make sure you remember. Mark a word correct and you’ll see it sporadically; just enough to keep your memory sharp.

    When, you’re done, feel free to stop and relax. Our flashcards will remind you when to study again.

    Anki is another popular spaced repetition system. Basically, all you have to do is create your flashcards after downloading the app on your computer or phone and start studying!

    For instructions on how to use the application as efficiently as possible, I would head on over to Fluent Forever and read up on how to create some of the most powerful flashcards on the planet.

    With Anki, you can make your flashcards as boring or as exciting as you want. (I would personally go for the more exciting ones–they’re way easier to remember!)
    You can also either give yourself some hints (for those phrases you have a really hard time remembering), or you can add sound files of native speakers pronouncing those words or phrases!

    With Forvo and RhinoSpike, you can add pictures straight from Arabic Google.

    Whatever problem you’re running into, the chances are high that it can be solved with Anki and some good flashcards.

    Maybe Anki isn’t your style. No problem. I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve.

    Memrise is one of those weird mixes of two study methods that just works. It’s not a full-blown SRS like Anki, but it does incorporate similar technology to help you push those words and phrases deeper into your memory, just like Anki does.

    So what’s the difference?

    Basically, Memrise relies heavily on user-added mnemonics (I’ll talk more about mnemonics shortly). This way, each user can add their own mnemonic to each of the words and phrases they learn, or they can simply choose one of the mnemonics added by a previous user that they feel helps them remember that word.

    That’s all well and good, but if you don’t know how to use it, you’re back to square one.

    Well, I’m here to save the day once again! (Cue the dramatic hero music playing in the background…)

    Just head on over to Memrise, create yourself an account, find some Arabic courses, and start learning those words!

    Memrise utilizes mnemonics to help push the problem words deep into your memory by attaching them to something that you have no trouble at all remembering.

    For some people, this is the difference between reaching fluency and mumbling like a language amateur.

    That’s a nice segue into my second category of memorization tips.

    b. Mnemonics

    Mnemonics are something that most people have at least heard of, but don’t really know what it means—much less how to use it.

    A mnemonic is a device that you use to attach to a concept that makes it easier to remember.

    For instance, the French word for eggs is oeufs, which sounds kind of like the sound I make when something disgusts me. So my mnemonic is thinking about a nasty egg and saying “Ughh!!”

    Simple enough?

    There are tons of mnemonics out there. For a complete list, you can google “mnemonics for language learning.” People have come up with all sorts of crazy ways to memorize vocabulary and most of them are at least somewhat useful!

    c. Clozemaster

    Clozemaster is a newer website and I think it brings a very valuable learning experience to the table.

    It presents a massive number of sentences in different formats to help expose you to large quantities of the language.

    Basically, it allows you to start thinking critically about what you’re learning, which will allow you to memorize those phrases faster.

    You can choose Arabic on the site and go to the most frequent words category to start learning the most important Arabic words first. This is a website that I recommend to all my students.

    If you use these resources, your problems with Arabic are going to either become smaller, completely go away, or at least become a lot more fun!

    In all seriousness though, these resources will help you learn basic Arabic phrases easier; just make sure you learn the alphabet and pronunciation before you get started with these.

    After that, just chug right along until those words start to stick in your head.

    conversation

    2. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Friendly Conversations

    Below are a few basic phrases and expressions you could find very useful in most conversations:

    Good evening
    مساء الخير
    Masa’o lkhayr

    Good morning
    صباح الخير
    Sabaho lkhayr

    Hello
    أهلا
    Ahlan

    How are you?
    كيف حالك؟
    Kayfa haluk?

    Where are you?
    أين أنت؟
    Ayna ant?

    Thanks
    شكرا
    Shukran

    No problem
    لا مشكلة
    La mushkila

    Oh my God!
    يا إلهي
    Ya ilahi

    Wow
    يا سلام
    Ya salam

    No
    لا
    La

    Yes
    نعم / أجل
    Na’am / Ajal

    Excuse me
    معذرة
    Ma’azira

    I’m sorry
    أنا آسف
    Ana asif

    Goodbye
    مع السلامة
    Ma’a Salama

    See you soon
    أراك لاحقا
    Araka lahikan

    Please
    من فضلك
    Min fazlik

    Come
    تعال
    Ta’al

    I’m not interested
    أنا لست مهتما
    Ana lastu muhtaman

    Stop
    توقف
    Tawaqaf

    I can’t
    لا أستطيع
    La astati’e

    How can I …?
    كيف يمكنني أن…؟
    Kayfa yumkinony ann…?

    My name is…
    إسمي هو…
    Ismi hwa…

    What’s your name?
    ما إسمك؟
    Ma usmuk?

    Nice to meet you
    سررت بلقائك
    Surertu biliqa’ik

    I’m fine
    أنا بخير
    Ana bikhayr

    What’s you like to do in your free time?
    ماذا تفعله في أوقات فراغك؟
    Maza taf’aluhu fi awqati faraghik?

    What do you do?
    ما هي مهنتك؟
    Ma hya mihnatuk?

    What’s your dream job?
    ما هي الوظيفة التي تحلم بها؟
    Ma hya lwadifato lati tahlomo biha?

    What time is it?
    كم الساعة؟
    Kam i ssa’a?

    I appreciate this
    أقدر هذا
    Oqadiro haza

    Enjoy the rest of your day
    طاب يومك
    Taba yawmuk

    What do you think?
    ما رأيك؟
    Ma ra’eyok?

    Sounds good
    يبدو جيدا
    Yabdo jayidan

    Never mind
    لا يهم
    La yohim

    I don’t understand
    لا أفهم
    La afham

    Could you repeat that, please?
    هل يمكنك إعادة هذا من فضلك؟
    Hal yomkinoka i’adato haza min fazlik?

    Could you please talk slower?
    هل يمكنك التحدث ببطئ؟
    Hal yomkinoka tahadusu bobota’e?

    What’s your phone number?
    ما هو رقم هاتفك؟
    Ma hwa raqmu hatifika?

    What does that mean?
    ماذا يعني هذا؟
    Maza ya’ani haza?

    Give me one minute
    دقيقة من فضلك
    Daqiqa min fazlik

    Sorry for the delay
    عذرا على التأخير
    Ozran a’ala ata’ekhir

    shopping

    3. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Traveling and Shopping

    Below are some phrases that could be useful if you’re not native or extremely familiar with the country you’re visiting:

    Where are you from?
    من أين أنت؟
    Min ayna ant?

    I’m American
    أنا أمريكي
    Ana amrikea

    I’m Canadian
    أنا كندي
    Ana canadea

    I’m English
    أنا إنجليزي
    Ana injleezea

    I’m Australian
    أنا أسترالي
    Ana australea

    I’m from …
    أنا من…
    Ana min…

    How much is this?
    بكم هذا؟
    Bikam haza?

    I don’t speak Arabic fluently
    لا أتحدث العربية بطلاقة
    La atahadathu alarabya bitalaqa

    Do you speak English?
    هل تجيد الإنجليزية؟
    Hal tojido alinjlizya?

    How do you spell this?
    كيف تتهجأ هذا؟
    Kayfa tatahaja’o haza?

    How long have you been here?
    منذ متى وأنت هنا؟
    Munzu mata wa anta huna?

    Where are you heading?
    إلى أين أنت ذاهب؟
    Ila ayna anta zahib?

    Where can we go hitchhiking?
    أين يمكننا توقيف السيارات؟
    Ayna yomkinona tawqifo sayarat?

    Where is the nearest main road?
    أين هي أقرب طريق رئيسية؟
    Ayna hya aqrabo tariqin ra’isya?

    How much is the ticket?
    بكم التذكرة؟
    Bikam i tazkira?

    Can you present me to your family members?
    هل يمكنك أن تقدمني إلى أفراد عائلتك؟
    Hal yumkinoka an to’aifany ila afradi a’aliatik?

    How far is …?
    بكم يبعد…؟
    Bikam yaba’odo …?

    Can you teach me some Arabic?
    هل يمكنك تعليمي بعض العربية؟
    Hal yomkinoka ta’alimi ba’ada alarabya?

    Can you translate this for me?
    هل يمكنك ترجمة هذا لي؟
    Hal yumkinoka tarjamato haza li?

    What are the best places to visit in …?
    ما هي أحسن الأماكن للزيارة في …؟
    Ma hya ahsanu alamakini lizyarati fi …?

    What time should we check out?
    متى يجب أن نغادر الفندق؟
    Mata yajibo an noghadira alfondoq?

    Let’s have some food. I’m hungry.
    فلنأكل بعض الطعام. أنا جائع.
    Falnakul ba’ada ta’am. Ana ja’ea

    Where is the airport?
    أين هو المطار؟
    Ayna hwa almatar?

    emergency

    4. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Emergency

    Below are some phrases to use if you are not native and find yourself in an emergency situation:

    Help!
    !النجدة
    Annajda!

    I need help
    أحتاج إلى المساعدة
    Ahtaju ila almusa’ada

    Where is the hospital?
    أين هو المستشفى؟
    Ayna hwa almustashfa?

    Do you have a phone?
    هل لديك هاتف؟
    Hal ladayka hatif?

    I have a fever
    أعاني من الحمى
    O’ani min alhumaa

    I’m scared
    أنا خائف
    Ana kha’if

    Can you call the police?
    هل يمكنك الإتصال بالشرطة؟
    Hal yumkinoka alitissal bishorta?

    ِCan you call the fire department?
    هل يمكنك الإتصال بمركز الإطفاء؟
    Hal yumkinoka alitisalo bimarkazi litfa’e?

    Can you help me?
    هل يمكنك مساعدتي؟
    Hal yumkinoka musa’adati?

    How can I help?
    كيف يمكنني المساعدة؟
    Kayfa yomkinoni almosa’ada?

    I’m in danger
    أنا في خطر
    Ana fi khatar

    Let’s get out of here
    فلنخرج من هنا
    Falnakhruj min huna

    holiday

    5. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Holidays

    Below are some phrases if you want to wish someone a happy holiday or celebration:

    Happy Birthday
    عيد ميلاد سعيد
    Ida mealadin sa’id

    Happy Eid
    عيد سعيد
    Eid Sa’id

    Happy New Year
    كل عام وأنتم بخير
    Kula a’am wa antum bikhayr

    Congratulations
    هنيئا / مبروك
    Hani’an / Mabruk

    Happy wedding
    حفل زفاف سعيد
    Hafla zifafin sa’id

    Birthday cake
    كعكة عيد ميلاد
    Ka’akato idi milad

    Fireworks
    الألعاب النارية
    Alal’ab anarya

    Where are you spending the holidays?
    أين ستقضي عطلتك؟
    Ayna sataqdy otlatak?

    Want to dig deeper into Arabic? ArabicPod101 is the go-to resource for free interactive audio and video lessons. There you’ll have access to a cornucopia of real-life language and culture content to take your Arabic to the level.

    Plus, you’ll get assistance from experienced teachers to answer your questions and boost your motivation to learn Arabic.

    Why settle for boring Arabic textbooks when you can listen to 1060+ quality lessons on-the-go or even in your sleep?

    Sign up now and start learning languages the 21st century way.

    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

    How to Say Happy New Year in Arabic & New Year Wishes

    Learn all the Arabic New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join ArabicPod101 for a special Arabic New Year celebration!

    How to Say Happy New Year in Arabic

    Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

    So, how do you say Happy New Year in Arabic? Let a native teach you! At ArabicPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Arabic New Year wishes!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

    Table of Contents

    1. How to Celebrate New Year in Arabic speaking country
    2. Must-Know Arabic Words & Phrases for the New Year!
    3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Arabic
    4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
    5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
    6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
    7. How ArabicPod101 Can Help You Learn Arabic

    But let’s start with some vocabulary for Arabic New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

    1. How to Celebrate New Year in Arabic speaking country

    How to Celebrate New Year

    This is the first day of the New Year in all countries utilizing the Gregorian Calendar and is an official public holiday that is frequently celebrated by midnight fireworks, marking the beginning of the New Year. It is one of the world’s Christian festivities, however, in a country like Egypt where both Christians and Muslims reside, New Year celebrations are not exclusively confined to Christians. We also find many Muslims celebrating this occasion as well.

    Some people maintain that New Year’s Day does not represent the birth of Christ but that it marks the new year of the solar calendar, which preceded that. Others confirm that the New Year is indeed associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.

    Here we find Christians disagreeing amongst themselves as to the date of the birth of Jesus Christ, which calls for both wonder and concern.

    Among the most important manifestations of the New Year celebrations is the character of a person credited with bringing joy and happiness to children, namely Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

    Happy New Year!

    أتمنى لك سنة جديدة سعيدة!
    ʾatamannā laka sanah ǧadīdah saʿīdah!

    2. Must-Know Arabic Words & Phrases for the New Year!

    Arabic Words & Phrases for the New Year

    1- Year

    سنة
    sana:

    This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Arabic speaking country could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

    2- Midnight

    منتصف الليل منتصف الليل
    muntaṣaf ull-ayl

    The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

    3- New Year’s Day

    عيد راس السنة
    ʿīd raās al-sanah

    In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

    You can do it!

    4- Party

    حفلة
    ḥaflah

    A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

    5- Dancing

    رقص
    raqṣ

    Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

    6- Champagne

    شامبانيا
    šāmbānyā

    Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

    7- Fireworks

    ألعاب نارية
    ʾlʿāb nāriyyah

    These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

    Happy Near Year!

    8- Countdown

    عد تنازلي
    ʿad tanāzulī

    This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

    9- New Year’s Holiday

    عطلة رأس السنة
    ʿiṭlaẗu raʾsi al-ssanah

    In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

    10- Confetti

    نثار
    niṯaār

    In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

    11- New Year’s Eve

    ليلة رأس السنة
    laīlaẗu raʾsi al-ssanah

    This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

    12- Toast

    شرب النخب
    šurbu al-nnaḫb

    A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

    13- Resolution

    قرار
    qarār

    Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

    14- Parade

    موكب
    maūkib

    New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At ArabicPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Arabic New Year celebrations are like!

    3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

    New Year’s Resolutions List

    So, you learned the Arabic word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at ArabicPod101 - what are yours?

    Learn these phrases and impress your Arabic friends with your vocabulary.

    New Year's Resolutions

    1- Read more

    إقرء أكثر
    ʾiqraʾ ʾakṯar

    Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Arabic in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Arabic language skills!

    2- Spend more time with family

    قضاء وقت أكثر مع العائلة.
    qaḍaāʾ waqt ʾakṯar maʿ al-ʿaāʾilah.

    Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

    3- Lose weight

    خسارة وزن
    ḫasaāraẗu wazn

    Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

    4- Save money

    توفير نقود
    taūfiīr nuqūd

    Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to ArabicPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

    5- Quit smoking

    الإقلاع عن التدخين
    al-ʾiqlaāʿi ʿani al-tadḫiīn

    This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

    6- Learn something new

    تعلم شيئ جديد
    taʿllum šayiʾ ǧadiīd

    Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

    7- Drink less

    الإقلال من الشرب
    al-ʾiqlaal-i mina al-širb

    This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

    8- Exercise regularly

    ممارسة الرياضة بانتظام
    mumārasẗu al-rriīāḍah binitẓaām

    This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

    9- Eat healthy

    تناول طعام صحي
    tanāūl ṭaʿām ṣiḥḥī

    If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

    10- Study Arabic with ArabicPod101

    أدرس العربية مع ArabicPod101.com
    ʾudrus al-ʿarabiyyah maʿ ArabicPod101.com

    Of course! You can only benefit from learning Arabic, especially with us! Learning how to speak Arabic can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. ArabicPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

    4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

    Inspirational Quotes

    Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

    Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Arabic new year greeting!

    Make decorative notes of these in Arabic, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Arabic incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

    5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

    Language Learning Quotes

    Still undecided whether you should enroll with ArabicPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

    Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

    As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Arabic could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Arabic - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

    6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

    Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Arabic - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

    7. Why Enrolling with ArabicPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

    If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Arabic! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that ArabicPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

    Learning Paths

    • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Arabic at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
    • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Arabic that makes sense!
    • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
    • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
    • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

    There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Arabic with ArabicPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

    5 Must-Know Arabic Sayings about Life

    As salam alaykum! (Hi!)

    If you’ve ever visited or lived in an Arabic country, you have probably noticed the repetitive use of Arabic sayings, especially in rural areas.

    If that’s you, I can safely assume that it wasn’t easy for you to understand many of those Arabic sayings—even if you had someone to translate them for you.

    5 Must-Know Arabic Sayings about Life

    The reason why you failed to grasp the meaning of these sayings is that the translation of a certain saying in Arabic doesn’t usually mean its equivalent in English.

    As a learner myself, not understanding those sayings has often disappointed me and made me doubt my language skills. This made me realize that I must dive deeper into Arabic and explore the meanings of these sayings.

    After conducting a lot of research, asking questions, and having conversations on this topic with many locals, I’ve put together this short list of four popular formal Arabic sayings that almost every Arabic speaker uses. And I made sure to include their equivalents and explanations in English.

    Before we move on, let me first give you a few techniques that I used to memorize Arabic sayings.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    How to Easily and Effectively Memorize Arabic Sayings

    Actions speak louder than words. –Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln is utterly correct in this quote, especially when it comes to learning words and phrases. Writing down Arabic sayings in your copybook and telling everybody that you are going to learn them is usually insufficient. You should always put them into action, digest them, and say them out loud to make learning and memorizing them easier.

    The classic “repeat method” that we are taught in language schools is not included in my list, as it’s usually boring and ineffective for most language learners.

    Share New Sayings with Your Friends and Language Classmates

    By teaching your classmates and friends the new Arabic sayings that you are learning, every proverb will stick in your mind. This is especially effective, as sharing those sayings will require you to explain and translate everything in detail. You can do this in your language school, on the basketball court, or even sitting at the table at home. !فقط إعمل بجد (Just work hard!)

    Share New Sayings with Your Friends and Language Classmates!

    Use an SRS

    SRS is a type of software that automatizes flash cards. It uses a smart algorithm to help you keep up with every saying you add to your vocabulary list. You can add hundreds of flash cards to your SRS program, and it will automatically schedule and organize them for you. You can add any type of content you want to your virtual flash cards (explanations, translations, synonyms, etc.).

    There are various SRS software packages available online. For me, Anki is my favorite laptop program for memorizing new sayings.

    Get Feedback and Further Explanation from Your Language Partner

    A language partner is someone who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn. Most—if not all—successful polyglots and language learners connect with virtual and real-life language partners to help them practice their speaking skills and take their language to the next level.

    Get Feedback and Further Explanation from Your Language Partner

    In the case of Arabic sayings, your language partner will help you find new proverbs, will explain them to you, and will put those sayings into context for you by giving you examples in which those sayings are used.

    Personally, I use HelloTalk, Speaky, and HelloPal to network with new language partners.

    Strike Up Conversations in Arabic and Use the Sayings You’ve Learned

    Perhaps you’re on vacation with your family in Dubai, or maybe you’re teaching English in an Arabic country. Or maybe you’re just taking an Arabic course in your home country.

    Strike Up Conversations in Arabic and Use the Sayings You’ve Learned

    Dragging yourself out your house and striking up actual conversations will allow you to flex your language muscles and share the new sayings that you’ve learned. You’re not in an Arabic country? !لا مشكلة (No problem!) You can always record and send a voice note to your language partners or talk to your language school classmates.

    Now that you’ve learned the necessary methods to memorize Arabic sayings, you’re all set to start learning your first five sayings.

    5 Must-Know Arabic Sayings about Life (and Their English Translations and Meanings)

    The sayings included below are merely a drop in the ocean of Arabic sayings, as there are thousands of other proverbs in this language. The purpose behind these that I have listed is to get you started and to introduce you to just a few Arabic sayings.

    1. مصائب قوم عند قوم فوائد

    Literal English translation: The misfortunes of some people are advantages to others.

    English equivalent: One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

    Example: محمد: لقد سمعت أن أحمد قد دفع 20 ألف دولار لطبيبه مقابل إجراء عملية جراحية بسيطة. يحيى: حقا, مصائب قوم عند قوم فوائد.

    English translation:
    Mohamed: “Ahmed’s doctor charged him $20,000 for a simple surgery.”
    Yahya: “The misfortunes of some people are advantages to others.”

    Meaning: What is misery for someone can be a victory for someone else.

    2. السماء لا تمطر ذهبا ولا فضة

    Literal English translation: The sky doesn’t rain gold or silver.

    English equivalent: Money doesn’t grow on trees.

    Example: قال أستاذ لطلابه: أدرسوا جيدا واستغلوا الفرص المتاحة لكم, فالسماء لا تمطر ذهبا ولا فضة.

    English translation: “Study hard and don’t miss any opportunities,” a teacher said to his students, “because the sky doesn’t rain gold or silver.”

    Meaning: This saying was used for the first time by the Caliph Omar when he heard about a man who was always praying for sustenance without attempting to earn it. That said, it means that if you don’t work, don’t expect to have success with anything.

    3. في التأني السلامة, وفي العجلة الندامة

    Literal English translation: In caution, there is safety; in haste, repentance.

    English equivalent: Don’t rush it.

    Example: ياليتني لم أسلم ورقة الإمتحان بسرعة, حقا إن في التأني السلامة, وفي العجلة الندامة.

    English translation: I wish that I hadn’t handed the test back so quickly and that I had taken my time and not rushed through it. Indeed, in caution, there is safety; in haste, repentance.

    Meaning: This saying can be used wherever speed plays a negative role in a certain situation.

    4. تجري الرياح بما لا تشتهي السفن

    Literal English translation: The winds do not blow as the vessels wish.

    English equivalent: Life doesn’t always pan out the way you’d like it to.

    Example: لقد أرادوا أن يأتوا غدا, لكنهم تعرضوا لحادثة سير. تجري الرياح بما لا تشتهي السفن.

    English translation: They wanted to visit us tomorrow, but they had a car accident. The winds do not blow as the vessels wish.

    Meaning: This proverb is used when someone’s plans come crashing down or do not work out. It’s usually a positive way of describing hard situations people go through.

    5. دخول الحمام ليس مثل خروجه

    Literal English translation: Entering the bath isn’t the same thing as leaving it.

    Example: لبيب: أريد حقا ترك العصابة لكن بعض الأعضاء هددوني بالقتل إن فعلت ذلك.إليا: دخول الحمام ليس مثل خروجه.

    English translation:
    Labib: I really want to leave the gang but some members threatened me with death if I do that.
    Ilya: Entering the bath isn’t like leaving it.

    Meaning: This widely-known saying is very common in most Arabic countries, especially Morocco and Egypt. Its origins date back to the Ottoman empire, when a new Turkish bathhouse manager announced free entry for all clients and hung a poster to promote this offer.

    This attracted many customers who wanted to try the new bath. While the customers were in the bath, he held their clothes, and when the customers decided to leave, the owner refused to hand over their clothes unless they payed for the use of the bath.

    The customers were surprised by what they were told, and used what was written on the sign on the door as an argument.

    The bathroom owner’s response was, “Entering the bath isn’t like leaving it.”

    Conclusion

    Now you might be wondering, “Where can I find more Arabic sayings?”

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

    ArabicPod101 has got you covered. There you can find more than 1,000 interactive audio and video Arabic lessons where you can learn anything from dialects to famous sayings, from basic day-to-day conversations to wise Arabic quotes, along with PDF lesson notes, flash cards, and effective vocabulary learning tools.

    You can access all of this and more by signing up for free using the following link: ArabicPod101

    Let’s keep that fire!

    Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.