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Watching Arabic Movies: Learn Arabic through Arab Cinema

When you want to go beyond your textbook and your classroom, you’ve got two basic escape routes.

The first is the written word. You could read blogs, newspapers, or books in Arabic. Not a bad idea—but it still sounds suspiciously like work.

What if you just relaxed your way into Arabic in a way that let you become more fluent with the language, more educated about the culture, and more knowledgeable about art in general?

What if you watched a bunch of Arabic movies?

If you’ve never watched Arabic movies before, well, of course you’re missing out. But you’re probably also misinformed.

Cinema around the world is not, generally speaking, kind to Arabs on screen. It’s not hard to think of examples. That’s why it’s important to open your mind beyond stereotypes and understand what cinema looks like when it’s made by and for Arab people.

Fortunately, in recent years more and more festivals are promoting Arabic-language films. That’s even happening outside Cairo, long considered one of the focal points of Arab cinema.

So in this article you’ll be introduced not only to the classic films that shaped the art form, but you’ll also find some modern favorites that have gained international acclaim. After all, quality learning and fun are what we strive for at ArabicPod101.com. Let’s get started with our Arabic movies list!

Note: If you’re wondering where to watch Arabic movies, there’s a chance you’ll find some Arabic movies on Netflix or YouTube. You can also try searching for these Arabic movies online. Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Arabic.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. The Sin
  2. The Mummy
  3. Kandisha
  4. Solitare
  5. West Beirut
  6. The Worthy
  7. Omar
  8. Blessed Benefit
  9. Far from Men
  10. Theeb
  11. Dubbed Disney Films
  12. Conclusion

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Movie genres


1. The Sin (الحرام‎ Al-Haram) — Modern Standard Arabic, 1965

The sin poster

Maybe you thought all Arabic cinema was happy and upbeat? Nah.

The Sin is a grim and moving portrait of peasant oppression in Egypt. Faten Hamama plays Azizah, a young farmer’s wife, who’s forced to not only bear terrible injustice but also to keep it secret lest it tear apart her family. That’s a simple summary, though the film pulls this narrative thread in a way that makes it clear it wasn’t an isolated incident at that time.

It’s the type of film that makes you stop and think about the world, and it certainly had that effect upon its release. The French newspaper Le Monde described the film as “a reflection of everything around one individual, from people to culture.”

As was common in the middle of the 20th century, the film was released in Modern Standard Arabic. This decision was seen as only natural because of the prestige of Modern Standard Arabic in literature and formal discourse. Later, of course, cinema in vernacular Arabic became the norm, particularly in Egypt.


2. The Mummy (المومياء Al-Mummia) — Modern Standard Arabic, 1969

The mummy poster

No, this isn’t a dub of that action movie with the bad CGI. Instead, it’s a slow-moving and eerie piece about grave robbing in the late 1800s.

The film is about searching for an Egyptian national identity among colonialism, war, and antiquity. The band of grave robbers, an Upper Egyptian tribe, has a dissenter who goes to the police and helps the authorities find the cache of ancient treasure.

It’s considered one of, if not the most, important film(s) in Egypt, though as it’s more methodical and pensive, it’s not most people’s first choice.

But for you as an Arabic learner, this is a great opportunity to hear relatively slow and clear Modern Standard Arabic even in a relatively conversational context. You can even find subtitles in Arabic and English for the whole film!


3. Kandisha (قنديشة Qandisha) — Moroccan Arabic, 2008

Lawyers are considered to be clear and logical thinkers. They’re the last people you would expect to be wrapped up in a supernatural mystery.

Nyla Jade (played by Amira Casar) is a defense attorney for a woman accused of murdering her husband. Her client firmly alleges that her husband was killed by the vengeful spirit Kandisha.

Kandisha is actually a medieval Moroccan legend, and in the film she’s far more than just a myth. Nyla becomes convinced as well, and must work to make everyone in the courtroom, her colleagues, and her own husband believe that Kandisha was responsible for the murder.

The film has dialogue in French, Moroccan Arabic, and English, accurately reflecting the multilingualism present in modern-day Morocco.


4. Solitare (محبس‎ Mahbas) — Lebanese Arabic, Syrian Arabic, 2016

The timeless tale of a mother disappointed in her daughter’s choice of husband is honed to razor perfection in this comedy from Lebanon.

Therese (Julia Kassar) has borne a grudge against Syrians for decades when her daughter Ghada (Serena Chami) turns out to be engaged to Samer (Jabar Jokhadar), a Syrian man. Nobody wants to tell Therese, but the truth comes out when Samer greets her with his Syrian Arabic.

Arab weddings are far more than personal affairs. Whole families are involved in every aspect, and a disapproving parent on one (or both) sides can spell disaster for the couple.

The film shines light on Lebanese-Syrian relations through the mirror of baseless prejudices held by individuals. For the learner of Arabic, the snappy dialogue and fast exchanges between two similar yet distinct varieties of Arabic are a goldmine of authentic experience.

If you’re interested in watching Arabic comedy movies, we highly recommend this one.


5. West Beirut (بيروت الغربية‎ Bayrut Algharbiat ) — Lebanese Arabic, 1998

When a civil war happens in your country, it may not seem real at first. Especially if you’re just beginning to enter the adult world.

That’s how Tarek (Rami Doueiri) and Omar (Mohamed Chamas) find themselves feeling in the year 1975 when Beirut erupts into war. No school! No rules! But it’s not a vacation that ends in September.

It’s a new and uncertain era for them and everyone they know. The film is about how young people can discover for themselves what’s most important in their lives when the system that held them in place for all their lives begins to crumble.

Truly breathtaking cinematography lends the scenes of conflict a gripping realism that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And, of course, the Lebanese Arabic spoken throughout is as authentic as can be, pulled straight from the memories of the director himself.


6. The Worthy ( المختارون Almukhtarun) — Many dialects, 2016

The worthy poster

For some reason, nobody ever thinks of post-apocalyptic dramas in the Middle East. And yet in a region plagued by drought, the question of who should get water as civilization crumbles becomes magnified.

Director Ali F. Mostafa expertly uses his limited budget to build an intense, gripping character drama about mysterious and smooth-talking newcomers to a small band of survivors guarding the only water source for miles around.

As the film goes on, it turns more into horror as the group starts to turn against itself, deciding who should live and who should die. In other words, who counts as “worthy.”

There are twelve main characters, and since borders have collapsed in the world of the film, they come from across the Middle East—Syria, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia. They all speak in their own dialects, which are similar enough to be understood by native speakers or advanced learners.


7. Omar (عمر Umar) — Palestinian Arabic, 2014

They say that war pits brother against brother and friend against friend.

That concept is explored against the backdrop of Israeli-Palestinian conflict—with a love triangle thrown in to boot.

When Omar (Adam Bakri) is captured by Israeli security forces, he’s made to inform against his childhood friends Tarek and Amjad. This is made all the more excruciating by the fact that he and Amjad are both deeply in love with Tarek’s sister Nadeen.

The feeling of being trapped, the feeling of being forced to choose between terrible outcomes—those are everyday feelings in zones of conflict. The film was shot on location: Omar was born in Nazareth and the film was mostly shot there. So what you see on screen is as authentic as it gets.

You may not know that many Israelis speak Palestinian Arabic natively or as a fluent second language. In this film you’ll hear bits of Hebrew, but mainly Palestinian Arabic from the principal characters.


8. Blessed Benefit (انشالله استفدت inshallah istafadet) — Jordanian Arabic, 2016

How about a comedy to lighten things up? A prison film might sound like a recipe for a dark drama full of brutality and terror, but not if the film depicts prison life as saner than life on the outside.

Ahmad (Ahmad Taher) is an unlucky contractor thrown in jail for three months for failing to deliver on a project. The people he meets inside turn out to be from all levels of Jordanian society, and they share with him their own life philosophies.

Gradually, Ahmad comes to ask himself: If all of my needs are taken care of in prison, what good is being free?

The dialogue and editing is fast-paced and quick-witted. Some jokes are international, but others might go over your head if you haven’t spent time in or around Jordan—or in a prison.


9. Far from Men — Algerian Arabic, 2015

Algerian Arabic isn’t the only language in this movie, but it’s a very important one.

Viggo Mortensen plays Daru, a schoolteacher in rural Algeria. Right at the start of the revolution against the French, he’s assigned the duty of escorting a murderer (Reda Kateb) across the desert to his trial.

Their long journey is speckled with thoughtful discussion about the nature of guilt and innocence, and over the course of the film you may not be certain what either character is headed toward.

Viggo Mortensen is a talented language learner, and for this particular role he learned to speak Algerian Arabic, which he uses along with French and Spanish in the film.

He’s the type of person to throw himself into a film role, and therefore he actually went so far as to translate all of his lines into Arabic just in case the director changed his mind about the language that should be used for a particular scene.


10. Theeb (ذيب‎ Theeb) — Bedouin Jordanian Arabic, 2014

This is a beautiful period piece set during the First World War, though that’s only a backdrop to the dramatic events that unfold in the desert between a relatively small cast of characters.

Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hweitat) is a young Bedouin boy living in a remote part of what was then the Ottoman Empire. His older brother agrees to lead a British officer across the desert, and Theeb sneaks along for the adventure.

But there’s more danger in the desert than sand and sun. Tribes of bandits lurk in the (stunningly beautiful) canyons, and before long, Theeb and his brother Hussein are living off their wits alone.

The film was purposefully made in the local Bedouin dialect of a particular part of Jordan. In fact, the filmmakers were so dedicated to authenticity that they were forced to write all the women out of the story—local women weren’t willing to act, and professional actresses wouldn’t know the dialect.


11. Dubbed Disney Films — Egyptian Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Movie

The Walt Disney Company has released films drawing inspiration from all over the world. In the interest of sharing the stories as widely as possible (and making money), Disney films have traditionally been dubbed into many languages for international release.

The Disney films of the 1990s were dubbed into Egyptian Arabic. By that time, Egyptian Arabic was already well-established as a widely-understood dialect all around the Arab world. It was amazing to hear Disney characters speak authentic and hilarious slang with voices of some of the best-known Egyptian actors and comedians.

In the early 2010s, however, Disney made the decision to dub films in Modern Standard Arabic for the Arabic market. Some people supported this, but the reaction on social media—in Egypt particularly—was overwhelmingly negative. No matter how hard the translators and voice actors worked to breathe life into the characters, the fact remained that it just felt strange to hear people quipping and joking in Modern Standard Arabic when nobody did that in real life.

They even went so far as to re-release their classic films in Modern Standard Arabic. That is, until the social media pressure and the poor box office performance of some Modern Standard Arabic films finally worked. In 2017, the company began to reverse their decision, and now Egyptian Arabic is back to being the dubbing dialect of choice.

Donald Duck with Thumb Up


12. Conclusion

Taking on a language like Arabic, spoken in so many countries by people from so many backgrounds, can seem like an insurmountable challenge. It may be a good idea to watch Arabic movies with English subtitles if you’re a beginner.

But the way people grow up in those countries is shaped by movies as well. Film is an indispensable part of anyone’s cultural consciousness these days. By seeing how stories play out through the lens of other cultures, you can start to see what they think of as “normal,” “strange,” or “right and wrong.”

And that knowledge will go incredibly far toward making you competent with the language.

So if you’ve never even seen a single Arabic-language film, why not start with these? They’re the perfect start to an incredible world. We hope that ArabicPod101 helped you find just the Arabic movie you need to increase your learning power and have fun in doing so!

If you found this article helpful and want to learn even more about Arabic culture, you can check out our other insightful blog posts, study with our free vocabulary lists, and even upgrade to use our MyTeacher program and learn with your own personal Arabic teacher. We wish you all the best and some uninterrupted Arabic-language movie watching time!

We truly hope you’ll start watching Arabic movies in 2019!

Man in Deep Thought

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.

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9 Arabic TV Shows You Won’t be Able to Live Without

One of the most compelling reasons to learn another language is to be able to enjoy entertainment from around the world.

And if you’ve come this far without dipping your toes into the wellspring of Arabic television, prepare to be amazed.

Because the Arab world is enormous.

In addition to several thriving film industries, Arabic-speaking people have enjoyed television programs of every sort for generations.

From sprawling battle scenes to nail-biting game shows to thrilling political dramas, there truly is something for everyone. So let ArabicPod101.com help you find your new favorite Arab show! (And in case you’re wondering where to watch Arabic TV shows, keep in mind that YouTube and Netflix are good places to start.)

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Table of Contents

  1. Ramadan Historical Epics in Modern Standard Arabic
  2. Learn Like a Child with this Pan-Arabic Classic
  3. Watch Stories Unfold in the Language of the Streets
  4. Reality Shows: More Fun than Fiction?
  5. Bonus
  6. Conclusion

1. Ramadan Historical Epics in Modern Standard Arabic

At some point in the past, some genius marketing executive realized that the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, with its thirty days of fasting during daylight, was the perfect market for a thirty-episode evening TV special.

Some of the most popular and big-budgeted Ramadan dramas have been sweeping historical epics retelling passion, betrayal, and intrigue of medieval times.

And in keeping with the grandiose scale, quite a few of these epics have actually been produced entirely in Modern Standard Arabic!

The reaction to that has been amazing. As much as people love hearing their own dialects on screen, it can be a really otherworldly experience to be thrust back in time and hear people speak beautiful fusha (the Arabic language of long ago) as if it was their native tongue.

If you want to start watching a quality, exciting TV show in Arabic, check out these MSA epics and see what you think!

1- أوركيديا (Orkidia)

The English title gets spelled in a number of different ways—I saw it as Orchidea, Orkadea, and Orcadia while researching this article.

However you’d like to spell it, Orkidia was massively hyped in the months leading up to Ramadan in 2017. It’s about the political intrigue, passionate romance, and flashing tempers between leaders of three ancient kingdoms.

Syrian director Hatem Ali spearheaded this project, which reportedly cost five-million US dollars to shoot. Most of the shooting was done in Romania. Southern Europe here stands in for the battlefields of the war between the Kingdoms of Samara, Assyria, and Orkidia, with more than 500 extras used for some epic battle scenes.

If this happens to remind you of a certain Western TV series about thrones and games of intrigue, you’re not alone. Quite a few people have drawn parallels to Game of Thrones, only this Arabic version comes without the gratuitous nudity.

We understand, though, if you want to get a taste of this exciting Arab TV show before immersing yourself in it.

2- عُمَرْ (Omar)

Omar

Omar (or The Omar Series) could be considered one of the most ambitious Arabic TV projects ever made, and some even consider it the best Arabic TV show.

It depicts the life of Omar ibn Al-Khattab, a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad and the second caliph of the Islamic Empire.

For this, it received huge criticism from some Muslim leaders who saw it as blasphemous to have an actor play the role of Omar. However, other religious leaders approved of the depiction and felt that this new way of storytelling could be a great help for people who might not read much history anymore.

And the fans? Whether they were drawn in by the gorgeous cinematography, the rich historical detail, or the controversy itself, they loved it.

It’s one of the highest-rated Arabic miniseries ever, and that’s just perfect for you, the learner.

Why? Because like Orkidia, it’s all in beautifully spoken MSA!

And perhaps in anticipation of religious protests against the show, the producers also created two daily educational segments that explore the problems of governing an empire and the moral choices that Omar had to make in life.

2. Learn Like a Child with this Pan-Arabic Classic

1- افتح يا سمسم (Iftah Ya SimSim)

Iftah Ya SimSim

When Sesame Street first premiered in 1969, it was conceived as a perfectly American program. Little did the producers know, its characters and messages had wide-reaching international appeal.

Iftah Ya SimSim was a Kuwaiti production from the late 1970s until the Gulf War in 1990. It was beloved by millions and was massively successful in bringing literacy and basic education to the underserved population.

Sesame Street

This is in no way a translation or copycat of Sesame Street—it was developed by and for Arabs and designed to help young kids all over the Arab world grow into educated and moral adults.

Early on in its development, the decision was even made to produce the entire show in Modern Standard Arabic in order to promote cultural literacy and pan-Arab collaboration.

This was a big gamble, but it paid off. Linguistic purists worried that MSA would either confuse kids or start devolving into a slangier form of itself, but that never happened. Even the young kids invited to take part were able to speak MSA with only a handful of regional colloquialisms.

In 2015, the show was revived with the same educational and language goals, and put on YouTube for all to see. This really is a great TV show to learn Arabic with, especially for beginners due to its simple yet far-reaching nature.

3. Watch Stories Unfold in the Language of the Streets

1- Grand Hotel / Secret of the NIle

As I mentioned above, Ramadan television is so highly anticipated by viewers and networks alike that it’s known as “super-primetime.”

Secret of the Nile was the first Egyptian show on Netflix, released for Ramadan 2016, and it did really well. Really well.

It’s about a man who infiltrates the staff at the Grand Hotel to find out about his missing sister. He ends up learning quite a bit more—about romance, deception, and secrets kept by the highest levels of Egyptian society.

The stunning period cinematography was so gorgeous and the plot so thick with twists, people from all over the world who had never even considered Arabic TV fell in love. It was described as “bingeworthy” by more than one media source.

2- Shankaboot

Shankaboot

Have you ever fantasized about gliding on a Vespa through the streets of Milan?

How about being a delivery boy on a rickety scooter on the streets of Beirut? Practically the same thing, right?

This Lebanese series was actually one of the first Arabic-language web series ever created, and certainly the most well-known at the time.

It ran for five seasons with 52 total episodes of around five minutes each. But that’s plenty of time to watch Suleiman the delivery boy meet with strange and surreal slices of life around the streets of Beirut.

The producers actually purposefully cast actors with little or no experience to save on cost and get more realistic portrayals of everyday people.

They also came up with the neat idea of having fans of the series write in and suggest plot points or lines of dialogue. You can’t get that level of audience interaction anywhere else!

4. Reality Shows: More Fun than Fiction?

Fictionalized series and dramas are wonderful escapes from daily life, but they’re far from the only great genre of TV.

Reality shows can be perfect for language learners because they expose the learner to ordinary people speaking spontaneously—or at least not reading directly from a script.

Watch these Arabic TV shows for an immersive and insightful look at the language.

1- MBC Top Chef

Fifteen contestants from around the Middle East gather together for a grueling thirteen-week competition. Following the Top Chef format that has been tried and tested around the world, at the end of each week one chef is eliminated from the competition.

Every meal is judged based on flavor and presentation by three internationally renowned chefs: Chinese-Egyptian Bobby Chinn, Saudi Mona Mosly, and Lebanese Maroun Chedid.

In the first season, contestants came from pretty much every Arabic-speaking country: Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, and Oman among others.

That means you’ll get a nice mix of dialectal Arabic as well as Modern Standard Arabic in the more formal moments.

And since this is an international show based off of an American format, don’t be surprised to hear quite a bit of English as well.

During each episode, you’ll see the cooking action play out on screen, you’ll hear the contestants explain what they were doing, and you’ll hear the judges’ interpretations of the final dish.

Those are all great opportunities to learn words for food, ingredients, and how to prepare them. And since they’re repeated in different contexts, they’ll really stick in your mind way more than others.

Go ahead and see for yourself what this show is all about!

2- Minute To Win It Egypt

Minute To Win It Egypt

Have you ever idly rolled a coin between your fingers or batted a balloon around in the air?

What if millions of people were watching and a life-changing amount of money was on the line?

That’s the premise behind Minute To Win It, a reality game show where contestants try to accomplish unusual tasks with everyday objects inside of 60 seconds.

The show was created in the United States and became immediately popular worldwide, eventually being broadcast to more than fifty countries.

But why this show for language learners? Simple: the style of language used.

I’m not even talking about MSA vs Egyptian Arabic – I mean what the people are saying.

For every game, the host and the announcer both describe the task that has to be performed, and while the contestant is stacking bottles or balancing toothpicks, the commentary is describing the action.

“Watch it now, it’s about to tip over!” “Hurry now, ten seconds left!”

That’s a whole lot of repetitive, descriptive language that makes it a cinch to follow for learners. If you miss a word or phrase, you’ll probably hear it again in the replay.

In addition, that kind of vocabulary isn’t often seen in language books. But every native speaker knows how to use words like stack up, balance, fall, arrange, find… and if you want to speak Arabic well, you’ll have to learn them too.

If this kind of television seems up your alley, go ahead and check it out on YouTube.

3- Stars of Science

Unlike the two reality shows above which are direct copies of Western show formats, Stars of Science is a homegrown show from Qatar, where engineer-entrepreneurs pitch and create new inventions in front of expert judges.

It makes a lot of sense, too—reach far back into the history of the world, and it’s easy to see that the scientific tradition has its roots in Arab cultures.

More than 7,000 applicants apply for each season, from which sixteen are selected. They need to prove not only that their products—such as a remote power source for pipeline robots or a rapid-action clothes steamer—work well, but that they’ll be cost-effective and profitable for investors.

Contestants speak to each other in dialects when they can understand, and MSA when they can’t. This is a very realistic (it’s reality TV, of course) depiction of how Arabs from different language backgrounds might communicate when working together on a project.

You’ll hear people speak their dialects with added MSA words, speak pure dialect, and “modify” their dialects toward one another to achieve an understandable, if fluid, common ground.

Interested in learning more about this show, its contestants, and the inventions they present? Find out for yourself if this is the show for you.

5. Bonus

1- Jinn (Netflix Original)

Maybe you’ve seen Aladdin? Remember Robin Williams as the Genie?

Well, a Jinn is just about the polar opposite of that.

In Islam, a Jinn is a creature that dwells in a parallel spirit world and has the power to haunt, influence, and even possess people in our world.

There are some pretty spooky videos out there on YouTube that purport to show Jinns caught on camera, and Islamic religious leaders regularly issue warnings about the dangerous influence of the Jinns on modern everyday life.

The upcoming Netflix series has only just started production in Jordan, but it’s received considerable press as the American streaming company’s first Arabic-language original. Netflix has produced Arabic series before, but never from scratch as with this one.

It’s being billed as a “supernatural teenage coming-of-age drama” which is unique in itself, not least because there aren’t too many Arabic-language shows focused on teenagers.

Plot details are sketchy right now, though we do know it’ll revolve around the thrilling relationships between human teenagers, Jinns, and the guardian Jinn who’s tasked with keeping an eye on rogue Jinns.

As of October 2018, the show is being marketed as “Arabic-language” so it’s not clear how much will be in Jordanian Arabic and how much in MSA.

Nevertheless, it’ll be an amazing chance for classical Arabic storytelling to reach millions of viewers around the world with a new face.

This really is an Arabic TV series with promise and potential!

6. Conclusion

One of the best reasons to watch TV programs or series to learn a language is that you get used to the same actors talking about the same types of things across dozens of hours.

Two-hour movies are great for their production value and contained stories, but sometimes a plotline just needs ten or twenty hours to get going.

Thank goodness for TV shows, and may the Arab world never stop making excellent dramas!

We hope that you gained some valuable insight into the world of Arab shows with ArabicPod101.com. If so, please feel free to explore our site and learn even more about your target language! Here you’ll find invaluable resources for fun yet effective learning, from vocabulary lists to our MyTeacher app which offers you one-on-one guidance as you learn Arabic.

We wish you well in your language-learning journey, and several hours of enjoyment watching Arab TV shows.

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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.

Sinai Liberation Day & The Sinai Peninsula’s Significance

We’re going to talk now about an important day in Egyptian history: Sinai Liberation Day (or just Sinai Day). On this day, Egypt regained the land of Sinai and the last Israeli soldier left it after Camp David agreement. The liberation of Egypt’s Sinai put a large mark of victory on Egypt’s history.

In learning about this holiday, you’re delving into some of Egypt’s most significant history, particularly involving the Sinai Peninsula. This will give you a deeper knowledge of the country’s culture and its people. At ArabicPod101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative. So let’s get started!

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1. What is the Arabic Day of Liberation?

Sinai Liberation Day is the day when all the land of Sinai, except Taba, was liberated from Israeli occupation. This was in 1982 and we regained Taba later in 1988 during the reign of the former president Hosni Mubarak. Sinai was occupied since 1967, but the Egyptian army kept struggling by all means in order to regain it.

The land of Sinai became the symbol of peace because it was regained after a peace treaty. The land of Sinai is distinguished by its beauty, charm, and scenic nature. Sinai is also characterized by its golden sands, great sea, and high mountains. Sinai and Taba are among the most beautiful places frequented by tourists from all over the world where they enjoy many water sports.

2. When is Sinai Liberation Day?

Liberation Day in April

On 25th April, the Day of Liberation in Egypt is observed. For Egypt, Sinai Liberation Day takes place on the day it gained back the land of Sinai after the Camp David agreement.

3. How Does Egypt Celebrate Liberation Day?

Flag of Egypt

This day is a public holiday in Egypt; in other words, all government departments are closed. On Sinai Liberation Day, Egypt doesn’t usually hold elaborate festivities, but it’s still a day of immense significance for its observers.

Egypt uses this day to remember and honor those who sacrificed themselves for Sinai’s liberation. Further, they pause for a while on this holiday to think about Sinai’s lovely nature and its place in the world today. We’ll go more into this below.

4. Additional Information: About the Sinai Peninsula

Want to learn more about the land of Sinai for Egyptian Sinai Liberation Day? Read the Arabic text below for more information (and find the English translation directly below it).

تتميز منطقة سينا بالسياحه العلاجيه ,فهنلاقي كتير من السياح بييجوا من انحاء العالم بغرض الاستشفاء من امراض زي الصدفيه و ده لأنهم اكتشفوا ان مية البحر الاحمر و الشعب المرجانيه اللي فيه بتساعد على الاستشفاء من بعض الامراض الجلديه

سينا ليها اسماء كتيرة زي مثلا أرض الفيروز ودا لأن بحرها بيتمتع بلون فيروزي رائع , سينا برده بيطلق عليها ارض
الزيتون و دا لأن فيها أجود أنواع شجر الزيتون اللي بينتج ألذ انواع الزيتون و زيت الزيتون.

ارض سينا تمتلك موقع استراتيجي ودا لأنها حلقة الوصل بين قارة اسيا وقارة افريقيا ….بين مصر و الشام .. بين المشرق العربي و المغرب العربي

Sinai region is famous for medical tourism. Tourists the world over come to visit it seeking treatment from diseases such as psoriasis because it was discovered that the water and coral reefs of the Red Sea help in treating some skin diseases.

Sinai has many names. It is called the land of turquoise because of the magnificent turquoise color of its sea. Sinai is also called the land of olives because it contains the best quality of olive trees which produce the most delicious olives and olive oil.

The land of Sinai has a strategic location because it is a liaison between the continents of Asia and Africa…between Egypt and the Levant…between the Arab Mashreq and the Arab Maghreb.

5. Must-know Vocab

Birds-Eye View of Land

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Day of Liberation in Israel!

  • أبريل (ʾibrīl) — April
  • أرض (ʾarḍ) — land
  • إسرائيل (ʾisrāʾīl) — Israel
  • البحر الأَحمر (al-baḥr al-ʾaḥmar) — Red Sea
  • عيد تحرير سيناء (ʿīd taḥrīr sīnāʾ) — Day of Liberation
  • الخامس و العشرين (al-ḫāmis wa al-ʿišrīn) — twenty-fifth
  • شبه جزيرة سيناء (šebh ǧazīrat sīnāʾ) — Sinai Peninsula
  • قوات (quwwāt) — troop
  • معاهدة (muʿāhadah) — treaty
  • إنسحاب (ʾinsiḥāb) — withdrawal
  • تحرير (taḥrīr) — liberation

To hear each word pronounced, check out our Day of Liberation vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about Sinai’s Day of Liberation with us! Is there a similar holiday in your own country? How do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments!

For more information on Egyptian culture and the Arabic language, visit us at ArabicPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow students. By creating a Premium Plus account, you can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program and learn Arabic with your own personal teacher!

Learning a language can be a difficult journey, but know that all of your hard work and determination will pay off! Soon you’ll be speaking Arabic like a native, and ArabicPod101.com will be here every step of your journey there with effective lesson materials and tons of support!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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    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.

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    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?

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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