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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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How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like Arabic. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn Arabic in just a few short months! ArabicPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master Arabic or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways ArabicPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

ArabicPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master Arabic in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by ArabicPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, ArabicPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of Arabic.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of Arabic. So every single day, ArabicPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering Arabic? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn Arabic during your daily commute. At ArabicPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, ArabicPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, ArabicPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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Saying Hello in Arabic: What You Need to Know

How to Say Hello in Arabic
What word passes between native speakers a dozen times a day without a second thought, but leaves a learner tongue-tied, terrified of making a faux pas?
It’s “hello”—but it’s also all the cultural knowledge that comes with it. Saying hello in Modern Standard Arabic is no picnic if you don’t know the cultural context! Keep reading if you’ve ever wondered “How do Arabs say hello?”

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Every Arabic phrasebook or guidebook has an entry for “hello,” but I’ll bet that they didn’t tell you how to use it. No matter how good your grammar is, slapping Arabic words into English cultural contexts will leave anybody confused.

Fortunately, you’ve got this guide to keep you on the right path. Arabs are legendary for their hospitality, and putting a little bit of work into the language will turn whatever goodwill they have for you up to eleven.

Plus, it’s just plain respectful to learn about other people’s cultures.

So with these advantages firmly in mind, let’s take a look right now at the beautiful and varied ways of using Standard Arabic to say hello.

1. Peace Be Upon You

  • السلام عليكم (as-salām ʿalaykum) — “Peace be upon you!”

This greeting gets its own special section right at the top. It’s used literally all over the world by Muslims of every country as a respectful greeting. If you’re not Muslim, don’t worry about offending anybody by using it—on the contrary, they’ll take it very well. This may just be the best way to say hello in Arabic.

What’s going on grammatically here? You may be spooked by the idea that “hello” is six syllables long. It turns out it’s pretty simple!

السلام (salām) means “peace” and عليكم is “upon you”—a combination of the preposition على (ʿala) meaning “on” and ـكم (kum), the suffix meaning “you (plural).”

If someone says this to you (or an audience you’re in) there is exactly one possible response:

  • وعليكم السلام (wa ʿalaykum as-salām) — “And peace be upon you.”

Same idea, same meaning, slightly different structure to shake things up.
This time, we’re going to add a cute little و (wa) to the front here, adding the meaning “and” to the base structure.

2. Hi! Hey! Hello!

Hello

As you’re no doubt aware, Modern Standard Arabic isn’t really used casually among people in their day-to-day life—so there aren’t a zillion slangy ways of greeting as there are in other languages.

But that doesn’t mean you’re limited to excessively formal ways to say hello. Take a look at these phrases in the Arabic language of how to say hello:

  • مرحبا (marḥaban) — “Hello”
  • أهلا – (ʿahlan) — “Hi”
  • أهلا وسهلا (ʿahlan wa-sahlan) — “Welcome / How do you do?”

These three are less official-sounding than “Peace be upon you.”
Fun fact: ahlan wa-sahlan literally means “Family and easy circumstances.” It’s a shortened version of an old Classical Arabic welcoming expression and has survived until today as a set phrase—much like “how do you do” doesn’t really sound like a greeting when you deconstruct it.

Arabic Greetings

3. As the Day Goes On

Arabic has time-oriented greetings just like many other languages. When learning how to say hello in Arabic, phrases like the ones below will definitely come in handy.
If it’s before noon, you’ll want to greet people with:

  • صباح الخير (ṣabāḥ ul-ḫayr) — Good morning!

To which you will very often hear the response:

  • صباح النور (ṣabāḥ an-nūr) — Good morning!

The key words here are:

  • صباح (sabaah) — morning
  • خير (ḫayr) — good
  • نور (nūr) — light

So in a way you’re saying “A good morning!” and hearing “A light morning!” And I think that’s beautiful.

MSA, and thus Arabic culture, doesn’t really have a word for “good afternoon.” In fact in some phrasebooks you’ll see an entry for “good afternoon,” but in fact it’s the same as “good evening.”

Any time after noon, you’ll use this phrase:

  • مساء الخير (masāʾ ul-ḫayr) — Good evening!

The structure is the same as the phrase for “good morning,” just as the pattern goes in English.
In fact, the structure for the response is, too:

  • مساء النور (masāʾ un-nūr) — Good morning!

Perhaps you’ve already guessed the new word here:

  • مساء (masā) — evening

If these new words are making you feel in over your head, don’t worry. You can actually skip the un-nūr bit and just reply masāʾ ul-ḫayr or ṣabāḥ ul-ḫayr directly.

These two phrases are a perfect level of formality for the workplace. If you work with Arabic speakers, greet them in the morning or afternoon in Arabic and watch the smiles appear all around.

4. And How are You?

Now that you’ve learned some common ways to say hello in Arabic, we can focus on how to develop a short conversation.

  • كيف الحال؟ (kayfal-ḥāl?) — How is everything?

In English we’d say “How are things?” but you’ll note in a moment that the word al-haal is singular, not plural in Arabic.

In fact, you can make it slightly more personal and add the -uk suffix (when speaking to a man) or the -ik suffix (when speaking to a woman): kayfa ḥāluki?

Responses here can vary a lot.

One option is very familiar for English speakers:

  • بخير، شكرا (biḫayr, šukran) — Fine, thanks

These words translate literally, so I won’t put them down below in the vocab section. Culturally, it’s not as strange to actually reply with “how are you doing,” when you speak Arabic.
Let’s say you actually don’t have a lot of time to chat, or you’ve got a lot of things on your mind. You could say:

  • مشغول (mašġūl) — Busy

Remember that this is the masculine form. A woman would say مشغولة (mašġūla) instead, with the same meaning.

Let’s have a look again at that question. The more we break down these everyday greetings, the clearer it becomes that Arabic really isn’t too difficult at all.

  • كيف (kayfa) — How
  • حال (ḥāl) — Situation; circumstance

The polite response to “how are you” in many cultures is something like “And yourself?”
So we can add this in Arabic too. To a man, you’d say:

  • و أنت؟ (wa anta?) — And you? [masculine]

The question as posed to a woman is written identically, but pronounced:

  • و أنت؟ (wa anti?) — And you? [feminine]

And it can’t hurt to keep saying شكرا (šukran), meaning “thank you,” after you offer your answer.

Also keep in mind that you’ll very likely hear this phrase in the context of saying good things:

  • الحمد لله (al-ḥamdu lillah) — Praise be to God!

Culturally, this is used much more commonly than “thank God” is in the West. Any time you mention something good that happened to you or someone you know, it’s perfectly fine to say this phrase.

5. Phone’s for You

Holding A Phone

It’s an interesting fact of our modern interconnected world that the English word “hello” is so widely known and understood.

Even though it’s a little too formal for people in everyday life to actually say “hello” to one another, it’s the standard and automatic greeting we use whenever we pick up the phone.

And in Standard Arabic, it turns out it’s the same!

  • آلو (‘alo) — Hello?

In other Arabic dialects, locals may have their own way of answering the phone. Nevertheless, ‘aaloo is both so common and so simple for English speakers, that you’re not likely to forget it.

6. Small Talk is No Big Deal

Suppose you’re in a situation where there’s nothing to do but fill an awkward silence.

One of the best small talk topics is to ask about someone’s family.

But don’t say anything that might come off as too forward. That means no direct questions about a man’s wife, especially asking her name or age.

He might get the wrong impression and resent you for asking.

So it’s better to literally inquire politely about his “family” instead.

  • كيف حال عائلتك ؟ (kayfa ḥalu ʿāʾilatuk?) — How is your family?

Now, he’s almost definitely going to tell you about his wife, but that’s no problem. Just as long as you weren’t the first to bring her up.

Another great and safe topic is the weather.

  • الجو جميل اليوم (al-ǧawwu ǧamīl al-yawm) — The weather’s nice today.
  • هل تظن أنها ستمطر؟ (hal taẓunnu ʾannahā satumṭir?) — Do you think it will rain?

Don’t complain too much, but once you’re on a bit of an even social footing you can shake your head in exasperation and say:

  • الجو حار (al-ǧawwu ḥār) — It’s hot!

Have a look—you can still see the word جو (ǧaw), meaning “weather,” in that last sentence. In English, we can say “It’s hot,” but in Arabic we have to say “the weather is hot.”

7. You’ve Mastered the Language — Now What Else?

It’s still pretty rare for foreigners to know or even attempt any Arabic when visiting an Arab country.

More than likely, you’ll receive smiles and praise for saying hello or anything else in Arabic.

But what comes with that hello? Etiquette, culture, and tradition.

Don’t be frightened. You’ve got a lot of leeway as a visitor or foreigner, so don’t feel under a ton of pressure to perform exactly as a local. (Though it’s always good to make an effort to sound polite.)
For example, in many Arab countries people do an “air-kiss” on the cheeks to say hello.

The procedure and number of kisses varies from country to country, so there’s no one-size-fits-all guide out there.

In fact, it’s a source of lighthearted frustration for Arabs themselves at times!
Three basic tips, though:

  • Look before you kiss: Going in blind is a recipe for disaster
  • Go for the right side first: Most of the time, the other person will too
  • Don’t actually touch the cheek: It’s just an air kiss, not a peck

These ought to get you far enough to pick up the rest when it’s time.

In general, when men meet women in a formal setting for the first time, they should avoid initiating an air-kiss or any other gesture of friendly intimacy like a handshake or hug. Hang back and watch what others do, or simply give a verbal greeting first.

It’s okay to ask your hosts discreetly (and politely!) “Hey, do I have to kiss these people?” Remember, you’re not expected to know everything about how to behave.

It turns out, though, that often the answer is yes. It’s not uncommon for groups of upwards of twenty to spend several minutes just on the kissing!

8. Come Bearing Gifts

Giving Gift

Gift-giving is a much more important part of Arabic culture than it is in the West.

It’s actually linked quite closely with greetings, and so the same general principles apply. Don’t be too forward and don’t offer gifts that are too personal.

For instance, it’s probably best to avoid fragrances or clothing unless you know the person well.

Food is a fantastic choice. Everyone appreciates a gift of dates or nuts. They can be stored or eaten right away—in fact, you may get to share as well!

Always give the gift with your right hand or both hands at once. The left hand is usually considered unclean in traditional Arab cultures.

9. Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

No guide on saying hello would be complete without tips on saying goodbye.

Culturally, saying goodbye in Arabic takes a lot longer than its equivalent in the West. It’s considered quite rude in the Arab world to leave abruptly without paying respect to those whom you were visiting.

Just like saying “Hello” on the phone, the English word “Bye” has crept into everyday Arabic too. Here’s how it’s written out:

  • باي (bāi) — Bye

The most polite and formal phrase is:

  • مَع السَلامة (maʿ al-salāmah) — With (the) peace

If this is said to you, you can repeat the same thing. “With peace!” “With peace!”

Another excellent option is to use this slightly less formal phrase:

  • إلى اللِقاء (ʾilā al-liqāʾ) — Until we meet again!

This literally means, “To the encounter,” which happens to translate perfectly to the French au revoir.

Conclusion

Who would have thought that the language used in a quick chat would have so many intricate facets?

If it seems like this is part of some “mysterious Arab culture” then think again. I could write a guide twice as long in Arabic about the particulars of saying hello in American or British culture.

No culture or language is inherently more complex than another. It’s all based on what you’re used to.

So now that you have a solid grounding in what’s involved in Arabic greetings, why not explore even more about the language and culture on ArabicPod101.com? We have all the resources you need to become a pro in the language, from vocabulary lists on a range of topics, to our MyTeacher app which offers one-on-one guidance as you learn Arabic.

We wish you the best on your Arabic-learning journey!

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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Customer Service in UAE: How to Handle Your UAE Customer

Customer Service in UAE

The UAE is not a big place.

Its geographical area fits neatly between Austria and Ireland on a list of countries.

And yet, it has some staggering numbers attached to it. One of the most interesting is that expats vastly outnumber locals—in some places, by a factor of nine to one.

That means that any customer-facing business venture in the UAE has to take into account not just the local culture, but a mix of cultures from all around the world.

As someone in charge of that customer service, you’ll be faced with an unenviable task.

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How is it that some businesses thrive in such an environment, while others fade away into the dust?

It’s simple, really, and it’s a lesson that can be applied to all aspects of expat life:

The flexible survive. The stubborn fail.

In today’s article, you’ll learn how you can best apply that flexibility to your advantage—in other words, how you can master customer service culture in the UAE.

First, you’ve got to learn about the people. Who is your consumer?

Expat Environment

1. Understanding the Expat Environment

It can be incredibly difficult to comprehend the kind of growth and population explosion that the UAE has seen in the last twenty years.

If you go back to your hometown after being away for five years, it’s likely to look about the same.

But just try and imagine that every single year for the last twenty years, your hometown has boomed in popularity. People have started moving in from every corner of the globe.

The familiar streets and familiar environment have all changed before your eyes, as businesses opened and closed, new houses and apartments went up, and whole new roads were built where before there was just empty space.

In 2005, the ratio of expats to locals in the UAE was already more than 3 to 1.

By 2015, the local population stayed almost the same—but the expat population nearly tripled.

According to the latest statistics, native-born Emiratis make up just 20% of the national population. They mainly live in rural areas, while the proportion of expats in the largest cities can reach almost 90 percent.

Who are these expats and what do they want?

Well, if you’re reading this article, you might be one of them. And what about the others?

Virtually every nationality has some expats living in the UAE.

The largest population group is from India, making up 25% of the expat population, and that group is closely followed by Pakistanis with 12%. Sri Lankans and Afghans together number more than 800,000.

People from countries across the Arab world such as Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq form another sizeable expat group with more than a million people coming from these countries alone.

Another six hundred thousand are from just two countries in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia and the Philippines. As Muslim-majority countries, these countries have close ties to the Middle East.

Comparatively few expats are from East Asia, African countries, Europe, or the Americas. The notable exceptions are China, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, which together contribute roughly five hundred thousand expats to the UAE. Let’s not forget—this number is roughly half of the entire native Emirati population!

Now, why are so many people attracted to living in the UAE?

Very broadly speaking, expats from South and Southeast Asia tend to work in construction, transport, or as domestic helpers. That said, it’s important to remember that some of the largest and most successful national brands in the UAE were founded by Indian entrepreneurs.

That includes supermarket chains, pharmacies, cosmetics, and even healthcare. Indian expats in the UAE enjoy a strong and well-established social network with roots stretching back centuries.

In contrast, although the population of expats from East Asia and countries in Europe and North America is relatively low, it may appear disproportionately high in the business world as most of these expats have high positions in international companies.

Virtually all of the Koreans, for instance, as well as the English-speaking South Africans, have positions in companies registered to their country of origin.

Lastly, finding the culture and language barrier far lower than in other places, many Arabs from neighboring countries choose to study abroad at the well-known universities in the UAE. It may come as no surprise, then, that a majority of them major in business.

2. Understanding the Locals

Something that might strike you about these demographic figures is that the native Emiratis seem like they have no sector left to dominate.

The fact is, most locals aspire to jobs in the government or military, as these are seen as much more respectable than the private sector. Some attitudes are changing, particularly with regard to the food and beverage industry as more local Emiratis want to present an authentic view of their home cuisine to the world.

Now, if you want to sell products in the UAE, you need to understand their culture.

Religion

Religion

One of the first things when looking at an Arab consumer market is religion.

It’s no secret that the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country. Islam is the state religion, and almost all Emirati citizens follow it—let alone the vast numbers of expats from Muslim countries worldwide.

What does that mean for local consumer culture in particular?

You’ve almost certainly heard before how Muslims avoid certain products because of religious restrictions. You’re not going to make much progress with the locals if you advertise pulled pork and beer on tap.

Less well-known, though, is what Muslims do tend to buy.

Ramadan

What Ramadan Can Mean for Business

A study came out recently showing that in London—a city with a sizeable Muslim minority—most Muslims feel that the holy month of Ramadan is largely ignored by retailers.

Anybody who’s spent time in a Muslim-majority country during Ramadan knows that the streets light up with activity as soon as the sun sets. People can’t wait to treat each other to meals and buy each other gifts.

Cafés, too, become vibrant hubs of conversation late into the night. Some café owners report as much as a one-hundred percent increase in activity during the month of Ramadan—which, keep in mind, prohibits eating and drinking throughout the day!

And all through the year, Muslims are becoming more and more interested in consumer trends such as halal travel packages and modest fashion.

Being informed about and taking advantage of these consumer demands is key to creating a powerful brand that people can rely on.

Trust and Relationship

Culture of Trust and Relationship

Nobody can comment on Arab culture without mentioning how incredibly open, sociable, and hospitable it is.

Governments have even built tourism brands on the strength of Arab hospitality.

Part of that openness means that Arab consumers want trust at all levels.

Sometimes consumers can be apathetic about their purchasing habits at times and shop on impulse. Those traits aren’t absent from Arab cultures, but in general they’re a lot more rare.

Therefore, your UAE customer is likely going to take the advice of people they trust before they make major purchasing decisions.

That might take the form of a family discussion, a chat with a close friend, or a quick group text.

They’ll also want to know a lot about the product or service itself. If you’re in the auto business, for instance, you’re going to have to be prepared for your Arab consumers to ask a lot of questions about the particulars of the car and the financing.

Once you build up that trust, that personal relationship, you’re likely to keep that customer for a long, long time. They’ll recommend you to their own social networks as well—all because you took the time to listen to what they wanted.

Solving Customer Problems

3. Solving Customer Problems on a Global Scale

No matter where you are, your customer is expecting good service.

But what does that mean, exactly? It means that when the customer has any interaction at all with your business, what they expect is strongly related to their culture.

And not only their home culture; if they’re the international sort, they’ve built up an idea of what to expect outside of their home country, as well.

Let’s look at two industries—retail and hospitality—that live and die on customer experience.

Retail

Retail and Hospitality: Arab Culture

Arabs are used to a wide variety of choices when it comes to retail. Even in traditional bazaars, you can see the same types of goods on display from many different people.

For that reason, Arab consumers tend to be less loyal to one particular store if they can get similar goods in other places.

And because of a combination of the punishing desert heat and the Arab penchant for hospitality, the retail spaces themselves have to be welcoming.

The big cities of the UAE are famous for enormous and richly decorated malls already. Inside, you’ll find large open spaces for relaxation and socialization.

Customers from Arab countries are going to expect service that helps them out while they’re browsing and makes them feel welcome to stay as long as they’d like in the store.

Retail and Hospitality: Shoppers from Abroad

International customers from Europe and North America, by contrast, don’t quite have the same needs.

First of all, in some countries, particularly the United States, consumers are becoming more disappointed by retail all the time. It’s common to hear about American malls closing or selling off space.

To appeal to these shoppers, the retail space has to offer something that can’t be found online. Part of that is the welcoming, attractive venue, but another part is the service.

Such shoppers also expect that the service staff at any retail location will be open, friendly, and knowledgeable without being pushy. Attempts to make a sale by promoting another product with anything more than a slight suggestion come off as aggressive.

At the same time, these customers expect that any questions they have about products or promotions can be answered immediately—either by a clerk or a manager.

Now, when it comes to vacations, a lot of tourists love the idea of being in an unknown part of the world.

Even if the place they’re visiting is clearly a developed cosmopolitan city, they’ll be more likely to spend money on things they judge to be “authentic.”

They’ll love it if the hotel staff recommends a “local restaurant” for them to try, and they likely expect to be able to explore the area at their own speed.

Retail and Hospitality: East Asian Culture

Tourists from East Asia, however, tend to enjoy a more curated travel experience. They’re more likely to take package travel deals, and many who don’t speak any foreign languages are happy to remain with a tour group for their entire stay.

What This Means

And back to well-traveled expats—what they’re looking for is something that ticks the boxes of their home culture and fits with the surrounding environment. That means if you can find a way to present a pleasing “slice of home” that’s already integrated to the local environment, you’ve got it made.

Negative customer experiences happen when the customer is expecting a certain level of service and in reality, it just doesn’t live up to what they wanted.

People are different, and everybody makes mistakes. So this happens all around the world—and when it does, how are you going to react?

Language Is Key

4. Language is Key

If you’re not already one, imagine yourself for a moment in the role of an expat manager in the UAE.

Your company has brought you to a new country to make sure that things run smoothly and in line with the owners’ vision.

If there’s some miscommunication or lack of cohesion between the upper management, your workers, and your customers, you might be asked to lead a training session to help solve these problems.

Don’t do it in English.

If you really want to reach the people you’re working with and really understand what’s going on, you’ve got to let them communicate with you in their own language.

When your company is experiencing problems because of cultural miscommunications—and this is almost guaranteed to happen to every company with operations abroad—language and cultural competence is everything.

Whether you’re doing market research, employee training, or simple everyday customer service, knowledge of more languages will help every step of the way.

Even in highly multilingual environments such as the UAE, people still feel more comfortable speaking about complicated or personal matters in their mother tongue.

That could be one of the many varieties of Arabic such as Gulf Arabic, Levantine Arabic, or even Egyptian Arabic. By the way, you won’t find anybody who’d prefer to talk to you in the literary register of Modern Standard Arabic.

It could also mean one of the other widely-spoken languages of the UAE such as Hindi, French, or Tagalog. Remember, the service industry is overwhelmingly comprised of expats, and not just from Arab countries.

Seriously—people on every level of your organization will warm up to you more if you make an effort to speak and understand their native language. If someone has a problem with another worker or even management, they’ll hesitate to cross language and cultural barriers to communicate it.

That knowledge paints you as a savvy, experienced leader who has the brains and the dedication to really listen to what other people say.

And if you don’t personally have this language and cultural competence, find someone who does.

Multilingual facilitators and intercultural communications coaches can help resolve conflicts faster than you ever thought possible.

Open Eyes

5. Open Eyes, Open Ears

Here’s a tip that comes from marketing, but is equally applicable to any consumer-facing part of a business. In fact, it’s applicable to every part of life in general!

And the advice is this: You’ve got to listen to the people around you and be ready to adjust to what they say.

In marketing, this is obvious. Market research is a multimillion-dollar industry focused on just that.

But when was the last time a manager listened to their employees and their customers with equal attention?

Everyone’s got a story about a manager who barely lifted a finger to hear what the employees had to say.

They should know that that inaction is hurting everyone—because the consumer-facing employees often develop an intuitive sense for how to handle different types of customers. It’s a terrible mistake for someone removed from all of the local cultures to be setting the rules for employee-customer interactions.

People who have worked customer service for years on end can usually tell what someone’s complaint is without thinking.

That information is just as valuable to the company as a million-dollar consumer trend study. Making use of it is not only going to have a good impact on your company’s internal affairs, but it’s also going to increase customer satisfaction if you don’t force your employees to adhere to your own notions of customer service.

How can you apply this to your business in the UAE, and to the challenges of a diverse expat consumer group?

Understand that your employees may come from a culture that is similar to that of many of their customers. That gives them an inherent advantage in making those customers happy.

They should know how to quickly and easily handle customer interactions with polite, attentive professionalism—and as a part of that, they should be flexible about what they consider polite or rude behavior from customers. That’s where your cultural training sessions come into play.

If your employees can pass on customer wants and needs to the upper management and take direction from both sides, the company will understand the customers better and everyone will have a better experience.

In other words: If you can manage to instill a habit of cultural sensitivity and flexibility in your business from the top down, you’re guaranteed to do well with customers from the UAE, the Arab world, and beyond.

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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Arab Table Manners: Business Lunch Etiquette in Arabic Countries

Arab Table Manners

Do you remember your first time being invited to a meal in another country?

I was petrified.

I had all these conflicting thoughts and fragments of advice running through my head:

Leave food on your plate. Eat it all. Sit up straight. Lean back in your chair. Eat quietly. Burp as loud as you can.

It’s a challenge to know what other people might be expecting of you at mealtimes. Every culture has different norms about eating.

We’re sure you’ve read some pretty crazy things about food culture in guidebooks (or even heard about it second- or third-hand). Some information may have you asking, “They do WHAT at the table!?”

Who wouldn’t be afraid of something going wrong?

But it’s a challenge you’ve got to take head-on if you want to succeed at business in the Arab world.

And if you do it right, you’ll not only get to enjoy delicious Middle Eastern cuisine—you’ll also build strong relationships that will last your whole life.

The Importance Of Dining

1. The Importance of Dining

In Arab culture, a personal relationship is crucial to doing good business.

It’s more than that, actually—a personal relationship is the foundation for success both financially and socially.

If you know someone who knows someone, you can get your task done. If you don’t, then you are at a stunning disadvantage compared to those who are friends with others in high places.

For a foreign businessperson, this is an additional challenge. You’re probably going to be arriving in the country with very few connections outside of your company.

But don’t give up yet. The Middle Eastern love of socializing and personal connections means that you can ease your way into this world through everyone’s common language: food.

Inviting others out to coffee or on a business lunch is a key first step in building connections with coworkers or clients.

Getting yourself invited to the same is even better—it means that you have a chance to blow your host’s expectations out of the water.

And because this personal relationship (and any negotiations that follow) will take a long time to build, expect to have several meetings over lunch or dinner with the same client.

Don’t be hasty. You’re forming a valuable—and delicious—connection!

Remember, dining etiquette isn’t one big test.

It’s a series of smaller challenges that all add up; things such as how to hold your fork and how to accept food that someone offers you. If you can handle these with grace, your hosts will subconsciously begin to treat you like a local.

And so the pressure isn’t always one-hundred percent, all the time. As a foreign expat, you’ll always be given a little bit of leeway. Besides, your hosts want to impress you and make you feel at home as well.

So let’s get down to it. What are these business lunches going to look like?

Cuisines

2. Typical Cuisines Around the Arabic Gulf

Before you head off to the Gulf countries, you should have a general idea of the type of food to expect.

In general, Arab cuisine is heavily influenced by Persian and Indian cuisine. If you’re familiar with Indian foods such as naan and biryani, the heavily spiced rice-based dishes won’t be too foreign to you.

Hearing this, you may expect rich, flavorful, and even spicy sauces to accompany shredded lamb or chicken. Those do exist, but speaking broadly, Gulf cuisine tends to avoid thick sauces in favor of dry seasonings.

Anybody familiar with Greek or Turkish cuisine won’t have to look far to recognize the familiar pita bread and hummus, or even the shawarma or kebab.

But unlike Greek cuisine, there won’t be quite as much cheese or oil to accompany your vegetable salads. Don’t worry, though—the hummus is amazing.

Arabs take their lunches seriously! It’s not uncommon for restaurants to be busiest from noon to three o’clock in the afternoon as locals and expats alike go out to eat their fill.

A typical lunch in Saudi Arabia, for instance, takes the form of a light tomato soup, grilled chicken and rice, and a salad. It’s accompanied by a choice of sodas, or if the restaurant has it, fresh juices.

You might be surprised that portions are enough for two or three people in some places. This is because food is often served family-style instead of portion-by-portion.

To give another example, in Abu Dhabi you’ll find fish or chicken cooked in a clay oven, adorned with coriander, bay leaves, and cinnamon.

And no snack assortment would be complete without fresh dates, nuts, and thick unsweetened yogurt. If you’ve only ever had old, dried-out dates before, you’re in for a treat!

Of course, there are plenty of fusion cuisines, Western restaurants, and fast-food joints to satisfy cravings from around the world.

Indian food in particular is growing faster and faster in popularity as more and more Indian expats begin to call the Arabian Gulf their new home.

No matter where your business lunch takes you, we still need to dive into the question of etiquette. How should you behave?

Table Manner

3. Table Manners

In this section, I’ll mention a couple of things to keep in mind that are purely related to table manners.

In other words, this is about avoiding what might come off as rude behavior while you’re actually sitting down and eating. Later on, we’ll look at some of the cultural aspects of business meals in the Arab world.

Now, depending on what you’re eating, the first big shock might be that you’re expected to eat with your hands.

Foreigners sometimes associate eating with your hands with pizza or other party foods.

In the Middle East, though, the formality range is a little bit wider. It’s not too rare to see people leaving the knife and fork on the table, particularly if there’s a lot of bread and sauce involved.

When you do end up using the utensils, take a look at what everyone else is doing and follow their lead. Some restaurants follow the Continental standard (fork in the left hand) and some follow the American tradition (fork in dominant hand, left or right).

The reason the American standard is adopted is because of the Muslim tradition of avoiding the left hand. Generally, in Muslim and Arab cultures, the left hand is associated with bathing and cleaning after using the bathroom.

Whether or not that’s true for you, it’s part of the cultural context and often people can’t help but make that association. That means you should always avoid offering food to someone with your left hand, and that’s why you may end up putting your fork in your right hand at dinnertime.

Unlike in some places around the world, Arab culture tends to follow European and American norms about actually eating the food.

Stick to the basics: don’t talk with your mouth full, don’t gorge yourself, and don’t make too much noise as you eat.

Soups are a big part of Arab cuisine, and when you’re enjoying your soup you should sip from the side of the spoon instead of slurping from the middle. Also, try not to scrape your spoon or fork against the side of your dish.

When you sit down, fold your napkin and keep it on your lap—don’t crumple it up on the table or tuck it into your collar.

Sit up straight and don’t jiggle your legs at the table. But at the same time, relax a little bit and don’t be too stuffy.

Just like your left hand, the soles of your feet are considered unclean or even offensive by some more-conservative people. If you’re the type to stretch out and relax or cross your legs at the table, make sure the soles of your shoes aren’t pointed toward anyone else.

Some of these meals can last quite a long time, but avoid resting your elbows on the table.

And, even though you might see people getting away with it in an office meeting, don’t check your phone or answer any calls during lunch. In fact, keep that phone off the table the whole time. The table should be for food and food alone.

If you must cough or sneeze, turn away from the table and use your elbow. And if there’s some food you can’t quite swallow, try to discreetly remove it with your napkin. Better yet, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.

Business Lunch Manner

4. Business Lunch Manners

Before you head out the door to your meeting, take another look in the mirror.

You want to be dressed as best you can.

In the Arab world, there are high standards for formal dress when out and about—which means that you should really make a habit of looking well-groomed at all times.

Women should wear formal business wear that doesn’t expose much shoulder or neckline. If invited to a formal dinner party, ask around to see what the dress code of the venue is, and keep in mind the more conservative mindset of the local culture.

Men should also aim for the formal wear standard—you should end up with quite the collection of jackets and ties.

If the mere thought of putting on stockings or a sport coat in the fiery desert sun makes you start to sweat, don’t worry.

It’s surprisingly easy to find formal clothing designed for a hot and dry climate. It’ll be made of lighter materials, and the cut won’t constrict your movement. Look around for what’s known as “hot-weather formal wear” and find clothing made of silks, linens, and cottons.

And don’t forget: air conditioning is ubiquitous! You’ll be able to find several escapes from the heat just by attending that next meal!

The question of whether to arrive on time or fashionably late is a major sticking point in worldwide dining etiquette.

In the Middle East, just as in other regions, it tends to vary by personal preference. The fact that you’re an expat raises further considerations. Often, locals will want to accommodate you just as much as you want to accommodate them.

All this to say that you should be prepared to make some small errors in this aspect eventually. Aim to be on time, but don’t be surprised if you end up waiting a while. If you get used to arriving late, you might make the wrong impression on someone who prefers to be more punctual. Err on the side of caution!

When the others arrive, you’re going to want to make some introductions if everybody isn’t already well-acquainted.

It’s extremely important to pay attention to and respect others’ social status here. You should always try and remember people’s names and faces, but it’s even more important when you arrive in the Middle East.

It’s seen as very offensive if you forget someone’s name or call them by the wrong title.

One way to remember is to try and fix the first letter or syllable in your mind. This is easier to remember than the full Arabic name, and the extra effort involved in breaking it into parts will help you recall the full name later on.

If you do happen to forget a name—we’re all human, after all—you can ask one of your colleagues or coworkers later. Or just check the business card. Business cards and their exchange are treated with great honor in Arab countries.

Your own should be printed in English on one side and Arabic on the back, and even if you don’t understand the Arabic language you should present the Arabic side first for others to see.

After everyone’s gotten to know each other, it’s time to order and eat.

Dinning In

5. Digging In

This is another aspect of dining where you’re going to have to be prepared for multiple situations and be ready to adapt seamlessly.

Some hosts will prefer to order for everyone at the table, and others will leave everyone up to their own devices. At a lunch meeting, it’s more likely that you’ll just order for yourself or even take advantage of the set business lunch special.

Try not to order anything messy or complicated like spaghetti. Nobody wants to watch someone chasing pasta around his plate while trying to close a business deal.

If you’re already used to ordering for others, then you’ve probably already gotten comfortable with the norms of business meals in Arab culture.

That means you’ll know to avoid ordering alcohol, as Muslims avoid it on religious grounds. You’ll also wait for the most honored guest to begin eating before you do. In the event that you happen to be the most honored guest, show your respect for those who invited you by thanking them all for coming.

Now, the art of discussing business over a meal is something everyone has to perfect on his or her own.

One key thing to note is that sometimes, the mealtime is set aside for the meal itself, and the discussion will take place afterward.

In contrast, some people prefer to complete the discussion as soon as possible. It’s actually considered rude to linger too long after a meal if you’re having dinner in someone’s home.

Fortunately, this is another case where you can quickly adjust your behavior based on the environment. If everyone else is fully engrossed in their meal, you should take that as a sign that discussion is going to happen later.

If you’ve been taken out to lunch, always try to listen and be respectful while others are talking. Add what you can to show that you’re interested, but keep your own points brief.

It’s a sign of respect to put others’ time and attention over yours, especially if they’re of higher social status.

If you both have specific goals you want to achieve during the meeting, then you can expect to spend about an hour to an hour-and-a-half discussing them.

You might come from a culture where efficiency is key, but remember that in the Arab world personal relationships are far more important than whether someone signed the dotted line today or tomorrow.

Be fully prepared to have a lively discussion, an excellent meal, and a friendly parting handshake—only to make little headway on your agenda. It’s just the way the world works.

When the bill comes, never assume that you’re going to be treated.

This is another case when the cosmopolitan nature of the Gulf countries makes things pretty confusing.

In general, the one who proposed the meeting and chose the venue is the one who’s expected to pay, but all kinds of factors can change that expectation.

Suppose you met over coffee, for instance. Or the venue was arranged by a third party.

The safest thing to do is to always offer to pay. If you’re turned down, it’s considered very polite to continue to insist, but after a little back-and-forth you can drop it and accept the treat.

Whether you closed a big deal or not, it’s good manners to send a quick follow-up message afterward. If you did make important progress, send over a small gift from your company.

This tiny act goes a long, long way toward building those invaluable personal connections.

It shows that you truly care about the person you met with, and that you want to let them know you’re thinking about what they said even after parting ways.

And no matter what part of the world you’re living in, that’s going to impress people.

These cultural do’s and dont’s about business lunch culture really aren’t too hard to follow. In most cases, they simply stem from treating others with the sincere respect that they deserve.

As long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be successful no matter what.

5 Effective Tips to Jumpstart Your Arabic Studying

5 Effective Tips to Jumpstart Your Arabic Studying

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here. Arabic is a difficult language to learn. In fact it was ranked in the most difficult category of foreign languages by the US Foreign Service Institute, alongside other notoriously difficult languages like Mandarin and Japanese.

If you’re new to Arabic it’s going to take consistent and concerted effort to start using the language fluently. However this fact shouldn’t discourage you. While learning Arabic is hard, it’s far from impossible.

In this post we outline five practical tips you can use to take some of the edge off of learning Arabic. Follow these pointers to learn the language in a way that is efficient and effective!

Pratice

1. Limit yourself to no English when you practice

The idea here is that when you practice with native Arabic speakers you do your best to refrain from using any English. This is generally harder the less Arabic you know, but if you can manage to stick to this rule, you’ll reap some huge rewards.

If you commit to a no English practice session it’s not going to be easy. Most likely there will be some frustrating if not painstakingly difficult moments where you either have trouble understanding the person you’re talking to, or you can’t say what you want to say.

It’s precisely in these moments that your Arabic learning muscles are built up to capacity. The process really isn’t all that different from working out in the gym. Just replace the physical burn of lifting weights for the mental burn of thinking in Arabic. In the end if there’s no pain there’s no gain!

Obviously this no English rule doesn’t have to be written in stone. There are times when it’s more beneficial to break out of the Arabic box and have something explained in your native English. However this should definitely be the exception rather than the status quo.

Practice Speaking

2. Have set times to practice speaking throughout the week

Now that we discussed a good way to practice speaking, let’s delve a bit into when to speak. One of the best commitments you can keep while learning Arabic is to set aside specific times to practice speaking the language on a weekly basis.

Ideally these speaking sessions are on set days at specific times and form part of your weekly routine. If you don’t make it a point to set aside specific practice times you run the risk of your Arabic practice falling through the cracks of your busy schedule. I recommend writing down your practice times on a sheet of paper and putting it somewhere like on your bathroom. You could also input the times into your phone and set an alarm.

The point is to remind yourself of your commitment everyday so that it doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Look up Greek vocabulary

3. Get picky about Arabic vocabulary

Whether you practice with a podcast, a friend at a coffee shop, or an Arabic teacher you’re going to run into a flood of new and unfamiliar Arabic vocabulary. Despite your best efforts it’s unlikely that you will be able to pin down every new word or phrase you hear and study it later.

Thus you should pick and choose which new words you focus on. The defining quality of each new Arabic word you learn should be its practicality. The more useful a word or phrase is to you in a conversation, the more important it is that you learn it.

Don’t feel like you have to cram the entirety of the Arabic lexicon down your throat. Take it one step at a time: a few practical words here, some more there. Before you know it you’ll see your vocabulary improve.

Write and Practice Short Monologues

4. Write and practice short monologues

This tip can be a lot fun. Begin by selecting a topic you enjoy discussing. Then simply write out a short monologue or “speech” on the subject in Arabic.

The first thing you’ll notice while doing this will likely be the holes in your Arabic grammar and vocabulary. I have found through my own experience that when I try to write out my thoughts in a foreign language I inevitably hit roadblocks. I think of a word I don’t know or an idea I simply don’t know to express yet.

This is great because these holes are the exact areas where you should focus your studies. You can bring up these problem areas in your next lesson or browse through your favorite Arabic course in order to find the answer.

The constant process of finding these language holes and filling them is what keep you moving along the path to fluency.

Once you finish your short text, it’s a great idea to practice reciting it or even memorizing it. The memorization will help you internalize the new grammar and vocabulary you learned. Reciting it will get your tongue and mouth get used to the sounds of Arabic.

Wondering

5. Keep an update list of what you want to learn

Throughout your studies you should always have a sort of Arabic “shopping-list”. As you practice and study the language you will most likely come across things you’d like to be able to say but don’t know how to yet (especially if you follow our previous tip). Jot this wishlist down.

It’s one thing to learn the vocabulary you pick up via a course or podcast (both of which are great!), it’s a bit different when your vocabulary gets personal. Learn the words that matter to you either because they’re practical (like we talked about in tip 3), or because you simply find them interesting. The more relevant the vocabulary the more likely you are to retain it.

6. Final thoughts

Arabic is regarded by many to be one of the most difficult foreign languages for native English speakers to learn. While there’s definitely some truth to that, it’s important to remember that the way you study and engage with a language greatly affects how quickly or effectively you learn it.

While we’re not promising linguistic alchemy here, we have introduced you to some practical pointers you can use to boost your Arabic studies. Happy learning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. How to Easily Memorize Basic Arabic Phrases

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

Are you stuck in this stagnation rut?

Don’t worry. You’re in good company.

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

flashcards

a. Flashcards

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

Enter the SRS–spaced repetition system.

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

Sound like magic? It pretty much is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what’s the difference?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

b. Mnemonics

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

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

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

Simple enough?

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

c. Clozemaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

conversation

2. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Friendly Conversations

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

Good evening
مساء الخير
Masa’o lkhayr

Good morning
صباح الخير
Sabaho lkhayr

Hello
أهلا
Ahlan

How are you?
كيف حالك؟
Kayfa haluk?

Where are you?
أين أنت؟
Ayna ant?

Thanks
شكرا
Shukran

No problem
لا مشكلة
La mushkila

Oh my God!
يا إلهي
Ya ilahi

Wow
يا سلام
Ya salam

No
لا
La

Yes
نعم / أجل
Na’am / Ajal

Excuse me
معذرة
Ma’azira

I’m sorry
أنا آسف
Ana asif

Goodbye
مع السلامة
Ma’a Salama

See you soon
أراك لاحقا
Araka lahikan

Please
من فضلك
Min fazlik

Come
تعال
Ta’al

I’m not interested
أنا لست مهتما
Ana lastu muhtaman

Stop
توقف
Tawaqaf

I can’t
لا أستطيع
La astati’e

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

My name is…
إسمي هو…
Ismi hwa…

What’s your name?
ما إسمك؟
Ma usmuk?

Nice to meet you
سررت بلقائك
Surertu biliqa’ik

I’m fine
أنا بخير
Ana bikhayr

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

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

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

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

I appreciate this
أقدر هذا
Oqadiro haza

Enjoy the rest of your day
طاب يومك
Taba yawmuk

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

Sounds good
يبدو جيدا
Yabdo jayidan

Never mind
لا يهم
La yohim

I don’t understand
لا أفهم
La afham

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

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

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

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

Give me one minute
دقيقة من فضلك
Daqiqa min fazlik

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

shopping

3. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Traveling and Shopping

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

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

I’m American
أنا أمريكي
Ana amrikea

I’m Canadian
أنا كندي
Ana canadea

I’m English
أنا إنجليزي
Ana injleezea

I’m Australian
أنا أسترالي
Ana australea

I’m from …
أنا من…
Ana min…

How much is this?
بكم هذا؟
Bikam haza?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

emergency

4. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Emergency

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

Help!
!النجدة
Annajda!

I need help
أحتاج إلى المساعدة
Ahtaju ila almusa’ada

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

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

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

I’m scared
أنا خائف
Ana kha’if

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

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

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

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

I’m in danger
أنا في خطر
Ana fi khatar

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

holiday

5. Basic Arabic Phrases and Expressions for Holidays

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

Happy Birthday
عيد ميلاد سعيد
Ida mealadin sa’id

Happy Eid
عيد سعيد
Eid Sa’id

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

Congratulations
هنيئا / مبروك
Hani’an / Mabruk

Happy wedding
حفل زفاف سعيد
Hafla zifafin sa’id

Birthday cake
كعكة عيد ميلاد
Ka’akato idi milad

Fireworks
الألعاب النارية
Alal’ab anarya

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

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

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

How to Say Happy New Year in Arabic

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

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

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Arabic speaking country

How to Celebrate New Year

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

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

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

Arabic Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

سنة
sana:

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

2- Midnight

منتصف الليل منتصف الليل
muntaṣaf ull-ayl

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

3- New Year’s Day

عيد راس السنة
ʿīd raās al-sanah

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

You can do it!

4- Party

حفلة
ḥaflah

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

5- Dancing

رقص
raqṣ

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

6- Champagne

شامبانيا
šāmbānyā

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

7- Fireworks

ألعاب نارية
ʾlʿāb nāriyyah

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

Happy Near Year!

8- Countdown

عد تنازلي
ʿad tanāzulī

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

9- New Year’s Holiday

عطلة رأس السنة
ʿiṭlaẗu raʾsi al-ssanah

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

10- Confetti

نثار
niṯaār

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

11- New Year’s Eve

ليلة رأس السنة
laīlaẗu raʾsi al-ssanah

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

12- Toast

شرب النخب
šurbu al-nnaḫb

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

13- Resolution

قرار
qarār

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

14- Parade

موكب
maūkib

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

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

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

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

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

إقرء أكثر
ʾiqraʾ ʾakṯar

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

2- Spend more time with family

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

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

3- Lose weight

خسارة وزن
ḫasaāraẗu wazn

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

4- Save money

توفير نقود
taūfiīr nuqūd

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

5- Quit smoking

الإقلاع عن التدخين
al-ʾiqlaāʿi ʿani al-tadḫiīn

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

6- Learn something new

تعلم شيئ جديد
taʿllum šayiʾ ǧadiīd

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

7- Drink less

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

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

8- Exercise regularly

ممارسة الرياضة بانتظام
mumārasẗu al-rriīāḍah binitẓaām

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

9- Eat healthy

تناول طعام صحي
tanāūl ṭaʿām ṣiḥḥī

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

10- Study Arabic with ArabicPod101

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

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

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

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

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

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

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

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

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

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

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

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

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

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

Learning Paths

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

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

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