Are you planning to travel to the UAE anytime soon? Most people speak English in the UAE, but to know a few commonly-used Arabic words and phrases can be a huge advantage to the traveller. Have you noticed how delighted people become when you address them in their own language? There’s an intimacy that comes from speaking to a person in their own language, a doorway that opens to a friendlier, pleasanter interaction that’s very pleasing. So shall we look into some common Arabic words and phrases that you might find useful during your travel in the Middle East?
Basic Courtesy Phrases
1. Shukran – Thank you: This is a common used word to denote thanks to someone who’s done you a favour or offered help.
2. Marhaba – Hello: This is a polite word of greeting to use for Arabs who meet you at the airport or whom you meet in your line of business.
3. Kaeef halak – How are you?: This is the polite question of querying after a contact whom you’ve met and greeting with Marhaba.
4. Sabah el khair – Good morning: Use this phrase to wish good morning to the people you meet. It’s a very common phrase so most people will know it.
5. Massa el khair – Good evening: Good morning and good evening are basic Arabic phrases that will keep your travel pleasant. Even if you don’t know any other words, learn to wish your business fellows good morning and evening.
6. TaHiat – Greetings: This is a word that you can use to greet people when you meet them.
7. Ma iSmaK – What is your name?: Be sure not to pose this question directly to any Arabic woman. Also, don’t directly ask anyone’s name, without using ‘please’; first.
8. ismii…- My name is…: One of the most essential things to learn is how to tell your name in Arabic
9. Ahlan wa sahlan – You’re welcome: Use this phrase when someone thanks you for something, to show your polite acknowledgement.
Words and Phrases Used To Make Requests
10. MaAzera – Excuse me: Use this polite phrase to excuse yourself from a meeting, a meal or any occasion when you need a moment.
11. MinFadlak – Please: Use this word to make requests, or ask for a pause in discussions and so on.
12. Tawaqaf – Stop: Use this word in conjunction with the word for ‘please’ for more politeness.
Useful Words to Know While Shopping
13. Ayna yomkanany shera? – Where can I buy…?: Always useful to know where to buy something while shopping.
14. NaAm – Yes: A simple yes in Arabic to denote your acquiescence.
15. La – No: Both yes and no will come in very useful when you’re bargaining at souks.
16. Kam ath-thaman – How much?: This phrase will also be useful while shopping at souks in the Middle East.
17. Kam et-taklefa – How much does it cost?: You’ll find this phrase very useful while shopping as well.
Useful Words and Phrases to Know While Traveling
18. LaaAref – I don’t Know: An easy word for an extremely commonly-used denial which you’ll need several times a day.
19. Hal TaTaKalam alanglizia – Do you speak English?: In the event that you should meet someone who speaks only Arabic, you’ll find this phrase useful.
20. Kaeef yomKanany El Hosool ala? – How do I travel to..?: If you’re traveling in the Middle East, you’ll find this expression very useful, especially to locate different places.
21. Ayna – Where is…?: Another useful word for travellers, who might want to know where a certain place is located.
22. Hal haza howa et-tareeq ela? – Is this the way to..?: Put this one in your travel vocabulary to use in the Middle East as well.
23. Annee mafqood – I Think I’m lost: If you’re lost while traveling the Middle East, you’ll find this phrase very useful.
24. Hal howa aamen/khatar – Is it safe/dangerous?: Another useful phrase, especially if you want to know how safe or dangerous something is while traveling.
25. MosaAda = Help!: Hopefully you wouldn’t be needing to use this word while traveling, but here it is.
26. aHtaj ela Tabib – I need a doctor: Another very useful phrase while you’re traveling.
27. Hal Ladika hatef – Do you have a phone?: Know how to ask for a phone if you’ve lost or misplaced yours.
28. Sayaratee TaAtalat -My car has broken down: When you’re asking help on a highway, best to try Arabic and English in the Middle East. Cars breaking down is common, so we recommend you learn these Arabic phrases.
29. Ayna Al Hamam – Where is the bathroom?: This phrase is always very useful no matter where you are in the UAE.
30. Ayna aqrab Karaj/maHatet banseen – Where is the nearest garage/petrol station?: You’ll need this one also in case you are in need of renting a car
31. Ayna aqrab Saraf aalee – Where is the nearest ATM?: You’ll need this one when you run out of cash while traveling.
32. Hal ’astaTiixa ’an ’astaxmil al-’internet? – Can I get on the internet?: This one’s a bit hard to pronounce so listen to clips on the internet to get the right pronunciation.
33. Hajz – Reservation: Use this word to enquire about your room reservation at your hotel. Hajz and your name should open doors.
34. RiHla – Flight, trip: Use this word to indicate when your flight or trip is.
35. Haqiiba, Haqaa‘ib – Suitcases: Use this word to enquire about where to check in your suitcase or leave it for a while.
36. Jawaaz safar – Passport: Use this word to enquire about getting your passport back or anything related to your passport.
37. Ta‘shiira – Visa: You’ll definitely want to learn this one by heart, as the very first thing you have to submit upon entry into the UAE is your visa.
38. Dukhuul – Entry: You’ll need this to enquire how to get into a building.
39. Khuruuj – Exit: Even though they’re single words, the words for Entry and Exit are evocative enough to be used on their own.
40. MaTaar – Airport: Use this word to find out how to get to the airport.
41. Baab – Gate: Use this word in reference to the boarding gate at the airport.
42. Al-jumruk – Customs: Use this word to be directed to the customs area.
These are some basic Arabic words and phrases that you’ll need while traveling.
You might find some of these Arabic words hard to pronounce. Obtain the sound clips and practice them daily and soon you’ll be confident enough to use them while traveling in the Middle East.