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Arabic Phrases

Are you travelling to the Arab world? Get some useful Arabic phrases before you go!


Arabic is one of the most spoken languages in the world with over 200 million speakers. It is spoken in 24 countries and is the official language of all the countries of northern Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and in much of the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, KuwaitBahrain and Saudi Arabia. As the religious language of Islam, it is also the second language of millions of Muslims around the world. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

The Arabic language takes many forms and can be divided into three main categories:

Quranic or Classical Arabic: This is the Arabic of Islam's holy book, the Quran (or Koran). It is archaic, which means that it is very old, dating from the late 600's when the Quran was written down. It is used in the Quran and in the holy books of Islam. No one speaks Classical Arabic as a native, nor is it used for conversation. It is learned primarily for reciting and reading the Quran.

Formal or Modern Standard Arabic (MSA): This is an updated version of Classical Arabic which is taught in the schools of Arab countries. It is the language of the news, modern literature and education. No one speaks it as a native language but it is used as a common language for people who speak very different varieties of Arabic or by second-language speakers.

Spoken or Colloquial Arabic: There are many local varieties of Arabic, many languages in their own right. The most widely spoken and understood of these is Egyptian Arabic. Other distinct varieties are Iraqi, Levantine (Lebanese/Syrian/Jordanian/Palestinian) and Moroccan Arabic.

The Arabic phrases presented here are most applicable to the Gulf states such as Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.


Pronunciation

A: as in 'had'

E: as in 'bet'

I: as in 'hit'

O: as in 'hot'

U: as in 'put'

 

Basics

I: ana

You (sg): inta/inti (m/f)

He: huwa

She: hiya

We: nahnu

You (pl): untum/inti (m/f)

They: uhum

 

Greetings

Hello: as-salam alaykum

Hello (response): wa alaykum e-salam

Goodbye (person leaving): ma'a salama

Goodbye (person staying): alla ysalmak

Good morning: sabaH ala-kheir

Good afternoon: masa' al-kheir

Good night: tisbaH ala-kheir

Welcome: ahlan wa sahlan OR marHaba

 

Basics

Yes: aiwa/na'am

No: la

Maybe: mumkin

Please: min fadhlik

Thank you: shukran

You're welcome: afwan

Excuse me: lo tismaH

OK: tayib

No problem: mafi mushkila

 

Small talk

How are you?: kef Halak?

Fine thanks: zein al-Hamdulillah

What's your name?: shismak?

My name is?: ismi ?

I understand: ana fahim

I don't understand: la afham

I speak?: ana atakallam ?

Do you speak?: titkallam ??

English: inglizi

French: fransawi

German: almani

I don't speak Arabic: ma-atakallam arabi

 

Getting Around

Where is (the)??: wein (al-) ??

Airport: al-matar

Bus stop: mokaf al-bas

Bus station: maHattat al-bas

Taxi stand: maHattat tax

Bus: bas

Car: sayyara

Horse: Hsan

Camel: jamal

Taxi: tax

 

Directions

Address: onwan

Street: shari'

Number: raqam

City: madina

 Here: hni

There: hnak

Next to: yam

Opposite: gbal/mgabel

Behind: wara

To: min

 

Signs

Entry: dukhol

Exit: khuruj

Toilets (men): Hammam lirrijal

Toilets (women): Hammam linnisa'a

Hospital: mustashfa

Police: shurta

 

Days

Monday: yom al-idhnayn

Tuesday: yom al-dhaladh

Wednesday: yom al-arba'

Thursday: yom al-khamis

Friday: yom al-jama'a

Saturday: yom as-sabt

Sunday: yom al-Had

 

Numbers

Zero: sifr

One: waHid

Two: idhnin

Three: dhladha

Four: arba'a

Five: khamsa

Six: sitta

Seven: sab'a

Eight: dhimania

Nine: tis'a

Ten: ashra

 

To learn Arabic why not consider some Foreign Language Tution?.

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